Joel and I planned a kid’s birthday party two short weeks before Thea’s actual birthday. We decided to keep it low-key and invite our immediate family. TWO DAYS before her birthday party I decided that I wanted to go all out.
Has anyone else planned a casual birthday party, and then added a million ideas to your list last minute?
We went from a small gathering with a simple cake and good food, to a solar system, galaxy, moon-inspired party. I still kept it rather small and low-key, but I elevated the design of the party drastically.
How Can You Throw an Awesome Last-Minute Birthday Party Within Two Days?
MAKE SIMPLE CRAFTS
Not everyone is crafty and not everyone has the time to be crafty, including me. On top of that, my brother got all of the artist’s genes. When I look for decor that I can make, I look for the easiest that I can do with a strong chance that it will turn out how I expect. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I get it right. The other one percent of the time I get a laugh and file it as a Pinterest fail.
For this birthday party, I bought styrofoam balls, watercolor paint, and a brush to create a solar system look. They did take a bit of time because the foam doesn’t take to water very well. I put them on toothpicks to make it easy to hold without getting paint on my hands. I went from light to dark to light with the colors on each foam ball. They need to dry overnight, so you can easily make them a few days ahead of time. If you’re like me and have two days left, leaving them overnight works great.
Balloons add a lot of life to the party and are fairly cheap. If you buy balloons with helium from the store it can add up. We purchased a number one balloon, but everything else I put together myself. I bought latex balloons and used my electric pump to create balloon garlands. You can pump two balloons at a time, tie them together, and feed them along fishing wire to create the look that you want. I used packaging tape to connect the star balloons as an accent.
CREATE AN EASY MENU
We made vegan food which kept the cost down. We made one of our favorite meals, Cauliflower Tacos by the Minimalist Baker. Even those who aren’t vegan, including us, can appreciate this tasty meal. We grilled the cauliflower, warmed the tortillas over the grill, and made a big batch of spicy salsa. Even the kids loved it who we had originally made grilled cheese sandwiches for.
MAKE YOUR OWN CAKE
The cake that I made looked a lot harder to make than it was. I made a simple cake using my favorite chocolate cake recipe by Barefoot Contessa. I left out the coffee for this party and I use dark cocoa instead of regular. For the layered color accents, I bought candy melts and melted them down over low heat. I added white to some of the colors to create different shades. Once they melted, I poured the chocolate onto wax paper in quarter-sized circles. Using a cake knife, I gently pressed down, and then pulled the knife outward. This creates a “brushstroke” look. I placed them in the freezer for 5 minutes and gently peeled them from the wax paper once the chocolate hardened. I used my finger to create softer edges. You have to be gentle as they will begin to break if handled too roughly. Some cracking may happen on thinner pieces. I added icing to the backs to act as glue before arranging them on the cake. The star cake toppers completed the look along with a single pink candle for Thea’s 1st birthday.
USE ANYTHING THAT YOU HAVE
If you read my post about hosting a birthday party on a budget, you know that I am all about using what you have on hand. You can really get creative when pulling things together from your home last minute.
I grabbed tinsel from our Christmas bin and paired it with my solar system pieces for my centerpiece on the table. We had a Happy Birthday sign in our attic that I continue to repurpose. We used the tables, chairs, pillows, and candles from around our house to accent the scene.
You can create a fun relaxed vibe with a party playlist!
I purchased the silver balloon pinata on Amazon, but it didn’t come in time for the party. I set up the balloon garland with the pinata against the highchair the following day to show the idea that I had to complete the look. If the pinata had come on time, this was so simple to do! You can use the balloon garland technique that I mentioned above by tying balloons together, taping them to the back of the chair, and setting up the pinata against it.