noah’s 4th birthday party was quite the extravaganza, which shouldn’t surprise anyone by now. He decided on a superhero themed party long ago and I was pretty psyched to make that a reality (well, his idea was more like TMNT and Spider-Man themed, but I broadened it a bit!). As you can see from above, I decided to go with the classic red/yellow/blue theme with touches of green for noah (his favorite color) and black dots (halftones harkening to the old school comic book printing resolution). More importantly, as you’ll see below, I decided to go crazy on creating some custom activities for the party itself. But first, we needed to find a space to host this nonsense (one of the issues of having winter birthdays: always have to find indoor spaces!). We were lucky enough to find a public space, Curtis Hall in JP, that could be rented for a very fair price (especially when you look at how much the gymnastics and other thematic spaces cost!) and most importantly, it was a blank canvas we could decorate as we liked (signage was all printed by me, streamers, WHAM/BAM/etc, tablecloths, balloons from Oriental Trading)!
First things, first, I set out to make a classic telephone booth for our mini-superheroes to change in (not that any of them actually have ever seen or know about a phone booth. But, you know, big red box they can climb in and out of, they’re sold on it.). Shout out to Yale Appliance who was the first (after many) appliance stores to respond positively to my odd request (a fridge box for a superhero party!). I was inspired a lot by this blog I found, and many other sources I reference on my pinterest page, but I definitely added my own touches. And we all got to paint it together, including noah who loves “helping” (mostly it helps, but also leads to a lot more clean-up afterwards, but worth it!). The best part about this phone booth is the phone is actually a working phone, well, sort of. There is a coin slot I made that you can put the coins in and they will fall out the bottom (as simple as putting a diagonal piece of cardboard in the bottom so they slide out). The keys can be pressed in (I took apart a toy register and put new stickers over the buttons), but they don’t do anything (although there is a SUPERNOAH button that seems to work pretty well at getting him to come! :) ). And for an added touch of authenticity, I bought one of those retro handsets that can plug into your cell phone, so you can actually make phone calls with the phone (noah LOVED this!!!).
As you can see below, the kids really got “into” it! :)
At the same time I obsessed over painting an entire refrigerator box red (that did not fit in our house FYI, thanks mom and dad for letting your living room be superhero look and feel creation station for a couple weeks!!!), Lauren took on making custom capes for all the children. No small task when you invite about 30! She found this video from Jo-Ann Fabrics that worked perfectly. The key is to get thin fleece which you can cut without finishing the edges (it’s like felt, but more flowy, so more cape-like, if you will). I made stencils for all the letters (which we did in felt), and a lot of fabric glue later, ta da!!!
Bonus: the window bars in the room worked perfectly for hanging the capes! noah got his own very special satin green cape that nonna sewed for him as his birthday present. It actually took a little coaxing for him to put it on (I think he was a bit overwhelmed by it all, being just post-nap), but once he did, he was flying around the room with it like, well, a superhero!
The best part of this party (other than the photobooth, but we are working up to that), was the open flow of it. We set up several activity stations that the families could partake in as they liked. No pressure to do any one thing at any one time, everyone could just play wherever they wanted. There was a mask-making station to complete their superhero transformation (we ordered the cut foam masks from a shop on etsy, got some glitter glue, which, BTW takes too long to dry, and foam star stickers).
Then we had a coloring station with three designs i made and printed out in black and white for the kids to color in: A superhero skyline complete with mini-superheroes, a SUPERGIRL, and a SUPERBOY sheet. Because who doesn’t love to color in superhero drawings?
Another favorite station was the “Brick Busting” station which was as simple as a bunch of cardboard bricks in red, yellow, and blue in front of a polka dot tablecloth and KA-POW/SMASH/BOOM! signs. You don’t have to ask a pre-schooler twice to knock down a wall of bricks. Luckily for us, my mom already had a large set of these cardboard bricks, but if you don’t have them you can always use a bunch of painted shoeboxes. Check out the craziness that ensued:
The biggest attraction by far, for the young, the old, and everyone in between, was the photobooth. I had seen online many people do the superhero photobooth with painted buildings in the background, but I just had to take it one step further and make an actual city to pose in. I actually hemmed and hawed about whether or not to do it, because I had already created a pretty sweet backdrop that on its own was a good photo op (thanks Microprint for printing it and all the signage!). I took my superhero skyline and added “stick figure” superheroes, kind of think this should be a series (I borrowed a couple of the bodies from the noun project, thanks noun project!). Check it out:
But then I painted one of the cardboard boxes we had been collecting and lined them up, and without doing anything else, noah was in LOVE with them. Based on the fact that he could move them himself, hide in them, play in them, set stuff up on them, and just basically be king of his own little city, he was loving it. So I couldn’t not do it at that point. This led to a marathon session of painting (I decided to reverse my invite design and paint the buildings red/blue/yellow and the windows black) and taping the corners for “outlines” (I used Duck Duct Tape, there is a specific one that is thinner and cuts cleaner). Followed by a marathon session of Lauren and I cutting the duct tape to make windows (noah even helped with this too). Upon seeing the finished project he did seem less than impressed, mainly because he wanted to know where the “green building” was (did I mention his favorite color is green?!?!?). So I added a little SUPERNOAH HQ on top of the yellow building complete with it’s own blinking LED glow stick. And, now he was impressed:
But to really make this superduper fun (pun intended), we needed some superhero props! A few Hasbro superhero masks later, some Clark Kent glasses, a couple superhero accessories, and one big homemade barbell (cardboard poster tube + 2 foam balls, some paint, some foil tape, and duct tape), and voila! Superhero fun ensues…
To say people had fun in the photobooth, would be an understatement, see for yourself (and BIG thank you to Megan for working the camera for this and of course Elliot for setting it all up and shooting the rest of the party!):
Other than that, there was the small matter of a cake. We went to our usual spot, Party Favors, and gave them our usual overly detailed specifications which thankfully, they delivered on. noah was very excited about it, especially the characters on top and the whole “I GET TO EAT A BIG PIECE OF CHOCOLATE CAKE” rush. If only characters from Marvel, DC, and TMNT could get together more often in the name of deliciously, sugary sweet birthday cake. Here’s the cake shots and a few others from the general party fun:
And one last shot of all the pieces I printed out for the party (if anyone you know is having a superhero party and wants these or the designs, let me know!):
Thanks to everyone who helped us prep, prepare, create, set-up, transport (no easy task to get a 7 foot high telephone booth somewhere!), photograph, clean-up, and just attend and make this birthday extra special for our little supernoah! He thanks you too!