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How to Create a Very Hungry Caterpillar Themed Birthday Party

Updated on March 27, 2012

The inspiration

Easy Steps to Creating A Themed Party

A potential source of stress for any new mom or mom of young kids is the THEMED BIRTHDAY PARTY. Even though it's a little stressful (you stress because you care, right?), I love planning and putting on a themed birthday party. I'm going to list the steps and resources I used to put on a 2nd birthday party for my son, with a theme inspired by the children's book "Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle (his favorite book at the time). Hopefully, you will consider it easy, economical and low-stress, because in the end, it's always worth it!

Step 1:

Nail down your theme, guestlist, location, date and time of the party. Create and send an invitation.

Other than my wedding invitation, I don't think I've ever sent a physical invitation for a party. For all my events, be it baby shower, birthday party, or get-together, I like to create my own e-invitation. That is, create and send a jpeg (picture) that contains the invitation, or couple a cute photo with an email invitation. It is a cheap (free), easy, and unique way to send the word out. Some love (the popular online invitation website) but I don't like how your personal information is out there in the web-verse, so I prefer to make my own "e-vite" by creatively putting together pictures and information. For a VHC ("Very Hungry Caterpillar") invitation, I found artwork from the book online (you could also scan pages from your book), played off the counting lesson in the book, and made the invite using images and text boxes in Microsoft Publisher (you could probably use Microsoft Word too).

The invitation

A caterpillar loves fruit!

Step 2:

Think of food, decorations, favors/goodie bag ideas. DIY (do-it-yourself) as much as possible.


For a VHC theme, if you remember the book at all, fruit is key. So I included sliced fruit of the kinds in the book - apple, pear, plum, strawberries (strawberry punch in my case), and oranges (little cuties clementines). I also wanted to include more finger foods, so drawing from the other foods mentioned in the book, I laid out pickles, sausages, salami, and cheese (plus crackers). The main food was grilled pork sandwiches, pickled vegetables, and noodles (provided by my awesome grandma, mom, and mother-in-law), which aren't theme-related but were oh-so-yummy! On the sweet side, I offered lollipops (leftover from Halloween) and I made little cherry-topped brownies (to look like the chocolate cake the caterpillar ate). For drinks, I had a glass beverage jar dispenser filled with strawberry punch and the usual water and beer for adults.

My little caterpillar

My son's Halloween costume and the foods the caterpillar eats to fatten himself up.
My son's Halloween costume and the foods the caterpillar eats to fatten himself up.

Very Hungry Caterpillar costumes

Balloon caterpillar


After a quick online search for ideas, I made a caterpillar out of balloons (greens and blues, with a red one for the head) and used streamers and a green/blue tissue paper pom-pom on the ceilings. For a birthday banner, I stayed up one night and found and print out (from an educational website) a caterpillar with letters on each section of its body. I used it to spell out "happy birthday" and my son's name. Colored and glued together, it made a cute banner! Also, I printed out text and pictures from the book and attached to toothpicks to make signs for the fruit display. The great thing about ALL of these decorations is that I had leftover balloons, ribbon, streamers, and tissue paper from other parties, so I spent next to nothing! Helium balloons are also a great way to add a festive touch. You can try, Party City, Target, or your local supermarket or 99cent store for helium balloons and other supplies.


Goodie bags (favors):

I wanted to combine a traditional birthday party goodie bag (usually given to guests/kids upon leaving) with a fun activity the kids could do during the party. So into a colorful paper bag I put: boxes of crayons (25cents per box during a back-to-school sale), plastic bugs and frogs and crazy straws (about $2/kid, for 8 kids, for everything), and the coup-de-grace - an activity booklet I made using Eric Carle books' themed free coloring pages and games I printed from the internet (just used regular paper, printer, and some time to format it). The kids got to color and do activities at their own table during the party.


It can be hard to figure out a game or activity to keep the kids engaged and the parents happy during a big birthday party. Luckily the kids at my son's party were all 5 years old or younger, so it didn't take much to keep them happy (in-between the eating and running around that they're going to do anyway). Besides the activity booklet I gave everyone so that they could color, I decided to do "caterpillar crafts" to go along with the theme of the party. To warm up, we made caterpillar chains out of construction paper. For a second activity, we simulated a caterpillar going through metamorphosis (as the book teaches about) by coloring a paper caterpillar, gluing it onto a clothespin, decorating its "cocoon" (a cardboard toilet paper roll) with scraps of paper and stickers, and coloring a paper butterfly that we stuffed into the cocoon roll (so after the caterpillar goes into the cocoon, it clips onto the butterfly, and flies out as a beautiful butterfly). Even some adults had fun doing this craft, me included!

Two very different caterpillar cupcake cakes

How my cake turned out....yummy but a little wonky
How my cake turned out....yummy but a little wonky
What I wished my cake looked like!
What I wished my cake looked like! | Source

Step 3:

Make the cake...and enjoy!

You don't have to be Martha Stewart to make a great birthday cake for your kid's birthday. I got the idea off the internet to make a cake from cupcakes decorated to look like a wiggly caterpillar. For the body, I made lemon cupcakes (from a box mix) topped with cream cheese frosting I made from scratch, colored green. For the head, I cut a rough shape out of a pan of brownies and frosted with some reserved frosting I colored red. I had plans to make candy eyes and licorice feet for even more awesomeness, but alas, I only had time to stick leftover brownie pieces all over the place (he looks a little cross-eyed as a result, oh well!). I think this last step of making the cake yourself, be it from a mix or from scratch, or even personalizing a store-bought cake, is important and crowd-pleasing to boot. It really says you took some time to celebrate your kid's birthday! So once you sing "Happy Birthday" and dig into your creation, you can relax and be satisfied that you put on a great themed birthday party.


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    • sunbun143 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Hehe yes we were both all-caterpillar all the time for months on end...then it became more about trains and trucks and electronic toys (he got a lot of that stuff as gifts)...We still enjoy reading it but he's too grown up to be surprised by the "beautiful butterfly" that appears at the end anymore...Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is super cute! My children are older now, but I remember those "theme" party days. I have girls so princesses were big in our house :)

      Your ideas were very creative. I love the photo with your son in his little caterpillar costume. All you need to see is the look on his face to know how much he must have loved your ideas. Great job!

    • alissaroberts profile image

      Alissa Roberts 

      7 years ago from Normandy, TN

      I love these ideas especially the caterpillar balloon decoration - how clever! For the past several years I have been making all my own invitations and decorations for my kids' birthday parties too - so much easier on our limited budget. Maybe I can convince my 3 yr old he needs a caterpillar party next month so I can use some of these cute ideas! Voted up and awesome!

    • sunbun143 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      I'll try to remember to take more pictures next time I get ready for a party and share it here! Thanks for reading and enjoying it! Seriously love what a quick image search on google or pinterest pops up. And the free resources out there. Sinea - love your blog Ducks N' A Row! I'm a follower...Thanks for sharing.

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      7 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Totally agree with fact, I liked this so much I Stumbled it and shared it directly with my Kindergarten-teacher friend. She loved it too.

    • sunbun143 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thank you so much! I bookmarked your Dr. Seuss hub so I can reference it later when I do his next birthday party....most likely a Dr. Seuss theme (why not continue with the book inspirations). Thanks for reading!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Wow - this has got to be just about the cutest birthday party theme I have ever seen. Love the invitation, the ballons, and the food! Really wonderful - I'm off to go bookmark and share this one. Your son is just adorable. :) Steph

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Awww... thanks sunbun :0)

    • sunbun143 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      In my hubpages adventures lately, I realized I've been ignoring this first hub of mine! Thank you so much for your kind comments! Sinea - thank you for featuring me on FB. PracticalMommy and Jamie - you are my inspirations! And everyone - thanks for reading and following. I plan to do more craft and cupcake hubs soon.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Wow, what a neat party you did for your little boy.. I bet he had so much fun. The toilet paper roll cocoon is such a neat activity.. it really helps them learn about the different phases. I love the balloon caterpillar, too! Thanks for sharing this.. I have a 4 year old little boy and I bet he would love this!

    • nityanandagaurang profile image


      7 years ago

      very cute and beautiful hub sunbun143.voted up sunbun143.

    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      Such cute ideas in a really neat hub. That balloon caterpillar takes the cake! This idea should help busy moms think outside the box for other themes.

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      What a cute party idea! I love the balloon caterpillar!

      Welcome to HubPages! This is a great first hub. :)

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      7 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Back again :) I really need to share this with my Hubpages followers and will be Stumbling it too. I work in a school and our preschool & kindergarten teachers are also getting a link. Keep up the great hubs!

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      7 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Sunbun143, you are a kid-party genius! So talented. My blog readers will love this post. I'm facebooking it on Ducks 'n a Row today! Just the cutest.

    • sunbun143 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thanks for the comments! I added a pic of my son in his caterpillar halloween cute! Making him happy is my inspiration :)

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      What a creative idea. I especially like the balloon caterpiller. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is such a cute idea for a themed birthday party. My children loved the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Thanks for sharing and Welcome to HubPages.

    • sunbun143 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Thank you so much! I'm not new to decorating and designing and party planning, but I am brand new at feeling proud enough to write about it. But you just have to pat yourself on the back now and then, you know? Hope I can write more hubs soon.

    • LoriSoard profile image


      7 years ago from Henryville, Indiana

      Really good ideas. I love a theme for a party. For my daughter's graduation, we've decided on a simple, elegant black and white theme. Can't wait to see where the creativity takes us. Voting you up.


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