Disney Cars Birthday Extravaganza

We celebrated Wildman’s 5th birthday early this year.  He officially turns 5 on December 21st but that’s way to close to Christmas to host a birthday party in my opinion.  My sanity really could not take it.

Wildman insisted on a Disney Cars theme this year.  My gears immediately began turning with crafty possibilities.  In an effort to cut back on our spending I decided to forgo the bookings at organized party places, the park reservations and the bouncy house rentals.  This year we went old school with a backyard, homemade birthday party.  It was perfect even if the weather was not!  It finally stopped raining about an hour before party time and then the temperature dropped to a chilly 60-something.  There was no sun to be had either.

The decorations were almost 100% homemade.  I saved every cardboard box that crossed my threshold to make the signs of Radiator Springs.  I made the following to be posted around the backyard:

  • Welcome to Radiator Springs
  • Flo’s V8 Cafe
  • Sudsy Sam’s Car wash
  • Tow Mater
  • Luigi’s Casa Della Tires
  • Ramone’s House of Body Art (Steph actually made this one)
  • Piston Cup
  • Lightning Bolt

I used my Cricut machine to create all of the lettering.  Scrapbook paint was employed liberally.  Mod Podge was applied for adhesion and protection.  I had originally planned to turn Wildman’s monkey bars into a car wash but it did not stop raining long enough for me to do it.  So, I improvised and his doorway became the car wash instead.

Another cardboard box creation came in the form of Lightning McQueen himself!  Over the past month or so I’ve been scouring the Internet for Cars party ideas.  I stumbled across this guy who make all sorts of awesome party decorations out of cardboard.  I printed out his diagram for making a cardboard McQueen and took it to J.  I told him that he had to make the form for me so I could paint it.  J, always up for a challenge, happily agreed.  It turned out so well that I told the boys that one of them has to be Lightning McQueen for the next several Halloweens!

Our outside bar became Flo’s V8 Cafe.  We served graham crackers with peanut butter and M&Ms as “traffic lights”, carrots and celery as “dipsticks”, Cars fruit snacks, Cars shortbread cookies, and queso just because what party is complete without queso?  There were coolers full of water and Capri Suns for the kids.  Sodas, white wine and beer were provided for the adults.

There was cake, of course.  My friend, B, came over on Friday morning to help me make the Lightning McQueen cake using the Wilton cake pan.  We whipped up 24 cupcakes to go with it since the cake pan was not very large.  We ended up having 20 children and their parents so it was a good call to have the cupcakes!  The cake would not have been enough to feed that crowd.  The cupcakes were frosted white with Cars sprinkles that I found at Publix.  I made some picks using Cars stickers, yellow cardstock for backing and toothpicks.  So cute!

I have to say that I’m a huge fan of homemade butter cream icing!  Whoa, is it good!

I did not plan a whole bunch of activities since 5-year-old boys are so wild.  I let them run around the yard and act like the monkeys that they are.  We did manage to corral them long enough to create their own custom license plates using foam stickers, stamps and glitter bingo markers.  J and I also came up with a fun scavenger hunt for the kids to find the cake.  Here are the clues:

  • Put the pedal to the floor
    to find a clue by the door!
  • It’s time to get a move on, please;
    find your clue near a tractor pulling trees.  (We have a inflatable Christmas yard ornament fitting this description)
  • Your car is cool; your car is fast.
    The clue is hidden near the trash.
  • This clue’s really not a stumper;
    You’ll find it near a big truck bumper.
  • If it’s cake that you’re lovin’, you better run to the oven!

What a hit the cake hunt was!  Imagine 20 kids running through the house shrieking and searching for the clues.  So fun!

I bought 4 of these checkerboard inflatable rod things thinking that the kids would love them.  What boy doesn’t love a sword, right?  It was all fun until one child got whacked so hard he started crying.  I felt like such a loser mom for bringing them out.  I immediately collected the rods and redirected the kids to a more calm activity like the bean bag toss into J’s truck tire.

We opened presents toward the end of the party.  Wildman and I got mobbed by a sea of extremely excited children who wanted to see what Wildman received.  It was nuts 🙂

I’m really bummed that I didn’t take a picture of the favors that I created for the children.  I’m really proud of how they turned out.  You’ll have to use your imagination.  I removed the labels from metal soup cans and slapped a Dinoco label on them so they would look like little oil cans.  I put black tissue paper down in the cans to look like oil then filled them with car stickers, racing bracelets, gold metals and tire bubble gum.  They looked so adorable.

It was a long and exhausting day but it was so worth it.  It seemed like everyone had a good time.  Wildman was over the moon and that’s all that really matters!

I wonder who I can donate all my homemade signs to?  It was a lot of work to make them and I don’t just want to toss them.