This year was different, because we were in the Philippines on their actual birthday. On the 30th they were having a grand old time riding the rapids and rafting under waterfalls in Pagsanjan and celebrating with their cousins with a Filipino-fried chicken lunch. That night they blew out the candles on the yummiest chocolate birthday cakes ever. But they also wanted to invite their friends to a party, so this weekend we invited a few of their friends for a late birthday celebration. They're really into Bakugan right now, so we decided to have a Bakugan-themed birthday party. Here's how we did it:
We were lucky to get Bakugan-themed invites at Toys'R'Us on clearance. In addition, I created a custom Evite with a Bakugan image in the background.
Did you know that Costco prints out 12x18 photos for only $2.99? I downloaded some wallpapers from the Bakugan website and created birthday posters for 3Po and Jammy (they each chose their own design and I added the words "Happy Birthday 3Po" and "Happy Birthday Jammy"). I hung up a Bakugan playmat that we had given to Jammy as a birthday present and festooned the rest of the house with red, black and yellow streamers, and that was it. With those colors, the house did remind me of the German flag, but the kids loved the festive atmosphere.
I baked round sugar cookies and pre-frosted them in Bakugan colors so the kids could decorate them like Bakugans as a craft activity (okay, they looked nothing like Bakugans but the kids had fun anyway). I also bought sippy cups with paper inserts (from Oriental Trading) that the kids could color and personalize, and to go with the Bakugan theme I created custom Bakugan inserts for them to color.
I didn't think it would be a good idea to play the actual Bakugan game at the party (for one thing, I don't really know how to play it, and for another, not all the kids own Bakugans and I wasn't about to buy each kid the 3 Bakugans each that are needed to play the game!). So we took down 3Po's Hotwheels downhill racing track and let the Bakugans race/roll down the track instead. We held a knockout championship, complete with a match chart, and the game was a huge hit!
The boys and their guests probably would have been happy to keep on racing their Bakugans for the next hour, but I run a tight ship, and I had three other games planned: Pin the Bakugan on the Hand (the Bakugan-themed version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, with another $2.99 Costco Bakugan photo enlargement and some printed Bakugan ball stickers), Pass the Bakugan (like Pass the Parcel but the kids passed a plastic ball that I told them to pretend was a Bakugan) and Pabitin, a traditional Filipino party game that has the kids jumping up to grab prizes that are tied to a wooden frame.
I thought of taking the Bakugan theme one step further by serving meatballs, but reluctantly admitted that most kids probably wouldn't eat them, so I went with the old standby: cheese pizza. Again, God bless Toys'R'Us for putting all their Bakugan partyware on clearance at just the time we held the party; I was able to get Bakugan-themed plates and tablecloth for a fraction of their usual cost.
Dessert, of course, was ice cream cake that I got at safeway. We stuck lollipops and gumballs on them (again, I thought of piping Bakugan designs with royal icing on each of the lollipops and gumballs -- that's what watching too many episodes of Ace of Cakes and the Food Network Birthday Cake Challenge does to you -- but abandoned the idea) and put a little Bakugan plastic figurine in the center. For once, 3Po and Jammy had their own cakes, and their smiles lit up the whole room.
I gave each kid a lollipop, a cookie, a set of stickers (I created custom name stickers for each guest and printed them out on mailing labels) and some random cheap toy favors that I had bought for one of their past parties and never got around to using. Each kid also got to take home the Bakugan they had been racing with (since there were only 6 guests, I thought I'd "splurge" a little!)
I think everyone enjoyed the party, and although the house was overrun by eight excited boys (the entire party was held inside our tiny home), I didn't feel too stressed out before or during the party.
So 3Po and Jammy managed to get two birthday celebrations after all, even though one was a month late. Well, better late than never!