Sunday, October 18, 2015

Calling All Superheroes

My son turned the big 4 this year.  Yep!  This many.

He was excited to have his first friend party at the park and there was no other acceptable theme but Superheroes.  Captain America and Superman are his favorites and we threw a few others in for good measure.  Come along and celebrate with us!


I don't like to spend money on party items when I don't have to.  That said, I am NOT a designer but I can work a mean Microsoft Word document.  I found some SUPER cute clipart on Google Images and printed the invitations on card stock.  I think they turned out well and they were SUPER easy to create!


Having scoured Pinterest for Superhero party themes, I quickly learned there are SUPER differences in party budgets.  While I like things to look nice, I am not willing to shell out big bucks on a child's birthday party.  (Those who want to and can... more power to you.)  I found some great ideas and came up with my own.

Bunting:  My husband is a comic book geek and his stockpile of comic books came in very handy.  Although he had read each book, he was not amenable to me cutting them up and making use of them in the party decor.  Therefore, I simply flipped through a few of his books, tagged rich images with Post-It flags and copied the images onto card stock.  I cut the images into triangles and punched two holes on one end.  Then, I threaded them onto festive ribbons (primarily red) and hung them around the party site.  I loved these buntings!

Apparently, my husband's favorite comic book store owner did too.  We gave him the Batman bunting which he has hanging in his shop.

Character Cut Outs:  My mother is an incredible artist and I am a hoarder.  When she was here for my daughter's birthday party a month prior, I slipped her two foam core project boards to transform into character cut outs.  I shared a Captain America image and a Superman image as inspiration and gave her creative license.  I think they turned out perfect!

The party guests loved posing with the character cut outs to become their favorite superheroes.  Since hindsight is 20/20, I wish I would have had her make a Wonder Woman too.

Cake Decorations:  I love cupcake picks.  I just do.  I think they add a festive touch without extra sugar.  I found these printables which were perfect for the job!  Rather than leaving the sandwich picks exposed on the back, I printed extra logos so they could be viewed from both sides.  Since they were pre-made, the Cricut would not work in this situation so I purchased a 2" paper punch.  It made quick work of cutting the little circles out.

Instructions for making cupcake picks can be found here.

The activities were a riot!  First, the party guests donned capes I picked up at Dollar Tree and assembled masks which I purchased from Oriental Trading Company.

I was impressed with how well the kids focused on making the perfect secret identity.  They were also very considerate, helping one another get it just right.  They were also free with the compliments telling others, "You look awesome!"

Not to be outdone, I purchased a Superman t-shirt for less than $8 at Wal-Mart.  My son was excited since he was wearing his Captain American shirt I had picked up at Target.  It was fun to dress in theme!!

Once the secret identities were in place, guests made shields like Captain America's.  I found this great blog post which offered a free printable and how-to instructions.

I had some frisbees left over from an event and decided to use them.  In order to use these frisbees, I had to scale down the size of the printable and print them onto card stock to ensure the frisbee image didn't peek through.  I provided several boxes of crayons at the table for the kiddos to get creative.  I also had precut sheets of clear Contact paper to affix the printable to the frisbee.  The guests' parents were instrumental in helping this activity progress without a hitch.

I had intended to have the kiddos participate in a shield throwing contest but they created their own fun.  Dressed in their capes and masks, they headed over to a nearby hill and climbed up.  Once on top of the world, they threw their frisbee shields down to the parents below who promptly threw the shields back up to the superheroes.  EVERYONE played this SUPER game for over 20 minutes.  I love spontaneous fun!

Obstacle Course:  Because the party guests ranged in ages from 3 to 6, I had to find something they could all do and that would move along at a good pace.  I decided a Superhero Obstacle Course would do the trick!  There were three parts to the course.  First, the kiddos jumped tall buildings in a single bound (like Superman).  The buildings were easy to create, as I merely took old shipping boxes and covered them with black paper and little yellow squares to resemble windows.  Since the kiddos were short and not terribly graceful, smaller boxes were a must.

Second, they crawled through a parachute tube we had at the house (since Batman springs into action under the cover of darkness).  I initially thought this would be the least popular leg of the course but I was wrong.  The kiddos loved it!

Finally, the heroes ran to the villain of choice and sprayed him with silly string (like Spiderman).  These were easy to produce.  I printed pictures of Lex Luther, Red Skull, Hob Goblin, and The Joker onto card stock with a "wanted poster" frame.  I slipped each image into a clear page protector and stapled to a wooden stake.  At the party site, we used a rubber mallet to drive each stake into the ground, about eye level to the party guests.

What a hoot!  Most of the guests ran through the obstacle course more than once!

Pinata:  What California birthday party would be complete without risking your life by beating a swinging box with a pole, while your friends creep closer and closer?  Pinatas are another item I tend to not spend money on since the REAL interest is in the goodies. Also, the outside gets destroyed and can be made very inexpensively.  I made this Captain America inspired pinata using a Costco-sized PopCorners box, two small paper plates and tissue paper.  Usually, I do the fringe technique (can learn about that here).

However, this round I chose to cut small squares out of tissue paper and twist them around the blunt end of a pen.  Then, I dipped the tissue covered end into white school glue and affixed to the box.  This gave a puffy appearance and made the shield design more distinct.  It took a long time but the result was stunning.

Within a matter of minutes, it was destroyed.

Crush the Villains: There was one final game we prepared but the weather did not allow to be played.  Crush the Villains involves blowing up a bunch of balloons and tossing them into a tight area.  This park had a great sunken in area covered in concrete but each time we placed balloons on the pavement, the wind would blow them into the grass and BAM!  No more balloons.

Ideally, the balloons have mean faces on them and the children try to quickly CRUSH the villains under their feet using super speed and strength.  If the guests are older, the game can be modified by mixing citizens (happy faces) with villains (mean faces).  The superheroes would then crush the villains while saving the citizens.  It could also converted into a team activity (Team Captain America versus Team Iron Man and Team Spiderman).  Children could compete with their team against other teams, to save the most citizens.  Soo many possibilities!


Since we were experiencing uncharacteristic heatwaves on the central coast, I held the party earlier in the day (10am to noon).  This time frame gave me the chance to offer breakfast foods at the party!  Who didn't love eating cereal while watching superhero cartoons on Saturday mornings as a kid?!

The menu consisted of:
While these cookies took a while to make, they were stunning!  I was really pleased with the result.


I also made a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and the most incredible angel food cake with crushed pineapple.  What a Pin Win! It was there for  those who don't do chocolate or couldn't have dairy.  Several of the parents who were watching their weight enjoyed the lighter dessert with strawberries and whipped cream.  Delish!

Party Favors

I found bright, colorful kraft paper bags at Michael's and printed the superhero logos onto Avery shipping labels.  Once they were affixed to the bags I loaded them with fun things.

I made a coloring book featuring different pictures of superheros, a box of new crayons, and a red-white-and-blue swirl sugar cookie.

Coloring Book Contents:

These items, in concert with the pinata loot, let the party guests head home loaded with goodies.

We had a wonderful day celebrating our special gift from God.  We are grateful this little superhero is ours and that he has such amazing little friends.  Happy 4th birthday, big guy!