Back in May, I asked my son what he wanted for his birthday, and all he answered was a “McQueen Party.” He didn’t ask for any gifts. All my kid wanted was an excuse to play with his friends and his two favorite cartoon characters, Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater. I was not surprised at all by this request, as my son is slightly obsessed with Disney’s red race car and tow truck. I would venture to say that we have probably seen both of the movies at least 100 times in the last year. Because he was so expressive about what he wanted for his birthday, it was simple to plan, inexpensive, and I believe his favorite party to date!
Pit Stop Planning
The first step was to ask Andrew who he wanted to invite to his party. Once we had his requests in mind, we also included family and a few close friends with children close to him in age; this helped us stay within budget. From there, I decided to shop at my local big box stores and online to see what was available. I knew that anything Cars related would be pretty easy to find, and I was right, as I found the Hallmark Dream Party Cars collection. I then took to Pinterest and from there, it all came together. Since Cars has been out since 2006, there was no shortage of ideas, and the Disney Family website was another great resource for crafts, tips and ideas. Even if you are just looking for a little something fun to entertain your kids, their site is full to the brim with activities to go with every popular Disney film.
VIP Pit Passes
For invitations, I had the rare opportunity to work on a design one weekend afternoon during his nap time. To make it special for the kids, I created “VIP Pit Passes” for the “Big Race” to celebrate with Andrew. The kids would make their “pit stop” at the party to enjoy snacks, a car wash, and finish out with receiving their own piston cups in the Winner’s Circle! I kept the decorations simple with things we already had around the house: orange cones, a black twin sheet for a table cloth, and the reusable birthday banner I crafted for him in the past, along with the vast collection of Cars toys we have accumulated and the licensed decorations purchased from the store.
Revving up the Fun
When it came to party activities, the first idea that came to my mind was to create a “Winner’s Circle” Photo Booth. I bought cardboard “standees” online and added a Winner’s Circle Banner that was part of the party collection. The package also came with photo booth props, and I added in some inexpensive checkered flags. As I imagined, the kids had a blast in the Winner’s Circle taking pictures and playing with the photo props. In addition, I was glad to find a local photographer who was willing to capture the party fun while my husband and I mingled with guests, and it was nice to get in the picture!
When the kids were not having their picture taken, the majority of the fun was had in the “Car Wash,” otherwise known as the swimming pool. Since it was a typical hot August day, the kids were happy as can be to stay in the pool for the majority of the party, and cannonballs were the highlight of the fun. When the kids wanted to take a break from swimming, we had a great game set up that included a ring toss as well as a few others. The ring toss game was easy, created with a set of diving swim rings and some orange safety cones. We also had “Pin the Headlight on Mater,” along with Ramone’s House of Body Art, where the kids could apply temporary tattoos with the help of their parents and/or decorate a wooden race car with their own designs that they could take home from the party. All of the activities were a big hit, but the pool was top of the list!
Fill ’em Up
When it came to snacks, we decided to keep it simple. For the kids, we opted to provide some of Andrew’s favorite foods with clever names inspired by the movies. Chick Hick’s Nuggets, Mater’s Taters, and Cozy Cones topped the menu along with Doc’s Dipsticks (baby carrots) and watermelon. Dessert featured Sheriff’s Stoplight Brownies and, of course, McQueen & Mater cupcakes!
For the favors, I purchased mini trophies online and filled them with candy so that each kid could have their very own piston cup. The kids at the party went crazy for them!
After everyone left, we settled down that evening, and Andrew cuddled up in my lap to watch another showing of Cars. As the movie started, he looked up at me, curled in close, gave me a hug, and said “I loved my McQueen Party” with a great big smile.
That made it all worthwhile.
Birthday Shirt: Design a Latte Boutique
Paper Products & Decorations: Hallmark Dream Party Collection
Cupcakes: Sam’s Club
Cardboard Standees: Overstock.com
Piston Cup & Wooden Car Favors: Oriental Trading
Table Signs: So Wonderful, So Marvelous Blog
Additional Party Printables: Hostess with the Mostess
McQueen & Mater 3-D Crafts and Activity Books: Disney Family
Party Photography: Tiffany McEntee Photography
And, since we like to share here at New Orleans Moms Blog, I’ve included some free printables for you to create your own Race Car or Lightning McQueen themed birthday party! Using PicMonkey or Photoshop, you can add in your own personal details and graphics to customize the invitation and food tents!