It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a … superhero birthday party! Just about every kid -- boys and girls alike -- goes through a superhero phase at some point. If your child happens to be going through that stage around birthday time, lucky you. Bam, instant party theme! You can really let your imagination run wild when you're dreaming up costumes, décor, food and activities for a superhero party.
One of the greatest things about a superhero party is that you don't have to spend a lot of money to make things, well … super. Sure, you could dress your tiny superhero in a custom Green Lantern or Wonder Woman suit, but you know everyone will have just as much fun in fabric capes and paper-plate masks that they've personalized themselves. And yes, you could hire a full Justice League of professional actors to make a dramatic entrance from the trees in your backyard, but an adult friend throwing around papier-mâché rocks in a rented Incredible Hulk costume would probably make just as much of an impression.
And hey, it's your party, so you don't have to stick with brand-name superheroes, either. Let the kids go crazy and create their own -- you never know what they'll come up with. Here are a bunch of other ideas to set the stage for a spectacular superhero birthday party.
No Brand-name Heroes
We'd say costumes are a must for a superhero party -- what's the fun, otherwise? No kid wants to be in street clothes when he could be running around, wreaking havoc in a cape and mask. But how about encouraging your guests to get a little more creative than store-bought Superman and Batgirl outfits? Have the kids come up with their own superhero costumes, and you could have a "naming ceremony" once everyone's arrived. Siblings and friends could even come in pairs with sidekicks -- or nemeses. But if you feel like that's adding too much pressure and prep time for your guests (and their parents), bill the event as a "create a superhero" party and have the kids transform themselves at the party from little Clark Kents and Lois Lanes into mini caped crusaders.
Check out the next page for superhero-creation ideas.
Create Your Own Superhero
You don't have to bust your budget if you want to do a create-your-costume party. Chances are the kids aren't going to be picky -- they'll just be excited about transforming themselves into crime fighters. Buy some cheap fabric for capes, and think of some way for the kids to personalize them. You could prep the capes ahead of time by ironing on each guest's initials, or just provide laundry markers and paint pens and let the kids go to town. Masks -- either painted-on or the paper-plate version -- are another must, and everything else (belts, armbands and rings, maybe) is just gravy.
For added excitement, transform an empty refrigerator box into a phone-booth dressing room -- the kids can take turns disappearing into it and emerging in a dramatic flash as a superhero!
If you're in a pinch -- or if you're planning a straight-up Justice League/Marvel comics shindig -- decorating for a superhero party is as easy as walking into your local party store. You could have everything you need in a sweep of a single aisle.
But going generic is obviously simple, too -- just get plates, napkins, streamers and balloons in whatever color scheme the birthday boy or girl desires. Or you could throw caution to the wind and get a mishmash of colors -- superheroes come in all hues, after all. But if you do go the generic route, why not get a few items (action figures or a big spider web, perhaps) that will clearly put things into superhero mode. And don't forget -- the telephone costume-change booth is a major piece of décor!
All that "leaping tall buildings in a single bound" stuff is bound to make a superhero hungry. If you're having a lunchtime party, a sure bet is a superhero sandwich bar. The kids might not get the pun, but they'll love making their own sandwiches. Just get a variety of lunch meat, cheese, breads and condiments, and you're good to go. Tiny superhero-flag garnishes, however, would really put things over the top.
A cupcake bar would be another definite hit, but be sure to kick things up a notch and make things truly "super." Mix up some intense neon-colored icing in a bunch of different colors, and set out tiny action figures for cake toppers (plastic superhero rings would work well as toppers, too). Things could definitely get messy, but that's part of the fun, right?
Games and Activities
You're really limited only by your imagination when it comes to superhero games and activities -- your guests will most likely have fun doing anything as long as they're in character. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Have the kids invent their own personal superpowers and demonstrate them to the crowd.
- Make a "superhero training" obstacle course. It doesn't have to be fancy (unless you want to create tiny buildings that the kids can leap in a single bound) -- just use whatever you can find for them to jump over, crawl through and otherwise destroy.
- Create a kryptonite scavenger hunt. Cover rocks with neon-green spray paint and hide them outside.
- Produce a comic book. Have the guests draw pictures of themselves in superhero mode, then staple them all together as a present for the birthday boy or girl.
For more great birthday party ideas, fly to the next page.
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- AmazingMoms.com. "Justice League Party." (Accessed Sept. 30, 2010) http://www.amazingmoms.com/htm/party_super_hero.htm
- BrightHub.com. "Planning a Superhero Birthday Party on a Budget." July 31, 2009. (Accessed Sept. 30, 2010). http://www.brighthub.com/money/personal-finance/articles/44260.aspx
- McBride, Healey. "How to Make Easy Super Hero Costumes from Household Items." May 5, 2010. (Accessed Sept. 30, 2010) https://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/homemade-superhero-craft.htm
- Saltiel, Jennifer. "Superhero Party." (Accessed Sept. 30, 2010) http://www.delish.com/entertaining-ideas/parties/kids-parties/superhero-party-kids