Hey friends! Today’s post is about planning a terrific surprise party…and honestly, I can’t think of anything more fun. Having planned many events in my day, pulling off big surprises have to be my favorite accomplishments. A few weeks ago, we hosted a fun 7th birthday bash for my daughter – and she had no idea it was coming! I delighted in the anticipation…and of course, the big reveal.
For those of you who may be taking on a similar event, here are some quick tips for a successful surprise party:
Involve other grown-ups in the secret. First of all, make sure you communicate the element of surprise to your guest list! All parents should know exactly what time their child needs to arrive so no one spoils the secret. Also, enlist a friend or family member to watch your little one while you set up the party. For our event, one of my best girl friends agreed to host our daughter for lunch and play time. That gave us two hours to decorate the house, manage final details, and welcome the guests into our house. Check out the look on her face as she opens the door to find all of her besties!
Choose an age appropriate theme. For years, my daughter has been obsessed with the Disney movie Frozen. This would have been an easy “go to” theme for her birthday party, but since she’s getting older – I mean seven seems SO MUCH more mature than six – I thought I’d move on to a new interest. Recently my little one has been hooked on a book series called Monster High. The characters are fun, flashy, and fashion-forward, so I used this inspiration to plan some fun activities for the party. And that sets me up for our next tip…..
Have 2-3 structured activities planned. We scheduled the party to take place during a four-hour window between lunch and dinner (from 1:00 -5:00 p.m.). My husband looked at me with great concern, afraid I had bitten off one more hour than I could chew. Ha! He only thinks he knows me! Just kidding, sweetheart. I had two structured activities planned which helped the pacing of the event, and both built on the “Monster High fashionista” theme. First, we decorated t-shirts (I personalized a shirt for each of the girls and then let them go crazy with puff paints). Second, the girls were able to make beaded accessories – necklaces, bracelets, headbands. Both creative activities offered take-home gifts for the kids.
Give them time to roam free. I think it is important for kids to have plenty of free-play. This is unstructured time when kids let their imaginations rule. And I won’t lie, this is also an opportunity for grownups to take a much-needed “breather”. My daughter and her friends divided their play time between our backyard and her bedroom. They played house, baked pretend cakes, weeded the back yard…it was magical.
Give your guests a small token to take home. In addition to giving the girls custom t-shirts and some handmade jewelry, I also sent them home with a few school supplies (since the first day of school was just around the corner), including a journal and some Monster High pencils. These gifts do not have to be expensive or elaborate – just a way to remember the day.
Capture the memories for your little one. As my daughter grows, I want her to remember these times fondly. I made sure to take plenty of photos (can you tell?), but I also recorded the friends who attended, the gifts she received, and some of the special moments that were shared. For example, at one point my daughter exclaimed: “This is the best day of my life!” My heart almost melted. It doesn’t get much better than that.
For more fun ideas, check out my birthday inspiration board on Pinterest. You might also want to check out the birthday letter that I wrote for my little one this year. Finally, a special thanks to Classy Girl Cupcakes in Milwaukee for creating those adorable skull and bow Monster High cupcakes!
Happy party planning! – Mara