20 Great Ideas for an Awesome Spring Birthday Party

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If you, one of your friends, or one of your children has a spring birthday, there are only so many “flower” themed parties you can throw before you just have to throw something else. Here are twenty different ideas for spring birthday parties:

1. Throw a painting party.

Especially if your birthday is early enough in the spring that it is not quite warm enough to have the party outside, having a fun party indoors is a great alternative. For both kids and adults, a painting party, with canvases, different kinds of paint, and maybe a few cute subjects like stuffed animals or bowls of fruit makes for a fun indoor spring party.

2. Spring-color themed.

Not every party has to be “superhero” or “sports” themed. Just picking a color or color scheme and getting all the decorations and food to match that scheme can really pull a party together.

3. Ponies!

If you are throwing a party for a little girl (or a little cowboy), nothing is better than a pony-themed party. Best done outdoors (especially if you are actually going to rent a pony), this party with lots of bite-sized food and maybe even an obstacle course like the ones dressage riders complete will be fun for all ages.

4. Sunshine everywhere.

After a long and dreary winter, what’s better than the spring sun? How about a sun-themed birthday party? If you have warm enough or sunny enough weather to hold this party outdoors, that’s just a bonus! Yellow food, yellow decorations, and lots of fun in the sun are in store.

5. Garden party.

Not just a party in the garden, but a party that is actually garden themed! Flowers will be the perfect party decorations, but if you add in a few other touches like toadstool seats, place cards made of leaves, and little garden gnome decorations, what could be better?

6. A party for hungry caterpillars.

We’re all familiar with the book, how about a party centered around the very hungry caterpillar himself? Spring is all about transformation and that’s what this book is about, too. Lots of different snacks to choose from, as well as caterpillar decorations will truly make this party special.

7. Springtime in Paris.

Can you think of anything more romantic than springtime in Paris? Pink decorations, paired with the Eifel tower make easy party décor for this theme.

8. Camp out!

Even if you don’t actually want to go camping, warm spring days are a great time to throw a camping-themed party. Roast marshmallows over a fire pit (or grill), chow down on hotdogs and hamburgers, and tell spooky stories!

9. Bug party.

This party is especially great if you have a kid who is obsessed with bugs (which is an obsession than many mothers and fathers will never understand). Whether he or she prefers praying mantises or butterflies, cookies decorated to look like their favorite bug, and a few simple party decorations make this party work.

10. Rainbow party.

If your have a birthday that takes place during the “April showers” part of the year, a rainbow party might be the perfect way to celebrate. Multicolored food and decorations are easy to find or make!

11. Enchanted April.

If your little guy or gal loves all things magical, a spring birthday party is a great time to celebrate that. From unicorns, to their favorite prince or princess movie, to magical treats, this will be a snap to pull together.

12. Baby animals.

Springtime means lots of brand new baby animals! If your friend or child loves all things cute, throwing a party that features their favorite wild babies will surely be a huge hit!

13. Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Even if the birthday isn’t on Cinco de Mayo, you can still add a little fiesta flair to your springtime celebrations, especially if you love Mexican food. Look for decorations in red, white, and green (the colors of the Mexican flag), and decorate with paper flowers and sombreros. Don’t forget the piñata!

14. We all scream for ice cream.

Spring is probably the first time in a couple months that it’s been warm enough to want ice cream. There’s nothing wrong with throwing a whole party around ice cream, especially if it’s the birthday boy or girl’s favorite dessert.

15. A barnyard bash.

Fresh fruit and barnyard animal-themed cookies make it easy to plan food for this party. All you need for decorations is some hay and a few gingham table cloths.

16. Ladybugs everywhere!

If your child is delighted every time he or she sees one of these lucky bugs, throwing a party with a ladybug theme is perfect for you. Black, red, and white decorations are easy to find, and you can even send the guests on a ladybug hunt once the cake is cut and eaten.

17. Down the rabbit hole with Alice.

It was a beautiful spring day when Alice when down the rabbit hole. Watching your favorite Alice in Wonderland rendition and cookies that say “Eat Me” and drinks labeled with “Drink Me” make this party easy!

18. Cabbage patch party.

Cabbage patch dolls have been a classic for generations. Not only do they make great presents (and party favors), hosting this party outside keeps the house clean and provides plenty of fun for the kids.

19. Scavenger hunt!

This theme makes use of the warmer weather and the energy that birthday cake is sure to generate. Around the yard, park, or neighborhood, this party is sure to delight!

20. Planting party.

A tulip bulb will make a great party favor for your guests or you can spend your party potting plants or even learning how to arrange an herb, salsa, or fresh vegetables garden. If you have a green thumb and love spending time in your garden, this party is for you!

10 Easy Ways to Decorate for Easter

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Whether or not you celebrate the religious aspects of Easter, this holiday is a great time to gather your family together, have a great meal, and put together an egg hunt for the kids. There’s nothing more fun for kids than searching your home for candy-filled eggs and treats! If you want to make your Easter celebrations truly special, putting up a few simple decorations is the best way to make your home reflect the holiday. Especially if you are also making a big dinner for the entire family, you might not want to spend the whole day before or afternoon of decking out the house in green and pink streamers.

Even if you are planning on buying most of your decorations from a party supply store, accenting those Easter decorations with a few handmade touches will personalize what could otherwise be generic décor. That’s why we’ve put together these ten easy ways to decorate without breaking the bank:

1. Make leaves from scrapbook paper.

Whether for a beautiful leafy garland or to decorate a blank wall, scrapbook paper in various patterns and shades of pink, green, and white are easy to make. All you need is a pair of scissors and a pencil! After drawing and cutting out one leaf, use it as a template for the rest of your leaves. This is even a task you could assign to the kids! Tape them to a piece of string like pennants or glue them to branches and stick them in a vase for a unique centerpiece.

2. Don’t forget about flowers.

If your tulips, daisies, or pansies have bloomed by Easter, sending the kids out to cut a few flowers for vases will bring some of the beauty of nature into your home, without having to buy expensive arrangements from the store. Your flowers will be fresher and more beautiful than flowers that have been sitting in a cold case for two days.

3. Make a special table runner.

While a tablecloth might not be an essential part of your table setting, a table runner is a great way to add a little more flair to your table. An easy way to dress up a cheap, white fabric table runner is with some binding and ruffle lace, in coordinating Easter colors. All you have to do is lay the binding over the edge of the runner, and then lay the ruffle lease beneath it. Then, just sew a single straight stitch through everything.

4. Fill mini baskets with candy for cute table settings.

If you’re hosting dinner and not the egg hunt, that doesn’t mean you can’t still give your guests an Easter basket and a little candy. Buy enough mini baskets for all of your guests, and fill them with Jordan almonds, chocolates, or whatever candy coordinates with the rest of your table setting. Set them on each plate for a cute pre-dinner snack.

5. Use leftover jelly beans as candle holders.

If you usually fill your candle holders with salt or rocks to give your candles a little more height, consider using your leftover jelly beans instead! Whatever beans didn’t make it into the Easter eggs, pour them into the bottom of a clear glass holder and then set the candle on top. Not only will it smell great, it’ll also look great. Either mix all the beans together or lay them in color specific layers for a more streamlined look.

6. Make your own baskets.

Whether out of paper, cardstock, or actual basket reed, making your own baskets as Easter decorations is a great way to really put a personal touch on this holiday. A simple basket weave is easy to learn, but if you don’t want to make baskets from scratch, buy a set of those green fruit baskets and weave different colors of yellow, pink, and green ribbon through the holes to give them a finished look.

7. Add some bunny ears.

While you might not like it when someone gives you the bunny ears in a picture, Easter is the perfect time of the year to give everyone in your family bunny ears! To add a cute touch to pictures, cut out some ears from construction paper, using brown for the outside of the ear and white or tan for the inside. If you’re a little more ambitious, you could sew ears and use a little bit of wire to make them stand up straight. Attack them to a headband and you’re ready to play the Easter bunny!

8. Make some chicks out of felt and pom-poms.

This is another great decoration that your kids can take on while you cook. All you need are yellow pom-poms and a little bit of orange and black felt. Just glue together the pom-poms, and then glue on a little bit of orange felt as the feat and beak.

9. Make some long-lasting eggs.

If you want some neat eggs for your chicks, you can easily make some cool eggs out of string, white glue, and balloons. Blow up the balloons (which just so happen to make perfect eggs), and then, after coating your string is white blue, wrap the balloons in strong. Crisscross the strands to give your egg shape and strength. Once the string is dry, just pop the balloon!

10. Make a springtime door wreath.

While most people associate wreath with winter holidays, why can’t you make one for Easter, too? A wreath is a great way to make even your door look friendly and welcoming. Grab a foam base and then some fake flowers in your favorite Easter colors. Arrange the flowers and filler greenery on the base, and then add a ribbon and bow at the top to make it easy to hang on your door.

The Guide to Simple and Inexpensive Birthday Parties

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An inexpensive party doesn’t mean a cheap or boring party. Whether you’re planning a party for your son’s fifth birthday or a sweet sixteen for your daughter, here are some tips to help you throw a great, simplified birthday party that doesn’t feel cheap.

Step One: Cut the guest list.

Do you really need to invite every student in your son’s kindergarten class? Yes, there’s something to be said for including everyone, but not if that includes the class bully or even just the kids that you son doesn’t know very well. If you are trying to be more frugal this year, there’s nothing wrong with only inviting your son’s close circle of friends. Birthday party invitations from other kids do not automatically create an obligation. Cutting your guest list is the quickest and easiest way to simplify your party, so just do it!

Step Two: Commit to the cooking.

Ordering a cake and premade snacks from a bakery or caterer is going to put a serious dent in your wallet. Especially for a child’s birthday party (where none of the children willy really care about the quality of the cake—it’s cake, they’ll love it), make the cake yourself. Boxed cake mixes only cost a few dollars. If you want something more natural or your child or one of the guests has a food allergy or intolerance, making the cake from scratch is a great option. Either way, the kids won’t care if it wasn’t professionally made. They’ll only care that it’s sweet! In that same vein, commit to making a few snacks from scratch or just setting out some bowls of chips, dips, and candy. It will be much cheaper and probably much easier than trying to coordinate with a caterer.

Step Three: Don’t plan on goodie bags.

Instead of buying cheap little toys to stick in goodie bags for your child to give away as party favors at the end of the night, turn one of the activities into a craft that the children can then take home. My parents once planned me a Harry Potter-themed party—instead of party favors, they bought a bunch of cheap plastic wine goblets and let us go to town with glue and sequins and little stones and glitter paint to make our own pumpkin juice goblets. Not only was this more fun than just getting a goodie bag at the end of the night, some of my childhood friends still have their goblets from that party.

Step Four: Mix store-bought decorations with handmade decorations.

Buying birthday decorations from a party supply store is easy, but if you’re trying to decorate your entire house and want banners and balloons for every room, it can also get expensive. On top of the decorations you get from your favorite party supply store, make a few extra decorations. You don’t have to be crafty or creative to come up with something great. A simple fabric pennant, a happy birthday banner, or cut outs from the internet related to the party’s theme make easy, quick decorations.

Step Five: Send electronic invites.

Especially if your child is a teenager and most of her friends have devices, there’s no reason to buy and send out paper invitations, when a Facebook event or email is much more likely to be seen and remembered. Sure, etiquette dictates you send out a paper invite, but unless your mother is Emily Post, no one will ever know.

Step Six: Don’t invite the mothers or friends who will complain.

If you think one of your guests is going to spend the entire party complaining that there aren’t goodie bags or that there was only cake and ice cream, not a pizza and a hundred snacks, don’t invite that person. This was already covered in step one, but now that you’re further through the party planning process, really start to think about who is going to enjoy this party. The last thing you want are mothers or kids looking down their nose at you or your child because you decided to cut back on the extravagance this year. Young children are not going to remember their birthday parties and even older children are far more likely to remember who came and how much fun they had (or didn’t have, if someone is making the party less fun) than the decorations, what they ate, or the theme of the day.

Step Seven: Focus on activities, rather than on “stuff.”

While you can’t stop your child from wanting gifts or his friends from bringing gifts, you can decenter the party around gifts by making it more about a fun experience, rather than just getting something. Another of my most memorable birthday parties was pirate-themed (I’d seen Pirates of the Caribbean about a hundred times that year). My parents drew up a map of our neighborhood, burned the edges to make it look old, and then set us all off on a treasure hunt. When we got to the end, there was a treasure chest (a cardboard box), filled with chocolate coins for my friends and a stuffed monkey for me. I only remember what the present was because finding it was so much fun. Picking the right party theme can mean being able to cut down on presents and favors, which can cut down on the cost of throwing a party overall. Throwing an inexpensive party doesn’t mean it can’t be a quality party. Following these tips can mean a much more special and memorable day for your kid!

How to Avoid Common Party Planning Mistakes

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Whether it’s a baby shower for your best friend or a birthday party for your oldest child, if you’re planning a party, there are just some mistakes you don’t want to make. If this is the first party you’ve ever planned or the fiftieth, here’s how to avoid some of the most common party planning mistakes, to make sure your bash goes off without a hitch.

To make a guest list or not to make a guest list? That is the question.

Making a guest list, especially for something like a child’s birthday party, might not seem like a big deal. For a dinner party with your friends, it might also seem inconsequential. However, a guest list is really the foundation of your party. It will dictate how much food you have to buy, how many chairs you needs to scrounge up, what activities you plan, and even what kind of food you serve. Knowing exactly who will be coming (and who’s not coming), is essential.

Making a guest list can also prevent you from forgetting someone you really want to invite. Making the list far beforehand and then sitting on it for a few days before you send out invitations will ensure that you remember to add anyone who you originally left off. Depending on what kind of party you are planning, it’s always a good idea to get a few extra invitations to have on hand, just in case you remember someone while you’re actually stuffing and addressing your invites.

Haven’t chosen a theme? Here’s why you should.

Without a theme, your party could swirl into a full-blown identity crisis. That might sound a bit dramatic, but the truth is that if you don’t have a theme, even just a general theme, finding the right decorations, nailing down a menu, and coming up with games or activities (if applicable) can become nearly impossible.

Keep in mind that a theme doesn’t have to be anything as defined as “superheroes” or “Quentin Tarantino characters” in order to be functional. A color is a great place to start. If you’re throwing an anniversary party, there are usually traditional themes that go along with each year of a relationship. Picking a theme for a child’s birthday party is usually as easy as asking him what his favorite animal or television show is. A theme makes it easier to plan your party and even a general theme can help your guests know what to where and what to expect once they arrive.

When should I send out my invitations?

One of the biggest mistakes party planners—even veteran party planners—make is sending out the invitations too late or too early. Unless you make your party a Facebook event, so it shows up and reminds your guests every time they log into social media, sending out an invite too early could mean that people forget they have plans on that day or evening and make other plans instead. Additionally, sending out your invites too late could mean that most of your guests already have other plans, or may not leave them enough time to find a babysitter.

Three to four weeks is about the right amount of time, unless your party is on a holiday, which, in that case, you want your bid for your guests’ time to be the first one in. If you can send out an electronic calendar invite, along with a paper or emailed invitation, you have a much lower chance of someone forgetting or making other plans on top of your plans.

Do I need my guests to RSVP?

This is another one of the biggest mistakes that novice party planners mistake. Unless you personally call to invite every single guest to your party and get a verbal yes or no on the spot, not asking for an RSVP makes it nearly impossible to know how many guests are going to be attending your party.

For a child’s birthday party, not having the exact number might not be a huge deal (you’ll probably have too much cake and snacks anyway), but for something more structured like a dinner or cocktail party, knowing who is coming and if they’re bringing someone will dictate how much alcohol you need to buy or how much food you need to make.

Do your invitations have enough information?

You know you’re going to be serving dinner at your party, but do your guests know that? You don’t necessarily have to include every detail of what will (or will not) be served, but at least giving your guests a general idea of what kind of food (just appetizers, a full meal, or just desserts), will be served ensures they come with the right appetite in mind.

If your guests show up expecting dinner, they’ll be cranky and hungry, despite all of your hard work. If they don’t expect dinner and eat beforehand, only to be presented with a three course meal, they’ll be equally confused. Dress, what kind of food, and time frame are all essential information.

How do I pick the right venue?

Picking a venue can be one of the most nerve-wracking parts of party planning. You don’t want a space that is too big, as too much room doesn’t foster mingling or dancing. A space too small and the party will get overheated and claustrophobic very quickly. This is another reason why being a little demanding about RSVPs is a good thing—you’ll know how many people you need to plan for, both when picking a venue and thinking about how much seating you need in that space.