If the idea of being in the midst of yet another “Frozen”-themed birthday party has got you feeling cold-hearted, I don’t blame you. Although we at Papillons Entertainment still absolutely love belting out ‘Let it Go’ with a horde of chocolate-mouth-filled 5-year-olds (we performed at nearly 150 “Frozen” inspired parties in 2014, more than 60% of our business for the entire year!), so we certainly understand first-hand our clients’ desire to diversify their children’s’ party theme portfolio.
With that in mind, may I present to you…
10 fantastique kid-friendly party themes other than “Frozen”!
The seminal work of Lewis Carroll, “Alice in Wonderland” is, in my opinion, one of the most perfect party themes for children. This was one of my favorite books as a child, and it’s not hard to difficult to realize why: full of whimsy, nonsense, and talking animals, this book is a child’s (literal) dream come true. There are so many wonderful (pun intended) things you can do within this theme, too: go mad with silly signage pointing this way and that way, play a game of flamingo croquet, and set-up an easy craft project of paper flower making (because, of course, you can learn a lot of things from the flowers). And then there’s ‘Alice’ and the ‘Mad Hatter’ who would make delightful guests and lead your young attendees in whimsical activities of their own, thereby fully bringing your theme to life (and leaving you time to yourself for a much needed adult conversation and a breath of fresh air, too).
Okay, so I’m sure you’ve attended (and thrown) your share of princess parties, but hear me out: the great thing about this theme is that there are sooo many fairytale princesses to choose from, you really can’t go wrong. Plus, they often each come with their own sub-theme. For example, look at ‘The Little Mermaid': this princess doubles as an ocean-themed party. And how about ‘Beauty and the Beast’? This timeless princess’ story works as a book-themed party or even as a French-themed party. Plus, you have so much freedom when it comes to decoration and activities, you can’t really go wrong. You could minimize your stress this year and just get a dozen or two pastel balloons from your local Party City to serve as decorations (they’re less than $1 each!), grab some cupcakes from the market, and then find a fabulous fairytale princess character performer to take on the duties of entertaining the children and voila! Or, go big if that’s your style, and hire an event stylist to create the fairytale land of your child’s dream (a’chem… or, just call us).
Jolly Holiday Carnival
Maybe your kiddo isn’t into princesses so the whole fairytale thing isn’t for you. No worries! I can’t think of any other party theme as appropriate for kids of all ages than a carnival themed party. And there is so much you can do in the way of games and decor, you’ve really got your pick of ideas here. Perhaps you’d like to do a classic red/blue/yellow carnival, with tasty food carts (we recommend the folks at Let’s Have a Cart Party). Or, if you prefer a more feminine touch to your carnival, go with pastel colors like coral/violet/teal, string up some tissue pom-poms, and present a fantasy carousel cake. How delightful! Either way, if you’re looking for a character to fit this theme and entertain your young carnival-goers, consider the practically perfect Miss Poppins. She brings a spoonful of sugar (and then-some) to her party performances.
Escape to Fairyland
If it’s open-ended ideas you’re looking for, creating your own fairyland will give you so much freedom, it’s really incredible. You could set up a tent in the backyard and fill it with lots of fairy objects, enticing little ones to use their imagination and pretend they are living in their own wee pixie hollow… organize a fairy hunt and hide treasures all about for kids to find (and what a great way to give out the party favors at the same time)… provide a fairy hair garland craft project… and of course set-up a fairy costuming area for children to become “real” fairies. Nothing brings this theme to life like a real, live fairy, of course. Make sure to hire a whimsical winged-character to enchant children with magic and more. And when you’re ready to send your thanks to guests for attending, check out these charming thank you notes from Red Cap Cards.
Pirates & Princesses
I know what you’re thinking… not more princesses! Yes, yes, but this is different. Really. Pirates and princesses have a long history of going well together. You could sort of say they’re like peanut butter & jelly, or if you’re not into food metaphors, then let’s say they’re like the Dread Pirate Roberts & Princess Buttercup (my favorite literary/on-screen duo. Speaking of which, you could definitely let The Princess Bride inspire your party decorations, and if you do, please please PLEASE send me an invite). Of course, your 5-year-old is more likely into Disney Jr. than movies by Rob Reiner, so how about combining a classic princess and pirate together? Or perhaps combine the themes of ‘Jake and the Neverland Pirates’ and ‘Sofia the First’ together for a modern take on the princess/pirate duo? Just think of all your could do: royal jewels spilling out of wooden treasure chests, pirate hats and princess tiara dress-up, and a DIY pirate ship sailing up to a DIY cardboard castle. You don’t have to do everything yourself, though, and I wouldn’t recommend it if you want to make it out of your party kingdom with your sanity in-tact. Ask us about our pirate and princess duos to take some of the stress out of entertaining your tiny swashbucklers and royal highnesses.
For magic and merriment galore, might I suggest a Celtic themed party? And no, you’re not limited to leprechauns and pots of gold here… the Celts have many-a-legend to pull from for this imaginative theme. From St. Patrick who supposedly drove all the snakes from Ireland, to the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland, you’ve got lots of myths you can incorporate into your Celtic-inspired party. You could make cookies shaped like Celtic knots, decorate with tartan style fabrics, play Highland themed games such as an archery challenge, foam sword mock battle, etc. Or, you could even invite our brave Scottish princess Merida to lead a variety of Celtic inspired group activities, including a wee archery lesson and a Highland style dance. Take a peek-a-boo at our Brave-themed Pinterest board for more inspiration.
Here’s a loose idea to play with: what about a hair themed party? Or, call it a salon party, whatever tickles your tresses! Have kids wear their hair in a crazy style, or hire a stylist to come and create personalized ‘dos for each girl. Or, if you have a bigger budget and don’t want to do this at home, just relax and book a small salon to help you pull off the theme. Our client invited us to her daughter’s birthday where girls would be having beautiful braids styled into their hair; she wanted to take the theme even further with make-overs and tween friendly mocktails. Check out our previous blog entry all about it for inspiration on throwing your own fabulous fête.
You Can’t Spell Party without Arty
Why not just use colors as your child’s party theme? There is, literally, a rainbow of colors and ideas you can work with to make this party theme the brightest birthday bash you’ve thrown to date. This theme will allow you AND your little guests to get really creative. Invite kids to make a snack plate of foods the color of the rainbow (challenge them to pick something of each color for “extra points”), make inexpensive paint palate party favor bags, or have the kids paint their masterpiece right there at the party (pro tip: what a great way to keep them occupied, too). If you need even more help, you could have invite our team to lead your arts & crafts extravaganza, or book one of our expert face painters to create works-of-art on faces!
“Oh, Jeeves? We’ll be taking our tea & biscuits on the veranda this afternoon,” would be really fun to say, even if you don’t have a butler named Jeeves, or a butler at all, or even a veranda. So why not go for the tried-and-true, un-apologetically feminine English garden style tea party! It’s a lovely theme, of which you can go big (like this client of ours, who also booked two of our fairytale princess characters, in addition to catering, and more) or stay small, with a more intimate affair. Invite just a few children over and borrow tea cups from friends, or find shabby-chic styles to mix and match on eBay (pro tip: put an herbal tea bag, packaged in a little organza sack, into each cup and voila! you’ve got a classy, heirloom quality party favor). For extra points, make sugar cookies shaped like tea pots, and serve authentic tea-time finger sandwiches and tea cakes. Or, just hire us and you won’t have to lift a finger… except your pinky.
And finally, if your little girl loves to dance and dress-up, there’s nothing wrong with throwing a pop-star type party. You can ask children to come over in costume, or collect pieces from your little ones costume collection and create a dress-up area for little guests to borrow from while they’re dancing the day away. Speaking of dancing, music will be super important to pull-off this theme. Make sure you have a playlist of kid-friendly pop music, or hire a DJ (or a KJ — karaoke jockey — if your daughter likes to sing, too) to keep the party poppin’. As far as the color scheme goes, bright, jewel colors will be your go-to here: just mix and match lemon yellow, orange, neon pink, magenta, lime green, etc. (go crazy!) for desert tables, decorations, plates, cups, and more. And don’t forget the disco lighting, especially if you’re going to have an indoor and/or evening event (check out this tutorial for DIY light-up balloons). Most importantly, there must be lots of dancing, but you’ve got a lot on your dessert plate already (and I know you’d like to actually finish your dessert without yet another interruption), so consider hiring a colorful Dance Motivator to keep kids movin’ and groovin’!
I hope this helped to inspire you and that the ideas are flowing for your kiddo’s next celebration. If you have questions about anything mentioned here, or if you’d like the team at Papillons Entertainment to take some of the weight off your shoulders and help you plan your next party, please leave a comment below, or for formal inquiries, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cheers! And we hope your event is chic, unique, and fantastique!
~ Jenna (founder & lead performer Papillons Entertainment, Los Angeles, CA)