Bubba turned 4 a few weeks ago and, in true 4 year old boy fashion, he wanted a dinosaur themed party. Sounds simple enough, right? It would have been simple if I wasn’t in possession of that really helpful superpower of being able to transform even the most basic of tasks into a total cluster. What does that superhero costume look like? Whatever it is I’m sure it has way too many zippers and shrinks in the rain.
Bubba wanted this simple party at home – again, sounds easy. Too bad his party was scheduled (by me) to take place in our home about 3 weeks into our kitchen/bathroom/playroom renovation project.
“Let’s invite a bunch of 4 year olds over, give them sugar, and then tell them they can’t go in over 1/3 of the living space. Let’s also make them have to go to a different floor to pee and remove any form of running water from the party level.”
Told you I had a superpower.
After accepting the chaos that was looming before me (and after frantically searching Airbnb for any homes in our neighborhood I could rent for one day to house the party) I called on my friends at Minted for some help. I’ve been working with them for years and they have never let me down in the party planning arena. I’m not joking when I say I should probably just have their website has my home page at this point in our relationship.
Minted has great designs, but I didn’t want to use their dinosaur party pack in its entirety because one of our guests had actually used that set for a birthday party a couple of months ago. Because their products are so customizable, I ended up drawing my own party dinosaur and using that as the character image within the Minted package. Feel free to use my dino image – you can find a downloadable copy here.
For decor, we used giant crepe paper sheets from PaperMart, 2 big mylar balloons, and the Minted pieces. I really love the table runner. It is super high quality and has the feel of plastic mixed with fabric. It isn’t like some cheapo garbage bag feeling thing at all. I made a dino plate by chopping the heads off of some dollar store dinos and gluing them around a plate. A dino sandwich cutter made quick work of transforming PB&J into little dino bites.
Bubba requested a volcano cake that was actually erupting. Sure kid, why not? I used a vanilla sheet cake for the base and then a stack of 6 round chocolate cakes to form the volcano. I carved a general lump shape and then dug out enough of the top so that a shot glass could be tucked inside without being seen. I layered the fondant over the volcano, making sure to cover the rim of the shot glass as well. We bought dried ice from the grocery store fish department and dropped in chunks over the course of the party. We had to pour a touch of hot water in every once in a while to really get it steaming. As for the rest of the cake, Theo Chocolate happens to make a chocolate brontosaurus and Bubba’s non-culinary grandmother contributed that to the party. I balled up carved out cake scraps and covered them with fondant to make the boulders. The trees and other stuff was straight from the toy bin.
Since we had a large quantity of children and little space, I decided the best way to occupy the masses on a rainy April afternoon was to outsource entertainment. We hired the Reptile Man who kindly filled my living room with snakes, lizards, a peeing alligator, and a giant tortoise. It was super cool, most of the kids loved it (some hid, I’m not gonna lie) and it was totally educational. I ordered this giant floor pillow from Minted’s new home decor line and it gave Bubba a “thrown” to sit on during the show. We still use this pillow on the daily for book reading, movie watching, and general lounging. I love myself a reusable party prop!
Over my years of party planning I’ve learned 1) that I love giving party favors and 2) that I like when said favors are quality. I will forgo the juice boxes and the 5 kinds of chips and the matching paper straws if it means I can give away nicer favors. This year I found these AMAZING dinosaur tails on a discount website and knew they had to be the favors. I mean, are you kidding me? Look at these things?! We also had an even better favor, but I’m going to share that one tomorrow. It is good enough to get a solo post (and a giveaway will be happening!)
Overall, the party was a total success. All the kids had fun and I am learning that less is often more at these shindigs. Who cares if you have perfectly labeled snack bowls or a theme drink? All you need is a good group of friends who are willing to wade through construction to share a big day with your family.
*Just an FYI, Minted totally hooked me up with these products for free. They are awesome like that. But I would never ever tell you something was good if it wasn’t, so you can trust me on all these opinions.