Greasy cold pizza, overcooked and dried out meats, stale bread, warm soda and a cake so hard you could use it as a door stop. This type of menu can make a party bomb. It does not matter that the decorations are perfect because when the food is bad, it brings the whole party down. The food is often looked at as a time filler between arrival and the cutting of the cake. It is time to change that type of thinking. Simply keeping the menu in line with the theme will help to bring the whole occasion together. It does not have to be complicated or a 7 course meal but it does need to fit the party’s theme as well as being fresh and tasty. It is relatively easy to do and just takes a bit of effort and planning. There is also an important part which is party catering to delight your guests with awesome food.
Kids parties can be a simple pool party to a petting zoo party – no matter the planning, be prepared for the unexpected when dealing with children.
Carnival - Start off with a lot of helium balloons – tied in bunches throughout the venue. Red and white striped table cloths. Large clown face posters and tons of streamers in primary colors. Supply a bouncy house, Popcorn machine, cotton candy machine, face painting, and of course, games. Set up a fake ticket booth where drinks are supplied and “tickets” to play the games are supplied. Set up a few booths with easy games such as ring toss, ping pong ball toss and water gun targets. Fill the table with carnival foods: hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, French fries and corn dogs. Add funnel cakes and giant soft pretzels. Top it all off with a red and white striped cake with balloons and streamers of fondant. Depending on the season, water balloon games or water slide can be added to the mix.
Favorite Character - Kids all have their favorite characters so narrowing it down is tough. Here is an example of a Dora the Explorer party. Mexico is the background theme since Dora is Mexican. Mexican blankets, colors of orange red green and brown should play throughout the table cloths. Hang Mexican flags and write all birthday greetings in Spanish. Serve tacos, burritos, Mexican pizza, Chicken Enchiladas, tortilla chips with salsa and sour cream. Add cinnamon crisps and fried ice cream too. Mariachi music in the background as well as the theme from Dora the Explorer. Set up a “treasure hunt” with map where groups of two or three follow the map to win the treasure. Play pin the tail on the burro and charades using characters from the show. Each child gets a party “back pack” to take home with mini magnifying glass, notebook, pens and Dora Thank you card. Top off the party with a Leche Cake in the shape of a sombrero.
Ultimate Princess Party - Trends come and go but the princess party is here to stay. Cinderella is still the most asked for princess theme. Decorate with silver and white streamers – floor to ceiling. Gold, Silver, and pale blue helium balloons in large bunches to fill the venue. Pale blue table cloths with silver and gold bows. Fill the tables with mini-finger sandwiches, cheese tray, veggie tray with dip and fruit tray with a chocolate fountain. A punch bowl of Pink Princess Punch and the little princesses will eat like kings. Hire a Cinderella look alike to come and tell her story. Rent a castle shaped bouncy house and have a quiz game on who knows the most about Cinderella. Add a face painter and a giant castle shaped cake. Finish off the party with a ride in a horse drawn carriage. Each child takes home their own magic wand and photo with Cinderella.
No matter the age of the guest of honor, a birthday celebration needs to center on them. Keeping the day running smoothly entails you to have a back-up location AND back up food and drink suppliers in case of some unforeseen disaster. Planning ahead, being specific, serving a fresh theme oriented menu and paying attention to details will make all your birthday parties the most coveted events in town.
Adult Birthday Party
There are a few things to take into account when throwing adult birthday parties. Time of year, alcohol or not and whether it is an all age’s affair or just adults. This helps to narrow down a theme that would be easily adapted to either situation.
Luau – A luau is a perfect summer birthday theme. Encourage party guests to dress in Hawaiian shirts or “tourist” outfits. Fake palm trees lining the entrance way, walls lined with dried grasses and coconut trees. Brightly colored tropical flowers, Tiki Torches, savage masks. Drinks served in coconut and pineapple shaped cups add a nice touch. Greet everyone with a lei and an “Aloha” as they enter. Serve poi, fresh tropical fruits like pineapple, mango, and bananas fruit cups, ham and pineapple kabobs. Hire dancers and a ukulele player or stream Hawaiian music. If it is outdoors, string lights and have a bonfire. Top it off with a Volcano shaped cake complete with strawberry syrup lava flow.
Time Warp – Pick your favorite decade and go with it-for example, the 50’s. Bobby socks, greased back pompadour, poodle skirts, cat eye glasses and Buddy Holly Tunes will make a 50’s birthday theme rock. Serve burgers, fries and super thick shakes. Chili dogs and different flavored jello molds (can substitute jello shots). Lay out big bowls of bubble gum and 50’s style candies. Definitely hire a bartender to mix up some drinks from a by-gone era. Rent a professional movie style popcorn machine and have your favorite movie from the 50’s playing on a big screen. Decorate with photos from the 50’s (advertisements for Chevy and other products from days gone by). Hang 45’s from the ceiling and have a dance-a-thon- complete with spinning lights. Encourage party attendees to dress for the decade. Top off the evening with a cake shaped like a record or even a car shaped cake.
Favorite TV or Movie - Are you a fan of “The Walking Dead”? Zombify your birthday-encouraging your guests to come as “zombied-up” as they can. Decorate with low lighting, LED candles all around. Fake weapons sprawled about as well as fake body parts. Have a brain shaped cheese mold served with cracker sticks, jello mold with fake plastic bugs inside. Spaghetti serves as slippery wormy intestines topped with blood red sauce. Deviled eggs with veins and stuffed with green filling, white chocolate dipped pretzels with red gel frosting dripped over them. A big punch bowl full of neon green nuclear punch washes it all down. Keep it rustic with fake spider webs, broken down furniture, plastic skulls or bones and board up the windows with cardboard “wood” planks. Play episodes of “The Walking Dead” or old black and white horror movies. Top it off with a skull and bones cake or beat up Winnebago cake.