When planning a double birthday party for my 8 and 10-year-old boys, there was never any doubt as to its theme. In fact, there seems to be very little doubt that there is one pastime that unites the children of “Generation Z”: Pokemon. It’s the lingua franca of grade school-aged boys all over the world. My sons have been known to meet other boys for the first time and, after a whiff of introduction, become deeply embroiled in deck battles that last for hours.
As I was in the early planning of this party, I recalled a birthday party my daughter Christine attended recently. The whole thing consisted of a trampoline, a birthday banner, and a box of a dozen donuts. Christine had the time of her life. Reflecting on the goodness of this kind of simplicity for kids’ birthday parties (which can get WAY over the top, right?), I originally wanted my boys’ Pokemon party to be ultra chill, with no frills. However, it’s pretty hard to break away from my usual go-big-or-go-home approach to party throwing. As much as I kept telling myself to keep it simple, I definitely overshot. I’d say the end result was medium-fancy, not quite Pinterest-perfect, but with some themed pizzazz (because I just can’t help myself when it comes to themed parties). But most importantly, it was FUN!
Here’s the rundown of my boys’ special day!
First things first: Pokemon-themed food.
Since there are something like 800 Pokemon (all with ridiculous, made-up-sounding names), there’s no end to the punny takes you can get on Pokemon-themed food. My boys helped me think up the following menu:
Bronzong Broccoli Salad (based on this recipe, which barely resembles a vegetable but tastes incredible)…
Mega Punch (just cran-raspberry juice & sparkling water–see? I kept some of it simple!)
Pokemon Cake (no themed name here, just a chocolate cake topped with some plastic Pokemon figurines by boys graciously allowed me to borrow):
Pika-Chewy Granola Bars (party favor)
For party favors, I’m always a fan of sending kids home with something either healthy or useful, rather than junk food or made-in-China toys that will get thrown out the next day. So for this party’s favor, I made a pan of Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bars, wrapped them individually, and slapped them with the name “Pika-Chewy Granola Bars.”
Click here for a free printable of the tags: Pika-Chewy Granola Bars
This is one place the party stayed pretty uncomplicated. After all, my motto for decorating for kids’ birthday parties–or any parties, really–is “use what you got.” No need to go out and buy a ton of Pokemon decorations when plenty of the toys my kids already have can serve that purpose! That’s where our Pikachu “centerpiece” came from: stuffed animals surrounded by trading cards. Done and done.
Add to that some red-and-white chevron streamers and the birthday table was set.
Another way to use the actual Pokemon cards as decoration was to stick them in some faux grass.
And finally, no party at our house is complete without a themed sign, courtesy of an internet printable photo and some craft paper:
The great thing about a Pokemon birthday party is that, assuming kids bring their own Pokemon cards, there’s really not much else by way of activities you need to provide. And I say “assuming” they’ll bring their cards because my kids seem to do so to every conceivable event–like church. You know, just in case there’s a break in the worshiping and we have a quick moment to play a Jigglypuff vs. a Garbodor.
In the invitation to my boys’ party, we put a note that everyone could bring Pokemon cards if they had any–and if not, that was fine, too. For those kids who didn’t have any, all the boys did well sharing so that everyone could play deck battles galore.
Our other primary activity for the party was to set up a giant screen my husband borrowed from work to let the boys play Pokemon video games on. It was a huge hit, and it *may* still be in our living room for us grown-ups to watch movies on until his workplace needs it back.
And finally, present-opening took some time, of course…
…along with singing “Happy Birthday” and eating cake and ice cream.
A big happy birthday to my two wonderful, Pokemon-loving boys!