Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Buzz Lightyear Birthday Party

Last summer, for my son's fifth birthday, I decided to throw him a Buzz Lightyear party. Alex has been a fan ever since he watched the first Toy Story movie at three years old. He loved him so much he used to freak out at that scene where Buzz fell out of Andy's bedroom window. He would run over to the TV in a panic and yell "Buzz! Buzz! Nooooooo!"

So it was no surprise that he picked this theme. He had a Buzz Lightyear toy that he played with all the time. He wore a Buzz costume for Halloween. His favourite catchphrase was "To infinity...and beyond!" He was over the moon about this party.

"Woody who?"

But if you know anything about five year olds, you know they can be fickle. After I spent weeks searching the web for party ideas, for crafts, for Buzz Lightyear decorations and spent hours designing the invitation, my son cheerfully announced one day: "I don't want a Buzz Lightyear party. I want Transformers."

Okay, so this was my fault. I made the mistake of picking Transformers for movie night one Friday and he was besotted. How could Buzz Lightyear hold a candle to gigantic bad-ass robots that can transform into trucks?

Unlike Buzz, these things can actually fly.

So after all my planning, he didn't want to hear anything about a Buzz Lightyear party. Great.

You know those parents who really listen to their kids and give them the freedom to choose whatever they want? I hope I grow up to be one of those, I really do. However, there was just no way I was going to throw all my plans out the window and come up with a Transformers party in three weeks. I'm not saying I forced him to choose my Buzz Lightyear party. I would never do that. I'm not saying I brainwashed him either. What kind of momma do you think I am? All I'm saying is, the next movie night turned out to be a Toy Story marathon. And that's all she wrote.

We didn't get to do a lot of the activities we had planned because of the freak thunderstorm that showed up the morning of the party. Naturally it was bright and sunny the day after. Happens. Every. Single.Year.

Anyway, here is I mean Alex's Buzz Lightyear party. It was really based on the DVD movie: Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. Feel free to take inspiration from any of my ideas!

Invitation: The party theme was based on the idea of Space Ranger trainees. I thought it would be cute to have the kids take part in a training program and get rewards at the end of the party.

I got this fabulous idea from a friend. Decorate the glass doors or windows in honour of the birthday boy/girl using Crayola Window Crayons. However be warned: cleaning it off is pretty tedious, even with window took me forever to get rid of the streaks. But Alex loved it. I can't take credit for the artwork - that was my sister's doing.

Party props: I found this post by Filth Wizardry on how to build a cardboard rocket ship, which was the perfect idea for our space ranger theme. We used a bunch of large cardboard boxes from the grocery store. And when I say 'we', I mean Alex's wonderful Uncle who did all the work while I barked instructions. He built the spaceship using cardboard, duct tape and a wood base, then covered it with foil. He even taped glow-sticks inside to provide extra light, however the kids ripped those off in no time.Is it starting to sound like I didn't do much of the work myself? I delegate well, hehe.

Shout-out to my Jamaican peeps!
Decor: I created different posters to put up around the house. My favourite was the 'Great Escape' poster for Toy Story 3 - you can see it hanging above the Canadian flag on the rocket ship. I used Photoshop to superimpose a picture of Alex in his Buzz costume onto the photo so it looked like he was running along with them. It wasn't perfect but he loved it! "But how did I get in that movie, Mommy?"

It wasn't too difficult to change 'Andy' to 'Alex'.

I had a hard time deciding what kind of cake to do because Alex doesn't really like cake at all. I finally decided on Buzz and Zurg facing off on a planet-shaped cake, with Little Green Men cupcakes surrounding them. Cupcakes he can handle - and most little kids like them. I just picked up the figurines in a toy store. And no I did not bake it myself!

Each child got to take home one of these cookies.
Like I said, the random thunderstorm destroyed most of our plans so we had to get creative.

A Wii dance game is always good for party entertainment!

The main event was supposed to be a showdown with the evil Emperor Zurg. I planned to coax the afore-mentioned Uncle into a Zurg costume, and basically let the kids eat him alive. Zurg hasn't been seen on the big screen since 1999 so naturally there were no costumes available anywhere. We had to get creative. I found a tutorial on how to build Zurg's head here. The overworked Uncle got the job to build the frame for the head using wire hangers. After he added to tape to form a base, I layered it with papermache and painted it with Alex's  help.

So after all our slightly sloppy hard work, this was the finished product:

We spent over two weeks building it. And the kids destroyed it in about...three minutes.

They literally ripped him apart. Poor guy. Anyway, the kids had fun, and that's what's important, right? Walk it off, Uncle. Walk it off.

On to our Marvelous Monday freebie! If you decide to throw a Buzz Lightyear party for your little one, you might find this free printable useful! I created wrist lasers for the kids by printing out a template I made in Photoshop. I covered empty matchboxes with green craft foam and glued the template on top, and attached wide pieces of elastic with a Velcro enclosure. Finally I lined the matchboxes with paper, and filled them with jellybeans, so the kids could "power up" whenever they got tired.

I also created space ranger badges which each child received at the end of the party. These were a big hit!

We had great fun planning this party. For Alex's next birthday, he wants a Pirates of the Caribbean theme. Naturally, I've already started planning, so if he decides on something else, there are four movies that will help me to convince him otherwise.

You can download the template for the wrist laser and the ranger badges, as well as the customizable posters here.

Happy Monday!


Krystal Dadag said...

LOL...that was a good party :)

JenHaggerty said...

Wow Kristine!! I am super impressed! What a fun day :)

zerry ht said...

Kids seem to be so much invested in the party. You did not plan anything out of the box but still everything was done so nicely and looked really engaging. Anyway, I also want to plan a party like that and for now I am on hunt of best event locations with some great deals. If you have any suggestions please shared them here too.

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