Inspiring Celebrations Since 2006

Macy’s {Colorful} Birthday Parade – Part 1

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Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party

After many years of designing stationery & party themes for the kids of others… I am thrilled to be able to share the very first party I was able to create for my OWN {darling} kid!

Our daughter, Macy, turned one in March — and my husband came up with the genius idea of playing on her name and the idea of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the theme — so we switched Thanksgiving to BIRTHDAY and came up with “Macy’s First Annual Birthday Parade.” This worked out very well for me too — because I adore circus/carnival themes and anything candy-related, so a parade theme allowed me to work in those kinds of elements quite nicely!

Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party

There are lots {and LOTS!} of details and pictures to share, so I’m going to break this recap up into at least 2 parts… starting right now with the outdoor treats/decor display set up on our backyard BBQ. Read on for lots more pics, followed by creative details.

P.S. Instant download versions of the printables are currently available on Etsy

Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party

Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party

Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party

Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party

Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party

Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party

Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party

Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party

Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party

Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party

Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party

Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party

Colorful Birthday Parade Kids Party



The main sweets table {with the cupcakes & smash cake} was indoors, so this one this was kind of more about the decor/atmosphere and really just gave me an excuse to go crazy with the paper graphics & create lots of fun little elements like gumball-bedecked picture frames and a paper animal parade!

My background is in graphic design, and it’s still the part of party styling that I love the most. I think I could just keep designing more and more paper elements and embellishments if I had unlimited time and I honestly and truly LOVE doing it… which is probably why I was up til 4am the night before this party adding more and more stuff until my husband came in and reminded me what a loon I was being and that I probably needed to go to bed at some point in time. Oh, yes…sleep…that thing that always gets in the way! *wink*


Here’s a list of the main elements pictured above:

“Animal Parade” Backdrop.
…featuring colorful paper animals donning the same colors and patterns as the rest of the party. I attached these to wooden dowels {wrapped with ribbon for a candy stripe look} and added little “1” flags to them as well. To stand the animals up, the dowels were stuck into 4 floral foam bricks covered in wrapping paper. Yarn poms added a playful touch =)

Lollipop display.
This was inspired by one of the displays in the fabulous UP themed birthday party sent in by a reader.  I cut a small piece from a large styrofoam sheet for the base, covered it with wrapping paper, and embellished the edge with gumballs and a band of the multi stripe paper. Also made a little “Macy’s” banner to display overhead.

Sweet Stuff and Cotton Candy Signs.
These were one of my favorite elements! I designed these in Photoshop, printed them on tabloid size paper and cut them out by hand. To display, ribbon-wrapped dowels were attached to either side of the sign and inserted into rectangular vases filled with floral foam. The foam was covered with gumballs or pink yarn poms (to play on the idea of cotton candy).

Candy Frames.
I am pretty much obsessed with the double-sided Tolsby frames from IKEA. (Please make these forever, IKEA!) They’re only 99 cents and have such a modern, versatile vibe. I added pixie stix and gumballs to the edges here… but you could seriously go crazy making “candy frames” at this price!

Popcorn Tray.
Each guest received a cute bag of flavored popcorn from Just Pop In as part of their favor. The bright colors & packaging were so cute that these doubled as party decor! I displayed some of them on a white tray lined with the multi stripe paper and embellished with ribbon & an extra water bottle label.

Sugar Cookies.
I’ve been making a specific sugar cookie recipe since the 4th grade, and I still get at least 5 requests for the recipe from friends every Christmas – especially since Facebook materialized! (First discovered the recipe in the cookbook my 4th grade class put together for a fundraising effort!) I’ll do a separate post with the recipe soon.

Blue Elephant on Parade.
This cute little guy is leftover from another party I did… he was a $6 purchase at HomeGoods that was spray painted blue. I dressed him up for this particular occasion with a little felt overlay and a paper flag tied to his trunk. For the stand, I painted a 6″ wood round (these are about 50 cents at Michaels), trimmed the edge with paper (which made the wood look way thicker than it actually was!) – and hot glued gumballs to the top. I used glue dots to secure the elephant to the wood and the wood to a white candlestick holder that’s part of my regular home decor.

Horse & Bicycle Bear arrangements.
Similar in style to the “animal parade”, these individual graphics were attached to wooden dowels and inserted into either a small vase filled with foam or a wrapping paper covered {and embellished} floral foam brick.

Vendor Credit
  • Styling & Graphic Design – Jenn Sbranti / HWTM
  • Popcorn Favors: Just Pop In {Cherry, Orange, and Vanilla flavors}
  • Gumballs & Pixie Stix – Target
Alternative Text
POSTED BY:jenn s.JENNIFER SBRANTI is the Founder and Creative Director of Hostess with the Mostess®, a hip and modern party planning resource.

58 responses to “Macy’s {Colorful} Birthday Parade – Part 1”

  1. rosa walker says:

    loving it!

  2. SO FUN! What an exciting {First} experience. Looking forward to many great birthdays over the years. Adore every little detail.

  3. DeliciouslyDarling says:

    The cutest thing ever. Love love love it!

  4. Jeannette Rivas says:

    This is such cute and colorful party! Love how those frames are decorated with candy!

  5. Jessica Wilcox-Modern Moments Designs says:

    Jenn!!!! Awesome job on Macy’s Party!!! I can’t wait to see the rest of the photos! Wish I was there to help you cut out all of these items! I would be the loon that would be up with you until 4 am!!! Hahaha!

  6. What a clever play on words! I love the vibrant colors and the parade theme. Gorgeous, as always!

  7. jessie says:

    The graphics are amazing, Jenn! I love everything!!

  8. Absolutely adorable!!! I just love the colors and the animal designs!!

  9. Jessica @ Pen N' Paperflowers Studio & Design says:

    Jenn…what an adorable theme with such vibrant colors! LOVE it so much. I can’t wait for the rest of the fun details and photos to follow! I absolutely LOVE what you did with your $6 elephant purchase from a previous party!! Perfect!!

  10. Kristen says:

    Such a cute party idea. I love the color palette!

  11. Jackie Dodd says:

    I love to see the vintage circus theme done with so much color! I love it!

  12. Rowaida Flayhan says:

    Amazingly gorgeous as I expected. Love the presentation, beautiful details and so colorful.

  13. I love it. Very colorful. It’s always a wonderful feeling to do a party for your own little one. Congrats

  14. Modern Cupcake {Jill} says:

    This set up makes me SMILE!! What fun!! Thank you for sharing! :)

  15. Keisha - Cupcak Wishes & Birthday Dreams says:

    OMG – I love the colors – I love the gumballs and I LOVE the poms- my new addiction is poms!!!! Super Cute!

  16. Love how bright the color palette is and all the fab DIY! Great job Jenn!

  17. Heidi says:

    Absolutely amazing party! You thought of every possible detail. The frames decorated with the gumballs and pixy stix is genius. I’ll be picking up bunches of those frames on my next trip to Ikea!

  18. Jenn,… of course I am DYING over how cute this is – I LOVE bright colors and this seriously just makes me smile.
    The candy decor on the frames – genius! Now if only I could figure out a way to do something cute like that for the boy parties I plan each year for my kiddos…. ;-)
    GREAT job! The graphics are seriously top notch!

  19. Julie says:

    Great job Jenn! I swear we are all keeping IKEA in business just by buying the Tolsby frame so many times…but how can we resist that price?! Love the play on words for Macy’s ‘parade’.

  20. { SHE } says:

    Oh Jenn!!! This is just too cute! I’m loving all the details trimmed in candy (so clever!), all the yarn pom poms everywhere (so cute!), and all the bright colors you used (so perfect for your theme!). It definitely shows how much love and thoughts went into planning such a special party. I’d say “Macy’s 1st Annual Birthday Parade” was a smash hit and I can’t wait for Part 2! Thanks for sharing, it’s party perfection!!!

  21. Bird says:

    Jen sooooooo inspired!! LOVE the cut outs!!

    Macy’s a lucky little girl! :)

  22. Kandice says:

    Jenn, I absolutely LOVE this event design! For the Sweet Stuff and Cotton Candy signs, did you cut them out yourself or did you have a special die-cut for them?

  23. Wow, what a charming party! Love all of the colors and designs. Can’t believe you hand cut those big signs, they look perfect.

  24. Your sugar cookie recipe is amazing! I think I was one of those people that asked for it again! :) Can’t wait for you to re-post it! :) :)
    The party is sooooooo cute! XO

  25. T says:

    Love, love, love it!!! When’s part II coming?

  26. katrina says:

    love the printables… so cute!

  27. Sandra says:

    OMG! Such a beautiful birthday party!

  28. I just love the bright colors!!! The gumball trays and the suckers are so simple but well executed. The pom poms are great. I put a tutu around a birthday cake and around trays to give texture and the pom poms remind me of that.

  29. Heidi says:

    hi, love this party. did you ever put up part 2? if so, could you send me the link? love your work! so talented!

  30. Ariane says:

    Ridiculously cute…love it! Where did you get the 4 animal prints (bear, elephant, tiger & dog) that were attached to the blue box? Did you create those too? Love, love it…totally obsessed.

  31. Ashley Hall says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your party! I cant wait for part 2 & PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE include any & all downloads you created that your willing to share! Even the tiny Macys circles, animal cicrles & Macy’s sign, so that I could add one of my little girls name to the sign! Or at least give us an option to purchase the items from you. YOUR VERY TALENTED!

  32. Paloma Chrysalis says:

    I’m dying over this theme! Absolutely gorgeous! Where can I find animal prints… and multicolored striped paper? Did you create invitations in this color scheme? I would love to purchase some.

  33. Brooke Woodward says:

    I LOVE everything! I am going to attempt to replicate this for my son and daughter’s party in a month.

    Is there a link somewhere to the animal parade animals? I LOVE them!

    Thanks SO much. You are amazingly talented!

  34. Brooke Woodward says:

    Oh, yes, and what did you do for invitations?

    • jenn s. says:

      I sent out a digital invitation so I don’t have a printable version of it unfortunately. I plan to sell customizable versions in my line at one day, but realistically it will be a while! ;)

  35. lisa says:

    I love your work and you are so generous to share it! can yoou please tell us what fonts you used?

  36. Vianet says:

    Hi! Love all of the decorations and your website!! Will you have a boy version for this theme?

    • jenn s. says:

      Hi Vianet –
      I’d love to do a boy version but am not sure when I can get to it yet. Probably would be September at the earliest, but I’ll be sure to update the post when I can!

  37. jessica says:


    this is so great. i am getting so much inspiration for my daughters 1st bday party. can you tell me where you rented the nostalgia cotton candy and hot dog machines?


  38. Stephanie Lorenzo says:

    I LOVE this theme and actually plan on using several elements from it for my 25th birthday party! I decided I wanted to do something fun and different, so I chose a carnival theme :) I read your comment stating that you will be providing the invitations on Do you know when that will be? Also, any chance you’ll be providing the welcome sign and/or cupcake toppers as well? That would really complete the whole look!! Thank you so much!! :)

  39. Sonya Cates says:

    I sure hope you won an award for this because I vote it party of the year. I just love love the idea and graphics. Where can I buy this package themed party?

  40. Tanya says:

    Thank you so much!! Love it!! I’m going to use this for my little boy who will be 1yr in Feb. I was wondering if you were going to post the “thanks” cards you put on the gift bags?

  41. fawnbarlow says:

    Hi Jenn,
    I was wanting to follow up on the invitation on PolkaDot Design. Have you uploaded the invitation yet?

  42. shelleyhedgecock says:

    Hi Jenn, I was going over all of the details of the party and wanted to see if you have the cupcake toppers to download, the striped papers for the napkins, also the Decorative M napkin wrap, the picture backgrounds in the frames, and the sugar cookie recipe! Her party is on January 14 so I am tring to get all of my ducks in a row! Also can u remind me, do u do all of your printables in the same cardstock and how do I know what to size them to for each thing? I am so excited about doing this theme for her party!! Thank u in advance for all of your help! You have amazing talent! Happy New Year!!! (-:

    • jenn s. says:

      Hi Shelley –
      You can download the cupcake toppers here: and the napkin rings here: (although you’ll probably have to just disregard the “Macy” design!) ;)

      I don’t have the picture backgrounds is an easily transferable format yet though – sorry about that! You could always use the printable papers as “mats” for cute frames as an alternative though…

      And then for the paper weight I usually do “display” items like cupcake toppers, jar labels, and signage on the 90# cardstock at Fedex, and anything that needs to bend or fold (napkin rings, juice wraps, buffet labels, etc) – I just print on their standard 32# laser stock.

      And here’s the sugar cookie recipe:

      Hope that helps – and good luck with the party! :)

  43. shelleyhedgecock says:

    Jenn, Thank u soooooo much for your quick responses to all of my questions!!!! I really appreciate all of your help!!!! By the way thank u for making the Macey banner, it looks wonderful!!!!!!! Happy New Year and congrats on having a new baby!! Cant wait to see more birthday party theme ideas in the future!

  44. Nikky says:

    Hello, what kind of paper did you print on for the signs. And i mean texture wise.

  45. shannon says:

    LOVE everything, you are so creative! I am doing a boy’s 1st soon, and love all the inspiration!

  46. Karen says:

    Very cute! My daughter is also named Macy and coincidentally she was born on Thanksgiving day…and no, we didn’t name her after the parade…that name was chosen before we knew we were having her :) She’ll be turning 1 in just a few months and I’m starting to plan her party. You have some very fun ideas!

  47. Laura Prida says:

    You are the best! Thanks for your great job!

  48. Amber says:

    I recently purchased this printable collection from Etsy. How did you print the bubble and water bottle labels? I want them to actually be a sticker. Thank you!

    • jenn s. says:

      Hi Amber – So happy you got this collection! It’s still one of my favorites :) As for your question, I actually just printed them both on regular paper and secured them in the back of the bottles with transparent tape. That was the easiest route for me – but if you wanted to print them as a sticker I’d look for the full sheet label paper – I think they sell it at places like Staples and online. Good luck! :)