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Themed Birthday Parties for Kids

A child’s birthday is always a much-anticipated event. As soon as one is over, they start planning for the next, looking forward to celebrating with family and friends, decorating, and – of course – presents.

For the last few decades, birthday parties have taken on a new look. Today, many parents plan “themed” parties for their kids – parties that have a particular focus that may or may not relate to a child’s interests. Themes can be based on a favorite character, a favorite activity, or even a favorite destination. Often, invitees are told what the theme will be and asked to dress accordingly. In addition, the party decorations reflect the theme and, often, so does the food.

Some favorite theme ideas for kids’ birthday parties include:

Hollywood Party – Kids are often enamored with the world of show business and love being in the spotlight! Throwing a Hollywood party puts them in the limelight and opens all sorts of opportunities for decorations. When the guests arrive, give the girls a feather boa and present the young men with top hats. Decorate the house with movie posters and be sure to include the birthday child’s favorite flicks, if possible. Bake a rectangular cake and decorate it to look like a director’s clapboard. Dress like a “paparazzi” and hound the kids for photos. Consider star-shaped foods and theater candy for snacks and serve sparkling cider that resembles champagne. And, of course, you can watch a short movie, too!

Luau Party – Best when held outside for that “island” feel but also okay for indoors, the Hawaiian luau party is a huge hit with kids. Ask guests to wear shorts and Hawaiian print shirts and provide them with leis and inexpensive grass skirts (available at party stores) when they arrive. Decorate with tiki statues and torches (be careful!) and inflatable palm trees. Serve Hawaiian pizza with ham and pineapple or more traditional island food like spare ribs or dishes made with fresh pineapple. Enjoy the feast sitting atop towels on the “beach”.

Carnival Party – Everyone loves a carnival! For their next birthday, consider a themed carnival party for your child, which includes Midway-style booths that offer fun games and typical “fair fare,” like cotton candy, funnel cake, corn dogs, lemonade, and more. Have small prizes available for the games and, if you have space and room in your budget, rent a moon bounce or other amusement-type attraction the kids will love.

Cowboy/Western Party – Great for the boys but suitable for girls too, a western party can transport them back to the days of the “Wild West.” Encourage the kids to wear their blue jeans and plaid shirts and serve typical chuckwagon food like burgers and hot dogs, baked beans, corn bread, and “saloon” drinks, a.k.a. frothy root beer. Teach kids a square dance or line dance.

Safari Party – Ideal for animal lovers, the safari party is also best when held outdoors. Decorations are simple and can include favorite stuffed animals, palm fronds made of construction paper, and camouflage-colored balloons. Purchase inexpensive pith helmets for the kids to wear during the party and serve jungle foods like animal crackers, trails mix, peanut butter sandwiches, and even jungle juice, which can be your own concoction. Little children can make animal masks and older kids can enjoy a safari scavenger hunt.

Casino Party – Though this seems more suitable for adults, a non-gambling casino party can be lots of fun for kids as well. Visit a toy store and purchase an inexpensive roulette wheel and set up card games (kids catch on to black jack quickly) and other games of chance. Offer chips for wins and allow the kids to redeem them for small prizes at the end of the party. Decorate with black, white, and red streamers and balloons, oversized playing cards, and giant dice. Set up snack stations between the gaming tables and allow kids to make their way from one to the other. Serve them “drinks”, like Shirley Temples or other non-alcoholic favorites.