A SUPER Super Mario Bros. Birthday Party - Let's A-GO!

Last fall, right around the time school started, two men entered my son's life...

For a six year old boy this was a life altering event. In fact, I am considering cataloguing all his pictures and memories with "B.M." and "A.M." (Before Mario and After Mario). I have hope that there will be an After After Mario, but for now I'm not holding my breath.

The kid is 100% obsessed.

Everything is/will be/should be/has to be Mario.

Clothes. Bedding. Toys. TV shows. Imaginary play. Conversations. Dreams. Halloween costumes. Food. Christmas ornaments.

You name it. The boy at least wishes it was Mario.

As his mother...I HATE IT. I was raised in a home where Nintendo and other video game systems were considered a "waste of time; time better spent doing something to enrich or educate your mind and body". That was my take as a new parent too.

But I also remember what it was like being a kid and wanting to be involved in what all your friends were into. In this day and age, first grade boys LOVE Mario and Luigi. As superficial as it seems, much of my boy's friendships seem to be based on all things Mario.

So it was no surprise that this year, as Dee's birthday came closer, he had two requests: 1- "Can I PLEASE have a birthday party with my friends?" and 2- "MARIO!"

As the years go by and my parenting style adapts I am working to do some things the way my children want versus the way I want. If it were up to my we would avoid the mainstream and pop culture when it comes to things like bedding, toys, clothes, and birthday parties. But it's not up to me. It's Dee's birthday party. It's his choice. So...*sigh*...Mario...it is. (This isn't to say my children get everything they want. But it's time for me to let go of some of the control and let them form their own personalities and tastes.)

Confession: I complained to begin with. I may have even tried a bit of coaxing and bribing to not have a Mario party. But after I let go and let live the brain juices started flowing. A Super Mario party would never have been my first choice, but it was so much fun to plan and prepare for!

**Note: After cruising around on the Internet I figured out that none of my ideas are wholly original. There are a lot of fun, creative moms out there. This is just my take on a Super Mario party. And many of those moms are doing the same thing so I'm not referencing any of this.

I hit up my local party store for Mario themed invitations.

Just a little mom-to-mom helpful hint here: This was our very first friend party. Dee wanted to invite a few boys from his school class. Since we didn't have all their addresses he took the invites to school and handed them out as class was ending. This was a horrible mistake. I happened to be there that day and watched--along with the other classmates--as only a select few got the invites. I would have loved to invite them all, but this was just not possible. It was heart wrenching and I could see we had gone about this all wrong. I talked to Dee's teacher about it afterwards and she advised the best method was for the child to come early to school and pass them out before class starts. That way the kids are still pretty distracted and not as many are getting their feelings hurt. Now I know what to do next time.

Dee requested a pinata for his party so the week before I worked on making a Yoshi egg pinata. Somehow I find myself making pinatas a couple of times a year. Store pinatas are really expensive! You can make your own for pennies on the dollar. While it can be messy and kind of a long process, it's really simple and a lot of fun. (I posted a how-to back in 2010.)

I filled the pinata with candy and some plastic coins I also found at the party store (400 count for $9.99).

Cracking the pinata open was one of three games we played at the party. For another game I decorated Easter eggs (I just pulled them out of storage) with white dots to look like more Yoshi eggs. I used plain white computer paper and a circle punch I have. While I watched Leno one night I punched holes and taped three on each egg. Then I filled the eggs with various numbers of coins. For this game we hid them around the house (it's too cold to go outside) and the kids ran around finding as many eggs as they could, putting them into brightly colored paper bags with their names markered on.

The third game was a balloon game. I bought green, brown, black, and white balloons to represent the turtles, goombas, chain chomps, and ghosts (respectively). Before blowing them up I stretched them open and dropped in various amounts of plastic coins.

I honestly wasn't sure what I was going to do with the balloons. In my head I imagined the boys going through some kind of obstacle course to pop the balloons with their feet or bums. But on the day of the party it just wasn't going to work. There wasn't enough room with all the people in the house. My brother in law took over and taped them all on the wall in rows, drawing questions marks on them. The boys took turns throwing darts at them and collecting the coins after each turn. It worked perfectly! (Thanks Kip!)

At the end of the three games we helped the kids count their coins. First place got to pick one of two plush Mario figures I had purchased and used as table decorations. Second place got the remaining figure and third got a tiny little pair of plastic Mario and Luigi figurines that were left over from the cake decorations.

Speaking of the cake... I HATE decorating cakes! I always have the greatest ideas, but my cake skills are sadly lacking and by the time I'm done, the cake looks NOTHING like what I had envisioned. The entire process stresses me out way more than is healthy. Seriously. As I started on the decorating Saturday morning it wasn't long before my husband quietly collected up all the children and herded them out the door for awhile so Mommy could freak out all by herself. Note to self: Next year, avoid spontaneous combustion and leave the cake baking and decorating to the professionals.

However much hair got pulled out, the cake finally did get finished and while it once again isn't what I had envisioned, it's acceptable.

Before Christmas I ordered a LOT (as in a collection) of 18 Mario figurines off of Amazon.com so I could make Dee's Christmas ornament (I like to make my family's ornaments based on what they were doing or into that year. Obvious choice for Dee: Mario) and then have some left over for his cake. They were the perfect size on the cake. I also purchased some star candles which posed as the Star Power.

After Dee blew out the candles he had the choice to keep all the figurines for himself or hand them out to all the kids who were begging for them. What a good boy; he shared with his sisters, cousins, and friends. Those figurines were a hit! The kids were running around playing with them for a good hour after the games and cake were done.

Along with cake we served some of Dee's favorite treats. A birthday tradition we seem to be making is taking the kids to Winco which has an AWESOME bulk foods section including tons of candy. The birthday kid gets to pick a few of his favorites and we serve them at the party.We don't eat a lot of sugar most of the time so when birthdays roll around I say it's fair game.

When it came to plates, silverware, and cups I just couldn't justify spending as much as the party store wanted for Mario themed paper goods. Instead I purchased brightly colored plates (red, green, and blue), white napkins, and red plastic cups and called it good. I also purchased two bright blue table clothes from the dollar store. It was lovely to be able to just gather up the table cloth and throw the mess away when the party was over. Definitely worth $2.

We decorated the house with brightly colored balloons, streamer, and a pendant banner, all of which I purchased at the Dollar Store. I did splurge on some Mario themed stickers at the party store. I'm a little embarrassed to tell you how much I spent on them so I won't, but Dee really appreciated them and doubly so as they are now reused as wall decor for his room.

Before the party I cut several moustaches out of black felt (one sheet of felt at Walmart for $0.20) and gave them to each of the boys as they came in the house. I tried several ways to attach them to their faces, but found tape to be the most effective. Even then they didn't last long, but it was more about the novelty than anything.

As the boys left they received a little clear bag which contained Mario stickers, a note pad, and a little black bouncy ball that resembled the chain chomp balls from the game. If I had had more time I would have added a little tag that said something like: "GAME OVER. Wii thank you for coming to celebrate Dee's Super party!". Little boys could care less about stuff like that, but I thought it was cute and it still bugs me that I didn't have enough time to do it.

I realize this post has gotten irrationally long so I'll share a tutorial on my personal favorite part of the whole party... le pièce de résistance...The Piranha Plant Table Centerpieces! another day.

Until then...
Happy Super Birthday to my super little plumber who I think had a most excellent time at his Super Mario birthday party!


{leah} said...

Great... just Great!!! now I am going to need to buy my boys Super mario brother Wii, so they can love it so I can throw them a mario party....

{You did a great job on the center pieces!!!}

Myya said...

What a great party, OHHH my gosh you put so much into it! You seriously get major props. I love all the little touches you added. Great job mama!

Michele Haworth said...

I must say, you did an amazing job, I hope you don't mind if I borrow some of your ideas for my own son's party

Anonymous said...

Those were nice pics. Thanks ; Yourfreesexcams.com Enjoy this video.

Court Jester said...

These were awesome! Totally borrowing the centerpiece idea for a friend's 30th birthday. He's super into video games & still thinks Mario is the greatest. Thank you So much for sharing!


mark lawrence said...

Oh wow, these fun photos from the super mario themed party are just fantastic. I am totally in love with the arrangements. My son’s birthday is coming and it would surely be the best theme for his bash. Now I would be booking one of the best LA event venues for that.


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