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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. Cotton candy signs, photo signs, silhouette animals, custom invitations, custom tent cards & all of the printables are available on Hostess Ink + an alternate Blue VersionHere goes…

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


Click below to shop for custom & printed birthday parade collections (with 2 color ways!)

pink birthday parade party printables collection

blue birthday parade party printables collection


PARTY DETAILS for the outdoor treats & arrangements:

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*


Anyways, 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). Like these signs? Good news! Click here to buy the full collection with all 4 party signs!

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.


Stay tuned for Part 2… which will cover the kids table, indoor decor, food, drinks, and activities! So sorry for the delay on this, as I originally had hoped to post it a few weeks ago, but there were some family matters that ended up pulling me away for a few days, so I’m still playing catch up with everything else! Soon, though! =)

– Styling & Graphic Design – Jenn Sbranti / HWTM
– Printables: Hostess Ink
– Photos: Sonny Sbranti / HWTM
– Printing: FedEx Office (thank God for 24 hours!)
– Popcorn Favors: Just Pop In {Cherry, Orange, and Vanilla flavors}
– Yarn Poms (DIY by me and Amber)
– 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. SO FUN! What an exciting {First} experience. Looking forward to many great birthdays over the years. Adore every little detail.

  2. DeliciouslyDarling says:

    The cutest thing ever. Love love love it!

  3. Jeannette Rivas says:

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

  4. 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!

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

  6. jessie says:

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

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

  8. 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!!

  9. Kristen says:

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

  10. Jackie Dodd says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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’.

  19. { 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!!!