Turning 10 is a pretty big deal! Even if your mom recently had a baby and is super-busy and worn-out, 10 still needs to be celebrated, right? 10-year-old boys can also be a big deal–a big, noisy, rambunctious big deal for a mom to deal with…particularly when there are several of them together in a group, right?
We considered lots of fun thematic ideas and options for my son’s 10th birthday last month, but as I started planning, a few things became clear:
1) I was not going to be able to DIY every part of this party this year, given my circumstances and…
2) I did not want to be the one responsible for entertaining hoards of energetic pre-adolescent boys!
So I started looking around for active options for the party. I got really excited when I found Mobile Laser Tag by AZ Birthday Parties here in the Phoenix area. They bring laser tag to your location! This was a great idea for us for a lot of reasons: there are no laser tag places or similar game type businesses in our area. Having to transport friends to and from an event would have been challenging, limiting and expensive. Not to mention the most important part–I need to have parties at venues where I can have free reign and access to decorate and complete my vision! They have lots of options for course set up and guns. And they were running a special where they would bring 20 guns for the price of 10! Awesome! This way the big boys (grown-ups) got to play, too. As well as my daughters who loved it!
With the main activity taken care of, I thought it would be fun to focus on the laser part of laser tag and use a glow-in-the-dark theme for my party preparations, right from the start with the invitations.
I cut the shape using my Cricut Explore and a silhouette of a gun that looks semi-realistic (kind of like the ones they were playing with). I used the Cricut’s pen feature to write the party details in white (some silver) marker. And to give them a dose of the excitement they would be experiencing, I attached a glow stick (unbent bracelet), to the backside of the invite so it would stick out and give the effect of the lasers they would be shooting with their laser guns.
I added some yellow highlighter laser lines to the outside of the envelope. (And then posted it all on Instagram as I am prone to do). We mostly hand delivered these, so I don’t know how they would fare in the mail.
In the meantime, I got to work on my vision for a neon glow in the dark party area, ordering several materials from Oriental Trading Company. I found this post to be invaluable for learning what will and will not glow under a black light.
The party backdrop is just large tarp hung with strands of neon cording (that BSB had around for some reason) strung back and forth to suggest laser beams. The #10 Target is a glowing hula hoop from Walmart. The inner circle is a glow-in the dark necklace attached with more of the cording. The #10 was cut from my Cricut using neon poster board.
The cake was amazing and even more so because I didn’t have to make it!
Usually, the biggest DIY project of a party for me is the cake. I love when I can think of a simple way to do a cake that will still be impactful but not take a couple of days to decorate. I enjoy decorating cakes, but they take me forever and I’m usually not totally satisfied with my finished product. I knew with my new baby that any cake would be a challenge for me to create. Can I tell you how THRILLED I was when my new friend, Tina, offered to make the cake?!? Tina is the owner of Pixy Cakes, a cupcake, wedding cake, everything cake shop in Avondale, AZ who makes beautiful and amazingly delicious cakes. I’m still having cravings for more of that chocolate turtle flavored cake that was one of the layers–and I’m not even pregnant anymore! Hello…YUM!
Tina took my design concept and took it up a few notches and layers! Isn’t this a cool looking cake…both in light and glowing in the dark.
Also on the table were these “MRE’s”. Initially, my vision was to hand these out before they began playing as fuel to aid them with their missions, but since Mother Nature sent us a cruel AZ monsoon dust storm just before the party started, we scrambled our plans to play in the great outdoors and moved the laser tag portion of the event to the gymnasium of our church. They ended up getting their “meals” when they came back to the neon room for cake and celebrating after all of the laser tag fun.
I designed the labels to resemble packaging on some real military issued MRE’s, changing the details to reflect our birthday celebration.
The party was late enough that I didn’t plan to feed them a real meal, but pre-adolescent boys (on up) always want to eat, right? And I didn’t want them to be hungry, so the “MRE” was the perfect option. They could eat if they were hungry, or take it home as a favor for later. Our MRE’s consisted of Costco pre-packaged snack foods: jerky, corn nuts (which don’t have any nuts in them. We know because we were avoiding them to accommodate our guests with allergies), fruit leather, and Hi-chews.
I also had a bucket of water bottles available while playing with my target design on them.
UPDATE: By request, I have added printables for the water bottle labels and the MREs to my Follower Freebies page.
Also on the table were these chocolate guns, shooting neon candy laces. I made them out of a mold. We also made ice cubes (“Freeze!” Get it???), but they melted before any pictures were taken. We served Gatorade to drink after all of the laser tag exercise.
Guests arrived back from their adventures to find the room aglow! The tables were decorated with black plastic tablecloths criss-crossed with neon flagging tape. Glow in the dark frisbees served as chargers ( and favors). Giant glow in the dark cups were embellished with small decals of the same gun featured on the invitation. Most of the party ware on the tables came from Oriental Trading Company as did these cool neon bags, full of goodies–marked by a black tag and personalized with neon ink. I used the neon expo markers and they worked really well in the blacklights.
projects an image on the ceiling. They were a big hit and fit nicely with the laser tag theme.
Also featured in the bag are the Lightsticks FX. They are a genius little gadget to help you take all sorts of cool and nerdy pictures. You hold the stick strategically in front of the lens of the camera, turn the flash on and end up with winners like these:
My kids had a great time playing with these after the party. Turns out you can make lots of things glow like your hands using their super powers or your chest, Iron Man style. I won’t show you the picture of the magical laser beam gases coming out of my son’s behind. Creative and disturbing at the same time.
Don’t let the Rambo face fool you. This kid had an amazing time at his birthday and thanked me profusely for it all. I forgot to mention that his grandma made this tactical vest to his specifications. It totally helped him get into his game. This was a really fun party for all involved! You should’ve seen BSB after dominating the 10 year olds in laser tag! The birthday boy told me that one of his friends said that my parties are”legendary.” That’s the moment when you remember why you do all of this insanity even in the middle of an uncooperative monsoon.
Disclosure: I was given free product or discount from the following vendors, mostly because I approached them and wanted to work with them because I knew they would help to make this party epic: