My oldest daughter and I joke that we don’t like to have parties, we like to have events. Of course, Noelle’s 9th birthday was one of such events. One of our favorite things to do is to go to renaissance festivals. Since her costume for the one in Pittsburgh this summer was an autumn fairy, she wanted to wear it for her birthday also. (Having an October birthday, Noelle often enjoys costume party fun.) [Shout out to The Mystic Moor on Etsy for the costume.]
This year’s theme: Fall Fantasy Faire (Basically ren fest in our backyard)
Here’s what we did to help create the theme and fun for the kids. (Remember to keep yours in budget. You don’t want to go broke having a party. We made many things ourselves and trolled the dollar store.)
Decorations: The sky is the limit when it comes to fall. We found garland, leaves, pumpkins, and everything from the dollar store and dollar bins at Target. I did make sure to burn a candle (in a safe place free from kids hands and movement) to add a pumpkin scent to the room. [White Pumpkin from Gold Canyon]
Invitations: We sent Noelle’s friends a scroll tied with orange ribbon and their name tied to it on a tag. The scroll contents can be whatever you would like.
I made ours in photoshop with one of the leaf shapes and a fancy font. The languages is what sells it. Write in your best Old English tongue. And make it humorous. Our wording was the following:
Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
All Lords, Ladies, Fairies, Dragons, Gypsies, and Sallywags of the kingdom
are cordially invited to our castle to celebrate the Ninth Birthday of Lady Noelle.
The festivities will be held on
Saturday, the 6th day of October
from 1:00 to 3:30 after the noon sun
Our castle is located at
[Your Address Here]
Kindly RSVP by the 30th of September
to Amanda (Your Phone/Email Here)
*Costumes are encouraged *Siblings are welcome
Snacks & Cake: I didn’t go too crazy with things. I try to mix chips and pretzels with healthier choices like apples and veggies. I found cheap leaf serving dishes from the dollar store to put some of our snacks in.
Two things that went with the fall theme: pumpkin pie dip for the fruit and the cake. My cousin makes the most amazing cakes for us. She decorated it in fall colors and fondant leaves were strewn about. Noelle loved it and it just added to the festivities.
(The leaves were made with Wilton Autumn Mini Cutters)
The pumpkin pie dip is easy to make and definitely one of my favorite seasonal finds on pinterest. Find the recipe here.
I did games in five stages.
Royal Teams and Banners - I made three banners out of poster board and hung them on our wall. My daughters picked 3 mythological creatures: a pegacorn (unipeg? we call it a pegacorn as a joke), a chimera, and a griffin. Get as creative as you want. I just printed out pictures from the internet and colored borders on them.
When the kids were all at the party, I had them line up and welcomed them (first to the 75th annual Hunger Games… which made parents laugh) to the Fairy Fantasy Festival Official Games… or some ridiculous title. I told them about the games and that they had to pick their teams to be tested on their strength, speed and bravery. To find their team, they had to pick it out from the Sorting Hat and then sign the banner for their team. (The banners I’ll be saving in Noelle’s birthday box that we keep all cards and other special things.)
Once the kids were sorted, the games began.
The King’s Stew - The first game was to please the king. He was displeased with the cooks and fed them to the kingdom’s candy filled dragons. So now the teams had to make his stew.
To prepare: I used 3 pumpkin buckets (any will do), 15 disposable straws, and cut out construction paper vegetables (about 3 per child).
To play: Each child puts their hand on their head and can only use a straw to pick up the vegetables. You suck on the end of the straw to pick up the construction paper and then drop it in the bucket.
First team to have all the items in the bucket wins.
Princess and the Pea Race - This game is basically the egg race that many of us have done in the past. Instead of eggs on a spoon, the kids have to carry a frozen pea on a spoon.
To prepare: Frozen Peas and 15 disposable spoons.
To play: Split each of the teams into two for a relay race. The kids put the spoon in their mouth with a pea on it. If they drop the pea on the way to their teammate, they have to come back to get another one. (I let the kids use their hands to transfer the pea because it was challenging.) The last person who carries the pea had to drop it in the bucket we used for the stew game above. Make sure to have quite a few frozen peas on end. (I also made sure to joke with the kids that the losers had to eat them when we were done. Lots of laughing ewwwws around.)
The story I used for the above game was that since the King was so pleased with the stew, he requested us help the Princess who is still very upset about the peas under her mattress. Their job is to rid the kingdom of peas.
Scaredragons - We made up a store about how our kingdom has a problem with dragons. So it was up to the teams to make one of their teammates into a “Scaredragon” to keep the dragon away.
Game preparation: Make a list for each team with clothing items they have to dress their scaredragon in. (My list included hat, gloves, scarf, shirt, pants, right shoe, and left shoe.) We rolled the lists into scrolls. I also did not write the items in the same order so that teams wouldn’t be hunting for the same items at the same time. Make four plastic bags that have three of each item on the scrolls in them. Bags should be a mix so the kids don’t know which bag has their item.
To play: Have four parents (villagers) volunteer to hold one of the bags and placed them around your house or yard. Have their kids elect a scaredragon. We had our scaredragons stand stationary in the middle of the yard. Give the teams their scrolls and them they have to go to each villager as a team. But the villager cannot give them the clothing item unless the kids complete a task. For example, to get a shoe, one parent had them do a cartwheel. Another had them receive the Pledge of Allegiance. Once they get one item, they go back to dress their dragon. When the children complete the scaredragon, they win.
Pinata - I purchased a dragon pinata which we filled with candy and prize coins (see the favors section of this post). I told the kids that our kingdom was plagued by a strange beast. ”A candy filled dragon of mystery” and to “not hit dragons with sticks at your kingdom because they are the fire breathing kind and it will not end well for lords or ladies.” This dragon was pretty sturdy so eventually the grown ups hit it a few times.
Winners of the games received pirate coins I purchased from Amazon. (There were also some in the pinata to pick up… hoping to settle any ties.)
Those with the most pirate coins could pick from a prize basket first. There were enough items in the basket for everybody to get 2. Don’t go crazy with these. Items from the dollar store, Claire’s clearance, Target dollar bins and so forth were used.
I also made chocolate covered oreos with Wilton halloween pumpkin and cat molds and chocolate melts in fall colors. You can get these discounted a Joanne’s or Michael’s more times than not. Watch for sales and coupons! Each child went home with 3.
And don’t let the grown ups shy away from costumes! I was in full gear with my villager get up. My fiance wore his pirate costume. Some cousins and aunts also wore their themed costumes as well. Kids have a great time when the grown ups get involved too.
Most importantly, be happy and have fun.
I hope these ideas help somebody out there in the digital world make their child’s birthday extra special.