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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. Bird says:

    Jen sooooooo inspired!! LOVE the cut outs!!

    Macy’s a lucky little girl! :)

  2. 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?

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

  4. 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

  5. T says:

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

  6. katrina says:

    love the printables… so cute!

  7. Sandra says:

    OMG! Such a beautiful birthday party!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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! ;)

  15. lisa says:

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

  16. 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!

  17. 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?


  18. 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!! :)

  19. 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?