School is in full swing, the evenings are becoming shorter and there’s a slight chill beginning to infiltrate the air. For those families grasping onto the remnants of summer, there’s no better way to do so than by throwing a color war themed birthday party. The blue skies of September and October are ideal for outdoor parties! So, pretend it’s summer. Pop that barbecue back open, get the ice cream out of the freezer and blast Will Smith’s “Summertime.” Most importantly, be sure to let everyone know that color war has broken out one last time this year!
Setting the Stage
In preparation for the event, along with your child, select his/her two favorite colors, which will dictate teams. Carry these colors through to your invitations and decorations. Decorations can be simple and include homemade banners and chalk art displays directing guests towards the parties with arrows and “Go team” messages. If space allows, get the kids involved in creating a chalkscape as you await guests. For ambience, the Kids Bop soundtracks provide good, clean, popular background music.
It’s imperative to take the time to create two fair, equal teams in advance of the event. It is also important to note that despite your best efforts, cries of “that team is unfair” will ring throughout the air. This, however, is your role as unofficial ref for the party. Put on your invisible armor and own it.
Once everyone has arrived, it’s time to gear up in team colors. There are several streamlined ways to accomplish this. As Meryl says, “The gear is half the battle, when it comes to color war! A great option would be to send a “team card” with your invitation telling guests which team they are on and to come dressed to impress for that team. Another option would be to incorporate an art activity and each guest can decorate a shirt or accessory with their team colors.”
Getting geared up can also be a fun opportunity to order custom t-shirts to serve the dual purpose of favors. As a more budget-friendly option, visit your local party supply store and grab wristbands, sunglasses, face makeup and hair color. Full disclosure: the latter two options will not make you popular with parents upon pick-up. But, it’s all about making the kids happy, right? Right.
Let the Games Begin
Now, it’s time for the real fun! Popular color war games include egg toss, Frisbee, potato sack races and obviously, tug-of-war! Older children will also enjoy a game of capture-the-flag, dodgeball and volleyball. Invest in a low-cost, backyard-friendly net that only needs to survive a few games. Regardless of the competitions you have selected, we highly recommend ending the games with a group activity that brings teams together like a scavenger hunt followed by something more restful like a lanyard/friendship bracelet station.
Satisfy Those Appetites
By now, everyone will be ravenous. We always recommend going “mini” with birthday party menus. This eliminates waste and still accommodates children with bigger appetites. Children who were archenemies during the war will resume their states of camaraderie over sliders, mini hot dogs, drumsticks and pizza bagels. Parents may begin arriving at this time, so it’s always nice to have some sliced cucumbers, mini carrots and watermelon to keep up appearances.
Dessert, the true main event for every party, can also integrate the color war theme. Whether the birthday boy or girl prefers traditional cake, ice cream cake or cupcakes, the colors of the teams can be incorporated into the design. If offering cupcakes, offer both colors as icing options and provide sprinkles, syrup and other toppings that children can use to customize their confections.
Planning your own color war party is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t have it in you to do all of the work, we won’t judge! In fact, we are here to help. In thinking of the camp scene, Meryl practically says, “What’s a color war without counselors? A company like “Rent a Teenager” is a perfect resource to grab a few extra hands to help keep the fun and activity going!” Claire adds, “Still need more help? Booked Parties planners can take the planning off your hands and create the color war party of your dreams!!”
Regardless of how the party is executed, make sure to play, celebrate and blow out those candles all while enjoying these last days of faux summer!
Shauna Levy is a writer, communications professional and a stay-at-home mom. Her interests include flaunting her discount shopping finds, cooking food her children reject and restoring her 125-year old home. She is currently raising three boys, ages 9, 6 and 5 alongside her husband in Chappaqua, NY.