Firehouse Party -2yr- Party at the Firehouse
Laura in Oak Ridge, TN USA
Firehouse Party For my son's second birthday party we wanted to do something special that would appeal to children of various ages. We were inviting children from 18 months of age to 9 years of age. We also wanted something a little unique. My brother works as a volunteer firefighter. He suggested we have the party at the firehouse. We thought that was a splendid idea. Many firehouses have rooms that are available for groups, usually for a nominal donation. We set the date and my brother made the arrangements. We called and double checked with the chief to make sure things went smoothly.
Our first concern was about the food. We checked to make sure that we could bring a grill and that was not a problem. So we purchased hamburgers & hotdogs to cook. We also had chips, soda, and bottled water. We ordered our cake from Wal-Mart. They had a cute fire truck cake with a toy fire truck that Jamie could play with after the party. We made sure to get enough to supply not only our party guests but all the firefighters who were on duty that day.
Next we began working on party supplies and invitations. I bought card paper from the store and found a picture of Elmo with a fireman's. I put that picture on the front of the card with the caption Calling all Jr. Firefighters It's an EMERGENCY! We need you to help celebrate Jamie's 2nd Birthday!!
On the inside I put a picture of Jamie and the details of the party. I printed the envelopes as well and made stickers to seal them with. We used Eeyore, though it didn't fit with the theme because my son loves Eeyore. I think that it's important to include anything that your child loves, even if it seems a bit out of place. Everyone commented on how cute they were. I got our party supplies from various sources.
I chose tableware from www.firecatalog.com, but since I was looking to keep my costs as low as possible, I checked Ebay first. Luckily, someone was selling a lot of party supplies in the same set as I wanted. I got it for almost nothing and bought the extra supplies I needed from firecatalog.com. I purchased spotty dog balloons (100 for only $8.00) and some birthday presents for his big boy room from them as well. They have a lot of cute fire stuff. I found most of my decorations and supplies from www.orientaltradingcompany.com.
I didn't want goody bags filled with candy and flimsy toys that would be torn up or just be junk. I found these wonderful little Dalmatians with fire hats that were $17.95 for a dozen, Dalmatian shaped suckers that were $5.95 a dozen, bubbles with pictures of fire trucks that were $5.95 for 2 dozen, mini keychain flashlights that were $4.95 per dozen (I don't recommend the flashlights. I wouldn't buy them again.), firehouse birthday banners, red cutlery, plates, and cups for the adults and for spares.
I found a mylar fire truck balloon set that I liked a lot there, too, but I found it on Ebay for less. I also bought whistles and firefighter stickers on Ebay. We bought the cutest little fireman shorts outfit for Jamie on Ebay, as well. We had seen it at www.babyuniverse.com for $39.99 (Little Baron Child Pretend Uniform very good quality) and were planning on purchasing it there, but just happened to find one new with tags on Ebay for less than $10. The day of the party we got to the firehouse early to set up. We put table covers on the tables and organized the chairs.
We went to a grocery store across the street to fill up the balloons. We had called ahead to price them. We didn't want to try driving around with hundreds of helium balloons in the car and we found that filling them at the store was cheaper than renting a tank from any place in our area.
As our party guests arrived the children ran around playing with balloons, some watched TV, but we had already been grilling and shortly the food was ready. After eating tons of hamburgers and hotdogs we lit the cake and sang Happy Birthday to Jamie. All the firefighters came in and we got group pictures. As the children finished their meals they gathered in front of the TV and we handed out goody bags. As soon as everyone was finished eating it was time to go see the big fire truck! They climbed on the fire truck and marveled at it.
One of the firemen took Jamie in and let him push buttons and he thought he was in heaven. Then, despite the heat, my brother put on full gear and the kids got their pictures made with him. They were so fascinated by the fire truck that they spent a considerable amount of time doing this.
Originally, we had planned on spraying the children with small fire hoses and had requested parents bring their kids a change of clothing in our invitation, but due to a water shortage, that was not possible. Nobody seemed to mind. We took the kids back inside and Jamie opened his presents. Then it was time for everyone to go home.
The kids played with their goodies as the crowd dispersed. The Dalmatian plush toys were a huge hit. When I looked at the clock I was in total shock. Time had flown by so quickly. We had just had a 3 hour party and it seemed like only an hour had gone by. It went as smooth as silk from start to finish without any organized party games or crafts. Every single person who came, adult and child alike had a wonderful time. There had been no crying or screaming. I couldn't believe it.
We cleaned up our mess and left the firehouse cleaner than when we got there. Jamie fell asleep in his grandmother's lap before we even finished. It had been a really big day.
The next day I made thank you cards. On the front I used a group photo from the party and inside I put a short personalized message to each family for the gift they brought Jamie and for helping make his party so wonderful. I printed out pictures of each child and an activity photo that included their child and included them in the card so they would have a memento. Everyone loves pictures of their own children. I thought that was a nice personal touch.
I received many calls asking me how I arranged that party. It was simple, inexpensive, and I can't imagine how I could top it. What in the world am I going to pull off next year? Maybe we'll do it all over again!
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