To me, an INVITATION to any event sets the tone to the entire party...even before it starts. Therefore, I always make sure to design the invite to mimic the party theme. Are there some cute store bought invites that can be used? Sure. But, I always feel that it's much more special to make my own invites...not to mention that it is SO easy and inexpensive!
This invite took maybe 1/2 hour total to design (I use InDesign because that is the program that I am used to using at work, but you could also use Photoshop, Publisher, etc...whatever you are comfortable with).
DECOR...my idea of good decor is one that is eye catching, stays with the theme, but is also easy to execute (and if the kids can help, even better!). Here are a couple of decor ideas that I had for our watermelon party...
The kids help me make these watermelon signs that we hung on the front door...we also had some extra construction paper and black poms for the kids (nieces and nephews) to make some watermelons of their own during the party...
Something as simple as changing out the placemats (I found these at the Dollar Store, by the way), can really change the look of the house...
Balloons are an easy way to get a lot of bang for your buck...not to mention that the kids LOVE them! Now, for work events, I am honestly not a big balloon fan, but for something as fun as festive as a kids birthday party, they are just the ticket! Since I could not find any watermelon shaped balloons, I figured that I woudl just make my own, by taking regular latex balloons and use a sharpie to make the dots...voila! Instant watermelon balloons!
FOOD...I always want to make sure that the food fits the theme as well, and for watermelon I thought a picnic style lunch (dollar sandwiches, chips, etc) was perfect. Adding something fun like a homeade fruit kabob display was also a great way to add decor through food (and the kids LOVED to eat them...perfect portions). Serving in picnic baskets, adding gingham prints, etc. really ties in the theme as well.
What is a birthday party without a CAKE? I made an attempt at making a 'watermelon' cake, which was actually a strawberry flavored cake (I wanted it to be pink) with mini chocolate chips mixed in (for the 'seeds'). I frosted it in pinkish/red icing on top, covered in mini chocolate chips (for 'seeds') and then green icing around the outside, covered in watermelon flavored jelly beans. (FYI - since I do so many different things with my parties, I make my life easy when it comes to the cake and always use a boxed cake mix and generally use a store bought icing and then just alter it with food coloring as needed. However, if you are ambitious, by all means, make homemade!).
I had leftover batter, so I decided to make some cupcakes! I topped them in either green or pinkish/red icing and a watermelon gummy candy slice (found at a bulk candy store...bulk candy stores are a GREAT place to go when you are looking for "theme" type candies by the way). I wanted to display them in kind of a special way, so put them on wine glasses turned upside down :o)
One of the fun perks of having a little girl is being able to dress her up! Finding a "perfect" DRESS or OUTFIT for her birthday party is no exception. I am a HUGE bargain shopper though, so I will generally buy ahead seasons (i.e. get items off the sales racks this summer for next summer...hoping I get the size right ;o). I was really lucky that I found this adorable watermelon dress on sale from Gymboree that I held on to for her party (I sometimes will even use that to help me think of a theme...as odd as that may sound).
FUN....As I mentioned before, I am not big on games and such at parties since I feel that giving kids time to run and play outside and just enjoy being together is the most important. However, I do always make sure to have at least one or two craft activities available for the kids to do if they wish. As I mentioned earlier, I had some materials for them to make their own watermelons with construction paper and black pom poms, but I also LOVE using the foam items for crafts. This time I found the great foam sun visors, which were perfect for this hot sunny day! I then had several differnt stickers available for them to decorate (ABCs, flowers, fish, etc.) as well as markers. The kids had a lot of fun making their own visor...AND this was their take away item (in place of a goody bag).
We also had some outdoor water activities set up for the kids (as we always do for my August baby's birthday party), including a pool, sprinklers, etc. Since it was such a hot day, we even decided to put up our tent in a shaded part of the yard so that the kids would have a place to get out of the sun and play. The little girls LOVED getting their dolls and playing in their little "house" out in the backyard :o)
Remember, try to use the resources that you have around you...and keep it simple! :o)