16 Tips for a Standout Birthday Party

Make your next birthday bash one to remember with these easy ideas.

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Creative Theme

A clever theme lets party guests escape to another world. For a kid's birthday, try recreating their favorite movie. Or, consider something more outside of the box, like a gumball party, cotton candy party or circus party.

Eye-Catching Decor

Vibrant party decor and a cheery table setting are key elements to a standout birthday party. But there's no need to go all out with elaborate, expensive decorations. Even simple, plastic plates and utensils in bold, solid colors can create a festive setting.

Guest List

Whether you're inviting every kid in your child's class or just a few friends, it always helps to have a guest list where you can keep track of RSVPs. We also recommend verifying the party date will work for your child's best friend before mailing out invitations. Keep everything on track with our birthday party timeline.

Party Venue

After you've chosen the perfect theme and narrowed down your guest list, it's time to pick out a venue. If you're having a small party, your house may be the ideal option. But a larger party might work better at a local park, restaurant or event space. If you plan on hosting a party somewhere other than your home, be sure not to wait too late to book a venue. 

Custom Invitations

Handmade invitations can add a personal touch to your party, and they are surprisingly simple to make! For these cute baseball party invitations, you'll only need white cardstock, a printer, a red marker and scissors. But if you'd rather print an adorable invite, we have 16 (free!) printable options you'll love. 

Party Over Here

If your guests don't already know where you live or aren't familiar with the party venue, a homemade sign with colorful balloons is a great way to direct them to the party.

Present Plan

A few days before the party, it's a good idea to decide how you will handle presents. For young children, it may be better to reserve opening presents until after the party guests leave. However, if your child will be opening presents at the party, a quick refresher on sharing and saying, "Thank you," is always a good idea. 

Turn Up the Tunes

Every good party needs music, and a child's birthday party is no exception. Whether you set up a karaoke machine, supply kid-sized instruments or simply stream a kid-friendly music station, the right music will set the scene for a super fun day.

A Killer Cake

What's a birthday party without cake? The more sprinkles, icing and candy the better! To save money on this party staple, we recommend dressing up a store-bought or homemade cake with colorful candy. See how blogger Kim Stoegbauer created an impressive DIY cake using rock candy!

Atypical Treats

When it comes to party treats, we recommend planning a little something extra beyond the traditional birthday cake. Ice cream and fruit served out of colorful sundae cups is a healthier option that is still fun for kids. 

Main Meal

If your party is lasting longer than a couple of hours, a menu that includes some heartier options will keep the kids energized and in good spirits. Try these mini cheeseburgers for an instant crowd pleaser.

Game Plan

Keep the kids entertained with little games throughout the party. Even something as simple as, "Guess how many gumballs are in the jar," can add an extra element of fun. 

Other Activities

For an exciting activity everyone can enjoy, a classic piñata is a great way to bring all the kids together to cheer on their friends. And the anticipation of raining candy never hurts!

Entertainment Center

If you plan to book entertainment for your party, you'll want to be sure to plan ahead. Clowns and magicians are popular options. For a more cost-friendly alternative, ask a friend or babysitter to set up a simple face-painting station.

Fabulous Photos

Don't forget the photo ops! Candids are great, but kids will love a photo booth with silly props and face masks. Ask a friend or another parent to man the photo booth. Polaroids make great party favors! Find 15 printable mustache templates and props here.

Exceptional Favors

And speaking of party favors, sending your guests home with something extra special will make your party one to remember. For the perfect ending to a great day, try favors that relate to the birthday party theme. Find even more party favor ideas here.

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