Vintage Airplane Inspired Birthday Party

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Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Chrystal Guyette did such an AMAZING job bringing this VINTAGE AIRPLANE theme to life for her son Gavin’s birthday – from the “boarding pass” invitations mailed out envelopes fashioned from old atlases, to clever “in-flight meal style” lunches and bags of blue cotton candy adorned with cloud shaped marshmallows!

The party was actually held inside a historic KC-97 airplane that sits at their local airport (what a fun venue for the kids!), and guests participated in creative activities that were outlined in their “Junior Pilot Training Manuals”. Dad even dressed up as “The Captain” and stamped their manuals every time they completed a task!

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Read on for lots more fun, inspiring imagesincluding adorable “Jumping Geronimo” toy parachuting frogs! – plus all the creative party details from Chrystal

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party

Vintage Airplane Boys Birthday Party


PARTY DETAILS as told by Chrystal

“For my son Gavin’s 4th Birthday Party, we rented out a historic KC-97 airplane that sits at our local airport. It served as a unique venue and the kids had a blast playing with all of the controls in the cockpit.

To set the theme for the party, I created invitations to look like real boarding passes. Each of them were sealed in envelopes made from old atlases. I referred to similar invitations that others have made in blogs to help come up with the wording for them.

The amazing interior of the plane created a great backdrop for the party! I decorated the tables with light blue paper table cloths. We ran dark blue tape down each cloth to look like runways.  I cut large white clouds out of heavy glossy cardstock to serve as placemats for each place setting.  The center of each “runway” was lined with small wooden airplanes with banners attached to them using baker’s twine.  Bright blue balloons with white clouds on them were placed at the center of each table.

The cake topper was skillfully created to replicate the KC-97 airplane where we held the party.  Molded clouds were then added to the cake below the plane. Alongside the cake I placed cookies, old-fashioned candy buttons, caramels, and butterscotch. I created Fluffy cloud bags out of blue cotton candy with white could marshmallows placed into each bag.

For drinks we used plastic airline cups and lids, and served classic Coke, lemonade, and Izze Sparkling fruit drink. We used red, striped straws for the kids and adults to drink with.

The children were greeted by my husband, who pretended to be ‘The Captain’. He handed out Junior Pilot Training Books. Throughout the party the children were to follow the book and pass each task in order to complete their mission to become a Junior Pilot. After each task they earned a special prize to help with their future flights!

The first task was to learn how to ‘Build an Airplane’. The children were each given paper to make paper airplanes.  The paper had the history of the KC-97 airplane and folding instructions with dotted lines to fold their plane.  After this first accomplishment ‘The Captain’ stamped each of their books and handed out their very own aviator sunglasses.

The second task was to learn how to ‘Paint an Airplane’. The children each took one of the wooden airplanes form the table. They wrote their names on the banners and were given smocks to keep them clean.  Paint was handed out and some beautiful planes were created. After this task, their books were once again stamped and they earned their very own aviator hats made of felt.

After that, the future Junior Pilots all took a lunch break. Each lunch was made to look like an airline lunch, and contained a variety of sandwiches, chips, and snacks.

Their next task was to earn a compass. We strung compasses onto leather lace, so the kids could wear them around their necks. To earn the compass, the children had to take a lesson in navigation, so outside we went to play a game of ‘Red Light, Green Light’. I created red and green flags to look like classic airplane navigator flags.

The final task was to take a test flight with their paper airplane, and all of the kids practiced getting their planes to fly as far as possible.  After that the Pilot signed certificates in the back of their books.  They were given little paper suitcases to pack up all kinds of additional goodies including ‘Jumping Geronimo’ parachuting frogs, “In Flight Entertainment” cards of various kids card games, and also ‘Fly over a rainbow Crayons’.”

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.

79 responses to “Vintage Airplane Inspired Birthday Party”

  1. Styles says:

    THIS is SUCH a fantastic idea! From the party INSIDE of the plane to the favors. Great job, loooove love it!

  2. Mallory says:

    I love this! I am doing a travel/airplane birthday party for my 4 year old son Hunter this May. This is the 1st site to lend any ideas to this theme. Thanks!

    • Beth says:

      You will have a blast! Just did this theme for my son in February. Oriental trading has passports and globe beach balls as well as the felt aviator hats seen here. I also got bubble wands from them to use for them to learn air traffic hand signals. Used blue and white Christmas light strands to make a runway down a hallway and got the big styrofoam gliders to practice landing. Also hung @50 small styrofoam gliders from the ceiling with fishing wire. Found the junior pilot wings pins online so they could earn their wings. I set luggage by our door with a airplane shaped mylar balloon tied to it. Hope that helps a little more. For some reason this theme is hard ti find ideas/stuff for.

  3. Nona says:

    Such a good idea! You did a fantastic job. Love all the attention to detail! Pics are great!

  4. Bowtique Parties says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE! Amazing details!

  5. Lisa says:

    Wow, wow! This is unbelievable! It looks like an amusement park adventure. It was styled so perfectly too.

  6. Andrea Dozier says:

    There are so many cute details, but holding it in the plane was just genius!

  7. This party has me on CLOUD 9! I love that the kids had activities from the moment they ARRIVED until they DEPARTED! Loved all of the simple and affordable touches that made this party TAKE FLIGHT!

  8. Molly Marler says:

    Pretty much DYING over this cuteness!!! this is amazing. thank you for the continued inspiration, ladies! i may have to go have a boy now just so i can do this… nah, i think my youngest could hold her own and make it girly fun in this setting; she loves planes! Hmmm…next year?!

  9. Esther Heavnzbrat says:

    I have been looking for cloud marshmallows EVERYWHERE! Where did you find them?

    • Jessica says:

      I found some cloud marshmallows at Cost Plus World Market. However, they have been discontinued so I was lucky to get the last bags of a store in my area. A store in your area might still have them!

  10. margie says:

    I LOVE THIS! I’m actually thinking of doing my twin boys bedroom in a vintage airplane theme and I just got a ton of inspiration from this post! What a fun party!

  11. Jennifer says:

    My husband loves flying and I made the mistake of showing this to him! He now wants to talk our daughters into doing this for their next birthday. So, so creative and what an amazing setting!

  12. Libby James says:

    AYKM! This is amazing. Every detail… AMAZING. This is planely a perfect party.

  13. So cute, going to have to wait until next year though! It’s super heroes this year!

  14. With 2 step-boys and a baby boy Julien, I am loving the adventurous boy theme! Yea, it’s not dogs or armed forces!

  15. Amanda N says:

    Such a neat party. I adore the Junior Pilot game played throughout the party. Amazing!

  16. Mindy says:

    SO unique! love all the activities

  17. Estela says:

    WOW! That is so adorable!! Thanks for sharing those great ideas!

  18. Marisol says:

    This is exactly what I am doing for my sons 3rd birthday next year!! What a great party!! Such great execution on every detail!

  19. wade says:

    love it… looks AMAZING also a lot of fun :-)

  20. Tasha says:

    I love this party! I threw a vintage-inspired airplane party (see here: but how amazing is it to throw it inside an airplane! SO fun! Also very impressed with all the personalization. Beautiful.

  21. Shindig Diva says:

    Fabulous party! Really amazing details!!

  22. Susan Huber says:

    This is one of the more clever parties I’ve seen in ages! Every detail is perfect!

  23. Keli Massie says:

    I LOVE the idea of a vintage airplane party!!! I’m just wondering where on earth she found cloud marshmallows?! :)

  24. Kristin says:

    This is so cool! What a fantastic party!

  25. Kym Bozzoli says:

    I think this an absolutely inspiring party! Every detail is so carefully thought out. I love the colours and vintage theme. The plane is a fabulous venue!

  26. Allison says:

    amazing!! wow, every single detail has been thought through! and what an awesome venue!

  27. Jackie S. says:

    Hands down onr of the most creative party I have ever seen!

    Wonderful job on putting it all together.

    Seriously Outstanding!!

    Take a bow for the great job you did!

  28. Jen E says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea! As an aviation enthusiast, all I can say is Bravo! This was completely brilliant and wonderfully done!

  29. Sandra @ says:

    This is just such a unique twist on and airplane/travel type theme. Very, very nice! This would make an equally fun theme for a grown up event.

  30. Chantelle says:

    This is AMAZING! Every detail is pure perfection…Great job and thank you for sharing!!!

  31. Erika says:

    This party is so fantastic!!! I desperately want to re-create this for my son’s 5th birthday party. Are any of the printables online or available for purchase?

  32. Oh my! What an adorable idea for a birthday party! I love the way the theme carried through everything, from the venue to the games. Wouldn’t it be cute to do custom pins shaped like pilot wings?

  33. Banter & Frolic says:

    This party leaves me breathless. The graphics are amazing. It’s not just cool looking, but I particularly like how you’ve engaged the children so they really leave with an experience. Well done.

  34. samia says:

    THis looka fabulous!! the party runs smooth and sounds looaads of fun!! I am currently in the process of looking for an inspiration for my daughters 2nd birthdy party and i am in dire need of inspiration!! ffabbbulous job!!

  35. Saniel says:

    I really interested in how you did the banner? It seems real simple.

  36. Sandra says:

    Wow! You have my vote for birthday party of the year!

  37. christine says:


    I love everything! Please tell me how I can get the invites and junior piolet book. My son wants a passenger plane instead of the little boy planes. He will be 7. Can I buy them from you?


  38. chrissy says:

    Everything is fantastic! Can you please tell me how to get the invites and the passenger book?


  39. says:

    I see so much inspiration from my airplane party a few years back! :)

    Glad to see how popular this party theme has become!!

  40. Amber Taylor says:

    Those invites are amazing!!!! I’m currently in the process of making some myself with the awesome atlas pocket idea. However, I am having trouble finding a background that doesn’t completely overtake the invite. Where did you find your background? It’s subtle with just the perfect touch of color.

  41. Jennifer Forness says:

    The vintage airplane themed party you created is amazing! I am planning my son’s 1st birthday with a similar theme. Where did you get all the labels (water bottle, food labels) etc. they are too cute!

  42. griselda yede says:

    where is that air plane lokated. i’M Sylmar, CA

  43. Bia Tavora says:

    Hy Chrystal!
    First of all, i must say that this party was unique! Congrats! I would love to know where did you buy the cloud balloons. I live in Brazil, but I am going to Orlando next month. Maybe I can find them somewhere… My boy will be two next year and my husband is a pilot… so… this is the perfect match! rsrsrs Tks in advance. Kindly regards.

  44. Susan says:

    HI! This party is amazing. I have been searching for a boarding pass for my son’s birthday. Can you tell me where I can get the template and/or the paper? They are amazing!!

  45. Amy says:

    Love this! How did you do the invitations? They are so cute!!!

  46. paula says:

    sooooooo inspiring! where did you find the blue balloons w/ white clouds ? can’t find them anywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!! tks a lot

  47. Aneta says:

    This party looks awesome! I’m planning my little boy’s party, he loves airplanes , but I’m not sure if I will be able to top this one :). I love the idea of actual plane for a party location ! And btw, the captain outfit rocks :) My little guy has approved it already :)

  48. Iris says:

    Hi! Awesome decorations! I absolutely love it. Do you know where I can find/download the paper airplane history and instructions??


  49. christinebyrd says:

    So amazing! Thank you for the wonderful ideas. I’d love to know where/how to purchase the Junior Pilot flight training book as well.

  50. Pam says:

    I love this theme, are they available to purchase? My son will be turning one and he already has an airplane themed nursery but we are having a hard time finding boarding pass invites.

    Thank you :)

  51. Karen says:

    I was wondering how you made your flight manual?

  52. Alyson says:

    Hi Chrystal – can I purchase the photoshop file of the invites? Or can you direct me to where you got them! Thanks so much! – Alyson

  53. Kara says:


    Was curious if you sell your printables? Please let me know. You rocked this party….way to go!

  54. Stephanie says:

    You’re party was just phenomenal! I’d love to do an airplane inspired party for my son. How did you make the invitations? Are they for sale?

    Thanks in advance!

    Stephanie Harris

  55. Lorraine says:

    Simply AMAZING! Thanks so much for sharing… I am taking a few pointers & awesome Ideas!!! I just can’t wait for our Airplane party set for Saturday, March 9th 2013 EJ Airlines Take off for 10th Birthday!

  56. Brad Davees says:

    Love all the details; and the cake looks yummy. I’d love to know what went into your pilot’s manual. For our recent party, we found Jr pilot wings at:

  57. Melissa says:

    Where did you find wooden planes? How much?

  58. Jeannie says:

    Love love love! Where did you find the paper to make Gavin’s banner?

  59. Rebekah Ramsey says:

    Where did you find the wooden airplanes to paint as well as the cloud balloons?

  60. Diane says:

    My hubby is turning 40 in september and this is the theme…
    And the dress up will be in 70’s wear… his favourite past time – flying, and the year he was born – 73…
    a perfect combo

  61. Julie C. says:

    This is a great theme, and I would like to know where you found the templates for the Junior Pilot Flight Handbook. Thanks

  62. Erin says:

    This party was absolutely amazing!! When my daughter said she wanted an airplane birthday party, I kind of panicked..I wasn’t sure what I would do for it. Your party has provided me with a ton of ideas so thank you for sharing. I would love to know how you did the junior pilot training manual. That was my most favorite idea of yours. I was also wondering where you purchased the compasses from? Thank you so much :)

  63. Stefanie says:

    Hi, I am preparing a birthday party for my daughter with an airplane theme. I was wondering where you got the paper airplane folding directions with dotted lines? Thanks for your help!

  64. Jen says:

    Can you tell me where you got the invitations?

  65. Antoinette says:

    Omg!!!! i love this idea i will be doing this for my sons 5th birthday, questions where did you get the manual or who created it? and the paper airplane?

  66. Mary says:

    Hi there,

    I’m just loving the attention to detail in this party and would love
    to recreate some of it for my son’s birthday. Can you please tell me
    where you got the ‘suitcase’ goodie bags from? Also, did you design
    the boarding tickets invitation cards or can you purchase them from
    some place? And what about the plane making instruction sheets,
    are they downloadable from somewhere? Also, the little wooden planes,
    for painting…they are adorable. Where did you find them?
    Many thanks!

  67. Do you happen to have the template for those great ticket invitations? This would be PERFECT for my son's birthday!

  68. Leah says:

    How do you make the suit cases?

  69. Jaclyn says:

    Where did you get the little paper suitcases from? I am doing an Around the World Camp and would love for them to be able to have some type of suitcase.

  70. Such a creative party! Do you have the boarding pass invitation template to share? I am willing to pay for the download! Thank you!

  71. Emily says:

    Love the suitcase bags!! how did you make them??

  72. Karen says:

    The details are amazing! Where did you find the suitcase bags and stamps?