We also have Birthday Party Games to match your fun with your themes!
Birthday party themes can take a lot of work out of planning a birthday party. Choosing a theme makes decorating, games, and even the food much easier to pull together.
From pirates to princesses and many more in between, we've put together themes that will create a wonderland for your child. They can be transported back to prehistoric times with a Dino Party, transformed into royalty as a Princess or a Queen, or participate in the Winter Olympic Games. Each theme has food ideas and game suggestions so you don't have to plan out anything except a timeline for putting on a fabulous party for your birthday child.
When choosing a birthday party theme, involve your child. Watch for the clues that say "you're the best mom ever!" when you suggest a theme (like their eyes lighting up at the thought of being a swashbuckling pirate). A theme can be tailored to your budget with incredible results no matter how much you spend.
What ever birthday party theme you choose, make sure to take lots of pictures and most of all have fun! That saying about "they grow up so fast" is true. Birthday parties are the milestones to enjoy along the way.
Scatter Chinese paper lanterns around the party room. If you can locate a paper dragon, hang it on the wall, or suspend it from the ceiling. Use a red table cloth, and place more lanterns down the center. Use red, black and white for the streamers, balloons and other decorations. Set up a small table to put temporary dragon tattoos on the guests during the party. Make a sign that says "Welcome to the (your child's name) Dojo".
Serve chicken wings in sweet and sour sauce, mini egg rolls and fortune cookies to keep the Asian theme of your party. To emphasize the healthy angle of martial arts, serve fresh veggies and cut up fruit as well. To make a gi shaped cake, bake a 9x13 sheet cake in the flavor of your choice. When the cake is cool, take it from the pan, and place it on a platter to decorate. Cut a V shape from the middle of one of the short ends to make the shape of the uniform shirt. Ice the cake in white frosting and use chocolate frosting or black licorice to create a black belt. If your child is currently taking Karate, you can use a fruit roll up in the color of the belt he has achieved.
Make a Sorting Hat centerpiece. Cut a cone shape from a piece of 24x 18 purple poster board. Roll it into a cone and tape or staple it together. Cut out crescent moons and stars from yellow paper and glue on. Place a few stuffed owls around the party room. Make stars and lightning bolts from white poster board. Paint them silver and gold and use them to decorate the party room. Hang some from the ceiling, glue some to the walls and attach some to the chairs.
For older children, decorate the room with lit candles. Make place mats that represent the four houses of Hogwarts. Use plain white paper and the colors that correspond to each house. The house colors are: Slytherin-silver and green, Hufflepuff-yellow and white, Ravenclaw- blue and silver, and Gryffindor-scarlet and gold. Let each child choose a piece of paper from the sorting hat to determine which house they are in, and where they will sit at the party table. Be sure you have the same number of placemats and pieces of paper.
Serve Bertie Botts every flavor beans. You can either buy the Bertie Botts beans, or use Jelly Belly jelly beans. The Bertie's beans have some odd flavors, like grass and vomit. Make chocolate frogs by melting chocolate chips in the microwave, and dipping gummy frogs into the melted chocolate. Place them on wax paper to cool and harden. Keep them chilled until you serve them. To make a wizard hat cake, bake three or four round cakes of the same size. Stack the cakes, frosting between the layers. Cut the layers into a cone shape. Frost the whole cake with purple frosting. Decorate the hat with yellow star and crescent moons.
Use any toy airplanes you already own as table toppers, or group them together to form a centerpiece. If you have a toy airport, you can use that as well.
Make large paper airplanes, and hang them from the ceiling. To make clouds tie together eight white balloons and hanging them from the ceiling as well.
Make a baggage claim sign for the closet or gift table.
Make airport signs that say "Passengers Only", "This Way to Baggage Claim", "Customs", and "Crew Only".
Make a banner that says "Welcome to (your child's name) Airport", and hang it on the front door.
Hold silverware together with paper luggage tags.
Make airplane shaped place cards for the table.
Fill baskets with mini bags of treats like peanuts, pretzels and trail mix.
Make airplane shaped sandwiches by using an airplane shaped cookie cutter to cut them out.
Make edible airplanes. Cut a banana in half lengthwise. Place one half; cut side up, on a plate. Spread with peanut butter. Place a whole graham cracker in place for each wing, and use a quarter rectangle for the horizontal part of the tail. Put the other banana half on top. Cut a slit at the tail end of the top half, and put a rudder piece in place to finish the tail. Stick on raisin windows with little dollops of peanut butter.
To make an airplane runway cake, bake a 9 x 13 cake. Frost all but the very top corner of the cake with white frosting. Tint the remaining frosting sky blue, and use it to frost the top corner. Make a runway across the cake using crushed chocolate cookies, or chocolate sprinkles. Use green sugar on either side to make the grass. Put a toy airplane on the runway. Use whipped cream to make clouds on the sky blue portion of the cake. Place another toy airplane on the clouds.
Instead of a cake, you can make cupcakes, and frost them with icing you've tinted sky blue. Put a new, clean toy airplane on each.
Twist pink, blue and white streamers together, and hang them throughout the house and party room. Make a canopy over the table with streamers. They should be attached to the chandelier or ceiling, and come down over the chairs. Set up several beauty stations throughout the house, manicures at one, facials at another and manicures at a third. Group spa related items together on mirrored trays and use them as table toppers. Things like nail polish, wash cloths, eye masks, bottle of lotion, and hair care items will all fit the theme well. Draw goofy faces wearing face masks, cucumbers on their eyes, or eye masks and hang them around the party room. Make eye mask shaped place cards to put on the party table.
Make various sandwiches on soft white bread. Cut the sandwiches into triangles, and cut the crusts off. Pile them on a platter to serve. Serve punch in a large glass punch bowl. Make or buy petit fours to serve along with the cake. To make them yourself, make a sheet cake, and cut out circles, diamonds and squares, frost and decorate. To make a spa face cake, bake a round cake. Once the cake is cool, frost it with white, light yellow or tan icing. This will be the skin of your face. Use a different color frosting, or candies to make the mouth and nose. For eyes, use green frosting to make cucumber slices, or you can use real cucumber slices, just be sure to take them off before serving! Use black licorice or black icing to make the eyebrows. Finish the cake off with a face mask. Powdered sugar sprinkled all over the cake, outlining the facial features.
Using sidewalk chalk, make cat paw prints on the driveway or walk way, leading up to the front door. Make cat faces on helium balloons using magic markers. Add on construction paper ears, and a piece of ribbon for a tail. Cut out fish shaped signs that have kitty-related sayings on them, like "Dog free zone", "Do not disturb, cat napping", and "Wipe your paws". Round up all your child's stuffed kitties, and use them as table toppers, or group them together to make a centerpiece. Make fish shaped place cards for the table. Make balls of yarn with Styrofoam balls covered in different colored yarns. Put them in bowls and baskets and set them around the party room as decorations. Using a washable marker, draw a whiskers and a kitty nose on each guest as they arrive.
Serve food in clean, new cat bowls. Personalize each bowl with the guests names using a permanent marker, or paint. Serve kitty food. Tuna sandwiches, goldfish crackers, milk and cheese. Make and serve sugar cookies cut into cat and fish shapes with cookie cutters. Make a cereal snack mix and dub it cat chow. To make a paw print cake, bake a round cake to be the paw, and use four cupcakes as the toes. Place the cupcakes around the top half of the cake. Instead of a cake, bake cupcakes and decorate them to look like cat paws. Use a junior mint in the middle as a paw print, and brown M & Ms as the toes.
Use bright colors to decorate; green, pink and lavender all would work well. Put different colored tablecloths on the tables, and use small flower pots to hold the silverware and napkins. Hang colored streamers from the tress if you're having the party outdoors, it will add to the atmosphere. Line small flower pots with fabric and fill with small, colorful candies like Skittles and M & Ms. Stick a lollipop in each pot to look like a flower. Make a canopy over the party table with yellow and green streamers. Attach them to the chandelier or ceiling and have them float out over the chairs. Fill water cans with bunches of fresh flowers and scatter them throughout the house. Use a small baby pool to make a pond. Fill it with water, and put in plastic frogs and ducks. Add some toy boats as well. Be sure the pond is always supervised to avoid accidents.
Buy several round, flat rocks from a craft store and paint bright red. When the guests arrive give them each a rock and a black magic marker to make ladybugs to use as table decorations. Write each child's name on the bottom so they can take them home when the party is over.
Serve the food in new, clean flower pots. Make jelly sandwiches and cut them into flower shapes with a cookie cutter. Serve cut up veggies in rows to look like a vegetable garden. Put the dip in a small tin pail or flower pot. Make flies on a log by filling celery sticks with peanut butter and sticking on some raisins. Serve lady bug treats. Cut a red apple in half. Stick chocolate chips in point first to make spots. Serve each bug on a lettuce leaf. To go along with the cake, serve cups of dirt. Put a layer of chocolate pudding in the bottom of a clear cup, add smashed up chocolate cookies, and put gummy worms on top. Serve with mini plastic shovels bought at the craft store. Pour drinks from new, clean watering cans. Make flower shaped sugar cookies using a cookie cutter and lots of colored sprinkles and icing. To make a flower cake, bake an 8" round cake for the middle. For the petals, you can either bake a sheet cake and cut out petal shapes, or use Twinkies. Frost the round cake in yellow, and the Twinkies in the frosting color of your choice. Put the cake on a large cookie sheet. Draw the stem and leaves with green icing.
Use chalk to draw monster footprints leading up to your front door. Create an easy tulle monster wreath to welcome your spooked guests. Make monster feet out of green poster board and have them go from the front door to the party room. Use green and blue for decorations such as streamers and balloons. Switch out the light bulbs in the party room from clear to green or blue.
For an older crowd: Make a sign for the front door that says "Beware of monsters! Enter at your own risk!" Rent or borrow a fog machine to create a creepy monster atmosphere. Make monster hands. Stuff clear plastic gloves with tissue paper. Tie them closed with black ribbon, and decorate with scars, ghoulish nail polish and big, gaudy rings. Use them as table toppers, or group some together to form a creepy centerpiece.
Play monster music like The Monster Mash, the theme from The Munsters, Monster in the Mirror, Purple People Eater, and The Werewolves of London. Make monster heads out of empty gallon milk jugs. Clean them out well, turn them upside down, and paint to look like your favorite monsters! Place them around the party room, or group them together in a drinks tub. Make a banner that says "Welcome to (your child's name) Monster Mansion".
Serve ordinary party food, but give the foods monster names and glue googly eyes to toothpicks to stick in foods. Melon balls can be monster eyeballs, mini pigs in a blanket become monster toes, spaghetti with sauce turns into monster brains, make signs for each item to keep the children entertained while they eat.
Carve a monster mouth into a watermelon to use as the centerpiece of a fruit salad.
Serve monster fingers, baby carrots with a dab on cream cheese on the end. Put an almond slice into the cream cheese to make a fingernail.
Make monster hands filled with popcorn. Using clear plastic gloves, fill with popcorn, and tie closed with a ribbon. Stack them in a bowl or on a platter.
Serve monster toe cookies along with the cake. Use sugar cookie dough that you've tinted green with food coloring. Roll the dough into ½ inch ovals; roll the ovals in plain sugar. Place on a cookie sheet. Press an oval shaped candy, like a black jellybean, onto one end for the toenail. Bake according to recipe directions.
A monster layer cake is easy to make, and looks suitably creepy. Bake a chocolate layer cake in two pans that are the same size. Once the cakes are cool, spread a thin layer of green or blue tinted frosting on the stacked cakes. Then using a piping bag, create a furry look by squeezing more icing onto the cakes. If you’re feeling extra crafty whip up a batch of monster eye cake pops to stick into the cake as well.
Turn any traditional game into a monster-themed game, pin the eye on the monster, tossing bean bags into a cardboard monster’s open mouth, the possibilities are endless.
Fill bright green or blue paper bags with goodies and glue or draw on a monster eyeball to the outside of each bag.
Young children love helium balloons. Have lots of them floating throughout the party room. Attach ribbons so the children can reach them and pull them down to play. Be sure to clean up any broken balloons at once, the pieces are a dangerous choking hazard.
Display the outfit you brought the birthday child home from the hospital in next to an outfit that currently fits to show how much the baby has grown in the past year.
Cover tables with pictures of the baby throughout the year.
>Make a height chart for the guests to sign. Cut a long piece of paper, six feet is a good size, and decorate it, a race track for a little boy, and maybe a flower or some fairies for a little girl. Measure each guest as they arrive, and write their name and height on the chart. Ask adults and older children to write a short birthday message on the chart near their name.
Use toy blocks to spell out "Happy Birthday (your child's name)". Put it them on a shelf, or use them as the centerpiece.
Make a play corner for your littlest guests. Put out books, toys and stuffed animals on a blanket or quilt.
For your youngest guests, serve goldfish crackers, small chunks of cheese, small pieces of fruit, dry cereal and diced veggies.
For the adults, try and stick with foods that can be eaten with one hand, as many of them will be holding their own children. Cocktail sized meatballs, veggies and dip, cocktail sized hot dogs, sandwiches cut into small sections, and cut up fruit are all good choices.
To make a number one shaped cake, bake a 9 x 13 inch sheet cake, and cut into the shape of a one using a serrated knife. Use your favorite icing to frost the cake once it's cut.
You may want to give the birthday child a cupcake as their own personal cake, to smush and make a mess of, while you serve your guests the other cake.
Your local firehouse should be able to provide you with some fire safety activities that you can either use as decorations, or include in the goody bags. Some also have plastic fireman hats and fire marshal badges that they're willing to give you.
If you have a stuffed Dalmatian, put a fire hat on it and put in near your front door to greet the guest as they arrive.
Make a banner that says "Welcome to (your last name) Hook and Ladder!". Hang in on the front door, or in the party room.
Use red and yellow for decorations, streamers, balloons, table coverings, etc.
Your local fire house may be willing to bring a truck to your home the day of the party, and allow your guests to climb in and have a look around. Just keep in mind that they may have to leave on a call, or may not be available if a call comes in before the party. It's best not to tell the birthday child or guests that the truck is coming, to avoid disappointments. Consider making a monetary donation to thank them for coming.
Make flame shapes from red and yellow poster board. Put the flames in your windows, and around the party space.
Use any toy fire trucks your child already owns as centerpieces and table toppers.
Put a yellow rain slicker on the back of a chair, with a home fire extinguisher sitting next to it.
Use new, clean, red and yellow pails to serve chips, and to hold napkins and flatware. Decorate the pails with firefighter stickers, if desired.
Use a toy fire truck you already own as the centerpiece for the table.
Serve hot dogs, chicken nuggets, chili and grilled cheese.
To go along with the cake, serve Dalmatian cookies. Make bone shaped sugar cookies using a cookie cutter. When cool, frost with white icing, and stick in upside down chocolate chips to make spots.
To make a firefighter cake, you can use a fire truck shaped cake pan.
Another option for the cake is to make a fireman's helmet. Bake a rounded cake using an oven proof bowl, and one round cake. To make the bill of the helmet, cut a crescent shape out of the round cake. Discard the rest of the round cake. Fit the crescent snugly against the base of the domed cake. Ice the whole thing with red frosting. Make three crisscross lines across the top of the domed cake with dark colored get frosting to look like the markings on a fire hat. Attach a plastic fire chief's badge to the front of the helmet.
Decorate with pastels, soft green, pink and lavender are all good choices.
Put white twinkle lights around the front door and in the trees near the party area, if you're going to be outdoors.
Use colored streamers in the trees to add to the floaty, magical atmosphere.
Give each guest a wand and fairy wings to wear.
Use streamers or tulle to make a canopy over the party table. Attach them to a bow that's hung from the chandelier or middle of the ceiling.
Use a bubble machine to enhance the fairy mood.
Tie bows with ribbon or tulle on the backs of the chairs at the party table.
Cut trees, mushrooms and castles out of cardboard. Decorate and put throughout the party space.
Sprinkle glitter down the middle of the table, and add some flowers.
Cover cardboard stars with foil or lots of glitter, and hang them from the ceiling.
Make jelly sandwiches and cut them into star shapes using a cookie cutter.
Hollow out a purple cabbage to serve veggies in.
Serve a fruit salad in plastic goblets or champagne flutes with bows tied around the stems.
Serve pink lemonade in tea cups.
Make star shaped crispy rice cereal treats, and sprinkle them with pastel colored sprinkles.
Make fairy wands. Dip pretzel rods into melted white chocolate. Before the chocolate hardens, sprinkle pastel colored sprinkles on the pretzels.
Fill a clear vase or tall glass with Pixie Sticks candy.
Use a castle design for a fairy birthday cake.
For an elegant fairy cake, bake one 6 inch round cake and one 9 inch round cake. Stack the small cake on top of the larger one, and frost both with pink frosting. Top with a fairy figure.
Use toys you already have on hand to decorate the party room, stuffed horses, cowboy hats and boots, and toy trains.
Use a red and white checked table cloth.
Decorate the tables with mini bales of hay with red and blue balloons tied to them. You can get the hay at the craft store.
Make signs the say Welcome Buckaroos, Welcome to (your child's name) Rodeo, Park your horse here, and No fightin' and no spittin'. Hang them around the party room or throughout the house.
Make cowboy vests out of brown paper grocery bags for your guests to wear.
Make and hang wanted posters for each of the guests. Give them aliases like Naughty Nick, or Fighting Freddie. Under the "wanted for" section, make up goofy crimes, like laughing to loud, having too much fun, or being too smart. Let the children take home their posters when the party is over.
Using a refrigerator box, make a jail. Paint a brick design on the outside, and cut some bars out so the children can look out. Decorate it with some of the wanted posters. It will be a fun spot for taking pictures during the party.
Use bales of hay as seating. You can buy them at your local nursery.
Play western music. The theme from The Lone Ranger or Bonanza would work well, as would a Roy Rogers CD.
If it's available to you, some riding gear would work well as decorations. Saddles, bridles, horseshoes and cowboy hats.
Serve food in small aluminum pots, or on tin pie plates.
Serve "camp fire" food, such as chili, hot dogs, baked beans, grilled burgers, and cole slaw, chips and salsa and chicken drumsticks.
To go along with the cake, serve s'mores. You can buy them ready made, or if you have a fireplace, make them yourself. It's best not to let the children make them, for safety's sake.
Make "cactus juice" using green punch and ginger ale.
Make or buy star shaped cookies, and pipe "sheriff" on them with icing.
For a cowboy birthday cake, bake a chocolate 9 inch x 13 inch cake and frost it with vanilla icing. Use upside down pretzels twists to make a corral fence around the top edge of the cake. Use green sugar for grass, and shredded wheat to make hay bales. Crush up some graham crackers for dirt, and put some plastic horses on top of the crumbs.
Round up all your toy trucks, and use them as decorations and table toppers.
Make some construction signs and hang them around the party room. Signs like Hard Hat Area, Little Men at Work, Caution and Work Zone.
Buy birthday zone or caution tape, and hangd it in strips by the front door to create a curtain that guests have to walk through.
Buy or borrow small orange cones to use as decorations. If your public works department will loan them, borrow a road closed sawhorse and put it at the end of your driveway.
Use your child's large toy trucks as a centerpiece.
Use a toy dump truck to hold the goody bags or party favors.
Use new, clean dump trucks to serve food.
A new, clean paint tray is perfect for cut up fruits or vegetables.
Give your guests small shovels to eat their ice cream. They can be found in the doll sections of most craft stores.
Use wheel shaped pasta to make a pasta salad.
To make a dump truck birthday cake, buy or make two pound cakes. Cut a small piece from the top of one cake to look like the dumper. Put the two cakes together on a platter back to back. Ice them with yellow frosting. Fill the dumper part of the truck with crushed chocolate cookies to resemble dirt. Use small chocolate covered donuts for wheels.
Use construction hats as serving bowls to fill with candy, chips or pretzels. Smaller hats can be used to serve dips.
Use pink and white balloons, streamers and tablecloths.
Use white twinkle lights all around the party space.
Hang a large swath of pink tulle over the main party area. Attach flowers and butterflies to the tulle.
Tie bows of pink ribbon or tulle on the backs of all the chairs.
Make a sign that reads "Welcome to (your child's name) Dance Studio".
Play music from a popular ballet like The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, or Swan Lake.
Use a bubble machine at the front door, so guests walk through lots of bubbles as they enter.
Serve jelly sandwiches cut into stars with a cookie cutter.
Cut up fruit looks extra elegant when served in plastic goblets or champagne flutes. For an extra touch, tie a small pink bow around the stem.
Serve pink lemonade.
Serve mini muffins in different flavors.
For an elegant ballerina cake, bake one 6 inch round cake and one 9 inch round cake. Stack the small cake on top of the larger one, and frost both with pink frosting. Top with a ballerina figure, or a pair of plastic ballerina slippers. Pink ribbons cut from fondant can be draped down the sides for an extra touch.
Serve strawberry and vanilla ice cream to go along with the cake.
Gather up all those toy cars that are all over the house, and group them together on tabletops. A toy racetrack and small cars make an excellent centerpiece. Make and hang signs that say things like "Race Day - Start your Engines!"or Curves ahead. Make a start line at your front door, and a finish line at the food table. Make a sign for your yard or front door that reads "Welcome Race Fans!" Hang black and white checkered flags around the party room. Cut out pictures of popular drivers from racing magazines, mount them on construction paper, and hang them around the party room.
Serve food they would get at the race track, pizza, hotdogs, and chicken nuggets, anything you can buy at a concession stand. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out red, green and yellow Jell-O Jigglers, arrange them on plates to make stoplights. Frost graham crackers with white and black icing to make racing flags. Use wheel shaped pasta to make a pasta salad. To make a racecar birthday cake, ice a 9 x 13 inch cake with white icing. Using black gel frosting or chocolate sprinkles make a race track on the cake. Add toy race cars around the track.