How to Make a “Boxed” Party Your Own

This post is not sponsored.  All opinions are our own.

We average 3-4 birthday parties a weekend, sometimes more, sometimes less.  Most of the parties are a one-stop, all-inclusive boxed party.  Pay $300-$600 and someone else provides the staff, entertainment, pizza and drinks; and in some cases, even a cake!  You’ve been to these at kids gyms, moonbounce facilities, trampoline parks…Everyone seems to be doing it these days, and for very valid reasons.  This way, you get to enjoy the party and spend time with your family and friends!

I’ve always been against them.  I want to be different and special; I know, a side effect of being a Millennial.  But three kids, a disability, and chronically ill child later, I wanted to see if it was possible to “dress” up a cookie cutter party and make it #Semi_Handmade.  Turns out 

it can be done, and done fairly easily with a few #Semi_Handmade details!  I wanted the star of the show to be the Fairy Garden favors.  In the past, I have done these awesome “Create Your Own Goody Bag,” which is great for multiple age groups, but can be pretty expensive.  For less than $5 each, I was able to make these individual fairy garden terrariums with live plants for each child to take home.  They are in fashion and on pointe for the Unicorn theme.

Fairy Garden Favors

The evolution of 30 Fairy Gardens from glass terrarium to safely boxed and bagged party favor!

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Once each box was tied with tulle, we finished these with personalized stickers to celebrate the birthday girl and remind guests of our #PartyforPurpose.


The finished product was a hit with the kids–girls and boys.  Even the older boys (yes, the 10 year olds wanted one.IMG_8692

Something Special

We searched high and low for a unicorn dress but could not seem to find one!  We did find a unicorn T shirt, so decided to ruffle some scrap fabric to make it #Semi_Handmade!

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First I measured fabric 4 times the bottom of the T shirt and cut two strips for a long ruffle and short ruffle.  I ironed and hemmed it to the length I wanted and pinned it.


Using the tac setting, I sewed two parallel gathering stiches along the long side, then held the thread and pulled until I had the ruffle effect I was looking for.  Right sides together, I sewed the skirt onto the T shirt, then snipped away the gathering thread and voila! A unicorn dress in 20 minutes!


Table Top

We opted for plain white plates to really showcase the food and these fun horse/unicorn dessert plates for the cake.  The flatware was compostable wooden forks and spoons, fancy, white paper napkins tied off with pink and purple bakers twine.


We knew they would transform a counter top to the table top for the kids, so instead of the standard plastic table cloths, we used plain white table cloths with purple overlays from our #PartyPantry.


We decorated table tops with fairy gardens we made from succulents already in our home.  It was so easy to transport in a box and then go right back home to our living room!


IMG_8686We decided to replace the usual pizza party with another kid-friendly option, brunch!


The birthday girl loves breakfast, so we did a pancake bar with a  variety of toppings.  My favorite was the balsamic strawberries! We served the fruit salad in an apothecary jar, so it looked like a terrarium.IMG_8685

We also served warmed, hand carved turkey and sharp cheddar sandwiches on croissants, cut into thirds.


What really set this table apart was the balloon wall.  We did a simple gold balloon wall, with a giant unicorn.  Helium prices are really high (still), so this allows us to have a really significant impact and still only inflate one item with helium!

The “Happy Birthday” banner we bought on Etsy 4 years ago, and it’s a staple in the #PartyPantry.  The other green and canvas ones from other events (also used here) were handmade.


Although on the invitation we told our guests that all gifts would be donated to Children’s National Medical Center (the only children’s hospital in the DMV), we always like to share the story of why.  Most of our friends and family know how CNMC took amazing care of our daughter when diagnosed with Kawasaki’s Disease at three, but we find that it is still so important to help kids and their parents understand why we throw these really exciting parties.  Yes, we are celebrating the birthday girl, but our purpose is also to raise awareness, toys and funds for the amazing Child Life specialists who take such amazing care of kids and their families who, every day, are struggling to be well and thrive.  One of the pediatric cardiologists told us that she loves her Kawasaki patients because usually, they have a happy ending.


With this party, we have raised several thousands of dollars in direct funding and gifts just in this calendar year.  We know that we do have a happy ending!IMG_8711

The Thank Yous

Even though we donate the gifts directly to Child Life, we still think it is important to remember the people who thoughtfully chose a gift.  I loved these handmade cards from our neighbors, Evie and Lily.  They glued squares of wrapping paper onto card stock and these were the cutest cards!  My friend, Jenn S., had this fabulous idea of taking a photo of the birthday child with the gift and sending that as the thank you card to the gift giver. Don’t you love that idea?  Thoughtful and green….we are all over it!

Thanks for celebrating with us for #PartyforPurpose!

If you would like to give to Children’s National Medical Center, click here and give on behalf of Aubrey C.!


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