Most years we keep the kids birthdays simple at our house. We have a big family-style gathering at our house. For my son, who was lucky enough to be born in the summer, typically it means grilling out and the slip'n slide. For my daughter, with a fall birthday, it is generally a roasted turkey and the all the tastes of Thanksgiving. We invite our family and then we invite friends and their families. There is usually at least a few kids close to their age that are there to celebrate. Occasionally, we will plan an all kids party - but certainly not every year (that can really add up!)
Even though our birthday parties are more family focused, doesn't mean that we don't go all out on the theme. The kids select a theme, together my husband and I come up with a plan for the invitations and he puts his creativity and computer skills behind creating the themed invitation. I pick up cake plates and napkins that fit the theme. Sometimes, this means bright colors (for the Wiggles) and other times, it means plates and napkins printed with the theme. I usually try to find a giveaway for the kids in attendance in the theme of the party. This has varied from books (Curious George's Birthday for the Monkey Theme) to Princess Dress Up Clothes (for our Princess Theme). At last, but certainly not least, I come up with a plan for a themed birthday cake and make it. You can see some past examples (like Space, Star Wars, Phineas and Ferb and Princess) here.
This year, my son chose Harry Potter. This was my biggest challenge to date. You see, not only have I not read the books, but I haven't seen any of the movies either. In fact, you may remember my asking for help with cake ideas.
For our invitation, my husband put together a letter of acceptance to the guest to be part of the Hogwart's School. We had to go online, but we found a great deal on plates and napkins from Birthday Direct. Since shipping was flat rate, we also added on some reusable cups that we could fill with candy as a gift to the kids in attendance. Then, came the cake. After some searching, I decided that the way to do it was to make a book cake and decorate it with magical things.
This post shared at Frugal Friday.