The previous year, we had his party at our local rec center (which included cake and ice cream, decor, games, and the gymnastics room for one hour), but since it was all booked for the month, we realized we needed to get a little more creative. My husband and I began brainstorming ideas of what all Jackson loves and came up with a number of different themes, including baseball, Mickey Mouse, and HGTV ("Since he likes Fixer Upper so much, maybe we can have the kids work on sanding down the kitchen cabinets for the party!" -My husband), but in the end we decided to go with something he had been talking about non-stop since going to one months earlier: Movie theater.
While I love a great paper invite that you can hold in your hand, it isn't always the most practical thing to buy and send, so I went through movie-themed templates on evite and invited several of Jackson's besties for a day at the movies!
Now, the beauty of hosting a movie theater birthday party is that you can go as laid back or dressed up as you want. Limited on time and have a budget to stick to? Pop some bags of popcorn, offer bottles of water, and maybe some other kind of movie-esque snack to share... easy, right?
Seeing as though I am crazy, read too many party planning blogs, and enjoy creating in this capacity, I decided that we would make a full-blown concession stand complete with personalized water bottles (because what toddler doesn't appreciate staring at labels you spent way too long designing, printing, cutting, and taping, right?), popcorn in adorable striped boxes, and an assortment of different boxed candies just waiting to be devoured.
Here is how everything looked:
After the kids played for a bit and devoured the doughnut cake (which I HIGHLY recommend doing -- it is less expensive than a cake AND a huge crowd pleaser!), everyone grabbed a box of popcorn, water bottle, and candy before heading downstairs to watch Dory.
This is seriously the easiest birthday party to throw together and one of my favorite aspects of it is that you can include both the kids and parents in the fun! Another plus to a movie theater birthday party is that you can do it up as much or as little as you like, which is great when you are throwing a party on a budget. (Jackson's party came in well under $100, thanks to the Dollar Tree, Amazon, and the fact that we already owned Dory!)
It has been more than 3 months since Jackson's party and he STILL talks about it nearly daily, which gives me the push I needed to both share and wholeheartedly endorse this simple and fun theme!