A Monster First Birthday Party

Just like we start thinking of Halloween costumes months in advance, we started thinking about Trent’s first birthday party months in advance. But shockingly enough, we made the decision on a theme much quicker than both of us expected. Even more shocking was that it wasn’t a Disney theme. Take THAT assuming family members!

Brett actually came up with the idea for a Monster Party because of how many cute ideas he saw on Pinterest and thought of on his own. Although Trent loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, we kinda thought it would be best NOT to go with what everyone expected us to do and instead pick something different and then from now on, Trent can pick his own party theme. I can’t wait to see what he chooses.

We definitely had plenty of ideas for this theme! Starting with the invitation. Brett purchased a pack of monster clip art on Etsy (from here), then made the invitation in Photoshop. We ordered them from the company that partners with Brett’s Zenfolio photography website, mPix, since they offered a great price and we could print front and back and it came with envelopes. Sold.

We were so excited to mail these out and we hope everyone loved getting them.

trent invite front x700Trent Bday Invite back x700

Leading up to the party, we had several craft projects that I will share with you guys over the next few weeks. We had a decent mix of store bought items and stuff we made ourselves. Brett definitely had the bulk of DIY projects, but he was so excited to do each and every one of them and I usually had baby-wrangling duty while he did party prep.

Welcome! {watch out for the photobombing kitteh!}

Trents First Bday-47

We used our IKEA easel to both welcome guests on the chalkboard side and thank them for coming on the dry erase side! We lined the walkway with balloons on sticks (found here) and a big balloon from Party City on the chalkboard. As a funny side note, that balloon was $10…and this was the second one we purchased…the first one blew away in the Costco parking lot while Brett ran and jumped after it. I was inside picking up something we forgot, so I missed it, but we were both sad and immediately drove back to Party City to buy another one. Most places put a weight on the bottom of the balloon, but apparently Party City does not, nor did they ask us if we wanted one. I was a little disappointed in the service, and having to spend $20 for a balloon didn’t help my feelings towards them, nor did the fact that the 2nd balloon started to deflate before the party even started the very next day, much faster than a Mylar balloon should. BUT, we had our balloon and the party must go on.

Also, to save time the morning of the party, we purchased a bag of balloons and a small helium tank and blew the balloons up ourselves at home instead of going to the grocery store. Good thing too, because we would NOT have had time to run out to the store that morning. Getting a small helium tank was the ultimate time saver that I highly recommend.

The big project for Brett leading up the party was making these giant monsters!

Trents First Bday-24

We set them up as a photo opportunity and they were a BIG HIT! Even the adults were posing with them for photos! (Here’s a tutorial on how we made them)

Here’s the (little) man of the hour posing for us…

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…and with friends! The kids were fascinated by them, too…they were fluffy!

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On a side table, we had some birthday cards Trent had gotten in the mail prior to the party, along with an Adopt A Monster station, where little guests could pick out a small monster to “adopt” and take home with them! (Monsters here)

Trents First Bday-10

My semi-DIY project was this wall photo collage of a big 1 using 100 photos from Trent’s first year!

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We had a coupon for 100 free 4×6 photos from Costco, so other than the cost of double-sided tape, this decoration was free! Even without a coupon, the photos would have been $13…not bad and everyone enjoyed looking at all the photos and trying to find one with them in it (which we tried to include at least one photo of Trent with each person at the party).

Another DIY project from me were these monster favor/goody bags!

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Inside the favor bags were various monster toys! {contents listed at the end of this post – Tutorial found here!}

Monster favor bag-1

We had an empty area above the favor bag station, so we stuck some monster clings (found here) along with a photo from Trent’s cake smash photo session, monster lollipops (found here), his Mickey ears and his monster snack cup.

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We set up our dining room table as the themed cake/desserts/child snack table.

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Brett took green and blue streamers and twisted them, then taped them to the wall, along with a monster Happy Birthday banner (from Hobby Lobby).

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Brett made the cake himself (he made all the food lol).

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A monster cake! To make the monster, he made and molded rice krispies, then used blue-colored candy melts to cover the body. The arms are sticks covered in blue fondant, the ears and mouth are made of fondant and the eyes are plastic googly eyes.

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Other various items on the table:

2 glass containers (from the Container Store) with googly eyes filled with cheddar goldfish and cheerios (for the little ones!). We also had several colorful IKEA frames with monsters scattered throughout the various tables.

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I made monster utensil holders out of tissue boxes (tutorial here!). We also had multi-colored Jones soda bottles and straws.

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Green and blue chocolate candies and GoGo Squeez applesauces!

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Jello molds using mini muffin silicone pans (found here) with candy eyes on top (found here). These were gobbled up super fast!

Trents First Bday-2

Trents First Bday-3

Watermelon monster…aaaaggghh!

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For the main meal, we served a Mexican tortilla/taco bar!

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Items included: Beef, chicken, black beans, lime cilantro rice, lettuce, tomato, salsa, queso, shredded cheese, enchilada sauce, sour cream, chips, hard shells and soft tortillas. The only thing missing were the margaritas, but we decided to keep this a BYOB event. Mostly everything came from Costco and some items from Publix.

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In the backyard, we had a monster bean bag toss…that Brett made! (tutorial here!)

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In the pool, we had several mini monster beach balls (found here) and other various pool toys.

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We had the splash pad set up on the lawn and it was enjoyed by the younger kids – which was also great for the parents that didn’t want to get in the pool!

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We opened gifts in front of the monsters. By this time, since Trent had skipped his nap that morning, he was in a zombie-like state and ready to pass out. But we pushed on and opened gifts as quickly as we could.

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He looks absolutely thrilled doesn’t he?

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Even though we were pushing our time luck and we figured he wouldn’t be too into it and would rather be sleeping, we still had to sing Happy Birthday, so we shifted everyone to the dining room and gave it a go.

{not thrilled – he may or may not be sleeping with his eyes open}

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{“Eww, it’s on me!!”}

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{“What am I supposed to do with this?”}

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{“Ok, MAYBE I will try it as long as you hold me, mom”}

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Well, it’s a good thing we did a cake smash session on his actual birthday or this would have been a pretty disappointing cake smash. After this, I didn’t even clean him up (there wasn’t much to clean up anyway!), walked him up to his crib, where he immediately fell asleep and slept for over 2 hours! We should have a birthday party every day if it makes him sleep that well!

After his nap, he was ready to play with all his toys!

Trents First Bday-48

It was a fun-filled, but very hectic day. I’m glad we were able to celebrate with family and friends…including little friends, too!


Want to throw a monster party? Here is a list of items we used and where we purchased them (I’ll come back and update this post with links to the tutorials as I post them):

Monster clip art (can also be used to print and put in frames!) – Etsy
“This little monster is 1” shirt – CafePress
“I’m this many” mini button – CafePress
Giant monsters (tutorial here!):
Fabric – Fabric.com
Adopt a Monster:
Little plush monsters – Amazon
Monster goody/favor bags (tutorial on how to make the bags):
Colorful bags – Hobby Lobby (or similar here)
Monster squirt balls
Monster tattoos
Monster stickers
Monster bubbles
Monster finger puppets
Monster bean bag toss (tutorial here):
Bean bags – Amazon
Monster clings – Amazon
Monster lollipops – Amazon
Monster googly eyes
   Giant (used on the watermelon monster) – Amazon
   Small – edible (used on the jello molds) – Amazon or Hobby Lobby
   Assortment (as various decorations) – Amazon
Monster Beach balls – Amazon or Oriental Trading
Monster utensil holders (tutorial here)
Monster cake:
Cake stand – Amazon (it spins!)
Candy melts – Amazon or Hobby Lobby or wherever you get your baking goodies


If you enjoyed this post, please help us share the fun by pinning the following collage to Pinterest or sharing this post on Facebook! Thank you for reading and sharing!

monster party


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  • Saralynn
    Jul 2, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    We had so much fun at the party. You guys really did a great job putting it all together. Everett especially loved the fluffy monster props. I’m glad Trent enjoyed himself too! It’s still a little hard to believe that our boys are now 1 year olds! Shew…time is flying by!

    • Lynn Svenson
      Jul 2, 2013 at 10:29 pm

      I’m glad you guys had fun! Sorry we missed Everett’s party 🙁 I just told Brett the other day that it’s crazy to say we have a “toddler” lol

  • Samantha
    Feb 5, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I am completely inspired by all the work you put into the birthday party. I am using lots of your ideas to plan my son’s first birthday party. Did you create the template for adopt a monster? or was that from etsy? Awesome job!

    • Lynn Svenson
      Feb 5, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      Thank you! It was lots of work but so much fun creating everything. We purchased a set of monster clip art on Etsy and just photoshopped words on it.

  • Carla
    Sep 18, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Best Monster Party Ever! That was great! I love the monsters you built… those were awesome!

    • Lynn Svenson
      Sep 18, 2014 at 11:58 pm

      Thank you – we had so much fun with the theme!

  • Abby
    Apr 10, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Hi! Random question — but I am hoping to also make the little jello monsters for my son’s first birthday party! Do you have instructions for how you made them? Was it just a box mix of jello prepared normally and then poured into the pan? How many little circles were you able to make using one box? Thanks! 🙂

    • Lynn Svenson
      Apr 10, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Make a box normally, but with only half the amount of water, then pour them into a silicone mini muffin pan to mold. I’m not sure how many it made though, but what is on the platter is how many we made with three small boxes (1 for each color). Happy birthday to your son!

  • Alex
    May 31, 2015 at 2:50 am

    Love all the ideas, thank you so much!!! Where did you get the green and blue streamers?

    • Lynn Svenson
      Jun 2, 2015 at 11:47 pm

      I think we got them at Hobby Lobby, but I’m sure they are at any local craft store, Walmart/Target, Dollar Tree or on Amazon! 🙂

    Sep 14, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Hello! Just wondering if you remember the dimensions of the gift bags! Thanks!! On Hobby Lobby there are the small bags: 4×5, medium bags: 5×8.5 and large bags 8×10. Thanks!

    • Lynn Svenson
      Sep 14, 2015 at 7:03 am

      I think they were the medium size, but you can use any size you need to in order to fit what favors you have!

  • Kelly Rodgers
    Oct 15, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    The best part about this stunningly clever party is that you were able to get SO many amazing photos of it all. I know it’s hard to imagine now, but someday, his wife (and kids!) will treasure every last one of them.

  • Shweta
    Jan 15, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Hi! Lovely party!
    Did you stick the photos in the collage directly on the wall? How did you trace out the figure “1”?
    Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • Lynn Svenson
      Jan 19, 2016 at 12:02 am

      Yes, I taped them to the wall. I didn’t do any tracing beforehand, but a 1 is pretty simple to do, just start with the center column and then the bottom row (both just big rectangles) then do the top part. We had about 100 4×6 photos printed (pretty cheap at Costco) and had a few leftover that we didn’t use.

  • Wendy Casey
    Feb 14, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Hi there! Your number “1” collage is awesome… best one I’ve seen on Pinterest 😉

    Do you happen to know what the final size of your collage on the wall was? I want to put mine on a poster board, and I bought a 30×20 size poster board, but it looks like 100 4x6s would be way larger. I’m guessing yours must have been bigger than 30×20?Might have to make mine larger too because I really like the way yours looks!

    • Lynn Svenson
      Feb 16, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      I don’t recall the exact size, because we just stuck our photos directly on the wall, but it was definitely taller than that…at least 3-4 feet.

  • Jacqueline rought
    Mar 4, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Do you remember what size your pictures were, where they 4 x 6’s?

  • Bea
    Mar 14, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Were the prints glossy?

  • Sandra Wade
    Sep 26, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    One word AWESOME!!!, I love it the props were beautiful, the table gorgeous you and Brett did a fantastic job with everything.

    Thanks for sharing.