Monday, April 6, 2015

Star Wars Birthday Party on a Budget


When you're a boy turning six, is there anything cooler than a Star Wars birthday party with your closest friends? My middle child certainly doesn't think so. Last Sunday was his second Star Wars birthday party in his six years of life. I very much enjoy planning and putting together parties, whether our annual Christmas party, going-away parties, our Twilight Zone movie night, a Preschool Halloween Party, or (why not?) Star Wars birthday parties. (Check out my Guide to Party Menu Planning here for some ideas on getting event-ready.) The only problem is, when you have three children with three birthdays in the space of 6 weeks, throwing a party for each of them can become not only time-consuming but pretty dang expensive. Have you been to kids' birthday parties these days? They're insane, and not scary-clown insane like when I was a kid. I'm talking bounce house rental-five-tiered cake-hired-DJ insane. Which our family is really not into.

So this time around, we decided to go low-key. I let my son invite five friends from school and we attempted to do a reasonably simple Star Wars party on a not-insane amount of money. In the end, it was a fun, low-stress event that didn't cost an arm and a leg (and didn't give my kid a celebrity complex). Here are a few of the details.

Menu: 


The internet is FULL of Star Wars party food ideas, from elaborate Death Stars carved out of watermelon to punny joke foods like "Vader tots." We kept it middle-of-the-road with some regular foods and some Star Wars-themed choices.

1. Bacon-Ranch Star Pasta Salad

Amazon sells this star-shaped pasta by Barilla. 


I thought it would be a great idea for a pasta salad...though I didn't realize that those stars are barely bigger than a grain of rice--the kind that come floating in a can of Campbell's chicken soup. So it was a bit hard to tell that the shapes in our Bacon-Ranch Pasta Salad were stars, but hey, it still tasted good!


2. Veggies and Dip. A party staple.

3. Dark Side Chips & Light Side Chips. Also known as blue corn and regular tortilla chips.

4. Salsa and "Carbonite Dip" (guacamole).


No use denying how cheesy this was. Get it? Han Solo trapped in carbonite? "I love you." I know."

5. Fruit Sabers


I can't take credit for this idea--it's all over Google images--but it sure was a hit with our partygoers. Duct tape elevates basic fruit skewers to multicolored light sabers! 

6. Yoda Soda


If this ice cream soda drink is supposed to look like frothy fog from Yoda's Dagobah swamp, it totally nailed it. (If it's not, it's super bizarre.) A mix of Sprite, softened lime sherbet, and 8 oz. of cranberry juice combine to make this creepy treat the kids went nuts over. 

7. Dark Side vs. Light Side Cake


Okay, this one I can take credit for: a three-layer (vanilla-chocolate-vanilla) Dark Side vs. Light Side cake, with chocolate Darth Vader fighting vanilla Luke Skywalker. Does it make me evil if I say I'd choose the dark (chocolate) side every time?

Games:

1. Light Sabers in the Swamp

If you've been to as many baby showers as I have, you may realize that shower games can be stealthily adapted to serve as kid party games. Our first party game is based off the old "find the diaper pins in rice" shower standard. In this version, Yoda has lost his lightsabers in the "swamp" (a shoebox) and needs your help getting them back.


Wearing a blindfold, our partygoers had to sift through this box of rice, popcorn kernels, and small pasta to see if they could pick out five small Lego lightsabers.


It's so much harder than it looks! Even the adults had a hard time getting more than three in a forty second turn. 


My kids had enough Lego lightsabers to make this game work, but you can also purchase them on Amazon for about 5 bucks. Budget-friendly game for the win! 

2. Star Wars Tic-Tac-Toe


This game could not be any easier. Print out five crossed light sabers for X's and five Death Stars for O's and glue to card stock paper. Use electrical tape to draw a tic-tac-toe board on any surface (we used our back patio table) and let the kids have at it! My boys played this repeatedly in the week leading up to the party.

Favors:

A good party favor that isn't just junk you wish your kid had never gotten is a kid-party diamond in the rough. As a parent, I tried to consider other parents' feelings about whatever party favors we offered. These super cute party food printables from Kreations By Kristy were an inspiration.


I think I could potentially resist C-3PO Carrots, but Ewok Food? I need that in my life. 


The kiddos helped me make bags of Goldfish, pretzel sticks, and Craisins and place them in 89-cent Star Wars cups I found at Target. Edible but not junk, in a reusable container, for approximately $2 each. Party favor gold.


Decor:

Decorating for a Star Wars party definitely does not have to break the bank. The amount of free material is almost staggering--if you know where to look.

1. Printables.

To decorate on the cheap, printables are the way to go. Along with the above food printables, the Internet is a never-ending resource for Star Wars party printables. Many of them are free, from DIY pennants to coloring pages, so happy searching!

2. Welcome sign.


Let your guests know they're in the right place when they get to your house by printing an Obi Wan Kenobi image with this phrase below it.  

3. Use what you got.

So your kid wants a Star Wars party? Presumably that means you have more Star Wars stuff lying around your house than you know what to do with. Use it to your advantage by turning toys into decor!


A couple of Halloween costume masks and a lunchbox served as a table centerpiece, and a play treehouse was placed in the family room newly dubbed the Forest of Endor. The Star Wars universe is big. You can creatively fit a whole lotta random stuff into it. 

4. Star Wars terrariums.


Again, a matter of using what's on hand. Star Wars Lego figures get cool new digs when you place them in glass with rocks and foliage. A fun, free centerpiece idea if your kids have some minifigures and you have some glass containers on hand.


I'm really pleased with the way this kid's party turned out--and even more pleased with what a wonderful kid HE is turning out to be! Happy Birthday, Elliot, and may the force be with you!


1 comment:

  1. Star Wars Birthday Party on a Budget!! That seems just amazing. All these are so simple ideas that anyone can use them to host such an amazing party. Thanks for the inspirations dear. I will be booking one of the best event space Chicago for my daughter’s birthday bash. If you have any girlish theme ideas then please share!

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