Check out these creative, "flavorful" birthday party favors and ideas—for kids of all ages—from Wonka chocolate bars and cake pans to yummy-looking (and eco-friendly!) gift bags.
Personalization is a nice touch, especially for milestone birthdays like the first or sweet sixteen.
Save up some funky bottles in the weeks leading up to your child's birthday party, or head to a close-out or crafts store to buy new ones in bulk, and log on to www.pinholepress.com to order these awesome lemonade bottle labels (3.5' x 4" per label, $8.99 for a 12-label sheet that includes one personal photo and your child's name and birth date). Designs range from princess tiara to trains, plus three more. NY Metro Parents readers receive a 10% discount from Pinhole Press—just input code nymetro10 at checkout!
Goodie bags don't need to be over-the-top.
Peaceable Kingdom's got some great options for party favors, including Color Me stickers and Scratch & Sniff stickers that are all less than $10 (with most less than $5). But they aren't your run-of-the-mill stickers—they're sets that inspire creativity and kids will welcome in their party bags. Pictured left, the Make a Robot Quick Sticker Kit ($4.99), and to the right, Scratch and Sniff Tutti Frutti scented pack ($1.99 for box of 40). For more Quick Sticker Kits and scented stickers, go to www.peaceablekingdom.com.
Chocolate can't miss.
Pick up some sugar-free sweets or fun-size candy bars to give to your child's guests and you can't go wrong. And if you want to make a splash with a grand-prize for the party's ultimate game winner (or as a gift for the birthday boy himself), consider the 40th anniversary numbered edition Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-rayTM + DVD Pack (available October 18; $49.75; www.wbshop.com). It includes more than an hour of extras, including Mel Stuart's Wonkavision and a featurette on author Roald Dahl; a 144-page production book, all in a retro Wonka Bar-shaped tin box with scented pencils and eraser and a limited time Golden Ticket Instant Win Game piece for a chance to enter and win a trip for two to Los Angeles (www.willywonkamovie.com).
Wrap things up the eco-conscious way.
Gift bags and wrapping paper sure make presents look inviting, but all that paper inevitably ends up in the trash (or, hopefully, in your recycling bin). Now you can choose a more eco-conscious alernative that still looks great: Gift bags and wrapping paper from Earth Balance Bag are made from rocks, not paper (pulverized limestone, to be precise), feel substantial and smooth, and have broad age appeal. Bonus: Earth Balance is donating 20% of all October sales to the Susan G. Komen Foundation in honor of breast cancer awareness month. Go to www.earthbalancebag.com for store locations.
Be your own "Ace of Cakes."
Do-it-yourself and fabulous don't have to be mutually exclusive-with these innovative cake pans, you can make your special girl a whimsical cake that's worthy of Duff Goldman with all the love of a parent baked right in (and, oh, the pictures you'll get!). This Topsy Turvy Cake PanTM from Petal Crafts comes in a round ($85.95) or square ($99.95) form, and makes a once-crazy undertaking a whole lot easier. For purchasing plus bonus tips, decorating inspiration, and recipes, visit www.topsyturvycakepans.com.
Score a goal with soccer lovers.
This soccer ball baking pan from Zenker ($22.50; www.frieling.com) makes the perfect treats for a sports-themed party. Each mold is in the shape of half a soccer ball (affix together with frosting for the full effect, then decorate with traditional black and white, or use your child's team colors). Go to www.nymetroparents.com/soccercupcakes to score a bonus cupcake recipe, too.
And because we all need a superhero...
Dress-up parties aren't just for Halloween—they spark your kids' imagination and up the fun factor in an instant. Why not try a superhero theme? And forget about movie icons and Marvel comics—let your kids don their own identity and decide on their special powers. PowerCapes.com lets you build custom capes for less than $25; they come in 11 colors with more than 25 emblems and initials to choose from, in sizes for kids ages 2-7 (and for adults!)
Turn a Birthday Party into a Pajama Party for a Good Cause
Tips for Parents: How to Handle Awkward Birthday Party Situations
Have a Harry Potter Halloween: Recipes & Costumes