Saturday, July 16, 2011

Themed Parties, anyone?

I don't remember ever having a themed kiddie party of my own. Just the usual cake-balloons-spaghetti kind of thing every year. My childhood was great just the same, but it made me think just how fun it would be to look back on those birthday memories if I had a themed party....

Oh well, done with reminiscing. :)

I really couldn't blame the 'modern kiddie party world' if it had to give birth to party themes, as they make those special events even more memorable, and yes, easier to organize.

Why Would You Want to Have A Themed Party?

Ahhhh yes, a party is a party. And although cakes, balloons, and spaghetti (plus those hotdogs-marshmallow-pineapple-kebabs) are just as great to have, there's nothing like those simple (or not-so-simple) party elements like balloon decors, wall and ceiling hangings, food carts, party activities, bubble and magic shows, and a lot more to make it even more enjoyable.

Thing is, how do you choose what color scheme to go with? What kind of stuff to hang on the ceilings or walls, what to place on the table as centerpieces, or even how to layout your baby's birthday tarpaulin?

This is where you'll find having a party theme really helpful. Because:

1. It helps you know where to start. A theme will be your jump-off point in deciding what the color scheme would be, and what kind of decors you can have. This will definitely be helpful with the budgeting as well.
2. A theme provides that great 'well-planned, put-together party' ambiance, especially if you are able to make all the party elements complement each other.
3. It will help you decide whether to have an outdoor or indoor venue (aside from the weather considerations of course). For example, fairy-themed parties will look even more magical if held in a garden setting, while princess parties are better held indoors for that 'inside-the-castle' look.
 4. Having a theme will save you time and effort in choosing what giveaways or lootbag contents to go for, and where to find them. If you're going for a cartoon character-related theme, most of the supplies can be sourced from malls, or if you're on a budget, the ever-dependable Divisoria. :-)

Those are just some of the many great reasons why to have a themed party. I'm pretty sure you'll find yourself coming up with more.

Now, the question is what themes should you go for

Ah, but there's a loooooong list of available themes for birthday parties, whatever the kid's age may be. The most popular for girls I guess would have to somewhere in the line of princess themes, while boys would usually have superheroes involved.

I have been seriously frequenting two great party blogs (based in the States), Hostess with the Mostess and Kara's Party Ideas, and my eyes feast on their luscious, uber-detailed party features. Before I chanced upon HWTM, my idea of themed parties revolved on cartoon and TV characters. But these two blogs opened my eyes to a fascinating world of even more awesome themes!

 My daily browsing of forums and party websites from overseas (unfortunately, I haven't stumbled upon one that's like HWTM that's based in the Philippines. :( ), has really 'widened the horizon' as far as themes are concerned. But of course, cartoon-character or TV show themes are still the easiest to source for, as party supplies for them are widely available.

Most common theme based on cartoons or TV shows I encountered are:

Themes based on cartoon characters are not only 'convenient', more often than not, these are the kinds of themes that your son or daughter would normally prefer, especially when they're old enough to suggest (or command you. :-)) on what theme they want for their party.

Generic themes (generic because they're not based on a character), also offer a surprisingly exciting option, especially for the person planning the party. These kinds of themes give you a wider range for creative input, and you can tweak and improve on them whichever way you like. The only difficulty you might encounter is, it would take more time and effort to put together a unified concept, and you might have to search a bit harder for party supplies. But of course, it doesn't make generic themes less interesting. :)

There are already fun, common generic themes that you can use for your party, and it's not that hard to source supplies for them either. :)

Here are some examples:

Butterflies and Flowers or Garden Theme - This theme lets you makes use of supplies or resources that you can actually find within your own home or source from local marketplaces. Divisoria has these colorful pinwheel flowers that cost less than 50 pesos I think, and they're great for outdoor parties especially. There are numerous butterfly decors, and you can even have your kid's guests dress up with wings (or you can provide them too)! :) You can always tweak this to make it more unique, like an Enchanted Garden with gnomes and elves and other magical creatures , or perhaps make it like a Garden in Fairylandia or something like that. HWTM shares some awesome ideas here and here too.

Carnival/ Circus Theme - This theme promises some colorful planning that will surely involve a lot of old-school (classics that we love) kiddie stuff. Think merry-go-rounds, local fairs, carousels, and the like. Food stuff like cotton candies, popcorn, and candy balls are treats that will both be a sure hit for the kids (and adults), and will also make great 'ambient decor'. :-) This theme is great for both indoor and outdoor venues. Check out this link to get some inspiration.

Candyland Theme - I wanted this theme for my daughter's first birthday party, unfortunately, I wasn't able to properly execute it. :( So I may use it again for some other party. Hehe. This theme is great for just about any type of venue. Like the carnival theme, it's sure to be colorful, and filled with the promise of sweet treats for everybody! If you're having a simple house party or perhaps you're on a budget, this would have to be one of the easiest to do DIY projects for. Just think 'sweet treats' and you're creative juices are sure to flow! Oh, and supplies abound for this theme, and they're most probably just lying around your kitchen, or waiting to be bought from the nearest grocery store. :)  Let Kara's Party Ideas give you a jump start through their ideas here and here.

(I am just so in love with the fascinating candy buffets featured on HWTM and Kara's Party Ideas and other inspiring sites I found. Please look out for my next post. It's going to be 'super sweet'! :-)) 

Safari/Animal-inspired Theme - This theme is sure to bring out your 'animal instincts'. Think Madagascar. :) Safari is a fun theme to work with, and animal prints will definitely be part of the decor. Finding supplies for a safari party in the Philippines can be quite challenging, but with a bit of patience and perseverance (and some serious research and canvassing), you'll find that there are great safari party supplies out there. :) Divilandia has quite a number of animal-inspired stuff like, tigers, elephants, lions, etc. on a variety of items such as bags, toys, and school supplies.   And of course, there's nothing that the World Wide Web cannot provide if you're willing to DIY party elements like invites, lootbags, nametags, and more. You also don't have to bring in the entire zoo. If your kid has a favorite animal, then your theme can revolve around that. Take a look at this safari party, and oh, this cute one too (from Kara's Party Ideas and HWTM respectively.)

Other common generic themes are luau, royal castle/princess/prince, ballerina, etc. 

There a loooot of themes that you can work with, just let your imagination reach to the high heavens and travel the farthest mountains...or perhaps just take a look outside your window... :) From what I gleaned with reading on party stuff and based on my experience, what really matters is:

  1. Choose a theme appropriate for your child's age. For example: karaoke-themed or Hollywood movie themes are not exactly the kind you want for a one-year-old. :) By appropriate, it means a theme that a kid of that age would understand, appreciate, and enjoy. Fashion show/runway/popstar themes may be great for older kiddos, but not for those younger than four years old. 
  2. Don't overwhelm your party with themed elements. Not every single thing has to be themed. This can be costly, and may prove to be a hassle (in relation to sourcing out supplies). Incorporate them in subtle but appealing ways in your party elements. For example: Lootbags for a safari-themed party does not have to be entirely in animal print or laden with animal figures. If you're going to make a DIY bag, put the animal print perhaps on the edges and the sticker, and just work with colors that complement the theme. 
  3. Check your budget. Working with a theme can get amusing...sometimes, too amusing that you can get carried away. :) You may find party supplies online that is 'right on' for your theme, but some of them, can be pretty pricey. Before you go and click BUY, try to find some local sources. Not only are they less expensive, it will also allow you the opportunity to check on the quality first before you go ahead and make the purchase. 
  4. Do a bit of research. I was guilty of not doing enough for my daughter's first birthday, so I ended up with what I think was a 'normal' party, not the 'extraordinarily special' kind that I wanted. If you want to use a common theme, whether it be generic or character based, doing a bit of online research on previous parties, checking online galleries, or browsing sites like HWTM, can really help a lot in making your theme a bit more unique. 
  5. Don't be afraid to DIY. If you're anything like me, someone who's not really 'in good terms' with anything that involves paper, scissors, and glue, then DIY projects are sure to be far from your mind when you plan a party. But I tell you, don't be afraid to try. :-) DIY stuff can make your themed party more special and personalized. Remember, customized stuff cost more because it takes extra effort to personalize an item. So why not save on that extra cost, and do it yourself? :) Start with the simple stuff like nametags or gift/souvenir tags. You can find numerous inspirations and party printables online for these (will try to post sources soon. :-))

Ahhhhh, themed parties are a wonder to discuss. I could just write entry after entry after entry.... :-)

But I sure hope that through my blabbering, I was able to give a little bit of help with your party planning through this post.  :)


  1. love reading this post! i agree with what you've said that having a theme is the key to having a well-planned and put-together party. :)

  2. thanks for the comment sis hel! :)