Some kids get bummed about summer birthdays (summer vacation, friends out of town, no cupcakes at school…)  But we say, lucky her! We’ve rounded up five of the best outdoor party companies, perfect for those long summer days. From unicorn rides to Nerf gun wars, celebrate his birthday outside with one of these totally unique and completely LA party ideas:

photo: Sheroes Entertainment

Unicorn Party
If you want to really wow your horse-and-pony-obsessed kiddos (and everyone else within eyesight), rent a real-live unicorn to give your guests a memorable ride around the neighborhood. Sheroes Entertainment, an LA party company that specializes in magical birthday parties (they do mermaid parties, too!), has three golden-horned unicorns available for your bash (unicorns aren’t cheap though, so most people only rent one). All you need is a space big enough for your mythical creature to walk on a path; if your back yard doesn’t fit the bill, most city parks are unicorn-friendly. Your unicorn will come with two tuxedo-clad attendants who will lead and walk alongside your little rider while telling tales of your unicorn’s storied history. If you want to go a step further, rent a whimsical fairy to go with your unicorn and your kids just might explode with excitement.

Cost: $915 and up (per unicorn), plus travel time.
Phone: 805-328-4911

photo: Fun Flicks Socal via Facebook

Outdoor Movie Night
Get your littles lined up on the grass in tiny vehicles (or hunkered down on picnic blankets) and transform your back yard or patio into the coolest drive-in/outdoor movie theater ever. Fun Flicks of Southern California provides inflatable movie screens with high-definition projection and concert-grade speakers. Just set up a popcorn booth, give your kids some movie candy, and press PLAY. It’s a win-win for everyone: parents can enjoy themselves while the kids have their screen time.

Cost: $299 and up (includes High Definition (HD) Projection, DVD player, technical host, setup and teardown, and 2 1/2 hours of time).
Phone: 818-263-4916

photo: The Amazing Kid Company via Facebook

Nerf Gun Party
Laser tag is always a hit with the 7-and-over set, but in the summer, it’s good to get the kids outside. The solution? Give them some Nerf guns and let them go at it! The Amazing Kid Company will bring an entire obstacle course and enough Nerf guns for 20 kids to go wild (they can bring more, if needed, for an extra charge). The basic Nerf War package includes 20 Nerf Guns, safety goggles, 100 foam bullets, 4 inflatable barriers, 20 team color vests, and one host to keep the kids entertained. And, it’s not just shootout mayhem: Amazing Kid entertainers also keep kids happy with a variety of organized games (many are Nerf gun-free), including Capture the flag, obstacle course races, whipped cream-eating contests, and dodgeball.  Yes, many kids have their own Nerf arsenal, but anyone who has been to one of these parties knows that kids get very upset when one kid has a cooler toy or someone loses all their foam bullets.  This party ensures everyone has a fabulous time, and no one loses, breaks (or fights over) the toys!

Note: This party is recommended for kids 7 & older.

Cost: $245 for the first hour and $145 every additional hour
Phone: 818-981-4321

Train Party
Got a tiny Thomas fan? Give him a train-themed birthday party with a real live train ride. Trains on the Move, a Torrance-based company that runs weekly train “stations” at the Manhattan Beach and Westchester farmers markets, also provides trackless trains for private events. The trains can run on any flat surface—asphalt, paved surfaces, grass, etc.—as long as the ground is dry, firm and level. Residential streets are fine, as are public parks (just call your local park beforehand to check for any stipulations). For kids waiting their turn, Trains on the Move can also provide an enclosed train play area complete with train tables and plenty of tracks and trains for building. Your choo-choo-loving child will be in locomotive heaven. All aboard!

Cost: $250 per hour.
Phone: 310-532-6223

photo: Foamalicious via Facebook

Foam Party
There’s nothing quite like bubbles to mesmerize little ones. So what better way to capture the kids’ attention than to fill up your entire back yard with bubbly foam, made just for exploring? Foamalicious, based in Corona, calls itself the only company in the world to offer 100 percent nontoxic, soap-free, organic, biodegradable (and gluten-free) foam parties. Owner Christopher Ledezma says the stuff is so safe “you could eat it.” Foam machines can be set up on the grass, in your driveway or on your patio (just not on glossy tiles, because the foam is water-based and could make for slippery surfaces).

Cost: $575 and up. Foam party packages include one small foam machine (suitable for about 20 people), one gallon of foam juice, 30 minutes of foam production, one to two trained foam operators, and all set up and take-down. On a budget? Rent the machine by mail and do it yourself for just $99 plus $49 for the foam solution.
Phone: 310-483-7942

Got any great summer party themes to suggest? Tell us in the comment section below!

— Melissa Heckscher