How to Plan a Star Wars Birthday Party
Your son sleeps in Star Wars sheets, clutching his lightsaber. Every time you walk into his room, you step on an Obi-Wan Kenobi action figure or a piece of Lego from Anakin's podracer. Now, his sixth birthday is approaching. It may be time for that rite of passage in every boy's life: the Star Wars Birthday party. Do not fear! You can make it through, even if you can't tell a Jedi from a Sith and have never heard of Tattooine.
Read on for ideas for Jedi party games, how to make non-painful lightsabers out of pool noodles, where to find Star Wars shaped cake pans, and more.
Star Wars Invitations
You've got to set the mood from the beginning, and alert all your child's friends to the theme of the party. How else will they know to buy your son Star Wars books, Star Wars Lego sets, Star Wars light-up sneakers, and all the rest of the accoutrements the young Padawan needs these days?
Since the tradition of The Great Star Wars Birthday is several decades old, and is observed by thousands of young boys every year, it's a cinch to find invitations at any party store, big box store, or online. Amazon is a great resource for invitations, themed balloons, plastic party tablecloths, plates, cups, napkins, and every other party item you can think of. While you're at it, pick up matching thank you notes; a Jedi must follow the social conventions.
Star Wars Crafts
A craft is always good to do at a party, preferably before the little buggers get hopped up on sugar and star careening around your living room like it's a bouncy castle. One great craft to start your party off with is to get kids to make their own lightsabers. (Surprisingly, this is safe, as they do not use actual lasers.)
- Get a bunch of long foam pool noodles (preferably blue and green, although purple and red also work), and cut them in half before the party. You will also need wide black duct tape, round red stickers, and rectangular white stickers.
- Give each child a half-noodle and a few pre-cut strips of black duct tape to wrap around one end of the noodle to make a handle. (The handle should be about six inches long to allow for a good grip.)
- After the child has formed the handle, allow him or her to choose a few round stickers to use as buttons. The stickers will stick to the duct-tape handle but not to the foam.
- Have guests write their names on one of the rectangular stickers, and add it to the handle of their lightsaber, so there won't be any arguments about whose is whose later on.
- Stand back as the party guests commence whacking each other.
Star Wars Party Games
Every birthday party needs party games, and so by logical extension a Star Wars party needs Star Wars games. You will have to set aside all your adult dignity (unless you decide to dress up as Darth Vader, in which case you only need some padding under your costume to protect you when you inevitably get whacked with hard, plastic lightsabers. So much better than what happens when you get whacked with a REAL lightsaber, though, am I right?) and get into the games with the kids.
- Lightsaber Training: Have an adult (preferably dressed as a Jedi, although just wearing a brown bathrobe might be sufficient) lead the kids through some fancy lightsaber moves. Then, after they have mastered swishing and poking, invite the birthday boy up to spar with you (or with someone else dressed as Darth Vader). This works best with soft lightsabers, such as ones homemade from foam, or inflatable swords.
- Jedi Obstacle Course: Set up an obstacle course using the natural features of your party space. If you're having your party in a fancy gym, use tumbling mats, hanging ropes, and balance beams. In a park with a playground, do it follow-the-leader style through the playground equipment. to make an obstacle course in your backyard, get some traffic cones, hula hoops, and a picnic table (or other large, sturdy object). Set up the cones in a straight line fairly close together, and have the kids weave through them. Then the kids will have to run through the hula hoop obstacle (one foot in each hoop set in a staggered pattern). Finally, they will have to get past the picnic table, which you will be defending (i.e., threatening to tickle each kid as they go by). Kids can go under, over, or through the table to reach the finish line. (Make sure the table is sturdy and not splintery. A plastic playhouse or small jungle gym could serve the same purpose.)
- Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Sith: What better way to wind down than with this classic party game? Print out or otherwise obtain a large picture of your kid's least favorite Sith. Draw and cut out silly donkey tails, and put a piece of tape on the end of each. Blindfold a guest, spin him three times, and watch the hilarity unfold as he sticks a donkey tail right between Count Dooku's eyes!
- Death Star Piñata: My personal favorite party game requires some preparation during the week before the party, but is the most fun. Make a piñata in the shape of the Death Star from papier-mâché. Fill it with candy. Let the kids take turns whacking it with their lightsabers until it breaks and all the candy rains down on them. Good times!
Star Wars Birthday Cake
After the ceremonial meal of pizza and juice boxes (isn't that what Han Solo ate at the Mos Eisley Cantina?), you must of course serve a Star Wars Birthday Cake. The possibilities are endless, but here are some ideas to get you started:
- Use a shaped cake pan from Wilton to make Darth Vader. (C-3PO and R2-D2 pans have been discontinued, but you can find them on eBay and download instructions on Wilton's website.)
- Bake cupcakes, frost them smoothly, and then draw the Jedi logo on each one with decorating gel. It isn't complicated, as long as you have a steady hand. If you're lucky, you may be able to find Star Wars cupcake wrappers or cake decorating pics as well.
If you're a procrastinator, or have just been too busy supervising the transformation of your home into a perfect replica of the bridge of the Death Star for the party, try this last minute idea. It will reek of desperation to the adult guests, but the kids will be too excited by the toys to notice (or care).
- Frost a sheetcake in a color that coordinates with your child's favorite character (e.g., green for Yoda, black and red for Darth Maul). Pilfer some small (well-washed) Star Wars action figures from your son's toy bin, and arrange them on the cake alongside the traditional birthday greetings. (You get extra points for replicating a scene from one of the movies!)
If you're an experienced baker with time on your hands, check out these Star Wars cakes.
Star Wars Goody Bags
If you're interested in shelling out for the gestalt Star Wars birthday experience, you can buy goody bags from a party store pre-populated with officially licensed Star Wars paraphernalia like yo-yos, stickers, and bouncy balls. (I've never been able to work a yo-yo, but that makes sense to me now; clearly you must use the Force to make them do tricks, and my midi-chlorian count has always been low.)
However, if you want to be creative, compile your own goody bags from stuff you can buy online and lots of candy. (Candy is always the biggest hit in goody bags, anyway!)
Some items to include are:
- Star Wars temporary tattoos
- Star Wars jewelry (rubber bracelets, plastic rings)
- Star Wars easy readers (These are a little pricey for a goody bag item at four dollars a pop, but parents will appreciate it, and you can put in less random cheap stuff without looking stingy. Also, there are several titles that focus on female Star Wars characters, so girls who may not be huge Star Wars fans won't feel left out.)