I was asked by a few different party guests to walk them through the party prep, and there’s a few general notes I’d like to remember next year, so I’m going to do a quick blog explaining the Pokemon party process. You can also see my Pinterest board here:
Quick note: The guest of honor was turning seven, guests ranged the gambit from toddler to twelve. Forty-two guests attended. Theme wise this was the birthday that the most siblings asked to attend. The Pokemon theme was much more interesting across age groups, which was nice.
I found these invitations at this shop on etsy for $12, then used Walgreens new photo customer sign up coupon to print off fifty of them for free.
There was a big threat of rain because of the hurricane, so next year, I’m definitely going to also create a Facebook event or an Evite to add people to as I get RSVP’s in so there’s a place they can reference for updates if plans have to change in a hurry. I’m leaning toward Facebook so everyone can share pictures afterward.
We had the party at the world of Wonder Playground. I rented the pavilion (at $40?! Almost twice what it cost the last time we booked it). We arrived and the trash cans were overflowing, so the ground and tables had old food, beverage containers, and other grossness. Fortunately we arrived very early and it had been raining on and off and misting almost all day, so I’d asked my husband to bring towels (to wipe down the playground equipment) and a trash bag or two to put them in. He grabbed the box of trash bags, so we tied an extra bag to each trash bag and recycling container, and got the area cleaned up.
There were four tables. We used $1 plastic red, blue, and yellow tablecloths (one for each team) then a pink tablecloth to cover them (Everywhere I looked on and off line was out of stock on the official Pokemon character tablecloth I was reserving for the fourth table, but we had one cloth left over from a prior party). We set up one table as a gift table, one as a good table, one with little Pokemon plastic toys, poke balls. We slid a broken down cardboard box under one tablecloth for the drawing table so the kids could make their own pokecards and put the pokemon card game at that same table so the kids could have examples or play cards. Then we tied up balloons and Pokemon paper products for decorations in the pavilion.
I downloaded the Pokemon Soundtrack from iTunes, and left it playing in the pavilion throughout the party. The parents loved that, I’m sure.
Supplies for set up:
Four tablecloths (the Pokemon one would have been about $3 had I been able to find it) -$4.00 total from Dollar General
Trash Bags– From Home
Literally every pokemon themed toy from our house as decoration- from home
For activities, I try not to get in the way. The kids are really happy just to see each other outside of school and play on the playground and socialize. So I don’t do anymore than three 10-15 minute organized activities (one in the beginning, middle, and end) to give the party some structure (once you add the cake and the presents that adds up to enough for a brief party if the kids just blink at each other and don’t play, but leave big stretches of time for the kids to run wild between at an average length party). That being said, some kids are shy outside of their element or overwhelmed from all the stimulus, so I try to always have 2-3 quiet, background activities for the kids to take advantage of throughout the party if they find themselves suddenly without something to do or in need of a people break.
We planned the party at a playground that had a Pokestop and a gym. The first thirty minutes of the party, that Pokestop was lured. The kids who didn’t have the game (or didn’t care to play it while there were actual people around) ran wild on the playground. This worked out really well. There were plenty of kids there who were super into pokemon, so they huddled up and compared pokemon, battled in the gym, and caught pokemon. There were also kids who never played and didn’t know anything about pokemon, and they either learned or hung out on the playground.
Pokemon Go + Device to play it on
Pokemon Lure ($1.00)
The tables at the picnic table had holes in them, so I grabbed a giant box, folded it flat, and stuck it under the table cloth. We had two decks of Pokemon cards and a few kids brought their own, so they compared cards and played the card game.
Create your own Pokemon Card:
Ignore the plant in that photo, it was visiting from girl scouts and Pikachu’s dirty feet.
I had a drawing station set up for them to decorate their own Pokemon cards. I only printed page 3 of the template (the one where kids get to create their own Pokemon Pokemon card, as opposed to the pages with energy cards and what not.) I didn’t expect this activity to be as popular as it was (it was honestly kind of filler), but the kids loved it. There was a kid or two at that station all throughout the party.
Broken down box to make a smooth drawing surface (free from UPS store)
Two giant pencil boxes full of crayons (from home)
Pin the Pokeball on Charizard
I found this game at party city. It’s exactly what it sounds like, you have kids “throw” poke balls at Charizard, Pikachu, or Meowth to catch them. You can also find stickers for these three and give the kids a print out of the Pokedex so they can add stickers to them when they “catch” them. I was not expecting the Pokeballs to be actual stickers, so we cut them out and kept the backing on them so they could be reused.
Pokemon Stickers (well, actually tattoos, I couldn’t find stickers with the right pokemon on them, but they stick) .99 cents a sheet, comes with enough for three sets. Lack of good sticker options is why we didn’t do the pokedex, but I think it’s a great idea.
This activity speaks for itself, however I did discover that age seven is too old for this activity. The kids have gotten more competitive. When they were smaller, they were much more timid and everyone shared candy. Or it might have been the number of children. Either way, no more Pinatas.
I bought plain yellow bags and had my husband color Pikachu’s face on them like this. (He’s much more detail oriented than I am).
Candy for Pinata
*Looking at the numbers, I’m realizing I spent more on the Piñata and Piñata supplies then anything else for the entire party. Given that my other party favors never arrived, I’m actually okay with that. But wow.
So the pieces for this game are still in China until Wednesday despite being ordered weeks ago to make sure I was in the shipping range, so if you order this, make sure you don’t order from this guy. But the plan was to scatter the Pokemon in the “tall” grass behind the pavilion and give every child a poke ball. It would have been awesome. But now we’ll send one with each child’s thank you note. So they won’t go to waste. I try to always do party favors that can double as an activity in the party (like the piñata or this poke hunt).
I open presents at parties. As a kid, it was my favorite part. Not just at my parties. I liked to see the birthday kid open my present. I liked to see what else they got. And from ages 1-5, opening presents at the party worked really well. Then age 6 happened. The kids kept pressing in closer and closer to Bella, shoving presents into her hands that she tore open and set aside at record pace. I couldn’t keep up with who gave her what and she barely thanked people. I was horrified. We almost said never again, we’ll just open presents at home like everyone else. But then I posted an SOS on the local fb parenting page, and was given a great idea.
When the first kid comes by to say goodbye, we get Bella to open the present we got her. This tends to get the attention of any kid interested in presents. As kids gather, I ask them to take their own present from the table to give to Bella one at a time. They both sit at the present table while it’s opened and no one else can sit at that table if it’s not their turn. She thanks them, they talk for a minute about the present, what plans they have for it, ect, and pose for a picture together. The kids who get bored with watching someone else get cool stuff wander off and play, and that’s fine. The kids who like to watch, watch. Some kids never come up to bring Bella their gift. They don’t like the attention or maybe they didn’t bring anything. Enough kids are still playing that no attention is drawn to them. No kid who cares misses their present being opened. When everyone left, we had a couple remaining, so Bella opened those while we loaded the car. Timing wise it worked out great.
I’ve noticed higher attendance rate if I schedule it immediately after school near the school, so since the party was at 3:30, there wasn’t a need to do a meal. I just made sure we had enough for a good sized, balanced snack.
I did buy a pack of the Pokemon themed napkins, plates, and cake plates, but we had so many paper plates and napkins leftover from other parties, that I just couldn’t justify spending nearly $3 per every eight plates to stay on theme, so we used those first, then used the Pokemon themed stuff to keep the magic going at the sleepover later that night.
For the fruit platter, I plucked the green bits off strawberries (the person I got this idea on on pinterest sliced the strawberries, but I wasn’t sure how long they’d be out sitting, so I wanted to keep them as fresh as possible for as long as possible), grabbed black grapes, and sliced bananas (at least for the first batch, then I put a bundle of bananas off to the side so people could grab them when the sliced ones got gross) in the shape of a pokeball. The kids ate every bite, so I’m glad I brought enough to refill the poke ball twice.
Supplies: (pricing will vary by region and season)
10 Bananas (only sliced 4)
1 back of Black Grapes (only a handful were on the platter)
2 cartons of Strawberries (one at a time)
I printed out a picture of Magicarp, grabbed a blue bowl, and ended up going through two cartons of extra cheddar goldfish (Have you tried those? They are ridiculously good). The kids got a kick out of them too.
For the veggie poke ball, I grabbed some cherry tomatoes, cheese sticks (grocery store was out of cheese squares), and the black grapes. The kids ate almost every bite, so I’m glad I got enough to refill the platter twice.
2 packs of cherry tomatoes
1 pack of white cheese sticks (I sliced about four of them)
1 bag of grapes (total, not per ball)
Found this idea on pinterest. Bella had so much fun making storm trooper cupcakes last year, I knew we wanted to do it again. She had a blast. The peeps do not stand well, so I highly suggest not trying to make them do so. They look just as cute laying in the grass. Lesson learned.
Make cupcakes as usual. Use the fur/grass tip on a regular sized piping bag to frost. Pinch ears on peeps into points. Using a food marker, draw two red circles for the cheeks, and color the ears black. The details 9and canvas) were a bit too complicated for my daughter, so we decided to stick with the brown dots for the eyes and mouth.
1 box of chocolate cake mix (makes twenty-four cupcakes)
1 box of vanilla cake mix (makes twenty-four cupcakes)
2 cans of green frosting (or you can make your own)
1 piping bag
48 Green cupcake wrappers
Pokemon candles- 3.99
*I’m really glad I planned for 48 cupcakes. I always bake twice what I need and this is the first year that habit hasn’t resulted in me going home with a ton of cupcakes. We only had twenty-three RSVP’s up until the night before when the hurricane squished everyone’s travel plans. By the time the party happened, we had thirty-four RSVP’s, and then a handful of people who forgot to RSVP. Fortunately, we had enough for everyone!
Spend the Night
After the party, we had a group of kids come over to spend the night. We picked up pizzas on the way home from the park and donuts for breakfast, set the kids up to watch Pokemon: The First Movie, and put two mattresses in the living room so the kids could sleep. The kids got to play with the new toys in the playroom while we unloaded the car and in the morning when they woke up at 6:30 for some reason.
Of course they stayed up giggling all night. So I’m exhausted. But that’s another reason why the Pokemon party was awesome. Bella got a pack of Pokemon cards from nearly every guest in attendance. So guess what very quiet activity she’s been wrapped up in all day?
It was a fun party, and as far as parties go and I spent about $250 on food (counting the spend the night movie, pizza, and donuts), supplies, reserving the party location. Which really wasn’t bad. But there was definitely room to cut back. If I needed to save more, I’d cut the Charizard game (it was really poorly designed), the piñata (just make sure the other favors were ordered in advance), the pokemon paper products, and the balloons without sacrificing a drop of the integrity of the party.