When California got shelter in place orders in mid-March, I never could have fathomed that we would be planning a quarantine birthday parade for my May baby. Yet, there I was, trying to figure out how to throw the social distancing Spider-Man birthday of Nolan’s dreams.
You may have seen quarantine birthday parades all across the Internet. Huge kudos to the mama who thought of this idea because it’s the best, safest way to celebrate your child’s birthday while still respecting the safety of your family and guests. In case you haven’t heard of a birthday parade, you have all of your friends and family you’d normally invite inside for cake and ice cream caravan down the street at the same time wishing the birthday boy or girl their best safely from their car. It’s definitely a non-traditional birthday celebration, but it’s a great option considering the circumstances.
Logistics of a Quarantine Birthday Parade
I decided to give everyone a 30 minute window for Nolan’s quarantine birthday parade. I know others have choreographed the car line up so that everyone is queued up and ready to go, but honestly that felt like a lot of management. Giving a window of time meant there was a steady stream of people and we actually got a chance to quickly chat with people as they came through.
Decorations: Unique Industries
Decorations aren’t necessary for a birthday parade, but I wanted to do something to make it feel special and festive for Nolan. At 4, this was really the first year he had opinions about how he wanted his party to be and who he wanted to come and he had been talking about it for months. Balloons was the least I could do for the kid since we had no choice but to improvise a party! Plus, it felt really cathartic for me to get to do something “normal” and creative. Ok, balloon creations aren’t totally normal, but it is for us around here!
Brittany had worked with Unique Industries for Harrison’s Minecraft birthday and raved about the entire experience. I reached out to them again and they were kind enough to send me all of the necessary party supplies. They even included a Spider-Man themed tableware kit so we could continue the festive celebration inside. This balloon bouquet kit is also perfect for adding finishing touches to your party. We had planned to hand balloons out to the kids as they drove by, but it was so windy that morning, it wasn’t possible.
I created this balloon garland to decorate the outside of the house. It made a perfect photo backdrop and also helped the cars identify our house. We have had the best weather lately, but of course this morning it was really windy, which changed a lot of my decorating plans. I tried to tuck the garland into a corner of the house so it would be more protected from the wind. Luckily, it held for the parade! Afterwards, we took it inside to keep the celebration going.
Nolan was very opinionated about his Spider-Man cake. He even joined me looking for inspiration pictures on Pinterest. I tried my best to recreate the one he’d picked out, but webs are surprisingly hard to ice onto a cake. He seemed happy with it though, which was all that mattered.
I also created this 10 foot tall Spider-Man out of balloons. I’m hoping to write a tutorial on him soon, but I had to do everything late at night when the kids were asleep and the pictures are so bad. Basically all I did was tie the balloons together with fishing line creating legs and arms individually. Then, I tied each limb together and attached the head. I used low temperature hot glue to attach the balloons together and printed out Spider-Man eyes for the face. A simple design and construction, but it did the job and Nolan loved it!
One of the most exciting things about planning a party is choosing the favors. This wasn’t a traditional party, and favors weren’t necessary, but I wanted to do something small to show our appreciate for everyone coming together to celebrate Nolan. I knew some people would be weary of home baked goods, so we decided to grab donuts from our favorite local shop (Bonus- we got to support one of our most favorite local businesses!) to hand out to people.
Since the parade was Spider-Man themed, we also handed out cans of silly string labeled as “web shooters”. I grabbed this digital download off of Etsy, cut them out and glued them onto the cans.
All in all, a quarantine birthday parade might be my new favorite way to do a party. Don’t get me wrong, it was fast and furious and over in a flash, but that seems to be how kids’ birthday parties go no matter what. So many friends told us they loved it too because they got to take their kid to a “party”, but there was no sugar rush, tantrums, or hours spent at a kid entertainment venue. Moms- I think we might be on to something here!
The rest of the day was pretty low key. We spent it letting Nolan make decisions and counseling Isla through the trials of letting your sibling get all of the attention. Overall, it wasn’t how we would have chosen to spend the day, but we made the best of it!
Have you had a child’s birthday fall while under quarantine or stay at home orders? What did you do to make his or her day special?