Budget-Friendly Racecar Birthday Party

My munchkin turned two last week. I am really not okay with that!  Kids are so much fun when they reach this age, but I’m really struggling with the fact that my baby is two!  He’s growing up too quickly!  It seems like just yesterday I was planning his Mickey Mouse first birthday party, and here we are celebrating his second!

2nd bday collage

Munchkin is all boy, so he LOVES racecars!  I knew months ago that the theme for his party would involve racecars, but he doesn’t yet enjoy the Disney Cars movies, so I didn’t want to go that route.  I also felt that Hot Wheels were a little too old for him for a party (despite the fact that he probably has 30 of them), so I decided to go with just a generic racecar theme.  Do you have any idea how difficult that is?!?!  So, here’s what we did to throw a fun racecar birthday for our little two-year-old.

Decorations

These were not easy to come up with.  Believe it or not, I even went to a party store (in a big city an hour away!) and all they had was Disney Cars and Hot Wheels decorations.  Nothing generic that I could use!  And our local craft and hobby store had a very tiny little section of supplies for racecar birthday decorations!  But, I used what I could find, and I think it looked pretty good!

I started by purchasing plastic tablecloths at the dollar store and some yellow duct tape to decorate the tables.

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This was really very simple – a green plastic tablecloth for the grass/ground, a black tablecloth cut into fourths for the road, and small strips of yellow duct tape for the center line.  Then I grabbed a few of Munchkin’s racecars to complete the look!

Then came the food tables.  I actually got a Disney Cars tablecloth for the snack food table because there really wasn’t anything on it that gave away that it was from the Cars movie (unless you just know the movies that well!).

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I’ll talk about the foods in a minute!  (Notice the checkered plates from the hobby store, a mix of white and black silverware, and red plastic cups – simple, cheap, easy to find, and fit the colors of the party!)  As you can see, there’s a checkered background behind it.  So, our house is too small for Munchkin’s birthday parties.  Even though he’s too young to invite friends, we have so much local family and “family” (you know, those family friends who basically are family!) that we easily have 30 people.  My little house won’t hold that!  So we always do his parties at our church.  However, the best room for the parties has a window into an adjacent kitchen – and the curtain for that window is nasty.  I mean, we’re talking 70’s décor here, people.  So, until they update with a new curtain, I always cover it up!  Last year we used a white fabric tablecloth as a background for another decoration – this year, a checkered tablecloth!

And the drinks/cake table:

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As you can see, I found checkered crepe paper (at the local hobby store), and my amazing friends who helped me decorate created this little addition to the table!  What I didn’t get a good picture of was what you see in the top left corner.  My awesome “sister” let me use her Cricut machine to cute out some decorations.  This sign said “Pit Stop,” and she also made me some checkered flags and road cones (you’ll see a close-up of the cones in a minute!)

Last year, I did a picture banner with a picture of Munchkin from each month.  This year, I wanted to use pictures from the past two years, so I loved this Pinterest idea:

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It took me 45 pictures to do this.

Food

Now, onto the little themed food elements that make a party!  We decided not to do a full meal this year because it was just so much hassle this year.  However, knowing my Munchkin, I knew that a 4:00 pm party would be snack time, so we had lots of finger foods that fit into the theme!

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Don’t you just love them?  The “hubcaps” were actually my idea (because I have to have crackers to eat my cheese with), but the other ideas I got from Pinterest.  The “stoplight skewers” came from here, and the “spare tires” (chocolate mini donuts), “dipsticks,” and “road cones” came from here.  I have to thank my wonderful mom, aunt, and cousin for helping me by assembling the food!

And the cake!  My wonderful friend Johanna does all my cakes.  She had a bit of a crazy month preceding Munchkin’s party (youth trip, vacation, school training, and an AC crisis!), so we agreed that she could do a simple cake.  (I was going to let her off the hook completely and just buy some cupcakes and toppers, but then my husband asked for her cake instead!)  And her “simple” cake is still way better than anything I could have created!

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She just did a chocolate sheet cake with buttercream icing colored green for grass.  The “2” road is made of crushed Oreo cookies, and the rocks are actually chocolate rocks she found at the dollar store!  I’m so glad she still did the cake, because it tasted so good!

And the drinks:

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We had “motor oil” (iced tea) and “antifreeze” (Kool-aid).  By the way… don’t be fooled by the color of package the drink mix comes in!  Strawberry-kiwi mix is NOT green like the package!  So we had to add food coloring…

I made all the food/drink signs on my computer using a place card template on Microsoft Word and a checkered border.

Games and Party Favors

Because there aren’t very many kids at Munchkin’s birthday parties yet (only three “cousins”), I only got a couple of things to help the kids pass the time until everyone showed up and we could eat.  One was the race track that Munchkin got for Christmas.  It was a big enough track that I knew everyone could use it (since they’re all six and under!).  The second thing I took was our personal bouncy house that I found at a garage sale for $75!  Unfortunately, it was nasty hot outside – so we put the bounce house right outside the party room in a little alcove!  (As you can see, it barely fit – but the kids didn’t care!)

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Funnily enough, the kids created their own entertainment by getting some riding toys from the gym and having races!  We never could get a good picture because of how fast they were going!  I actually think this was my favorite moment of the party.  Despite all the planning and stressing I had done, Munchkin and his “cousins” created their own fun with what they had available.  It served as a good reminder to me that not everything goes according to my plans, and that’s okay!

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I got everything for the party favors for $1 or less!  Hot Wheels only cost $.97 at Wal-Mart, and our dollar store had wheel yo-yos and vehicle-shaped grow capsules, as well as the red boxes for 3/$1.  Because the yo-yos said “5+,” I got a small monster truck for our 3-year-old “cousin.”  And since I only needed three favor boxes, I gave each kid 5 grow capsules!

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Well, there you have it – a budget-friendly racecar party that was a hit with all the little munchkins present!

 

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