Throw an Elmo Birthday Party with Homemade Decorations and Desserts!
All the Tips, Tricks & Inspiration You Need for an Awesome Party!
My daughter loves Elmo! So I threw an Elmo party for her second birthday, complete with tons of homemade goodies and decorations.
And I'm going to show you how I did it, from the cupcakes and cake pops to the personalized signs, so that whether you're crafty or not, you too can host an amazing Elmo birthday party!
There are so many ways to add a touch of Elmo to everything, from food to personalized decorations!
I had SO much fun with this party - and you can, too!
It's Easier Than It Looks!
Do the pictures look a little overwhelming? Don’t worry; I’m not exactly Martha Stewart! And I actually threw this party when I was 36 weeks pregnant. Since I didn’t want a ton of kids running through my house a month before my due date, I also carted all the decorations and food to my in-law’s house and set everything up in two hours. So trust me: you can do it, too!
I’m going to tell you how I did everything (and most of it I did in advance!), but you don’t have to do every single project I did to still accomplish beautiful results. I can tell you that the Cake Balls were by far the biggest hit of the party, and even if that’s the only homemade touch you add to your Elmo party, it’ll still leave an impression.
You can pick and choose what you’d like to do. For example, if you want to make the cake balls but don’t have time for any other baking, you can pick up store-bought cupcakes and stick an Elmo ring on top for easy Elmo cupcakes. (Although I really think the cupcakes were one of the easiest things I made!)
Also, to make a big impact, I stuck to a red theme, with touches of orange. I didn’t want to do Elmo-Overload with pictures of the little monster on every single surface and everywhere you looked. That’s when parties (even kid parties) begin to border on tacky. Sure, you can get Elmo cups, Elmo plates, Elmo napkins, Elmo posters, Elmo tablecloths, and Elmo balloons, but that can start to make you dizzy, aside from taking attention away from any homemade project you do decide to tackle or any larger pieces you have, like an airwalker balloon.
I decided to use mostly red decorations for the background, like plates, napkins, cups, tablecloths and balloons, so that whatever I did make or buy with Elmo’s portrait or face would stand out against the monochromatic background. I feel like that produces a more successful environment, BUT the choice for decorations and food is completely up to you, and your child will love the Elmo party no matter what you decide to do!
The Elmo Dessert Table!
The Elmo Dessert Table
I used my in-law’s breakfast table to set up the desserts, draping it in a red tablecloth and covering it with all manner of sweets. I set up two bouquets of red balloons behind it, as well as two personalized signs (which I’ll get into below), and I set up the Elmo airwalker balloon in the high chair behind the table just for photos before moving him to the floor to allow the children to play with him.
I set up the cupcake stand in the center. On either side of the cupcake stand I set up all the favor bags (also discussed below), and near the front I stacked plates and napkins in alternating colors, i.e. small red plates on larger orange plates and Elmo themed napkins stacked on red napkins.
The Elmo cupcakes, which I placed in the cupcake stand as well as two plates on either side of the stand, and Elmo Cake Balls, which were placed on one oval and two round plates, were the main focus, and I’ll explain how I made each in detail below.
Also featured were the Dorothy Sugar Cookies. To save myself time and effort, I purchased refrigerated sugar cookie dough (with coupons, of course!). I added some flour while rolling it out, and cut out the cookies with two sizes of fish-shaped cutters from an old set of Wilton metal cookie cutters. I can’t find that same set for sale online anymore, but anything resembling Elmo’s pet fish Dorothy will work. I then made some simple Poured Cookie Icing, which is a recipe from Wilton’s website. Just mix together 1 cup confectioners sugar, 2 teaspoons milk and 2 teaspoons light corn syrup. Then mix in coloring; I used Wilton’s gel color icing in orange. Also, I doubled the batch of icing because I made a lot of cookies. Then, place the icing in a small baggy, snip off one corner, and drizzle the icing over the cooled cookies, first by tracing near the edges in the shape of the fish, and then filling in the center.
Then there’s the Muddy Buddies. This is just the basic, traditional mixture of chocolate and peanut butter and Chex cereal, except that I substituted a cup of red candy melts for the cup of chocolate chips the recipe calls for. Then, after shaking the candy in the powdered sugar, I added some liquid red food coloring to the bags and shook some more to produce a redder color. Otherwise, I followed the recipe on the Betty Crocker website.
Lastly, I set out bowls of red-colored candy. You’ll see that I put red-wrapped miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in one bowl. I could find the red wrappers because I threw the party around Valentine’s Day, but the regular orange-wrapped ones would also have worked with my theme. Then I added some red M&M’s, which I separated out of a bag of Valentine’s Day candy. You could buy a bag of just red M&M’s, or separate them out of a normal bag. I like the second option because it means I get to eat all the non-red ones. Oh, and I can buy regular (or Valentine’s) M&M’s with coupons.
Any other Elmo sweets would work in this display, as well as any other type of red or orange candy to snack on. Some other ideas I’d had, but didn’t use, included Rice Krispie Marshmallow Treats, either made with strawberry marshmallows, a marshmallow mixture dyed red with food coloring, or topped with red-colored icing and sprinkles. Or all three. Also, I’d considered making Jello Jigglers with strawberry or cherry Jell-O, or setting out a plate of the already-unwrapped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups “Minis” that were topped with a small swirl of red icing, piped on with a small star decorating tip, and topped by a quick shake of nonpareil sprinkles. These decorated “minis” represent tiny cupcakes and have been a hit at past parties.
Not the exact cutter I used, (which I couldn't find) though I did use a combination of large and small fish. This is a small one. Small is good for little hands!
The Elmo Cupcakes
These cupcakes were one of the easiest things I created. I used store bought chocolate cake mix, with mini chocolate chips in the batter, and store bought vanilla icing. A few days in advance, I melted white, orange and dark cocoa candy melts in sandwich baggies and drew Elmo faces on waxed paper. I did it freehand and guessed on the size based off of a cupcake wrapper.
I piped two white circles for eyes, let it set briefly, then piped an orange oval for the nose, slightly overlapping it over the bottom of the two eyes. After letting that set, I piped pupils in the eyes and half-circle mouths. The mouths weren't intended to be perfect because of Elmo's fur. Don't forget to make a few extras.
Once completely set and dry, I lifted the candy off the wax paper with my small angled, metal spatula (mostly because using my fingers might have melted some of them) and put them in two food storage containers, separated the layers with was paper. I did this days in advance because the candy doesn't lose freshness very fast at all, and when I decorated the cupcakes, it was easy to simply transfer the candy.
I baked the cupcakes the day before the party. I had made a double batch of cupcakes, and so to make sure I had plenty of icing, I scooped out three containers of vanilla icing into a bowl (I may have gotten away with two, but I hate running out of icing) and then added quite a bit of Wilton "red, red" gel icing color to get the color I wanted. Make sure it's well blended. And if you have you're toddler in the kitchen "helping out," make sure she doesn't get a hold of that gel coloring!
Once the cupcakes had cooled, I spread a thin layer of red icing over each, partially to make it easier for the "fur" to stick and also to make sure the chocolate cupcake didn't show through the fur. Also to make sure there was plenty of icing.
Then I piped on Elmo's fur using the #233 grass icing decorating tip from Wilton. (See the video below for a visual on using the tip.) I used an actual icing decorating bag for this, instead of a plastic food baggy, because I've found that big jobs can cause holes to burst in the plastic baggies, and it's just not worth the mess.
Remember that Elmo's fur is messy, so don't try to be perfect. I piped around the edge first and spiraled in towards the center. The piping of the fur was very quick, and I'd pipe fur on about five or six cupcakes before adding the eyes and mouths that were sitting at my work station. I'd made the noses a little too long, so many overlapped the mouths, but the look still worked.
I let them sit out for a few hours to make sure the icing was completely dry before packing them into my large food storage containers in which they were transferred to the party location. Then I put some on a cupcake stand and the rest on two large round plates on either side of the stand. For a candle, I got a simple, red number "2" on a stick that I stuck into the cupcake at the top of the stand. My daughter loved them.
Elmo Loves Cupcakes!
How to Pipe Grass - This video demonstrates how to pipe grass with two different tips. The #233 tip is what I used to make Elmo's fur on the cupcakes.
More Supplies for Making Elmo Cupcakes - I didn't use these, but they're great options for easy, cute cupcakes!
The Elmo Cake Balls
Okay, I’ll admit that Cake Balls, or Cake Pops, of any design are certainly a bit of work. However, they’re extremely popular with party guests and well worth the effort. After all, they’re delicious! And these Elmo Cake Balls were certainly the biggest hit at my daughter’s party. Another selling point: I made these cake balls three days before the party because once you mix the cake and icing and dip it all in a candy coating, they stay fresh for a very long time.
They’re based on Bakerella’s Street Party Cake Pops. She made Big Bird, Oscar, Cookie Monster and Elmo, and even though I took most of her advice for decorating them, I did change them up a little by using red sugar sprinkles for a fur texture instead of the more labor intensive method she used of dripping melted candy over the pops. Hers look a little more professional, but I was delighted with mine just the same.
The basic cake ball is pretty simple: bake a cake in a 9 x 13 pan. Cool. Crumble cake into fine crumbs in a bowl (I use my hands for this). Add about three-quarters of a tub of store bought icing and blend. Shape into balls about 1” or 1.5” in size. Set balls on tray with wax paper. Refrigerate for about an hour or freeze for about 15 minutes (but don’t let them freeze solid!). Melt 2 bags of candy melts at half power per instructions on package. Dip balls in candy (I find forks better to use than spoons). Cover ball in candy. Tap fork on side of bowl lightly to get rid of excess candy. Put on wax paper. Decorate as desired and trace around ball with toothpick to help break off excess candy later.
Those are the basic directions, in a nutshell. You can also read more about Bakerella’s Basic Cake Pops. You can also watch the video below for more tips.
I used a red velvet cake mix for the balls (red for Elmo!), and so I chose cream cheese icing to go with it. I could only find the white Sixlets online or at Party City and finding just orange jelly beans was also a challenge until I came across a Jelly Belly dispenser at a local supermarket. You could also use orange Tic Tacs, however, which was my backup. They’re smaller but would still get the point across. Also, Wilton sells candy eyes, but I didn’t like them as much as the Sixlets.
I would only dip one cake ball and decorate it before moving on to the next. Otherwise, the candy hardened too fast. I used Wilton’s red candy melts for the candy. Once dipped, I immediately shook on some red sugar sprinkles to represent fur. Then I pressed in two white Sixlets for eyes, an orange jelly bean for his nose, and a dark cocoa candy melt that had been cut in half ahead of time for his mouth. Then I traced around the bottom with a toothpick to make sure any candy that had dripped onto the wax paper could be easily broken off later.
Once everything was set, I colored on Elmo’s pupils with a black edible ink marker. Then I let them sit for an hour of so to make sure they were really set and dry before placing them in a single layer in food storage containers. Once at the party location, I placed them on one oval and two circular serving plates in front of the cupcakes. They were ALL gone by the end of the party.
Bakerella was my inspiration for the Elmo Cake Balls! Read all about her Street Party Cake Pops that include Big Bird, Oscar, Cookie Monster and, of course, Elmo!
Watch Bakerella's Tips on Making Cake Pops
Food safe writing. Used these for Elmo's eyes.
Elmo Cake Kits - Want to make a cake instead of cupcakes like me? Here are some great tools to help you create a fun Elmo cake!
Planning a Party?
Are you planning an Elmo birthday party?
It was a lunchtime party, so I made sandwiches. They were pretty basic: bread, turkey, ham, cheese, tomatoes, mustard and mayo. I often like to barbeque burgers and hot dogs for parties like this, but, like I mentioned earlier, I was going for easy because of the impending due date. The sandwiches were easy.
Alongside the sandwiches, I set out snacks that kept with my red and orange theme, including regular Doritos chips, baked cheese "fries," and cheddar Goldfish crackers. There are plenty of other options as well, if you just browse your supermarket shelves.
One of favorite props was the fishbowl. I set out the Goldfish in a small fishbowl that resembled Dorothy's bowl on Elmo's World. Of course, I washed it and ran it through the dishwasher first (mine was glass). I thought it was a very fun decorative element, and it was super easy.
The big statement on the food table, however, was the Elmo Fruit Face. I saw a picture of something like this online, and there are many options for achieving this look. I took a platter, put out two condiment cups for eyes, and scooped spoonfuls of fruit onto the plate in the shape of Elmo's face.
For the fruit platter, I used strawberries for Elmo's fur, mandarin oranges for his nose, and blueberries for his mouth, as well as vanilla yogurt for his eyes and blueberries for his pupils. But a different option would be to make a veggie platter instead. You could use cherry tomatoes for the fur, baby carrots for the nose, black olives for the mouth, and ranch for his eyes. Or you could do both.
Another idea I had, but didn't get around to, was to buy or make a fish-shaped (Dorothy) plate, fill it with baby carrots and place some condiment cups filled with ranch near the fish's mouth to represent bubbles. This would have replaced a veggie platter.
I also put out plates and napkins in alternating colors, and filled red cups with forks and spoons. I put red confetti on the counter and set out soda bottles, while filling a nearby cooler with bottled water and juice. I got some of the Apple & Eve juice boxes that had Elmo pictured on the front.
Fish Bowls - Whether you choose to use them as decorations or to display food, a fish bowl is great decoration for an Elmo party!
Cute Elmo Napkins
I loved these napkins! I used them as a focal point on the food tables because of the pop of color.
The Elmo Outfit
Idecided that I wanted to get my daughter a special, customized outfit for her birthday. I looked into doing something myself, but I realized that I just didn’t have the time to do everything myself, including teaching myself how to make a tutu.
So I looked into buying something customized. I searched the web and found a few choices on Etsy, a website I love. I liked the outfits I saw at the HugWear shop and so ordered an Elmo tutu outfit from her.
I loved the look of the outfit and it received constant praise from partygoers. Plus, it led to adorable photos of the birthday girl! As you can see from the picture above, it came with a multi-colored tutu, a matching headband, and a shirt customized with the number 2 and her name.
I also purchased a pair of white leggings from Walmart (the party was in February, and even Florida is sometimes cold then) and we used her Christmas shoes because they were covered in red glitter and she loves wearing them.
If you’re not interested in customized tutu outfits for your little girl, or you’re throwing a party for a little boy, I’ve listed some non-personalized but adorable Elmo outfits for girls and boys, plus apparel for mom and dad. Just scroll down to see them!
Elmo Life-Size Airwalker Balloon
One of my favorite decorations, this Elmo balloon is almost as tall as me! It's also very durable, and was a hit with my daughter. And even though we had it filled at the local grocery store the morning of the party, the helium kept it floating for days!
The Elmo Happy Birthday Sign
Igot the idea for this sign from the Life in Wonderland Blog. I decided to tackle this project because it mostly consisted on cutting shapes out of foam and gluing them all together. Simple.
So I went to Michaels, bought foam sheets in red, orange, white and black, and kind of freehanded it when it came to cutting out a red head and hands, and the white eyes and orange nose.
For the sign that Elmo’s holding, I downloaded a crayon font from Fontspace and created a sign that read, “ELMO says Happy 2nd Birthday to FIONA!” I made the letters all different colors and printed the sign on white cardstock. I then cut it and the black foam down to size with my scrapbooking paper cutter, and I glued everything together with hot glue.
On the back, as you can see in the photo, I attached some cardboard I had cut from a box and spray painted white. It was also attached with hot glue. And even though my Elmo’s features may be a tad exaggerated, I was happy with the overall result.
The Sesame Street Lampost Sign
This project was easier than I expected, with the most time consuming aspect being the wait between applications of spray paint. For the sign pieces, I bought a 3” x 5” plaque for the base, a 3/8” dowel for the pole and a 2.5” doll’s head for the light at the top. All were made of solid wood and purchased at Michaels for under $2 total.
I asked my husband to cut down the dowel to about 11 or 12 inches in length, and drill into the plaque and ball about a half an inch to give it all a bit more stability once put together. It was going to be accessible to toddlers, after all.
I hot glued the dowel into the plaque and spray painted it with an Emerald Green spray paint, and separately spray painted the ball white. Then I attached the ball with hot glue.
For the street sign, I created a green and yellow street sign in photoshop, which you can see below. You can click on it, save it, add text in Paint (or your favorite photo editing software) and print out in an 8.5” x 11” size. I simply added my daughter’s name in front of “street” on the sign, and then printed it out on white cardstock.
I took two strips of white cardstock, about a half inch wide apiece, and glued half of each strip to the underside of one street sign. Then I wrapped those two strips of paper around the lamppost and glued them to the back of that same sign. Then I glued the other sign on top of the attached sign, with the design facing outwards. In retrospect, however, I wouldn’t use hot glue, because it came out slightly crooked and I had no way to fix it since it dried instantly.
The Wall (Or Window) Signs
These signs were simple. I used the same crayon font that I discussed above, and created two signs, one saying, “La La La La Fiona’s World,” like the opening song to Elmo’s World, except with my daughter’s name, and the other saying, “This party was brought to you by the letter F and the number 2,” which is just like the ending to Sesame Street, but with the first letter of my daughter’s name and her age.
I printed the signs on white cardstock, cut them out with scalloped scrapbooking scissors, and attached them to red cardstock with photo mounting squares normally used in scrapbooking. I punched two holes in the red cardstock and attached a red ribbon, which I then used to hang from small suction cups on the window.
More Fun Elmo-Themed Decorations
The Outdoor Activities
Since the party took place in Florida, even in February, I expected that the kids would mostly be playing outside. To add some Elmo-themed activities to the outdoors, I set out plenty of red bottles of bubbles (which were also placed in the favor bags), red hula hoops (which I got at a dollar store), a giant red ball, and some Frisbees.
I had intended to add the image of Elmo to the giant ball in some way, either by drawing on an outline of Elmo with a marker, or maybe just the eyes and nose, or adding his face with a giant sticker. Either way, I decided to abandon that project. I did, however, print out circles of cardstock with an image of Elmo’s face to glue to the Frisbees.
More Game & Activity Ideas
Here are some activity ideas for the party! The game ideas listed here are mostly aimed at the toddler age.
Elmo says in his song for Elmo’s World, “Elmo loves his crayons!” So I printed some coloring pages from the Sesame Street website and set them out with some crayons on a coffee table. The short table would allow any of the younger kids to gather around without the need for chairs, and the individual sheets would allow them to easily take home their artwork if they wanted. You could also set out coloring books for each child if it’s a smaller party.
Make Your Own Foam Elmo
Set out buckets of pre-cut foam shapes for Elmo’s head, eyes, pupils, nose and mouth and let the kids assemble Elmo faces with double-sided tape or glue. Or, instead of setting out Elmo heads, set out red foam visors and allow kids to attach the eyes, noses and mouths to the visors!
Pin the Nose on Elmo
Put up a big poster of Elmo, cut a bunch of Elmo noses out of orange cardstock, put some double-sided tape on the back, and let the kids try to attach them like they would with “pin the tail on the donkey.” Whether or not you blindfold or spin the young ones is up to you!
How Many Dorothys?
Put Goldfish crackers in a container, (possibly a fish bowl, but something with a lid would be preferable if you don’t want people eating the game pieces!), and have the kids guess how many goldfish are inside!
Set out a bowl (preferably plastic) and let the kids toss fish toys into it. If you can’t find fish toys (try beach/bath toys!), you can make simple goldfish out of orange socks filled with dried beans and tied off with rubber bands.
The Best of Elmo 2 DVD
I love this DVD! So does my daughter, of course, but the best part about it is that she can watch Elmo and I can still be entertained by the music! It has a background story about a robot who needs to be recharged with memories, and so Elmo remembers various things to help out the robot. All of these memories are music videos featuring Jason Mraz, Adam Sandler, Destiny's Child, David Beckham, India Arie, The Goo Goo Dolls, Feist, Ray Charles and more!
It's a great gift for any Elmo fan, but it's also great as a party activity since you can play it while the party is taking place. A sure way to entertain the kiddos and their parents!
The Favor Bags
This was one of my favorite things to make because the bags were just so darn cute! I found small red gift bags (about 4 inches tall) at Walmart, but there are some listed for sale below if you can’t find anything you like locally. You could also use larger bags is you want to give larger favors. My dilemma was that most of the kids there wouldn’t actually be toddlers, like my daughter. So, with the wide range of ages represented, I went with the small bags and filled them with bubbles, stickers and candy.
I choose the red bubbles because I originally intended to put Elmo faces on all of those as well, but they were smaller than I expected, so I changed my mind. I bought a couple different kinds of Elmo/Sesame Street stickers at the dollar store and cut down the sheets into smaller portions so they would fit in the smaller bags. Then I added candy.
I went with red candy to fit the Elmo theme. You would think this would have been much easier for me since I was planning a party in February, but it turns out that most Valentine’s Day candy is covered in hearts and that certainly wasn’t the look I was going for. I wound up picking red kisses out of the Valentine’s package of kisses, but Party City sells different colors of kisses individually is you’re not throwing a party around a holiday. I added in fun size Kit Kats because they are already red, and Valentine’s Day Miniature Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, which were red, but even the regular orange ones would have worked. Then I found individually wrapped Twizzlers and added three per bag; I especially like them because they helped the bag feel fuller.
There are plenty of other options, though, when it comes to edible favors. You could use red and orange Starbursts, Tic Tacs, or a wide variety of gum. Take a look around your local supermarket and you may come across all manner of interesting finds.
But what about the faces, you ask? I printed Elmo’s eyes and nose on white cardstock, cut them out, and attached them to the bags with the photo mounting squares I use for scrapbooking. Quick and easy. Below is a link to the image I made, and it’s designed to be printed out at an 8.5” x 11” size.
Links to Help You Plan Your Party - Here are some websites I used for inspiration, and a couple I've found since the party!
- Sesame Street
The official Sesame Street website.
- Sesame Street Coloring Pages
Find printable coloring pages with Elmo and other Sesame Street characters.
- Bakerella's Elmo Cake Pops
My inspiration for the cake balls, Bakerella's Street Party Cake Pops include Big Bird, Oscar, Cookie Monster and Elmo.
- HugWear on Etsy
This is the Etsy shop where I purchased my daughter's personalized Elmo Tutu outfit.
- Life in Wonderland Blog
This blog inspired my foam Elmo sign and the Elmo fruit platter. Other great ideas as well!
- Elmo Birthday Party Ideas
This site has a LONG list of links that are stories of people who've thrown Elmo and Sesame Street birthday parties. There are a lot of great ideas here, but - be warned - there is a LOT of reading and no photos.
- Amazing Mom's Elmo Party Blog
This blog has some ideas about invitations, decorations, games and cupcakes.
- The Mom Creative's Elmo Party Blog
This blog is about the party one mother threw for her 2-year-old. Lots of great photos!
T ell us what you think about all of the food and the crafts! Does your child love Elmo? Have you thrown an Elmo party? Are you planning one? Let us know!