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This Year's Hottest Kids' Birthday Party Themes–And How to Pull Them Off

This Year's Hottest Kids' Birthday Party Themes–And How to Pull Them Off

Three trending birthday party themes that break the mold—and how to throw them.

We’ve all been to (and thrown) many of the same parties: amusement parks, bouncy houses, skating rinks, movie theaters. And then there are those crafty parents who love to plan outside the box—the creative-minded few who aren’t afraid to try something new. If you and your kids are bored of the ordinary, try throwing a bash around one of these hot new birthday themes perfect for any kid–and budget. From rented tarantulas to enchanted forests, these innovative birthday parties might just inspire your next bash.

Theme One: Wild and Wilder Animals

Forget the petting zoo! Wild animal birthdays are a hot commodity. There were more than 594,000 searches for jungle-themed items on Etsy in the last six months, according to Dayna Isom Johnson, the site’s trend expert. Plus, The Bash, an event marketplace, reports that animal handlers are one of its top 10 most popular searches.

Stephanie Minkoff, a mom of five in Irvington, threw an exotic animal party for her 7-year-old twins. She used a company called Outragehiss Pets, based in Chestnut Ridge, which brought a tarantula, a fox, and a wallaby. “The company was ridiculously amazing,” she says. “The parents were in love with it, everyone was in love with it. It ended up working out really well.”

Tips: A wild animal party works best for kids between 4 and 10 years old, says Glen Cohen, who owns My Reptile Guys—a business that started when he took his pet reptiles to his kids’ school and now operates in eight cities. Most of these parties are simple affairs in someone’s home, he explains. It’s all about the animals and the entertainer, which is why it’s important to find the right one. Minkoff agrees: “If you don’t have a funny, entertaining guy, it’s just a bunch of animals and the kids are going to zone out.”

Favors: Try this Pinterest favorite: Put animal crackers in mini mason jars or clear bags and decorate them with homemade tags. Or have the kids create mini terrariums, which double as favors, says Seri Kertzner, founder of Little Miss Party, a New York events company. Another idea: stuffed animals the kids can “adopt” and take home.

Theme Two: Kidchella

Throwing your own festival became a popular trend after Kim Kardashian celebrated her daughter North’s first birthday party with a kids’ version of the famous music festival Coachella. (Etsy has recently seen a 33 percent increase in searches for festival-themed items, Johnson says.) Kardashian’s bash featured a Ferris wheel, food stands, tents, and a stage, but fear not! You don’t need to have her budget to throw your own Kidchella.

Tips: Festivals are all about the music. There are DJs out there who specialize in kids’ parties, and will do dance games and give out prizes. If a DJ isn’t in the budget, create a great playlist. You could also hire a face painter or use a tool like Blinger to decorate hair and clothes with sparkles. When it comes to décor, hang outdoor fairy lights and make your own festival signs.

Favors: Set up a craft station and make flower crowns (Little Miss Party has a great online tutorial).

Theme Three: Enchanted Forest

One of Pinterest’s biggest party trends of 2019 (searches jumped by 238 percent since last year, according to Johnson) is fairy forests. Think: fairy and elf costumes, toadstool seats, and lots of natural decorations like flowers, wood, grass, and moss. With all this magic, it’s a great theme to inspire little imaginations.

Tips: Summer Ticas, a Manhattan mom, brought the enchanted forest inside for her daughter Andrea’s fourth birthday party. She used online tutorials from Pinterest to create trees out of twisted green and brown craft paper, and fairy lanterns using jars and glitter. She then sourced fairy garden miniatures (think mini-houses and toadstools) to decorate. For activities she set up craft stations for kids to make fairy dust necklaces and mini terrariums they could take home.

Favors: Ticas made fairy tutus, wands and wings, elf hats, and capes for her daughter’s guests. The kids loved running around the enchanted forest in their fairy garb. Plus, Pinterest has some great DIY fairy houses, which could work as favors.

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Helpful Tips for Planning a Great Kids' Bash

Decorations

Creating themed party décor looks easy enough on social media, but it can be overwhelming to do yourself. You could consult a party planner, or you could try one of these tricks:

      •  Utilize Etsy. It’s a great place to find creative décor, favors, and invitations that look like you made them yourself.

      •  For DIYers, start early and stay organized with a timeline. Manhattan mom Summer Ticas, who often creates all the décor herself, says she starts planning six months out.

      •  Plan with Pinterest. “I look at all the ideas that come out of the themes and I do spend quite a bit of time creating a board,” Ticas says.

      •  Source from wholesalers. In order to save money, Ticas says she sourced fairy gardens for her daughter’s enchanted forest party direct from wholesalers rather than the craft store.

      •  Create a balloon garland. It’s one of the most requested items but very easy to do yourself, according to Seri Kertzner, founder of Little Miss Party. “They can be enormous or much more low-key,” Kertzner says, but anything around 10 feet long (approximately 30 balloons) looks fancy and is affordable because there’s no helium. For instructions, check out Little Miss Party’s YouTube tutorial.

 

Entertainment

Now that you’ve decided to host your own party, figuring out the entertainment is key to happy partygoers.

      •  Make the theme age-appropriate. Tarantulas might be great for older kids, but choose something a little easier to handle for toddlers.

      •  Do your research. Irvington mom Stephanie Minkoff used word of mouth recommendations and Facebook reviews to help her choose a wild animal handler for her sons’ party. “I probably contacted ten different people, and I got prices from four hundred dollars to four thousand dollars,” she says.

      •  Book early. “These guys get booked quickly!” Minkoff says.

      •  Consider low-cost options that fit with the theme. Think: a scavenger hunt, an epic game of hide and seek, or DIY party favors.

 

Favors

If you’ve settled on giving favors to each guest, consider these tips:

      •  Don’t give a favor that’s just going to end up in the trash. “I will always do something that is seasonally related or something that’s going to be useful to the parent or child,” Kertzner says. For example, personalized water bottles in the summer and mittens in the winter.

      •  Bring spares in case an extra guest turns up. “I always have extra favors on hand now,” Kertzner says. “If I end up with extras at the end of the party, I use them as gifts or return them.”