“Does he really like Batman, or did you guys just pick out the theme yourself?”
That’s probably the most common question we received when we mentioned we were having a Batman themed party for Jidenna’s first birthday. It was pretty funny because he had never watched anything Batman related.
So yes, we picked the theme. I say “we” but I guess it was mostly my decision. I’m not sure which happened first. Me realising – thanks to the internet, that Batman was a very popular theme and so would be easy to pull off, or noticing that J’s first character sleep suit was a batman one. I guess it all happened at about the same time. So I stored the information somewhere and planned that if I was had a party, it will be Batman themed.
We also liked the very interesting fact about fictional Batman character: he doesn’t actually have any superpowers – he’s just intelligent, strong and well, wealthy! Good attributes if you ask me.
Consciously or subconsciously therefore, I found myself picking batman outfits in varying months from 3 months – 10 months, so we could have some photos of him in Batman outfits over his first year. I reckoned that if I settled to actually have a party, the growth photos will be cool.
The question of whether to have a party a first birthday party at all is one I’d considered even before we had kids. But ultimately I decided that although I didn’t want a huge party, I’d love to have something cute in my own home with just family and a few friends, keeping it within budget. And yes, everyone one says the kids wouldn’t remember the day, but we do so many fun things for them as they grow that they wouldn’t remember anyway, so why not? As long as it’s not too stressful or expensive I think it’s good to go.
So yes, my top tip even for small parties is to pick a theme – it really helps simplify your thought process and planning.
Next was budget and I broke this down into:
Next, pick a date. Many times it doesn’t have to be actual birthday especially if it falls on a weekday. So we had it on the weekend two days before his actual birthday.
On to the actual planning.
I cannot even tell you how long it took me to get the invite right. I knew it had to be in line with the theme, as it sets the tone for the day. But all the available batman e-invite templates were pricey. And I just didn’t think I should pay for an e-invite. So I trawled the internet and finally found a template I could use. Next, I designed the invite on Canva and it was good to go! You can check out the template here and re-use if you’d like.
Using the same template I designed the agenda for the day, and some games to play. I printed all of these out.
It’s helpful to break this down based on guests and type of food. So we planned for typical Nigerian party food: Jollof rice, fried rice, grilled fish, chicken, plantain, and more! Just typing this out is making me hungry. My mother-in-law was an absolute star as she offered to make most of the meats and so we only ordered the Jollof rice from a caterer. I also cooked the fried rice and plantains. We toned down on the spice for non-Nigerian guests. I had some rice cakes and carrot sticks for babies, sausages and mini pizzas for kids and well.
I also wanted the cakes and desert to be in line with the theme. But the bespoke dessert table prices were above my budget and for a home event too. My friend recommended a baker and so I had her make the cake and cupcakes, simply telling her it was a Batman theme and sharing ideas. She couldn’t make cake pops or cookies so I searched Facebook for cake pop bakers in my area and found for very affordable rates! If your theme is a common one you might be able to find ready-made character cakes in retail stores. I also purchased batman themed labels for the kiddies drinks, as well as Batman plates and cups, popcorn boxes, yellow and black plates and cups for adults, serving trays straws, serviettes etc.
Decor and other props
For a themed party and asides all of the themed food, decor and other little props is what really makes it pop!
For most of the decor, many of the items I found related to the actual Batman. But it didn’t seem very suitable for a kid’s party. The cartoon character was a grown man! Then I stumbled on Lego-Batman and it was absolutely perfect for a child’s party. I didn’t even know it existed.
Decor: I mostly got balloons, garlands, and a banner. I also intended to hang his photos in the Batman outfits through the years. Sadly, just before the day started I couldn’t find the bunch of photos I had printed. I found it much later, but that meant it wasn’t hung from the outset.
Party Packs: Again I found these personalised party boxes on eBay. The dimensions were stated and I attempted a rough visualization in my head. Sadly they arrived much smaller than anticipated so make sure you check properly! I got a bunch of stuff for the boxes: superhero colour cards, crayons, toys etc. But the geek in me still wanted to gift a more tangible item. So I purchased a pack of the Little Mr and Little Miss books and some personalised thank you labels. I gave out the books with the good virtue and character traits, and those pictured below are the leftovers (didn’t want to give these out so as not to offend anyone indirectly).
I definitely wanted the theme to shine through but still on a budget, and you probably know I’m a sucker for personalised items for that extra touch. So I even included some personalised paper bags to take away cakes!
Birthday outfit: I reached out to the personalised boutique, a store I bought his first personalised Christmas sleep suit. They didn’t have any batman t-shirt templates I liked but they offered to create one for me! So the sample version on their e-store has Jidenna’s name on it.
Party hats and superhero masks: I got party hats for the smaller kids! To add a bit of fun, I found a pack of superhero masks on Amazon. It came with three batman masks so that was perfect for us the hosting family. The kids loved it (and I did too!).
I had an actual list of no less than 10 games! A number I found on the internet and re-modified. Some I remembered from my childhood and some I just made up. The nerd in me made up the game on facts about Jidenna and Batman. I had a child come over to ask the other kids the questions. We didn’t get a chance to go through all of my games, but the highlight which everyone loved was the pull Piñata. I recommend searching for kid-appropriate games on the internet and modifying it to suit your theme or preferences.
After all of this planning, I definitely wanted some pro photos. Thankfully my friend who also shot my surprise baby shower was coming over with her family for the party, so she agreed to shoot this for us (for a discount). If you can get some professional photos, I definitely recommend. Grandma wanted him to change into at least six traditional Nigerian outfits! Too bad that we only had time for one.
In all, it was really a lovely day and I had such a fun time I even found a matching top to wear. I told Tee to wear a colour in theme but as you can see he didn’t! Also and contrary to popular expectations, J had such a good time. He was barely cranky and played a lot! It was good to see the kids also enjoyed themselves thoroughly even though they disputed in the Batman trivia that the bat phone was red!
I’m not a huge advocate of large stressful parties but I reckon this was a decent middle ground – at a decent price point. I enjoyed this so much I considered helping people plan similar parties.
Is it weird that I already have a theme in mind for his second birthday?
Do you enjoy themed parties? And are you a Batman fan!?