If you know someone – child or adult – who loves cars, racing, Hot Wheels, or NASCAR, then I hope you’ll get a kick out of the RACE CAR PARTY that I threw for my son’s 8th birthday!
We chose this theme because my son is a long-time Hot Wheels fan. In fact, when Colin was in preschool, he wouldn’t put on a pair of pants unless it had LOTS of pockets, so he could carry tiny cars with him everywhere he went. So we stocked up on cargo pants — and toddler belts, because the weight of all those cars made his pants sag!
Recently I took him to a friend’s birthday party, and my son spent most of the time in the other room alone, playing with some Hot Wheels and a big track. That’s when I knew that he STILL loved cars and needed to have a Race Car theme for his next birthday!
Here is a sample invitation:
Here is the party table:
I decided to use less of the ubiquitous checkered pattern, and more of the flames. The flame theme also inspired the color scheme of red and orange.
I selected the flame theme because I showed my son the race car graphics that I’d created, and asked him to pick the one he liked the best for the invitation. After he chose, I asked why he liked that particular one, and he said, “Because it has HUGE FLAMES! So it must be FAST!”
I also liked the flames as a theme because when Colin was a toddler, we read a book about rocket ships, and decided that cars had flames coming out the back of them, too. He would count the exhaust pipes on each of the cars on the road, and say things like, “That car has four FIRE HOLES! It is so fast!”
Guests were met with a sign on the door that matched the invitations:
Then we asked guests to put their names on a custom hanging tag. I wanted the kids to feel comfortable approaching the adults present, and I wanted to be sure I knew the names of all of my son’s classmates (invitations were given to the whole class, so I didn’t know some of them very well). An added bonus: the kids felt very special having a personalized badge on!
Here are the cupcake toppers. I cut most of them using a 2 1/4″ puncher, and I really like that size (versus the 2″ standard). I think the larger ones make a bigger impact.
I made the chocolate race car lollipops using this mold, and a few different colors of Candy Melts. They were actually very quick and easy to make! (Tutorial coming soon!) You can use the same mold to make little soaps, if you want to include those in the favor bag.
Creating car-themed foods was so much fun. These fruit cars were easy to make, especially if you buy a bag of pre-sliced apples that are already treated with lemon juice so they won’t brown quickly.
I also made some Dipsticks (pretzel rods dipped in black candy melts), Stoplights (brownies topped with M&Ms), and Spare Tires (chocolate mini donuts).
I also made another version of Stoplights, out of Rice Krispie bars dipped in black candy melts. I’m glad that my sister volunteered to make some at the last minute, because they were a HUGE hit with kids and adults alike. I was surprised that they were the food that disappeared first.
The only downside to the Stoplight Rice Krispies? The resulting black tongue!
(Though the chances are good that my 3 year old just licked the top of them, LOL).
By the way, my mother made the shirts using the race car graphic from my collection, and it matches the invitation. She just printed the graphic onto iron-on fabric. She added the black stitches just to make the image ‘pop’ more… you could also just iron it on and call it a day.
I always fill some apothecary jars with color-coordinated candies. And here’s a tip: instead of buying the expensive single-color M&Ms at party or craft stores, just buy the jumbo bag of standard colors at a warehouse store, and have your kids sort them into zip-top baggies. It’s good for sorting and categorizing practice, and is great fine motor skill work.
I also threw in some healthy [non-tongue-staining] food, like Cuties, sub sandwiches, etc.
Here are the water wraps:
This race track was made from black plastic tablecloths and tape. It was put in the foyer as a kind of welcome.
We bought a carrying case full of Hot Wheels at Goodwill for my son when he was 3 years old. Five years later [the ones he hasn't lost] still get a lot of play time. This jar of Hot Wheels started out full, but little hands kept swiping them for play on the tracks we had set up.
This beverage dispenser was filled with lemon-lime Gatorade, and it went FAST. Definitely one of the most popular items with the kids. I bought a gallon, but could have easily gone through two.
The 4″ medallions, pre-filled with words like “TOOLS” and “ANTI-FREEZE” are included with the Race Car collection.
I used the Race Car Kiss Stickers on some Hershey’s Kisses and put them on the buffet table as well. My kids loved the job of putting the stickers on the kisses. I’m pretty sure it turned into a game of “one for me, one for the bowl”…
I asked a cake pop maker to make me some FLAME cake pops. I loved how they came out!
The 5×7 printable (personalized and included in the collection):
The part that gave me the biggest giggle… we used this red car out of Colin’s toybox. One of his classmates told him that she might bring her hamster FooFoo to the party. In his 8-year-old mind, he saw the hamster driving this car around. He made a note to put near the car that made it clear that this was ‘Fufu’s Car’… LOL!!!
The activities part of the Race Car Party was super easy: a bunch of Hot Wheels out of my son’s room, and a few Hot Wheels tracks (one was Colin’s birthday present from Mom & Dad, the others we borrowed). I was surprised that the girls at the party loved playing with the cars and tracks just as much as the boys did!
And here is the favor bag! Decorated with the Goody Bag Tags (included in my printable collection).
Favor items: a Hot Wheel, Wheel Yo-Yo, bubble bottle with racing bubble wrapper, Hot Wheels Tongue Tattoos, Disney Cars puzzle book, checkered flag, decorated Hershey’s Kisses with Race Car stickers from my shop, Disney’s Cars fruit snacks, and a race car party blower.
It looked like a huge bounty to the kids, but actually each goody bag only cost me around $5. And you could easily pare it down to the $1/each range by just attaching a favor tag to a Hot Wheel car.
We found this shirt in Colin’s closet, and thought it worked perfectly. And like the Hot Wheel toys, it was a thrift shop find!
This is what is included in the Race Car Collection:
I hope you enjoyed my RACE CAR PARTY!! I know the birthday boy did!
And so did his little brother!
Race Car Printables ~Renee’s Soirees
Race Car Invitation ~ Renee’s Soirees
Cake Pops ~ Gourmet Cakes and More (located in the Phoenix metro area)
Race Car shirts ~ Iron-On fabric, red shirt, + an image from my collection
Yellow Cake Stands ~ handmade by Bee In Our Bonnet
Flame table cloth ~ homemade by my super-talented mum, using flame fabric
Frame for 5×7″ printable sign ~ Hobby Lobby
Hot Wheel car favor ~ $1 from grocery or toy store (or 3 generic die-cast cars for $1 at Dollar Tree)
Wheel Yo-Yo ~ $1 from Dollar Tree
Bubble bottle with bubble wrapper from my collection ~ 3 for $1 at Dollar Tree,
Hot Wheels Tongue Tattoos ~ clearance rack at local Kroger store
Disney Cars puzzle book ~$1.50 from Safeway clearance aisle
Checkered flag ~ $2 for 8 at Hobby Lobby
Decorated Hershey’s Kisses with Race Car stickers from my shop
Cars fruit snacks ~ Kroger grocery store
Race car party blower ~ $3.99 for 8 at Party City