Cars Movie Theater Birthday Party

Saturday July 16, 2011

Alternate Title:   The easiest birthday party I ever hosted

My middle child was set to turn 6 in June, just a few days before the much anticipated Cars 2 movie was due out in theaters.

After hosting quite a few themed parties at home in the past (including a race car party), I found myself unable to gear up for another big shindig at home.   I love planning those kinds of parties, but life with three kids was getting the best of  me and I just didn’t have it in me.

As an alternative, I suggested to Sam, that we do a Cars themed movie party at the theater.   Lucky for me, he readily agreed.

The Invitations

I used to love clever, handmade invitations.  Now I love simplicity even more, so I just used good ole Evite.   I took one of their invites that had a color scheme I liked then uploaded a Cars image in the placeholder place (the spot designed to upload a picture of the birthday kid).

The Venue

I picked the AMC movie theater at Tysons Corner (a local mall).  It wasn’t the closest, but I figured it was the easiest place for moms to drop off and would afford those that wanted to a chance to shop.   Also, the movie theater was adjacent to the food court and the play area, which would come in handy afterwards.

To save on ticket prices, I bought AMC “Silver Tickets” through Mike’s work, which discounted the price considerably.  I had to pay a $1.50/ticket surcharge at the theater to use them on a new release, but it still saved me several bucks per ticket.   Also, I was too cheap to splurge on the 3D or IMAX version of the film.

I was worried about managing all the kids buy myself (~12), so I recruited Mike and Grandad to help out.  Several of the moms also chose to stay and watch with their other kids as well, so thankfully I had plenty of help on hand.

The Timing

I picked an afternoon matinee, thus avoiding the need to provide lunch or dinner.  I also scheduled for a weekday, figuring the crowds would be less of a problem.

The Food

In the movie theater, I sprang for popcorn, but was too cheap to buy drinks.   I brought in some Car-themed paper bags (that I found at the Target Dollar Spot) and purchased several large popcorns from the theater.  I then divided the popcorn into the bags and gave some to each kid.   I also found some Cars themed fruit snacks which I may or may not have smuggled into the theater for the kids to munch on as well.

I was going to spring for a Coldstone ice cream cake since it’s right next to the theater, but in the end, I couldn’t stomach the price.  Instead, I opted for homemade cupcakes.

Sam wanted yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting, so I made yellow cupcakes, which we dyed “Lightning” red.   For the frosting, I went with this dark chocolate frosting, (hat tip to LL!) which was super yummy.   I was going to get Cars cupcake liners, but Sam insisted on Transformers when he saw them in the aisle of AC Moore.


In addition to cupcakes, I also put out Cars juice boxes (also found on sale at Target).


The decor was kept to an absolute minimum.   I considered doing more, but in the end, the kids didn’t care and I was glad to have less to deal with.    A few minutes before the movie ended, I left the kids in the care of Grandad and Mike and slipped out to grab stuff from my car.    With help from another mom, we easily snagged a stretch of tables, put them together and set out a cupcake on a red plate with a juice box at each spot.


I forgot napkins (oops), but did remember the candle and lighter.


We sang Happy Birthday,  ate cupcake, and everyone was happy.



I pretty much hate favors but am not quite willing to be the only party host to skip them.  I decided to go with a set of Balloon Rockets ($1/ea at Dollar Tree), with a pack of Pop Rocks attached (sold in a 3 pack in the Dollar Spot at Target).   So, I basically spent $1.33/kid on favors, which would either be quickly consumed or lost/easily tossed in the house they went home with.   That was ok by me.

(Sorry, I forgot to photograph!)

After the party, most disbursed, but several of us carried the party over to the play area.  We let the kids run wild for a bit, til we broke off for dinner.

While it was not the cheapest party ever — I’d estimate I spent ~$150 on tickets and everything else…  everyone had a great time and it was definitely one of the easiest parties I’ve hosted.   The icing on the cupcake, was not having to clean my house before or after the party!

I hope this helps some other party planning momma and would love to hear your suggestions for budget friendly theme parties!


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2 Responses to Cars Movie Theater Birthday Party

  1. 1
    Renee says:

    Sounds like a great party. I’m still waiting on Chris to convert some HD video for me so I can blog about our six year old party. I also put pop rocks in the goody bag (along with airplanes and gliders from OT).

  2. 2

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