Friday, September 21, 2012

Superheroes like to save money too!

Last weekend we hosted Zach's 4th birthday party at our house.  He has been requesting a superhero party for about 6 months, and as per usual, mommy took the theme and ran with it :).  I did a lot of stuff DIY, both to save money, and because that's my "thing".  I prefer to do their bday parties as DIY as possible so it's unique and not like the party store exploded in our house with all the matching decorations and plates and what not.  I'm not knocking that if that's what you want to do for kiddo, it's cute, easy, and straightforward.  Not everyone has a sickness like I do :p.

The decorations were a mixture of store-bought, crafted-up, and printed-up. I used the Marvel Kids website to make some signs to welcome guests and for the games.  Their comic builder tool lets you download the pdf after you create it, so I added some heroes and some text and printed those up poster-style.  Did you know that you can change some settings in your printer setup to print out a poster of any doc?  I learned that last year before Z's party, and I swear it changed my life lol.  

Last minute (the night before) we were working on the nightscape buildings to "set the mood" in the entryway.  This is just black construction paper cut out like building silhouettes with yellow rectangles glued on them to make like lighted windows.

Right off the bat I knew I wanted to make superhero capes for the kids, sooo easy, unique, and what kid doesn't want a cape?  This was a lot cheaper and easier than it sounds.  I went to Jo-Ann's and got 6 yards of red broadcloth.  I used my handy-dandy Jo-Ann app and saved 50% on this, so that cost all of $12 for 8 kids.  There are patterns you can buy for the capes, but I am way too stubborn and cheap to BUY something I can do myself.  So I took a big piece of Zach's easel paper and sketched out a pattern for the cape that I used to trace out on the fabric.  I toyed with finishing the edges of the capes but decided it was too much work for too little gain, so I just cut them out, slapped on some sticky velcro dots for fasteners and called them done.  Then of course I couldn't just leave them at that, I like to make something personal for the kids to take home, so I decided to add their initials, superhero style, to the capes.  I was very picky as to how I wanted them to look, so I decided to just draw out the letters, thankfully there were FOUR kids with "C" as their initial so it was relatively easy :).  I picked up some yellow sticky-back felt and used my created stencil to trace and cut out the initial, and stuck them to the back of the capes

Everybody knows superheroes need masks to hide their identities!  I had some leftover blue felt from my car organizer project, so I decided to use that, and pick up some black elastic, with another coupon, for $2. And make some masks for them.  I used pinterest again, shocking, to find a template for the masks, traced them on the felt, top-stitched only to give them weight, and attach the elastic, and those were done.  
For months beforehand I knew I wanted to do superhero cuffs too, so we'd been saving toilet paper rolls for that.  I like to have something crafty the kids can do as they arrive so they warm up.  I mod-podged some yellow construction paper to those, cut them in half and then got some stickers for the kids to use to decorate them.  SUPER easy, FREE, and the kids loved them.

I decided to keep the games and activities relatively simple.  At 4 years old, they want to play games for sure, but they also want to run around the house screaming as much as possible too.  There were pretty much only 2 games, and they only really did one of them.  I used Zach's sandbox and the villain Sandman.  I found these tiny superhero toys called "squinkies", they came 12 to a pack for $10.  I hid the superheroes in the sand and told the kids that Sandman had captured all of their favorite superheroes and they had to rescue them!  They were allowed to rescue one each and take it home.  The kids were pretty into it, although they did barter for their favorite superhero after they found them.  I admire their trading skills :).  

The other game was admittedly kind of lame, I took some peanut m&m's and put them in a jar.  I counted out 12 orange ones only (because Z's bday is the 12th) and put them in the jar.  They were the Green Goblin's pumpkin bombs, and the kids had to guess how many orange ones were in the jar.  The idea was the closest to the right number (I gave them a range 1-20) would win a small prize.  Only a couple kids were interested, probably too soon for this kind of game.

This year I decided to do cupcakes for the kids.  In previous years we have ordered a cake from a local bakery, and it has been delicious, but truth-be-told, I don't think Z likes cake, he never eats much of it, and that local bakery is expensive.  I just picked up some vanilla cake mix from Trader Joe's (YUM) and baked up some cupcakes, I used betty crocker chocolate frosting and called those bad boys done.  I wanted to decorate them somehow but I am no baker/cake decorator.  So, I went the paper/crafty route.  I found some cupcake topper patterns online with superman, batman, and spiderman.  I used a 1.5 inch circle punch to punch them out and then glued them to some cardstock I used a 2 inch circle punch on, then glued that combo to some lollipop sticks and voila! superhero cupcakes!  I was surprised how much the kids liked the toppers, one of them wanted to make sure he could take his home.

We went the easy/lazy route for lunch and ordered pizzas.  The party was a lot of fun, cheap, and easy.  I'm already trying to think of what the theme will be for G's 1st bday party in 4 months :).

If you want a tutorial for any of the DIY projects let me know!


  1. Cole freaking loves his mask and cape! The decorations were awesome, especially the Batman cityscape :)