For a kid, their birthday party is the social event of the year. They spend 365 days dreaming of when it’s their day. But as the time comes closer, it may become a bit overwhelming to narrow down all the ideas. Before you pick any party themes, make sure you ask yourself these 5 questions.

1. Who is the party for?

When you think about it, the first birthday is really more about the parents. They are the ones who choose party themes, guests, decorations – pretty much everything. It’s a time to celebrate the family as a whole.

If you’re planning a first birthday, consider using your nursery theme to guide your party plans – you’ll have most of your decorations already lying around the house. Or maybe you have a special nickname that could work (bear, sport, monster…). These will be completely personal for your family, and can make for truly unique parties.

As kids get older, their interests and personalities will strengthen. This is when the birthday party becomes all about the kid. Suddenly they’ll tell you who they want to invite, what they want to eat. Let them in on the planning! They might surprise you with their ideas.

2. What are the favorite…?

Foods? Books? Movies?

A few years ago my friend threw her daughter a Pajamas and Pancakes 1st birthday. I mean, who doesn’t love breakfast? All of the guests (kids and adults alike) wore their coziest jammies and dined on pancakes, bacon, pastries, and mimosas. It was one of the sweetest parties I have ever been to (and definitely the comfiest).

Do you read Little Blue Truck every night? Hand out small toy trucks as party favors, decorate with little farm animals, and have a chocolate “mud” cake topped with Oreo tires (shoutout to Oreo for their amazing new gluten-free version! #NotSponsored).

You know that movie that’s on repeat in your house? Ya, that one. Embrace it for the day as your party theme. Sure, you might have to hear “Let It Go” over and over, but be honest with yourself – wouldn’t you have to anyway? Encourage your guests to dress in costume. Invest in earplugs. You’ll be fine.

3. Do you need to do any research?

Does your kid have their heart set on a Minecraft party? Then it’s time to finally learn what the heck Minecraft is. Asking for a friend: Is it Legos? Is it that old computer grid game where you have to avoid the bombs? I truly have no idea.

One of the benefits is that you can lean our your kid to teach you, and make it a fun bonding experience. Ask why they like it so much. What they think a party would be like.

4. How literal do you want to be?

When I pitched a Hamilton-themed 1st birthday for my friends, I knew I didn’t want it to be “Broadway-ey”. We set the theme as “History Has Its Eyes On You”, and leaned into quotes and the atmosphere of the show, rather than using cutouts of the characters or playbills.

There’s no right or wrong with how far you take your theme. If you want to go crazy in the party shop and buy all of the character items, from cups to pinatas, go for it!

5. Will you buy or DIY?

Do a quick search to see if there are decorations readily available for you. If not, then you may want to reconsider or get ready to embrace your inner DIY goddess. To simplify your work, I recommend focusing on one or two major pieces and allow them to be a big statement. A balloon arch is always a great backdrop that can support the rest of your theme with very little effort.

When you focus on just a few elements, you can easily coordinate the rest of your decorations. For a Paw Patrol party, highlight the theme with a Marshall pinata, then use reds, blacks, and whites with the rest of your decorations. You don’t have to buy the store to make your party theme shine through.


Planning a party doesn’t have to be stressful. If you slow down to think about these questions, you will find your perfect party themes!

What has been your favorite theme you’ve seen? What made it so special? Share in the comments below!

Pass it on!