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REAL PARTIES: Monkey Business

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Monkey Birthday Party

We’re going bananas over this monkey themed first birthday that Shawna Pardo, coordinator and owner of Trio Events, threw in honor of her son’s first birthday!

Shawna wanted to put a “swinging spin” on the usual jungle-themed children’s party. With a little help from some gorillas, orangutans and spider monkeys, Shawna turned her backyard into a wonderland full of primate fun. Here are all the party details, as told by Shawna herself…

Monkey Birthday Party

I’m all about atmosphere and dress up when it comes to designing children’s special events. I wanted to have a backdrop that transported guests to the treetops. I began by cutting out the shape of tree trunks from plywood and hand painted them to look lifelike but playful. The trunks were then attached with screws to the blue painted background. Once attached, I painted the grass blowing in the wind.

To give the tree murals a more life-like, three dimensional appearance, live tree branches were then attached with brackets to the ends of the painted branches. The plush swinging spider monkeys found this tree to be a perfect “hang out” spot for the party!

Monkey Birthday Party

The beautiful cupcake tower in the center was custom created by the amazing Julie Desmueles from Blue Cupcake.  The unique tower added the perfect bit of spunk to my table décor.

No monkey event could ever be complete without some swinging monkeys…

Monkey Birthday Party

Monkey Birthday Party

I used the same hanging spider monkey’s I used in the murals, to hang in the real trees in our backyard. The plush monkey’s long arms and Velcro hands made hanging them a breeze.  We conveniently have banana and plantain trees in our yard, and hung our new friends to add to the ambiance.

I wanted each table to be greeted by their own special primate friend. I bought brown woven baskets from Target in the seasonal summer section. The plush monkeys were all purchased from either Target or at my local toy store.

Monkey Birthday Party

The turf grass that each monkey sits atop in the baskets were bought at The monkey printed fabric overlay was purchased at my local fabric store. I used pinking sheers to cut the edges instead of having to sew them all with a finished edge. This works great when you are pressed for time and actually makes a really great little detail.

No children’s party is complete without a personalized table just their size!  This table is fun and inviting for all the little monkeys…

Monkey Birthday Party

The tablecloth and runner I custom made with fabric I bought downtown in the garment district when I couldn’t find the exact brown stripes I wanted at my local fabric store.  The plush monkeys were found at my local toy store and I used the same tissue turf inside the baskets from

Monkey Birthday Party

Monkey Birthday Party

The melamine monkey plates I found at Target much to my surprise after I had no luck at my local children’s boutiques or online searches. The plates were another perfect take home item for our guests. I used the same stickers I used on the invites on white cups that were personalized with each child’s name. The palm trees were actually mini-pinatas I bought at Party City.

I wanted to kids to be able to run around with their masks on and play a bit of dress up. These boy and girl monkey faces did the trick for my pint sized guests…

Monkey Birthday Party

Monkey Birthday Party

The favor pails came in sets of a dozen with all the foam parts that I put together as you see in the photo above. (Masks and pail party favor kits purchased at

At every party I host or coordinate, there always has to be a craft or activity table. It’s always theme related and original. This party was no exception with it’s “Build A Monkey” station.

Monkey Birthday Party

I purchased the unstuffed monkey kits and blank T-shirts at The white T-shirts were not decorated initially so I scanned in a sticker of a banana and printed them out on iron-on sheets. I have used iron-on sheets many times to personalize t-shirts or bags for parties. I recommend buying Avery iron-on transfers at your local office or craft supply store.

Once the children stuffed and dressed their chimps, I used a permanent brown fabric marker to write the name given to each new monkey. Each monkey came with a carry home tree box and birth certificate.

This handmade invitation was pretty simple to construct. Once I chose my theme I began looking for 3-D stickers.

Monkey Birthday Party

I found the above monkey stickers at my local craft store. The raffia edge is simply cut raffia attached to hot glue. The green, brown and yellow card stock I merely cut to the preferred size and attached in layers with a glue stick.

Monkey Birthday Party

This party was soo much fun to coordinate and design. All of our guests had a wild time and were so excited to make and take home their own new monkey friend.  My guests are still talking about this event, which is really all I could ask for.”

Thanks for sharing all of this the fabulous inspiration, Shawna!

Be sure to visit Shawna’s website – – to check out more of her work!

Vendor Credit
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POSTED BY:jenn s.JENNIFER SBRANTI is the Founder and Creative Director of Hostess with the Mostess®, a hip and modern party planning resource.

73 responses to “REAL PARTIES: Monkey Business”

  1. Kim, I mixed and matched some pails and a monkey door knocker craft to make my owl version of the pails that’s why you cant find them. You can find a monky foam craft like I did and adhere the face to a brown pail . Good luck.

  2. jsg says:

    Wow! I love this idea…I was thinking of a ‘curious george’ themed party but this is too cute!

  3. Jamie says:

    WOWOWOWOW!!! I just got so many great ideas from you! I have been looking everywhere for something like this. Brilliant. xo

  4. Jamie says:

    Ohhh…one thing…what did you use to make the sign? Is that yarn? foam? marker?

  5. Hi Jamie
    I’m so happy you loved the party. If you would like to know more about the sign, comment #32 explains the construction in detail.

  6. Gracie says:

    This is adorable i love it i useed it for my 13 birthday it never gets old

  7. vin says:

    i love it all! how did you make the little palm trees seen on the tables?

  8. ANNE says:


  9. Jessica says:

    I am so thankfull to have found your birthday party… thank you so much for posting it!!!
    I am doing my son’s 2nd birthday monkies and you are so inspirational.
    I decided that i couldnt buy a bunch of pinata trees just for decoration, so i make one out of paper mache, and now its turned into more of a centerpeice. I used a barrel of monkeys, and candy runt bananas and clear enamel spray paint to solidify it!
    Also I really liked the idea of stuffing your own monkeys, but really expensive. So I got down to business and searched EVERYWHERE on the internet to find a company with the cheepest price. Hard to find any under $15 each unless you get the little 8″ monkeys.AND GUESS WHAT?!?! I found a company that sells the 15″ monkeys for $5 each! PLUS the ware house is local to Kansas City, i.e. Me. and i can pick them up with no shipping. Im only getting the monkeys, and the stuffing I can get at Hobby Lobby, when they have 40% coupon on their website!
    As you can tell… I get excited when I save money!
    The Build your own monkey site is ….

    if anyone wants to get some monkeys at wholesale price.

    I also made a happy birthday sign inspired by yours!
    Hayden’s birthday is not untill May, but I like to get started EARLY.

    Thank you again!

  10. nichcole says:

    Where did you find the “tree” boxes for the stuffed Monkeys? I contacted adollysworld and they said they never carried them (the boxes)

  11. Jamie Lehr says:

    Love, Love, Love all of the monkey details! Putting a big basket of bananas on the table would have been a really cute decoration as well!


  12. Nicole Shore says:

    Thank you so much for sharing…my daughter’s first birthday is coming up in March and I feel so inspired! you did an amazing job! I was wondering if you can tell me where you got the masks from? I was looking online and couldn’t find them anywhere. I love how you have the male and female monkey masks

  13. Nichol says:

    Where did you find such a cute napkin holder?

    I am hosting my son’s 1st birthday and I too will be doing a monkey theme….super excited! Thanks for the inspiration…how did we ever live without the internet! =)

  14. Erika says:

    You have given me such inspiration for my son’s first birthday party! We are trying to duplicate your Happy Birthday Sign, however, I am having trouble trying to figure out where you got the letters for the banner. Could you how you got them that size? When I try it on word, they are not big enough???

  15. Erika says:

    I forgot (tell me how) in my statement, woops!

  16. Erika, I don’t remember the exact font size but it’s probably somewhere around 50 or so. I give a pretty complete explanation about the rest of the sign in comment #32. So glad you loved the party.

  17. Nicole I looked through my reciepts and can not find where I purchased the boxes. Sorry. Many sites that sell the stuffable animals do sell boxes. You might want to start your search there.

  18. Nichol says:

    One more question…sorry…where did you purchase all the plush monkeys from…I can’t find any similar…they are too cartoon like…please help!?

  19. NICHCOLE says:

    Where can I find that really cute brown wrought iron napkin holder? LOVE it…..and if you decide to sell those CUTE monkey face plates, I would love to purchase them.

    TIA for your time and info.

  20. trio events says:

    Nichole-the napkin was a seasonal item I bought over a year ago from Target.

  21. Stephanie says:

    I absolutely love this! I am going to do this for my daughter’s 2nd birthday and I am so excited about it.

  22. Jennifer says:

    I have looked everywhere for cute monkey plates for a 9 yr old BD party. Target does not have yours anymore. Any suggestiopns?

  23. Blanca says:

    Hello! I love your ideas. I was just wondering what size of pail you bought for the favor pails.

  24. Alicia Moran says:

    I disagree with colleen slanina that this party is over the top for a 1 yr. old. Maybe for the actual birthday boy, but not everyone that’s invited is that young. my daughter will have her 3rd b-day party this year, but there will kids up to 8 yrs. old at the party. it’s good to have things that the older kids can get into, as well!

  25. Julie says:

    I LOVE this. I am actually planning a monkey themed first birthday party for my son and it is so HARD! Even with your awesome ideas I’m having a really hard time finding monkey stuff. Even at Target and Oriental trading :( I’m not giving up yet though!!!

  26. The Fairy says:

    What a cute party!

  27. Julie says:

    I love this and have stolen a few ideas for our upcoming monkey party. I got the buildable monkey stuffed animals, can you tell me how I can get the iron on bananas for the shirts?
    THANKS again for sharing!

  28. Marissa says:

    I was searching the web for monkey party ideas for my little boy’s first birthday when I found this. LOVE IT and the crazy part is my son’s name is BARRETT too!!! Thanks for posting this!!

  29. Sandy says:

    Monkey themed parties are all the rage right now! This is a great theme that will be loved by any birthday boy or girl.

  30. I might be having a monkey birthday in February, thanks for all of the great ideas! Here’s a coloring page that matches your monkeys. You can customize the text for your party!

  31. Gabbie Lopez says:

    I love evrything about this, unfortunately OrientalTrading no longer carries the monkey pail favor kits..

  32. Hi I love the whole monkey idea I so wanna do it for my baby. Under what category did you find the mask and pail kits? I was searching for them on the website you provided and didn't find the? If you can help me search them please :) thank you!

  33. Jodi says:

    I love this party theme. I am planning my nephews frost birthday party, and my sister-in-law loves loves the monkey theme. I am having trouble finding raffia to make the invitations. Does anyone have any suggestions on what type of raffia that I can use for the invitation?