As a Christian, my family doesn’t celebrate Halloween and I know it’s always a challenge for the kids in our family – who doesn’t want to dress up and get candy?! So when my youngest son Malachi was born and his birthday fell just 1 day before Halloween, we used it as an opportunity to give the kids in our family a chance to dress up. Given my obsession with kids’ birthday parties – this was a great opportunity for me to make his yearly birthday parties into costume extravaganzas. So I have quite a bit of experience planning costume parties.
Here are some of my quick tips for planning a kids costume party:
1. Costumes required.
My only rule is that everyone should wear a costume. I encourage the parents to wear them as well as the kids, even if it’s just a funny hat or wig to show participation. Also, because it’s a kid’s party, you want to be sure to specify in the invitation that costumes should be appropriate.
For us, appropriate means NO “adult” costumes, ghosts, witches, or scary monsters. Malachi is a toddler and if he’s going to cry at his birthday party, I’d rather it be because he dropped his cupcake. Not because he’s scared of the three-eyed monster trying to pick him up.
2. Stick to a theme.
Having a theme is so important. Not only does this help with shopping for décor, but it also allows you to highlight your child’s interests. For Malachi’s second birthday, he was all about the PBS “Dinosaur Train” show.
So we gave his party a Dinosaur theme and it was all-dino-everything. You can also have the theme dictate the costumes. Malachi’s 3rd birthday party will be a small Superhero-themed celebration at our home with just 10 of his close friends and family. Since this year’s party is more intimate, I will be providing superhero costumes to go along with the theme.
3. Be selective about decor and party favors.
Everyone who knows me, knows I’m big on themed décor and party favors. My decorations and party favors are always over the top! For Malachi’s 2nd Dinosaur-themed costume party, we transformed the venue into a jungle. There were plants, “Caution” tape, dinosaur eggs, and even dinosaur tracks on the floor. I LOVE using balloons and bright colors for decor at kids parties. There’s nothing like transforming your space into a themed wonderland.
As for party favors, I’m not big on giving the kids bags of candy as I more than likely gave them a sugar high at the actual party. So I splurge a little and buy favors that go with theme, but are also fun and practical. For Malachi’s 2nd birthday party, we gave out dinosaur puzzles, dinosaur eggs that actually hatch, and dinosaur train dolls for the little ones. I also like to personalize their gifts so I buy party favors appropriate for the age of the children attending.
4. Have fun with activities that show off the costumes.
If you are going to have people dress up – the least you can do is make sure they are seen! We implement a runway show into our costume parties and also have the runway judged by someone. One year the judge was my Mom (who happened to dress like a judge that year).
5. Jazz it up with themed food.
Food is essential to any good party. You have to feed the guests! You can go as simple as pizza or as lavish as a full hot meal. Just keep in mind, kids don’t eat everything. I try to offer a variety of foods and snack items for even the pickiest of eaters including options for vegans and vegetarians.
I also like to follow the theme as closely as possible. For Malachi’s 2nd Dinosaur-themed costume party, we had green Lava Juice, food labeled for Carnivores and Herbivores, and a lavish Sweets-a-Saurus table!
Disclaimer: I’m a little over the top and we have a huge family so our parties typically entertain upwards of 100 people! I begin party planning for all the events I do at least 6 months in advance. This isn’t necessary, but the earlier you start, the better!
Have you planned a costume party? Thinking of planning one? Leave us a comment with your own tips, advice or questions below!