Back in March Lucy began planning her July birthday party. I was less than eager, mostly because she is exactly like me and is a PLANNER but I can only plan one thing at a time, and, well, virtual school/global pandemic took a lot of my planning energy. And back then I was certain things would be different by now. We were so young. So naive.
Fast forward to July, and we are still sheltering in place. We’ve been to a few drive by parties over the last few months, and they have certainly been creative. But I just knew my girl needed a little more face time with her friends. The last few months have been hard on her. She is at the age where her friendships are really starting to be deep, BFF-type friendships. So I knew I needed to get creative for this party. This would be a great opportunity to fill her cup a bit.
Then she started watching Nailed It on Netflix and it came to me! We could do a cake decorating party! Our front yard is pretty big, so we would have space to give everyone their own “decorating station”. I could just make boxed cake mix cakes and frosting for everyone to make their own cakes! Then they could just take them home! I must admit I was really proud of the idea, and I think it really came together nicely!
Party prep was key. The week leading up to the party, I found some mini cake pans and bought enough boxes of cake mix to give everyone 3 layers. I made the vanilla buttercream a week before and stuck it in the freezer. I made the hot pink ganache a few days before and stored it in the fridge. Making the cakes ahead of time was the trickiest part, mostly because it was hard to store 30 mini cake layers! We had the yard mowed, borrowed tables from friends, and BOOM! Party was planned.
Party Set Up
On the morning of the party, I pulled out the frosting from the freezer to defrost and reheated the ganache over the double boiler. We set up the tables in the shady part of the yard, in a circle so that the girls could see each other and actually interact with one another. Each girl had her own table and chair. We set up a sanitizing station at the end of the driveway. While we didn’t ask everyone to wear masks, we wore them in an abundance of caution, so that our guests felt safe. Before everyone arrived I set up their stations with a cake box and a personalized bag of decorating tools + supplies.
As the girls arrived, we gave them time to reconnect a bit before beginning. It had been almost exactly 3 months since some of them had seen each other. It was so sweet! Then it was time to decorate! I brought out the cake layers, frosting, and ganache ( I didn’t want the ingredients sitting in the sun for too long and melting). Then came the BIG CAKE. Each girl had a good look before we started the timer. Here is our inspiration, and my own Nailed It recreation! Note to self, don’t pour warm ganache over a frosted cake. The end result was a little lopsided. I also should have put the Oreos in the food processor because they didn’t fit in the piping bag. Lesson learned!
I set a timer for 30 minutes and turned on some Kidz Bop, but I kept adding time because not finishing in time made some of the girls stressed. Stress = not fun. After everyone was finished, we did a little parade around the circle of tables to see everyone’s creations. Instead of blowing out candles, we popped confetti poppers at the end of singing Happy Birthday, because blowing out candles during a global *respiratory* pandemic didn’t seem wise. Then we did presents, packed up the cakes in boxes, and everyone left with their own personally decorated cakes!
Here is a link to my Amazon list with the tools I found to make this as safe as possible. Nothing was shared. Everything was either disposable or something that could be taken home. I managed to find some of these at Party City, which had curbside pick up, but for ease of finding everything in one place, I’ve linked everything to Amazon. Full transparency: they are affiliate links, so if you purchase anything through the links I will earn a few cents of commission.
After everyone left, we just needed to clean the table and return them to their owners. It was probably the easiest party in terms of cleaning. The house didn’t need to be “presentable”, and all of the big party mess stayed outside. We could literally hose the tables down and then disinfect them. And by we, I mean my husband cleaned the tables while I sat on the couch, in the air conditioning, drinking a hard seltzer.
It was surprisingly emotional for me. I think seeing people I haven’t seen in so long was harder for me than I thought it would be, I was happy that the party went so well, and I was also sad that we had to work around so much just to have some cake in the yard. So many feels. Overall, it was a GREAT party and would be fun with or without the socially distant limitations. If you are trying to figure out how to throw a socially distant party, let me know! I would love to see your creative ideas, or help out any way I can!