“Mom, can we get a dog?” Sound familiar? If your kids are anything like ours, they are set to beg, lie and steal to get the one thing they’ve always wanted: a four legged friend. One ingenious mom indulged her kiddo’s love for everything puppies, all without having to housetrain, clean up after, and train Fido. How did she do it? A puppy party, of course. Meet Katie Witt who threw a dog-themed bash for her daughter Julia’s fourth birthday.
Red Tricycle: Your daughter is a huge fan of everything puppies and dogs — can you divulge how this party theme came about and what you loved most about throwing it?
Katie Witt: The idea manifested after we adopted Rosie- our little chihuahua puppy. My daughter fell in love with Rosie the moment we brought her home and the two instantly became the best of friends. They spent countless hours rolling around on the floor together- playing, wrestling, barking, you name it! I was watching them one afternoon, thinking how cute they were together, and the lightbulb literally went off in my head and all of a sudden I envisioned my daughter and all of her friends dressed up like puppies- barking, romping around, and playing “puppy” together. And that’s where the idea came to life!
The best part about throwing the party was seeing the vision in my head become a reality- the kids were so incredibly adorable dressed up as puppies, running around on all fours barking and playing together. It was just too cute, exactly how I had pictured it!
KW: The kibble was Cocoa Puffs cereal and the bones were Scooby Doo graham crackers!
RT: Where did the party take place?
KW: I’m a big fan of doing parties at the park- my daughter’s birthday is in June so the weather is always great and at a park there’s plenty of room for the kids to run amok without me worrying about something breaking, kids in the house, cleaning up my home after the party, etc. What appealed to me about this particular park is that you could reserve it in advance for a nominal fee. With most parks you need to arrive super early and “claim your spot” and that, to me, is just too stressful.
RT: Can you fill us in on the activities at the party?
KW: When the children arrived they went through the “pup-ification” process. (i.e. They got their dog-eared headbands and had their faces painted!). We let them run around on all fours for a while- barking and playing and having a tail waggin’ good time. Then it was lunch time and they ate hot dogs out of their dog bowls. Following lunch we played a game of Pin The Tail On The Pup. Then I got the kids together in a circle and we played a round of “Master Says”. Master says, shake your tail. Master says, roll over! The last activity on tap was taking a bat to the puppy pinata!
RT: Most everything at your daughter’s party you created yourself. Kudos! Can you tell us about how you made those homemade activities and decor? What stores did you go to?
KW: I did a lot of damage at my local JoAnn’s store. The felt, paw print ribbon, paw print fabric, the puppy crafts on the kids table- those all came from JoAnn’s. The individual puppy bowls that each child had came from the dollar store. The “Adopt a Puppy” stuffed animals were from Oriental Trading Company. The “pupcakes” were homemade cupcakes, but I bought those fondant toppers from Etsy. And the little doggie themed sugar cookies came from Etsy as well- I just wrapped them individually in plastic bags tied with paw print ribbon so that each child could take one home.
RT: For the parents who don’t consider themselves the DIY crafty types, do you have any advice for throwing a successful DIY party without the stress?
KW: Trust me I am no DIYer. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever picked up a glue gun before this puppy party! But while shopping for certain items- like the “dog ear headbands”- I was finding that they were retailing for over $19 (for a pack of 8) and I was going to need at least 3 packs. I could not justify spending $60 on headbands! So I said, “I’m going to do this myself!”. I bought inexpensive plastic black headbands- a bulk set of 25 for under $4. And then I bought black and white felt from the craft store which was around $10 total. So for under $15 I made all 25 myself!
I think the best piece of advice I can offer in regards to DIY projects is to start early. Allowing yourself plenty of time for the project is ESSENTIAL, there’s nothing worse than being short on time and feeling stressed and resentful.
RT: What’s in store for your daughter’s birthday party next year?
KW: Oh man, I’m still recovering from the puppy party! But I will admit, I’ve already started thinking about ideas for the next birthday party. I know some people find party planning to be tedious and difficult but I genuinely love and enjoy it, so I always start planning very early- it’s just so much fun!