My son turns 6 this month and like most 5 year olds he has been counting down the days and planning his party for months. For his past birthday celebrations we just have our family over, sometimes some close friends and eat lots of food and treats. This year, my son has decided that this simply won’t do anymore since he’s realized you can have birthday parties “out of the house”. I blame kindergarten for this one. He also insisted on inviting some friends from school to his party this year. So I gave in to his birthday wishes and made arrangements for a Bowling party at one of the alley’s in the city.
We are still going to be celebrating his birthday with our family at our house like usual so I didn’t want to go crazy with his friends party; tried to keep things within a budget. Normally I can’t help myself with the kids’ birthdays so I spend the better part of the week before the party making homemade decorations to the theme of their choice, then the eve of the party I am typically up until 3am decorating their cake, making fondant characters and putting up the decorations so it looks like the theme they chose has exploded all over the house when they wake up. It’s extreme, it’s exhausting and I often wonder why did I raise this bar so high for myself? But, my kids love it, and I love them so until they decide homemade cakes and decorations are no longer “cool” by their standards, I will continue with the exhausting tradition.
So with this being the first “friends” party I had to remind myself to keep it simple. I found the closest bowling alley with the cheapest birthday party package, picked a date, texted some of our friends and it was a go. I didn’t have the numbers for the friends from school he wanted to invite so for them I needed an actual invitation. The theme my son chose this year was Mario. I thought maybe we’d get lucky and Wal-Mart would have some Mario invitations or maybe some other kind he’d like but nope. So I resorted to telling him I would just make a few Mario invitations. In the end, I searched Mario printable invitation on Pinterest and found one. Printed off a few copies, filled out the info and he gave them to his friends at school the next day.
What else do you need for a birthday party? Cake, decorations and goodie bags. I didn’t want to have to go all out on the homemade cake for both parties so my friend suggested to just do simple cupcakes for the friends party and then I could still do a decorated cake for the family party. So that’s what I did, boxed cake mix and pre-made icing. I have to say the cupcakes didn’t turn out how I had hoped. I always use gel food colorant for icing and fondant and I had used up all of my red this past Christmas, so I had to resort to regular liquid drops colorant…which left the icing looking pretty pink if you ask me. My son also agreed it looked pink but luckily he was ok with it. To jazz up the cupcakes a bit, a.k.a. hide the pink icing, I found some mini M&M’s in the pantry and sprinkled a few on top of each cupcake. My son even found it fitting that the “m” on the candies also stands for Mario.
Decorations were pretty simple for the bowling party since I can’t very well start sticking up Mario characters and streamers on the walls of a public establishment. However, I figured I could decorate the kids! Sooo I found some red baseball hats at the dollar store, along with a few sheets of white and red crafting felt and made each kid a Mario hat. I drew out an M on paper, cut it out to use as a stencil, then traced that onto the red felt. I cut out a half circle shape on the white felt then hot glued the M onto the half circle and then glued that part onto the front of the hat. TaDaaa! The icing on the cake here is the little stick on moustaches I found at Party Stuff for the kids to complete their Mario look.
They all look super cute with their hats and moustaches! The kids also got to take their hat home at the end of the party too. Bonus.
Goodie bags. If you’re like me and despise cheap dollar store and Happy Meal toys and take every chance to hide them in the bottom of the garbage when the kids aren’t looking then you obviously aren’t going to give goodie bags filled with stuff you just want to throw out. For past parties I have gone all out, way, way, too far out as to making slime, dividing it into little containers for the kids, making little colouring books, making multi-coloured crayons moulded in the shape of the theme, making chocolates in the shape of the theme, etc etc etc. TOO MUCH. So to keep it simple, I went to bulk barn, picked out 3 types of candies and found a printable for a Mario Coin Block via Pinterest. Printed off the coin block patterns, put them together with hot glue, then stuffed them with the candies. I also found some Mario pencils at Party Stuff to give along with the candy box.
Best part of a “out of the house” party?
No clean up!!
Party Price Breakdown:
- Bowling Birthday Party Package (2hrs of bowling, popcorn, drinks, two pizzas) – $135.00
- Invitations: printable online – $FREE
- Cake: Boxed cake mix, icing – $3.39
- Decorations: Mario hats & moustaches – $18.06
- Goodie bags: Printable coin block (FREE), bulk candies & pencils – $31.82
I did find the Bowling party package to be a bit expensive but it was the cheapest one I could find. I just focused on the fact that I didn’t have to clean up before or after!!