Last weekend we celebrated Zackary’s sixth birthday. He requested a Super Mario Bros. birthday party and I have to confess, I put off planning it a little longer than I should have; I had some potential reviews of birthday party supplies that ended up not working out so when he asked me exactly one week before his birthday, “Mom, am I even going to HAVE a party?” I knew it was time to get in gear!
With a limited budget and only a week to plan, I turned to Google to get some ideas. First I printed off some free Mario-themed invitations from Personalized Party Invites. Rather than leave anybody out, I just invited every boy in Zackary’s class; thirteen in all. Next on the agenda…games! I found two fun free printable games online: Mario Bingo (download it here) and Pin the Moustache on the Mario. Then, to make sure that the baker’s dozen of little boys that would be coming burnt off some of their energy, I drew spots on a dozen eggs so that the boys could have a Yoshi Egg Race!
Rather than making traditional loot bags full of dollar-store items that would likely break within a few days, I decided to take a popular new trend and offer a few bigger items along with a dessert table. I made each boy a Mario hat by cutting out the Mario logo from white felt and using felt glue to attach it to red ball caps I bought at the dollar store. At about $2.50 a hat, these were my biggest expense, but they looked so good when they were done!
I also made each boy a personalized water bottle by printing Mario-themed labels on sticker paper and then attaching them to BPA-free plastic water bottles I bought for $1.25 each at the dollar store. To make the paper a little more water-resistant, I sprayed it with two coats of Clear Acrylic spray paint.
The treat bags were for the boys to fill with snacks from the dessert table. I had some cute paper bags left over from something else so I printed various Mario characters onto card stock, cut them out and stuck them onto the treat bags with glue dots for fun customized bags.
The dessert table didn’t cost nearly as much as the hats and bottles since I had most of the ingredients for the treats in my cupboard, but it did take the most work! I started off by making Super Mario Bros. themed sugar cookie pops. Then I created Mario marshmallow mushrooms by dipping large marshmallows in red candy coating and sticking slices of mini marshmallows to the coating when it was slightly cool. I rounded out the table with some chewy rainbow taffy, chocolate coins, round lollipops and “Yoshi” Kinder eggs!
The crowning touch was the cake. This was my first experience working with fondant and for anyone that has considered trying it, I really can’t recommend it highly enough IF you make it yourself. Marshmallow fondant is surprisingly easy to make and, unlike store-bought fondant, which most people have told me tastes a lot like play dough, is completely delicious! I used this Buttercream Marshmallow Fondant recipe from The Baking Beauties to make my fondant and a basic homemade carrot cake for the base.
The best part of a cake like this is that any unevenness in the fondant or imperfections that came with using fondant for the first time could be easily covered with one of the cute decorations! I had so much fun making little Mario figurines to decorate the cake. And I was so proud of how well my fondant Mario cake topper turned out!
The party was lots of fun but also completely exhausting. I kept prizes simple by making some cute “You Win!” stickers featuring Mario and Luigi with another sheet of sticker paper and then giving them out to the boys that won the games. And of course, no Super Mario Bros. party would be complete without a Mario Kart tournament in the basement playroom!
By the time the boys happily left with full treat bags and Mario hats on their heads (and I had flopped onto the couch in exhaustion) the party had cost about $100. It was more than I originally intended to spend, but considering that I would have likely paid the same amount just for the cake if I had bought it at a bakery, I was pretty pleased! The hats had been the biggest expense, but seeing the boys’ delight when they received them made them worth it. And I can’t help but grin when I drop Zackary off at school and see one of his classmates wearing a Mario hat!
It was a busy week and it took some work, but giving my son the Super Mario Bros. party he wanted was actually pretty easy and affordable! If you have a child’s birthday party coming up and you’re short on money or time, just get creative. If I can do it, you can do it too!