Our sweet, furry boy, Murphy, turns five years old today, so of course we had to celebrate. He joined our family at eight weeks old in 2009, and has been lovable — and high-energy — ever since.
This party was super easy to put together and cost me next to nothing, since I used things I already had around the house. The only things I spent money on were some new stickers and stamps for decorating hats, and a bone-shaped cake pan, both things that can be used again. The menu included things that we would normally eat anyway — yogurt, veggies, sandwiches. This party was for a dog, but could easily translate into a child’s birthday or playdate, too. Enjoy!
Since Murphy, a golden retriever, is still young and very active, and since our two-year-old loves the book, I chose a Go, Dog. Go! theme for the party. I used the color scheme of the book — orange, yellow, green and teal with some white and brown accents. At the end of the book, the dogs all climb a ladder to a dog party, so we had a mid-day treehouse picnic lunch. What dog — or toddler — doesn’t love eating on the floor?
I used some kraft packing paper around the doorway to mimic a tree trunk, and added some signs (Happy birthday, Murphy and, for fun, No Cats Allowed). We moved the table and chairs out of our dining room and laid down a picnic blanket.
For the party table, I reused a cloud and sky backdrop made for my son’s Toy Story party, and used some green fabric as the tablecloth. I glued black construction paper together to make a road, adding yellow dashes down the middle. I covered a cardboard box with orange fabric to hold Murphy’s cake (I’ve made them in the past, but this year I bought a peanut butter puppy cake mix that came with a yogurt frosting. It was a hit.). I made simple trees out of green cardstock and old paper towel/gift wrap rolls, adding a picture of Murph for each year since he was born. Two balloon clusters (using up the helium from Owen’s party) on either end finished the display.
I printed the book’s cover image to use as matching water bottle labels, and for favors, created “doggie bags” of Puppy Chow with themed labels.
Guests each had their own sack lunch, with a bone-shaped sandwich (made with a cookie cutter), Go-Gurt yogurt tube, veggie “trees” (broccoli) and on-the-go juice (a juice box). I also made fruit “cars” that were featured on the party table: an apple slice for the body, and two sliced grapes held on by toothpicks for wheels.
For dessert, there were Pup Pops (cake balls) and Pup-Cakes (cupcakes). I made the cupcake toppers myself and used a scalloped paper punch to cut them out. Hot glue on a lollipop stick, and you’re done!
We played a stoplight ball toss game that took me all of 10 minutes to make. I grabbed a small cardboard box and used my Xacto knife to cut out three holes from the bottom. Then, I used spray adhesive and covered the whole thing with black cardstock, using the knife to flip it over and cut out the holes again. I used a circle cutter to cut three colored stoplight circles to go around each hole. I grabbed matching colored balls from Owen’s playroom, and ta-da, you have an easy and fun game. “Stop, dog, stop. The light is red. Go, dog, go. It’s green ahead!”
We also had to decorate party hats (“Do you like my party hat? I do! I do like your party hat.”). We reused some old newspaper and folded them into hats, and then used pawprint stampers and stickers to personalize them. Owen loved this! (Side note: My husband folded the hats — making sure that an article about wine was prominent on the front of one, which he deemed the “mommy hat.” Don’t you just love him?)
I also made a quick dog-themed music playlist to run while we played games. Think Florence + the Machine’s “Dog Days are Over,” Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog,” Billy Currington’s “Like My Dog,” Paul Anka’s “Puppy Love,” and Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out.”
Do you celebrate your furry friends’ birthdays? If it’s just me, don’t tell me :). For all the pictures from this “Go, Dog. Go” party, click the gallery below.