Sunday, August 17, 2014

How To Train Your Dragon: The Birthday Party


My son wanted a How to Train Your Dragon birthday party to celebrate turning four years old.  And that's what he got.  After the party, he said, "This was the best birthday party ever ever!" So I'll count it as a success! It wasn't perfect, but I'm still pretty proud of how it came together, so I want to share it with the world!
 Decorations

There were lots of dragon decorations. Some were "official" HTTYD or HTTYD2 party decorations, and some were just random dragons!
A Happy Birthday banner strung between two of those driveway-blocker dudes so popular in suburbia.
Sign on our front door. I didn't want anyone waiting outside for someone to answer the door. I also didn't want anyone to have to wait by the door to direct guests.
We had three adult party hosts. Each of us made our own duct tape viking helmet without seeing the other people's creations.
3-D horns and a crossed top.
Full-head blue helmet with blue horns.
Simple, with aging (stamp pad ink) on all of it.
The shed wasn't part of the party, but it was there in the yard, and I had those two posters. I deliberately hung them at angles.
Sticky-Back fours (four years old!) on several of the windows.
A HTTYD sticker on each four.
My car was parked beside the back yard, so I decided to use it for decorations, too!
I temporarily unhooked the handle on the back of the shield, and rolled up the car window on it & the sign to hold them in place.
I had five planned activities, which worked out very nicely for this age group.
The spots on the poster were temporary and are from dew. I woke up early to decorate!


A lightbox advertising poster for the HTTYD2 video game.
When the wind blew, the hanging dragon decorations under the deck looked like they were really flying!
Can you spot the dragons? (There are two in this pic.)
The kids had fun trying to find all the dragons I had "hidden" around the yard!
It was an unintentional-but-great activity!
The big, rectangular poster was a surprise gift for my son. We matted & framed it, then surprised him with it on his birthday and used it as a party decoration, too.
Happy Birthday banner across the deck railing.

 
Becoming Dragons

Face painting.
We always stock up on face paint after Halloween.
It's fun for baseball games, random fun, and parties!

 
Tails: Sweatshirt sleeves stuffed with newspaper and decorated with glow-in-the-dark fabric paint.
Wings: Twisted (Halloween decoration) spider webs and black duct tape. 
The kids chose their unique wings and tails from a fiery car trunk!

Little brother had his own dragon costume.
He actually enjoyed wearing it, and kept it on until we decided he should take it off.

When they weren't transforming into dragons, the kids decorated personalized (I wrote their names before the party) buckets with dragon, shape, and letter stickers.


Practicing Shooting Fireballs

Round red aqua beads, fully hydrated.
Clothespin-and-duct tape catapults.
Cardboard and tissue paper target.
We were ready to use the buckets as goals if there was too much wind for the target to stand.
Sometimes the fireballs bounced, sometimes they exploded on landing, sometimes the burst in mid-air. A few even hit the target. It was a lot of fun.

Catching Dinner

Dragon food: Stuffed animals (chicken, pig, duck, cow, rhino, cat, fish, etc.) in a cooler on the deck.
The kids were in the yard below the deck.
Each kid got a (store-bought) net and tried to catch food a dragon would eat as it fell from the sky.
We used a slingshot in the trial run, but found out throwing the food was simpler and just as effective.

The Feast

Lots of themed foods, fit for the even the hungriest dragons!
With computer-printed labels.
HTTYD cups, plates, & napkins, a dragon box paper weight, green bendy straws, four-eyed dragon fork & spoon holders.
And a viking helmet shadow.
Night Fury Brew & Liquid Flames: Grape Soda & Fruit Punch.
Dragon Chow: Boxed pasta with powder omitted & shredded cheese added! This was a big hit!
Some of the shaped pasta I used for Dragon Chow.
I accidentally cooked it too long, and the shapes were hard to see in the finished dish, but the kids still ate it!
I also used this pasta in the Dragon Chow. It was overcooked, too, but distinguishable as fish if you really looked.
Chicken: Popcorn chicken.
Tootless's Tomato Topping: Spaghetti Sauce--for the pasta or nuggets.
Drago-Gurt: HTTYD2 Go-Gurt
Viking Shields: Banana Slices coated with Nesquik powder.
I was going to spread them out on a plate, to showcase the shield-shape. But they ended up being very tasty, so I wanted to put out lots of them for people to eat. I did get a bunch of compliments on them. So I guess other people thought they were tasty, too!
Fish: Pretzel Goldfish & Colors Goldfish, with peanut butter in the middle.
(I knew none of our guests had peanut allergies.)
Sheep: Fluffy White Cheddar Popcorn.

Confetti cake with red food coloring, and poured chocolate frosting with vanilla frosting details..
The birthday boy had specifically asked for a dead fish cake.
Aquatic dragon claw ice cream scoops.
Non-aquatic dragon claw cake cutters/servers.
Cake cut with dragon claws makes oddly shaped pieces.

Attacking the Sheep
The sheep pinata.
Paper-mache body, head, and legs. Cardboard ears. Construction paper and duct tape covered the legs, and paper towels covered the face and ears. The face was drawn with a marker. And fake, fluffed-not-pulled, cobwebs (yet another Halloween decoration) covered the body.
Using the sticker buckets to gather candy.
The stores had already started selling Halloween candy (Good grief! It's August!)
and even though I think it's silly, I used it for the filling because I liked
the Fun Size Butterfinger, Runts, etc. better than the weak pinata mix bags I
saw in the same store,. There also wasn't any Halloween labeling on the wrappers.
So I think they tasted and looked good for a birthday!

Aftermath.

Parting Gifts

After the party, each kid got to keep their bucket & pinata candy, a pair of wings, a tail, a net, and a favor bag.
One of the favor bags. The handles weren't ripped when the kids got them!
The favors.
A version of the catapults we used at the party.
An origami packet with dehydrated fireballs inside.
Cardboard Coaster targets with clothespin stands.
The back of each coaster had a handwritten thank you from the birthday boy.
Fire-breathing whistles made with whistles and shredded crepe paper.
A black or red spiked slap-band bracelet.
A sheet of HTTYD2 stickers.
A snack bag with Sweedish fish + Cupcake Goldfish + S'mores (chocolate, graham, and marshmallow) Goldfish
Bubbles with a HTTYD sticker.
A mini notebook stamped with a dragon, and the words "DRAGON JOURNAL" written on it.


My son loved his birthday party. He had helped test the games, but was surprised by a lot of the decorations, since I hid many of them from him until party day. It was terrific to hear his delight at each new discovery. He also had a great time with his friends and I think they had fun, too!


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