I want to just say, before I get rolling on this post, that birthday parties are literally the only “pin-worthy” thing I do with my family. My parents used to throw fabulous, themed birthday parties for us, and it’s something I do because I totally enjoy it and it’s a way of passing on something that made me feel loved when I was a kid. When I go to a super low-key party, or my kids’ friends choose not to do a party at all, I think that’s totally fine. Probably better for the parents, anyway! My kids each get a party only every other year because their birthdays are very close to each other, and I couldn’t do a party of this scale for each of them. Also, they have pretty much all the same friends.
Silas decided he wanted to have a “Frozen” party this year. I was a little disappointed. I love when my kids pick weird party themes, my favorite one ever being Silas’ “China” theme for his third birthday. I mean, what kid DOESN’T want a “Frozen” party? But we managed to get creative with it anyway.
I invited guests to wear costumes if they felt like it, and several did. So that added some atmosphere. Petra’s “Anna” costume is from Costco, because she fell in love, it was $15, and I couldn’t make her one that would please her for anything approaching that price. So there we go.
Silas’ Olaf costume is just a t-shirt with some elastic sewn into it, which he was supposed to stuff with scarves, but he kind of skipped, and a fleece hat with embellishments. Super easy and effective!
One of the dads dressed as Sven (the reindeer), but I didn’t get a picture before he took his antlers off. He looked fantastic, though, and made everyone smile. His daughter waffled between thrilled and embarrassed about his costume, which is exactly where you want your kids.
One thing Silas kept saying he wanted was a piñata. So we made one. Silas said this was his favorite thing about the party because “our whole family made it together”: JC taped together balloons to make the frame, Silas ripped up paper, Petra and I did the gooey work, and I covered it with polyfill and glitter and attached snow flakes (it’s supposed to be like Olaf’s little flurry that Elsa makes for him at the end of the movie). I will say, five is a little young for a piñata. I was sort of terrified the whole time that some kid was going to hit some other kid in the head. We had them line up from shortest to tallest, and let them have at it, but the ones waiting were so interested, the line kept oozing forward, and the kid doing the whacking was so focused on it that he or she would edge toward the others to get a different angle on the cloud. Not optimal!
And then there was the food. We had WAY TOO MUCH SUGAR at this party. It was one of those things were I thought of all these fun ideas separately, and it wasn’t until I saw it all together that I went, “Wow, that’s a lot of sugar.” The piñata was filled with candy, of course. If I’d been thinking, maybe I would have gone with little trinkets of some kind. And then I had marshmallow “build your own snowman,” Olaf floating in a Jello ocean, and, of course, the cake, topped with Aunt Katie’s peg Anna and Elsa, as well as rock candy “icicles.” Besides that, I had “Frozen fruit salad,” “reindeer food” (veggie tray), and an “I don’t care if it rains or freezes, as long as I’ve got my fancy cheeses” tray. I will remember to stop and think about this next time…
For activities, we had a melting game, where the kids had to dance around until the music stopped and then rush to a paper plate. Then they turned the plates over—most of them had snowflakes, but one had a sun. The kid who got the sun had to melt dramatically. It was fun for a few rounds, but they got bored fast. The real winner, activity-wise, was “Elsa’s frozen hands.” I took latex gloves, put our party favors (necklaces, snowflake rings) in them, along with some glitter, snowflake confetti, bits of sparkly pipe cleaner, etc, inside, added water, tied them off, and froze them. At the party, I ran them under water and cut off the gloves, and then let the kids go to town on them with some warm water and salt. They had to melt the hands in order to get the favors out. A few things about it could have gone better—when I put the gloves in Bethany’s freezer, we stacked them in a bucket, thinking that the latex would keep them from freezing to each other. False! All the ones in the bottom turned into this big cludgy block that we had to take apart first. But once we cleared that hurdle, everyone had fun.
I was pretty excited about the decor, as well. I bought a bunch of helium balloons and replaced the normal string with fishing line, attaching snowflake ornaments to the bottoms at different heights. This created a little “flurry” in my living room. The kids, of course, all had to grab the snowflakes and get them all tangled together, which wouldn’t have been a problem, except that I told the children they could each take a balloon home…so then I had to untangle them. The kids had fun, though, so I guess it’s fine.
Silas said that he wanted us to make “a big ice castle out of cardboard,” so that’s what we did. I got a mattress box from a furniture store, and JC painted and cut it. We set it up on the end of the porch, and then under the porch, I put down a silver tarp and hung white tulle (which I was going to throw out), lights, and sparkly ornaments. The kids played in there a bit, and loved it. I thought that I could leave it up after the party and my kids would play in it, but Silas said, “Eh, there wasn’t really a lot to look at in there. It wasn’t like Elsa’s *real* castle.” I love that kid, but it’s impressive that he outlived that comment. I’m thinking the strategic error here was taking him to Disney…our homegrown entertainments are insufficient.
This whole thing looks pretty over-the-top, but it wasn’t especially expensive, thanks in large part to the kindness of friends and family, who sent us their Christmas decorations and other items to put up. I gave people the option of dropping off their kids, but everyone chose to stay (probably because I live out in the middle of nowhere, so where else would they go?). They (and also my mom and step-dad, who came) were all so very helpful, making sure all the kids got what they needed, helping with activities, unfreezing the stupid frozen hands. We’re lucky to have such delightful people in our lives. The best birthday present.