Our Sam’s birthday is just a few days after Christmas. So each year, it’s always a little bit of “Yikes, what are we going to do for Sam’s birthday?!” once all the Christmas glitter settles. With my own birthday on Christmas Day, I’m sensitive about letting his birthday get lost in all the holiday chaos. So even though it’s always last minute, I try to pull together his own special party with really easy DIY projects and inexpensive decor. This year, I thought for sure Sam would want a Paw Patrol party since that is the phase we are firmly in. So I was quite surprised when, out of the blue, he requested an “Elmo cake” and didn’t budge once. It was actually good news to me since re-creating Elmo is soooo much easier than the whole Pup crew! Let me show you the easy Elmo Birthday Party Ideas we used this year if you too have an Elmo lover (and not a lot of time!) in your home!
If you go onto Amazon or into Party City and look for Elmo stuff, you will quickly see that it’s mostly for 1st Birthday parties. I tend to “curate” my own party stuff anyway, but I was somewhat surprised how “baby” a lot of the Elmo napkins, balloons, etc were. I quickly decided to use the little monster’s colors (red, black, orange and white) for our party theme. Not only did this approach allow me to use stuff other than all the 1st Birthday items, but it also gave a more…ummm…”mature” feel to our Elmo party. Much better suited for a 3 year old!
I purchased just 1 Elmo design from the Cricut Design Space Library (Waving Elmo #M4063E seen below) and used it in a variety of ways. Then I stocked up on basic red, orange, black and white party supplies to pull the whole theme together.
TIP! Party City lets you order online and pickup in store, even balloon orders! It’s a great way to save time poking around the store and just get what you need!
The result was a really fun and fresh, but also veeerry ELMO, birthday display! I’ll never forget when Sam came downstairs and saw his party setup for the first time: “It’s my Elmo party! It’s beautiful!”
Remember, time was of the essence here. In fact, I pulled this entire party together in just a day…including my trip to the party store. Here’s what I did!
For pretty much every party I do, I create some themed table centerpieces we can use throughout the space. I find they are a quick and simple way to bring any theme to life, and I broke down my tried-and-true formula here.
This time around, I paired my favorite Party City buckets with just the face from the Elmo graphic (cut from vinyl and stuck right to the buckets). I then cut a bunch of 3s from black, red, and orange cardstock and stuck them in the buckets (on wood kabob skewers) with some red tissue paper.
Extra 3s were scattered around the tables. For all the snacks, I simply rummaged through my cabinets for anything orange and red…including our mixing bowls and paper soup bowls! All of the foods were on color theme: Cheeze-Its, strawberries, mini Oreo cookies…and then a bunch of leftover Christmas candy!
Speaking of that Elmo face (again, which was just pulled from the larger Elmo graphic), I used it everywhere!
We wrapped all of the birthday presents in red wrapping paper. I then cut a few more vinyl faces (same as the red buckets) and we stuck them right to the presents. Not only did our present stack remain on theme, but they served as great oversized decorations themselves!
Red tablecloths and the centerpieces brought the party theme to the adjoining kitchen and family room, but it was really the display along the back windows that made it all feel uber festive!
The main focal point of the entire display was this extra large Elmo I cut from posterboard. I have the full tutorial on how I made this big Elmo here.
We then filled in the rest of the display space with a bunch of coordinating party streamers.
They were a great way to make the whole space more colorful and on-theme for literally just a few dollars!
Originally, I ordered this large Elmo balloon. But when they went to blow it up, they discovered their entire stash was defective and all the balloons had holes. I decided to just get a large red balloon instead and added yet another vinyl Elmo face. In the end, I still got the cute Elmo balloon display I wanted for Sam but a little cheaper!
Oh! And about that “Elmo cake” that Sam kept asking for? It doesn’t really get much easier than circle cake layers with lots of red frosting (no need to make your own, this one is BRIGHT red and tastes good too). I used Oreos for the eyes, black sprinkles for the mouth, and the red frosting with a large flower tip for all the fur along the sides.
Besides thinking we were too loud when we were singing “Happy Birthday,” Sam had a woooonderful 3rd Birthday Party! We kept it up for a few days because he loved it so much, and he was pretty bummed when it finally all got cleaned up.
I think this party was one of my favorites to pull together. Not only did I love the non-traditional color scheme for an Elmo birthday party, but I loved how easily it all came together. I’ve done really big parties for the kids in the past, with days and days of prep and projects. This time around, I made the big Elmo, the party buckets, and the vinyl face stickers in just a few hours. After Sam went to bed, we spent about 30 minutes setting the tables and doing the streamers. Sam’s reaction the next morning (and the day after and the day after) re-affirmed that it really doesn’t have to be big, fancy and complicated to be special…but the few special details are always worth the effort.
If you’re looking for more fun kid party inspiration, below are a few of my favorites!