Throw a Memorable Milestone Birthday Party

While balloons, character-themed cakes and 20 of your child’s classmates gathered in the backyard have long been the norms for milestone birthday celebrations, local party experts have seen a rise in more innovative parties. Take note of what these party masters have to say so you, too, can plan a memorable celebration.

Unforgettable Firsts

First birthdays rarely go under-celebrated, and when it comes to these parties, Dori and Bob Fostok of Party Business in New Castle, DE, have seen it all. They’ve hosted parties with carnival and circus themes as well as magic shows. They’ve even hosted first birthday celebrations with Mardi Gras and Harlem Nights themes.

Annie Harris of Annie’s Menagerie Petting Zoo in Wilmington, DE, has noticed more fanciful celebrations for 1-year-olds recently. Her company provides live animal shows for party guests. One client held a birthday party that Harris notes, “was at a country club, and everything had been organized by an event planner: food, entertainment, live flower centerpieces. This has been happening more and more often.”

Fancy Fifths

Fifth birthdays are serious celebratory business. Your kids have learned to walk, talk, read and make new friends. So what are some fun ways to celebrate these advancements?

The Fostoks note that children around this age tend to go for movie- and gender-themed celebrations. If you don’t want to go the classic route for your kid’s fifth, there are other options.

Burn Brae Day Camp in Dresher, PA, hosts children’s parties any time of the year outdoors or in their climate-controlled indoor facility. The motto of owner Lisa Kasser and her staff is “You Dream It, We Do It,” so guests can choose any theme they imagine. One option, the Rock Band Jam party (above), allows kids to play a drum set and keyboard as well as bongo drums and handheld percussion instruments. They can even take turns being lead singer. By the end of the party, the newly formed band learns to perform a popular song for their audience.

Sweet 16

It can be more challenging to throw a party for your teenager. Marketing manager Chitty Tomczak of Big League Dreams in Medford, NJ, has noticed a bit of a difference in how teens celebrate in comparison to younger guests: “Teens are more competitive, more structured, want to play music loudly.” The indoor sports complex offers soccer, wiffle ball and flag football, among other sports, that let teens expend their energy in a fun, safe party atmosphere.

Burn Brae has an archery range where party guests can shoot not only at regular targets but also at treat-filled balloons or paint-filled balloons suspended in front of a giant canvas that erupt to create their own Jackson Pollock-inspired painting.

Teens enjoy the inflatables, trampolines and arcade at Launch Trampoline Park in Newark, DE, says owner Stephanie Eldridge. Along with their new extreme inflatables that go beyond standard kiddie moonbounces, they offer teens a VIP experience when they rent a party room, complete with a Hollywood-esque red velvet rope option.

Amidst the expense, Harris notes, “Nowadays people seem to be more charitable. They like my Pay it Forward! campaign, where I donate a portion of the proceeds from each show to a different animal or children’s charity each month. Sometimes the children themselves ask that in lieu of presents the guests bring supplies for a shelter,” she adds.


Choose a creative party theme for your child’s milestone birthday, and you may be the coolest parent on the block.

Zahara Hill is a graduating senior at Temple University and intern at MetroKids

Categories: Party Features