Birthday bash: we can be heroes

By Heather Camlot

When children start jumping off the sofa, shouting “Pow” and lifting toys over their head to display their strength, you know it’s time — for a superhero birthday party. Don’t disappoint with our no-fail superhero party manoeuvres.


Invites Party stores are busting with superhero supplies – from Superman invitations to Spiderman masks, from Batman paper plates to The Incredibles balloons. You name it, they’ve got it. But these can all get pretty expensive. To cut down on costs, consider designing your own superhero cards on the computer and then emailing the invite to friends and family.  A photo of your child in cape and mask would be the perfect cover image.

Decor Dish out for the themed plates, but go with matching solids for cups, napkins and cutlery. For the balloons, buy a large themed helium one, and then fill it out with matching colours. For atmosphere, think about your superhero; stream “spiderwebs” from corner to corner for Spiderman, hang bats from the ceiling for Batman, place a large featherweight car in a corner that your superkids can lift with one hand like Mr. Incredible, or stick superhero appliqués or homemade posters of “most wanted” characters to the walls.


Dress up Most superheroes wear capes and masks and so should your little superheroes in training. If you have old bed sheets that you no longer use, cut them up into capes for all the kids or shop for inexpensive fabric at your local fabric store. Then print and cut out solid-coloured masks onto cardstock. On party day, lay out an assortment of glitter, markers, stickers, etc., and let kids design their own superhero outfit. Fasten the cape with sticky Velcro or thick ribbon, and attach elasticized string to the masks.

Get fit Superheroes need to be physically fit to take on the baddies. Set up a toddler training camp where kids get to jump, touch their toes, run around cones, and giggle.

Save the world Add a superhero spin to a treasure hunt. Let’s say you have two teams. Create two sets of clue cards, each set with one superhero character on the back. On the front, have picture clues – a tree leads to the maple in the front yard, at the maple the next card has stairs leading to the porch, etc.  Have a loot bag favour at each clue (hit the dollar store for a great assortment of superhero-themed treats and toys) or save the entire loot bag for the end of the hunt.


Over the years, superheroes have made one giant commercial leap to food products, shilling everything from Kraft macaroni and cheese to Dr. Pepper. These products are a little harder to find these days – unless a movie is coming out — so you’ll have to get creative. Try “kryptonite popsicles” made with green food colouring, “bat sandwiches” shaped from cookie cutters, or “spiderweb spaghetti” with the kids designing their own webs on their plates (hey, it’s a party, let the kids play with their food) . And of course the ultimate crowd pleaser, the birthday cake, featuring your superhero’s emblem or a scene with cake-topper characters.

Now relax and enjoy the festivities. Remember, you’re throwing a children’s party. And while the supermom in you wants everything to be perfect, your mission is not to fight for truth, justice and the American way. It’s to have a great time.

First published September 2009 on


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