My son's 4th birthday was in March and we had a brave knights and fair princesses themed party.
I made the invites which were scrolled and then attached tags which said things like 'For Sir Johnny the Brave' or 'For the Lady Jane of Smith'.
I decided that because the kids may get messy that I would make costumes for all of them. I made simple tunics with felt applique shields and hot glued on some embellishments. They were made with a stretchy material so that sizing wouldn't be an issue. For the girls I made a short tunic with open sides that tied with ribbon and simply sewed on some tulle for the skirt.
I had a very hard time finding decorations and so I made my own. It wasn't too much work but did need to be done in advance because they seemed to take forever to dry. I made the banners from rolls of kraft paper and hurray for the dollar store for the balloons and streamers!
I had a few games planned and decided that the kids would fill their loot bags as they completed the games. All the goodies were kept in a treasure chest that my son decorated.
This idea was quickly abandoned as the kids were pretty bored with some of the games (esp the coin toss). But they did love the "Jello Pit of Doom" where they had to find a black jelly bean hidden in the jello with gummy worms.
Jousting was also great fun. I made a cardboard horse and had the kids swat balloons with foam swords as they galloped down the hallway. (Note: I really should have planned something for the other kids to do while they took turns jousting ... colouring/decorating their own banners would have been a good idea)
After the games we feasted! We made fruit kabobs, potato wedges, corn on the cob and roasted chicken drumsticks, all eaten with fingers of course! Everything was healthy, inexpensive and delish! All but one of the kids loved everything ...a girl who was dropped off unannounced, left unattended, and was a minor issue all day. We simply told her that she didn't have to eat anything she didn't like but that the lunch that was served was the only menu for that day. She did love her goblet though! We bought dollar store plastic wine glasses and hot glued 'gems' on them. This was one of items that all the kids liked most and asked to take home with them.
I saw a castle cake that I fell in love with but I'm not great at decorating and the kiddo wanted to help out so things got a bit sloppy. He loved it because he got to help and had fun so I wasn't bothered that it wasn't perfect.
After lunch the kids played for a bit and the parents mingled. We sent all the kids home with their costumes and sweets. The boys also got foam swords, toy knights, and gliders. For the girls, noisy wands, beads, princess crowns, and fairy tattoos.
Next time? I would definitely plan a few small activities for kids to do while waiting their turn and plan more games and activities than you think you need. I would also lock my child's bedroom as it was quickly messed to the point of being a hazard for the kids to be in. Thank the gods that I made extra costumes or there would have been a very sad little girl. I know this sounds cruel but, I would seriously consider turning away anyone who did not RSVP. For the time, effort and money that goes into planning I think that the least someone can do is call to say they are coming.
Ah well, it was a great day and when it was all over my kiddo was quickly back to the jello pit of doom searching for the dreaded black jelly bean of dispair.