The hardest thing about having a child with a birthday around Christmas is planning a party in the midst of holiday craziness. That's why this year we decided to celebrate on my son's half birthday with an airplane themed birthday. We had so much fun, it might become our new tradition.
For some reason, having a party in the summer felt like it opened so many more doors to different themes. Lately we've been obsessed with all things transportation and especially airplanes. With the fourth of July the following weekend, I was able to take advantage of all things red, white and blue and repurpose for another party. I love getting multiple uses out of things!
More Birthday Party Themes
- Construction Themed Birthday Party for a Toddler
- Our Going 'Two' the Farm Themed Birthday Party
- A Donut Themed Birthday Party
Airplane Themed Food
For the cake, I made it myself and decided to try my hand at the trendy and fun ombre blue! It was definitely a lot easier said than done, with the insane heat we had that week I was battling melting icing all day. Something else I discovered along the way was if you use regular buttercream and add blue food coloring, you end up with green icing, definitely not what I was going for! A little tip, either buy white icing or get some white food coloring to add to your homemade buttercream. Then add your other colors.
To get the ombre effect I first separated out the icing into the three bowls. I made the darkest blue first. Next, I added about a tablespoon of that to the second to get the medium blue. Then, another tablespoon of medium into the last bowl to get the lightest blue. I used a standard round tip to pipe on the clouds and added this fun cake topper from Amazon!
The cake itself was a box cake that I elevated a bit. Don't sleep on box cake! If you're not an expert baker but have a tight budget, this is a great option. Just a few easy substitutions, and no one will be able to tell the different. Adding an extra egg, subbing butter for the oil and milk for the water will give you a super decadent cake that will have everyone asking for the recipe!
Because I was making the cake myself, I wanted to keep the rest of the menu pretty simple for easy set up and clean up! These days planning a menu can be tricky while navigating all the possible food allergies and just the logistics of certain food. We decided on hotdogs, individual bags of chips and watermelon to really lean into summer time favorites.
My son, being the airplane lover he is, means I had a lot of things already on hand to decorate. I used toy planes and books to mark different areas of the party. We used a tent to set up a place for people to sit and keep out of the sun. One the biggest hits was a giant bounce house we rented, the kiddos were obsessed with it! As I mentioned before, I really lucked out with the Fourth of July being so close. Red, white and blue felt appropriate for an airplane [party (thinking of Top Gun mostly). The balloon arch I found was on sale at Hobby Lobby in the Fourth of July section which was a huge win in my book!
For my signs, I had a sign on our front door directing people to the terminal, aka the backyard, and one greeting them at their 'gate'. I made a stencil from tags at hobby lobby and created the labels for food and gifts to resemble baggage tags. I'm also a huge fan of letterboards and utilized ours to create an old fashioned flight board complete with flight numbers. It's easy to get caught up in wanting to do everything you see on Pinterest but I've found that committing to a few decorations that highlight your theme is really all you need.
Tips for a Plane Themed Party
- Use what you have! There are not a lot of pre-packaged airplane themed party elements for decoration. Use your kids' toy's, books, and get creative!
- Make your space work for you! We decided to do a bounce house but our backyard is not very big. So, we paired down the decorations and number of tables. Then, supplemented with camp chairs to give enough seating and maximize space.
- Skip the traditional party stores! You won't find a full cohesive plane party theme and end up frustrated. Utilize places like etsy and, when in doubt, defer to other party themes (like 4th of July) to pull it all together!