When my husband and I added to our family, we had no idea how much we'd lean on friends, families, and even coworkers during the first year. We wanted to include as many folks as possible when we celebrated our second-born's first birthday, but we also had a budget and tight schedule to work around — and that's how a Monster Pizza Party became the theme for one of the most fun and successful kids' parties we've celebrated to date.
Why Monsters? Why Pizza?
One of my favorite tactics for throwing a party (any party!) is to pick two key words to drive a loose theme, like pancakes and pajamas, or trucks and doughnuts. For my son's first birthday I went with monsters and pizza.
There were a few motivations behind the monster theme. For starters, we were hosting his party just after Halloween and could make the most of discounted decor.
We also needed something that could feed a big crowd of folks from grandparents to toddlers, and pizza is always the answer.
The 5 Elements of a Monster Pizza Party
1. You should make a monster entrance.
A successful party only needs a few big-scale decorations. For this one, we painted an empty cardboard box with monster shapes, cut out holes where the faces would go, and added a few eyes. The kids had a blast poking their heads through the holes and giving us their scariest monster impressions.
I also made a monster wreath following this tutorial, but the inside decor featured minimal streamers and balloons with a few strategically placed pizza banners and monster eyes.
2. Eyes turn anything and everything into a monster.
For other monster-related decor, I printed eyes and mouths from Amanda Keyt Designs — you can use her free printable eyes or download the whole kit for just a few dollars.
We ordered a few giant googly eyes for the wreath and used the printed eyes to turn cups, plates, and even a plant into monsters for the day.
Buy Them: Googly Eyes at Amazon
3. Pizza should also be part of the decor.
The pizza part of the concept needs to be added to the decorations, too. We added pizza cut-outs to a store-bought garland and hung it on a bulletin board where we displayed the monster creations, which the kids made later in the party. We also ordered pizza sticker kits and let the kids decorate pizzas while we waited for the real ones to arrive.
Buy Them: Pizza Sticker Scenes, $3 for 12 sets at Oriental Trading
4. You should go all in on pizza, but have other food too.
Being the beloved food stuff it is, we made sure to order plenty of pizza, but we also had trays of cut-up vegetables with yogurt dip, fresh fruit, and a big batch of party mix (with candy eyes added for full monster effect).
Two pieces of advice for ordering pizza for a party: Call your pizza place the day before and place your order in advance. Most pizza places can accommodate large orders with minimal notice, but you'll get better service and have a shorter wait for your pizzas if you order in advance.
Also ask your pizza parlor to "double cut" the slices for easier eating and to avoid waste.
5. You need dessert.
You can order various candy eyes from Amazon for decorating cakes or cupcakes. For our party we ordered plain cupcakes from our local grocery story and my 5-year-old helped me dunk them in sprinkles and dress them with silly eyes. Cupcakes are great for kids (easy portion control) but also make a near perfect smash cake for babies.
Buy Some: Candy Eyes at Amazon