I started planning about 2 months before the actual event. First, I prepared the guest list and had Kat make the invitations. Since I decided to have it at my house, I knew I would need more than a couple of things to keep 25 kids entertained. My first choice was a bounce house. I called a few places and found one that fit my yard (very important!) and the theme. Another great idea and FREE (you know I love that!), was having a tire toss game. I went to a local tire repair shop, told them what I was doing and they were more than happy to give three tires to me. Next, I found some checkerboard balls for the kids to toss into them. I printed out signs with point values, stuck them in the ground next to the tires and let the kids try out their throwing skills.
What party would be complete without at photo booth? I turned my fireplace area into a winner’s circle-themed photo booth. I covered the brick using a checkerboard tablecloth roll, and styled it with trophies, a banner, and race car cut-outs. Then I added a few props and set up the camera for guests to use.
I always try to get as much done as I can well before the party so I won’t be so stressed in the days leading up to it. I ordered favor boxes a month or so before the party and two weeks before I stuffed them with anything race car related I could find. Kat made pit passes and the favor tags matching the invitation, when I had a few minutes at the end of the night while the kids were sleeping, or in the afternoons during naptime, I cut them all out. I stuffed the pit pass into a clear plastic badge and tied a ribbon to it, which was simple enough, and I hole-punched the favor tages and tied them to the favor box with a ribbon. I also had a door prize — a jar filled with candy that the kids could guess the amount inside to win!
The most time consuming part of this party was making banners. I made about one hundred feet of multi-colored pennant flag banners to hang around the house. I used my plastic checkerboard tablecloth roll and plastic colored tablecloths to make them. First, I cut out triangles, then stapled them to curling string, and voilá, done! This took about 6 hours total. I wanted to save money and get the most bang for my buck, but you can always buy pre-made banners.
Next, we made a “car wash” dividing the foyer from the dining room. It was super cute and the kids liked walking through it. We took a plastic tablecloth, taped it to the molding above the entryway and cut it into strips — just like you would see in an automatic car wash!.
After decorating inside, we moved to the front of the house. I bought a wreath base and wrapped it in black and white yarn. Kat made a miniature banner that we strung across it. Next, we hot-glued a few accessories, a small trophy and a toy car from my son’s bottomless pit of hot wheels, to make it complete. The day before the party, I planted some flowers and added some flags to the planters in the front of the house. In my opinion, every little extra detail makes a themed party so much more fun. We saw these cute eyes to add to the windshield on Pinterest and couldn’t resist. We used two poster boards, taped them together, then trimmed them into the shape of the eyes. We cut a big circle out of blue construction paper; then a smaller one out of black construction paper and taped them onto the white poster board.
After the RSVP’s came in, I had more guests than I anticipated. A total of 25 kids and 28 adults, so I needed lots of food that I could make quickly, I could make ahead of time, and most importantly, was kid-friendly. Since food bars are so popular right now, I decided on a hot dog bar. They are inexpensive, easy, and quick to make. I made a cute sign with a few popular hot dog varieties, such as, Chili Dog and a personalized “Sawyer Dog” (a mac and cheese topped hot dog) for the birthday boy.
For the dessert display, we placed the 6″ checkerboard cake on top of a tractor tire I bought from The Home Depot. We had extra cake batter when we were making the cake, so we made cake pops with it. The kids loved them! Instead of a big cake for all of the guests I made marshmallow-filled cupcakes. I put mini chocolate doughnuts on top to resemble tires. For a lighter treat we made strawberry & pound cake skewers with a chocolate drizzle.
I should get extra Mommy points for dressing in the theme.
Based on the enjoyment on my son’s face, I’d say it was a successful party. I received many compliments from guests about the decorations, as well as, the hot dog bar. After all the hard work Kat & I put in, it was all worth it just hearing my 4 year son say “it was the best birthday party EVER Mom”.