Remember a few weeks ago (ok, seven weeks ago, but who’s counting?) when I said my twins were already getting into planning mode for their 5th birthday? Do you also remember how I told you that the twins had decided on a knight and princess themed birthday party? They were dead set on the idea. They were pinning things. We bought a dragon piñata. We searched the dollar store for decorations. They were all, “Mom, let’s make swords.” And “Mom, can we [editor’s note: “we” always means “mom” when my kids use it in this context] make everyone dragon tails? ” And “Mom, what if someone doesn’t want to dress like princess? I can ask everyone what they want to be and then you can make them all a costume.”
It turns out that seven weeks is a REALLY LONG TIME in the life of a soon-to-be five-year-old. Duh.
Here’s what happened. One night, we watched The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning because it happened to be TV. (For the record, IMDB gives this movie 6.5 stars and they might be being a tad generous.) The next morning at breakfast, Gus casually suggested that he would rather have a mermaid party than a knight party. Théa thought a mermaid party was a good idea for their sixth birthday but was pretty set on dressing up as a knight for her fifth birthday, “and besides, Gus, don’t you want to be a dragon for our party?”
“No. I want to be a merman. I want to be the king merman.”
This caught Théa’s attention. I could totally see the wheels spinning. If Gus wanted to be king, in Théa’s little mind, that meant that she could be queen. And everyone knows that being queen is better than being a knight or a princess. Just ask Olivia.
In case you hadn’t figured it out, my kids are really into dress up and role play. I have no idea where they get it.
I spent a few days trying to figure out how I could incorporate some gender balanced elements into a mermaid party. Actually, I spent several days trying to convince myself that we could have a mermaid and under the sea knight party. Or that a mermaid and Aquaman party could be cool. My husband was slightly concerned that Gus’s friends may not want to dress up like mermaids. Gus quickly pointed out that his friends would not be dressing up as mermaids. “If they want to dress up, they can be mermen.” That sealed the deal. Mermaid party coming right up.
And so I began scouring the internet for gender-neutral mermaid parties. You would not believe how many adorable (and tacky, let’s not forget the tacky) mermaid parties have been thrown, photographed, and posted on the internet. Truly, it is amazing. But not a one of the parties that I’ve found so far include mermen. Octonauts, yes. Sharks, yes. Mermen, no. (I’m not even going to link to the google search results for that one. You are on your own.) My search for invitations with mermen or merboys was so fruitless that google even changed “mermen” to “mermaid” before giving me results.
I ended up using some clip art from the internet to make my own invitations because I didn’t leave myself enough time to work with a designer to create the perfect mermaid and merman invitation. If you are looking for mermaid invitations, minted and etsy both have a great selection. From there, it was time to look at party decorations, games, food, and favors. A piñata was essential.
I went with a shark and some basic candy. I also loved these little plastic fish from Zurcher’s because the candy overload thing was a bit disconcerting and $3 for 12 toys? Excellent. Plus, what five-year-old won’t love the idea that the shark ATE those fish?
Next simple task? Favors. Oriental Trading to the rescue. Cheap, bulk, toys. I say yes. Here’s what we got.
The box came in earlier this week and the kids are thrilled. The plush fish are a bit big for the buckets, but we stuffed everything in just to try it out and I think our party goers will be happy with the results. Those rubber sharks? Yep, they squirt. Please let it not snow on party day.
Moving on to the food. It's what I do. It's what I live for. (Sorry, Ursula.)
Simple (ish) cake, excellent crab cupcakes and starfish cookies (but we will be using this recipe), and, of course, the required blue and green candy as sweets. I loved the idea of shaped fruit kabobs and sandwiches that the kids could snack on (ahem, balance out the refined sugar intake). I’m also planning on having a “fishing” bar, which will include fishing poles (carrots, celery, and apple slices), bait (hummus, peanut butter, ranch dressing), and an assortment of fish (crackers). Oh! and I ordered some of these cuties to pre-fill with blue punch. Refills other than water unavailable. Sorry, kids.
That’s all we have time for today, kids. You can check out “our” party board here. And you should definitely come back next week so that we can talk games and decorations. And costumes. Don’t forget the costumes.