My friend Nooshi is truly impressive when it comes to hosting parties (whether they’re for grownups or kids) and her birthday parties for her son always are amazing. If you’re feeling up for a challenge, or simply want to glean a few of the basic ideas, check out the below write up of her son’s recent Outer Space Party. It is -- not surprisingly -- out of this world.
“Even before last year’s Messy Party, my son Jack insisted that his next party be a Space Party complete with a Zooma-Machine (his word to describe a magically fast rocket ship). Jack wanted to invite “everyone in the entire world” but we settled on his classmates, plus a few other close school friends. I like to include siblings and both parents whenever possible, so this brought our guest list up to about 50 people. That meant we weren’t adding any of our own good friends, but we’ve gotten to know Jack’s friends and their families over the years, and it’s a pretty fun group of people. I had a few goals for the party:
1. I didn’t want a cookie-cutter birthday party.
2. Is there any way to reduce the effort and stress of the event?
3. Make sure the kids have fun by offering a variety of activities for a variety of interests.
4. Make sure the parents have fun by offering decent food & drink, and ensuring the kids are engaged in activities so the parents can relax.
I’d say we succeeded on all fronts, with the exception of #2. There’s no way I could have pulled this off without help from my incredibly energetic and inventive husband Andrew, and my fabulously creative and talented mother. Here were the basic elements:
Invitations: I ordered the Solar System invitations from Tiny Prints, and was thrilled with the quality. Everyone raved about the invitations, and I think it contributed to our nearly 100% attendance. A good invitation really makes you want to go to a party.
Venue: Once again, we relied on trusty Filippello Park in Watertown. This place is great – it’s very private and there is a playground surrounded by a shelter, which offers built in rain cover and safe places for children to run free. Permits can be obtained through the Town of Watertown Recreation Department. There is no electricity, which makes for some minor challenges, but overall, this place is perfect.
Decorations: Because it was a space party, my wonderfully talented mother made a giant rocket ship cut-out from silver rigid insulation, which she attached to the climber. It was a bold and impressive gesture, and allowed us to go easy on any additional decorations. We brought a portable stereo rigged up to an iPod to play lots of Space themed music. We used white cloth tablecloths (which really dressed up the picnic tables) topped with mirrored tiles, assorted Transformers, and silver stars. Inflatable planets and a giant round rice paper lantern hung from the shelter.
Food & Drink: The party started at 10:30am, so we offered Starbucks coffee, water, orange juice, and champagne. We picked up some delicious quiche from local caterer Sensational Foods, and also offered mini bagels, fresh fruit, and yogurt in tubes.
I baked 3 desserts: A large sun cake, which essentially was a round 2-layer cake decorated with orange-yellow frosting and set on top of orange and yellow placemats that I cut to look like rays. Smaller earth cupcakes, which were chocolate cupcakes topped with white cream cheese frosting, and then these awesome “planet earth from space” cupcake toppers I found on Ebay. And "blue moon" cupcakes, which were no-bake blueberry cheesecake; the recipe was from Epicurious (I just made cupcakes instead of the large cake) and I topped with whipped cream and little American Flag toothpicks. The cheesecake was a great choice for a morning party.
Overall the party was a big success. We came home, unloaded 3 carloads of stuff, and put away all of our things. About an hour later Jack walked into the dining room where my husband and I were sitting, crossed his arms and declared, ‘Okay, now let’s talk about FIVE!’”