There are so many cute ways to create a “Where the Wild Things Are” birthday party theme. As my little guy was nearing the end of his first year, it was just so fitting for him that he become not only the wild one- but king of them all! It’s a perfect theme to have inside or out depending on weather. If you’ve read some of my other posts- I’m all about magical spaces, and what’s more magical than living out a storybook? Pinterest has lots of great ideas for a wild things birthday party, so a couple months before he turned one I started looking for inspiration.
When my first son Miles turned two last year, we did a ball theme and I pretty much ordered the majority of our stuff on Amazon. At the time, I had a lot going on at work and a 2 month baby so I needed the least amount of prep possible. This year we needed to keep the party on a tighter budget, since I wasn’t working anymore. I was determined that Ellis got just as much as Miles did. Probably because I’m a second child so I’m ultra sensitive to all that. At the end, this party may have surpassed both of Miles’ parties!
Before we go any further, all of these pictures were taken by Pinky Promise Pix. I’ve taken my own photos at parties, but with all the setup and everything going on- it’s hard to get good shots and remember to keep taking them. If you are in the Chicagoland area, I highly recommend Pinky Promise Pix for your next event or family photos! And if you aren’t in this area, consider hiring a photographer or assigning family and friends the task of capturing the event.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience, please refer to my disclosure policy for more information.
The most budget friendly way to go about decor is making as much as possible. Or if you aren’t really into DIY, then printing some things at home and buying a few others. I’m going to link to ready made versions also that I would have bought or gave me the inspiration. When guests walked up, they were greeted with a wooden sign “Let the Wild Rumpus Start”. This post goes over how I made it and all of the other DIY projects of the party.
At the end of this post, you’ll have a chance to subscribe and download all of the printables that I made for the party (signs and posters)!
Another wooden sign I made was above the wild things masks, “Inside all of us is fear, hope, and adventure. Inside all of us is a wild thing.” If you don’t want to make your own wooden sign, you can find both the “rumpus” and “inside all of us” wooden signs on Etsy. Another option would be to download my design and have it printed as a poster or canvas print. I found the best deals at Office Depot, but Vistaprint also has great discounts.
The “Happy Birthday” and “ONE” banners were made the same way as the wooden signs. I got the triangles in a pack from Michaels (letters included in my printables pack below). Again this is something you can easily buy already done- Amazon and Etsy have really cute ones. Etsy also has this natural bark border and hand burned wooden sign that I would have loved to have!
A couple other images from the book decorated the space to make the book come alive. I wanted these bigger so I looked around until I found the cheapest place to print. You can scan the images from the book, but I just looked on google until I found two images with high enough resolution to print big. Office Depot had 50% off so they were the cheapest for sure. Or buy this custom birthday banner and Under the Moon poster!
Food tables are always some of the best places for decor. A few quotes from the books were framed, two I made and two I got from this blog post. I printed them all at home so no extra costs! The wind was super wild that day so some of the wild things fell over, but they were creating mischief all over the food! The images are from google images and were printed at home. These work too!
Amazon or Party City usually supply our plates, silverware, cups etc. This time, I got everything from Dollar Tree for $10, including the table cloth. The burlap table runner was from Target for $4, but they also have some at Amazon, Michael’s or other craft stores. Moss was also from Michael’s, but it’s actually cheaper on Amazon.
Cakes are from our grocery store Mariano’s; we decided to get a small one and supplement with little vanilla cupcakes. The cake topper was made on picmonkey, where I added Ellis’ face to the image before printing. This blog has instructions on how they made their cake topper in Microsoft publisher. I used her advice on adding a layer of tape to make it sturdier. This glittery Wild One cake topper is pretty adorable, or one with wild thing silhouettes!
Smores on a stick were a hit and super easy. There are a few recipes out there but I used this one. Crown shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a watermelon boat rounded out the themed food. I freehanded my sandwich crowns, but you can use this cookie cutter for sandwiches or make crown sugar cookies as a take away treat.
I tried to keep the food as simple as possible. It’s cost effective to just have some finger foods. There were turkey and cheese sliders that I made from this recipe. Veggie tray with hummus, fruit tray, cheese and crackers, and chips with salsa. So the majority of the prep was lots and lots of cutting. Of course, you can buy the trays pre made but it always saves more to do any cutting and arranging yourself. If time is what you need to save on though, getting food catered is amazing. That is what we did for our son Miles’ second birthday and it was a nice relief to not have to worry about it.
I was mentally prepared for this crown not to last at all, but he wore it the whole time! I do think it helped that the design was made of felt and it was soft on his head. Also the amount of excitement going on made him forget it was there. You can also buy this adorable one on Amazon or this one on Etsy, which is where I got his “Wild One” shirt. Of course he and his brother had to match a little bit with their denim shorts and green converse.
If there will be kids at your party, activities for them are a must! I purposefully did not bring that many toys out that could be fought over, but wanted to create spaces where kids could play together. It ended up being a windy and kind of cool day so I scrapped the water table the morning of. The first main activity was making these wild thing masks that they could run around with. Our crowd may have been a little too young for them, but enough were played with that it was worth it. And what better way to make the book come alive, then have a bunch of little wild things running around.
A bucket of chalk was set up by the welcome sign and it got lots of use ($1 from Dollar Tree)!
The sensory bins were inspired from this book I love, “150+ Screen Free Activities for Kids”. It has slime and dough recipes and little worlds that you can create. Since Ellis is still eating everything in sight, I wanted to make taste safe sensory bins. From the book I combined cloud dough and moon sand in one bin. The other bin had rice and colored pasta. I threw in all of our sand toys as well as random kitchen supplies to play with. Since I had all of the materials already, this cost zero dollars and was lots of fun. But you can also find a big bag of flour and corn meal at Dollar Tree for a buck each.
The teepee was another way to create the woodsy wilderness party vibe. It cost a total of $18 and it can be put up in a playroom after the party! The canvas drops from Home Depot were a little expensive so I got this one from Amazon. We had a copy of our honorary book in there to be read. In retrospect, I would have put a few more books in or other things to do.
And finally, shenanigans!
Overall it was a beautiful day, and we had a blast!! Ellis tore up his smash cake, his brother got in there with a fork to taste it, we drank mimosas, the kids ran around and made masterpieces with chalk.
Have fun creating your own wild time!