Idea No.

17330

Generic Party 11yr

Award

Date

January 2008

From

Suzette in Philly PA USA

Honorable Mention

Miscellaneous

I did this party for my 11-year old, and he and his friends got a huge kick out of it.  We couldn't come up with any typical theme ideas, and so we went for a TOTALLY GENERIC BIRTHDAY PARTY!"  Kids (at least my boys) at this age are a little too old for the cute kid's themes and at this age they usually have a twisted sense of humor that appreciates this snarky "so bad it's good" concept.    ***INVITATIONS: We copy-pasted barcode designs from the internet (barcodeart .c0m will let you make up your own customized personal barcode!) and the slogan "Always Remember: You Are Unique Just Like Everyone Else" and also clipart of super-corny retro/vintage kid's birthday parties.  "We are celebrating {Bobby's} Unique 11th Birthday with a Totally Generic Birthday Party!  Join us for all the Usual Stuff: the same old Snacks Games and Birthday Cake!  Just like every other Birthday Party but Better!"  ***DECORATIONS: We used the worst/cheapest/cheesiest generic birthday decorations we could find and I printed-up large B/W barcodes on standard letter paper to hang here-and-there. I also used plain white ballons and used a black marker to draw-on barcodes.  ***SERVINGWARE: I bought sturdy plain-white "chinette"-style paper plates and spent an afternoon drawing-on barcodes with a permanent black marker (the trick is to vary wide and narrow lines) with the barcode letters/numbers spelling out child's name and age.  I used a silver marker to draw barcodes on the outside of black paper-cups for a bit of dash.  I bought plain black and white cocktail napkins and stacked them alternately.  Generic plastic silverware of course.  ***REFRESHMENTS: We bought generic-brand soda (also got some name-brand and tore off the label replacing it with a B/W printed barcode and "[BRANDNAME] COLA").  We got generic party snacks like chips pretzels pizza etc. (store-brand where this wouldn't negatively impact flavor).  I used big plain-silver mixing/serving bowls onto which I attached a label with a barcode and "CHIPS" or "DOODLES" etc to identify contents.    ***CAKE: This was SO easy: I baked a 13x9 sheetcake with tons of white icing and used black writing-icing/gel to make a barcode on top with the barcode letters/numbers spelling out child's name and age; did varying vertical stripes on the stides.  Used plain white candles.  ***ACTIVITY/FAVOR: We had the kids make their own Pet Rock: we picked up likely rounded rocks at a local creek.  I had googly-eyes and tacky-glue leftover from other projects.  I also set out my box of random "craft stuff" leftover from other projects: jewels feathers poms little paints and brushes glass/plastic beads etc.  Most of the guys were happy to just glue on googly-eyes (preferably mismatched in shape/size or in odd numbers).  I also got little fold-up chinese-take-out-style boxes at the local dollar store (we took one with us when we went to pick-up the rocks to be sure they would fit) and some kids decorated those as well.  I provided a bit of paper shreds to line the box.  ***GAMES: We went for old standby generic party games with a little twist: we did "Pin the Star on the Barcode" (prize for closest to where child's age was noted).  We played ball-toss and tug-of-war in the yard as well as "Capture the Flag" (at this age the kids are fairly well self-directed and need only a few directed games/guidance to keep them smoothly sailing along).  We gave out dollar-store ribbons for prizes tried to get the goofiest ones ("I'm Special!").  We also have a longstanding party "trademark" of doing a Balloon Pop where we fill about 8-10 hefty bags with about 100-200 cheap latex balloons (pretty-much as many as we can stand to blow-up in the days before the party) then we dump them in an area and just let the kids have-at til they are all popped.  We then give a prize to the kid who collects the most scraps so it's a self-cleaning-up game!  ***FAVORS: You could put the usual sweets-and-stickers "stuff" into a brown paper lunchbag and print out/glue-on a B/W Barcode that says PARTY FAVORS/THANK YOU in place of numbers.  We only had about 8 guests so we bought inexpensive teeshirts and I made an iron-on transfer that had a B/W barcode on the front and the words I AM NOT A NUMBER (go0gle images for "barcode not a number" to find this).  On the back the transfer had the slogan "Always Remember: You Are Unique Just Like Everyone Else" in bright-red lettering and a funky font.  With larger groups we have told kids to bring a teeshirt and I did the ironing-on during the party (takes very little time) while Dad was minding the kids.  Or you can just give out the transfer for them to iron-on at home.  My son was boggled to have a college kid compliment him on his "very cool" teeshirt!"

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