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
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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.

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

  1. 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?

  2. fawnbarlow says:

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

  3. 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!!! (-:

  4. 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!

  5. Nikky says:

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

  6. shannon says:

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

  7. 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!

  8. Laura Prida says:

    You are the best! Thanks for your great job!

  9. 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! :)