Happy Birthday to my favorite boy, Jack!
So the official day was a week and a half ago but we finally got to celebrate with family and friends this past weekend! And I got to finally share my spin on a garbage truck party- Jack in the Box!
This party was A LOT of work to put together but also so much fun. Jack asked me for a garbage truck party and I came up with the idea to make him his own neighborhood to manage as garbage man for a day. And he loved it!
This party was a collection of small ideas and details that all came together after weeks of imagining them. I wanted to think outside the box (pun always intended) but still have homages to a more typical garbage truck party. So the snacks we provided were all white, black, and green and I found the cutest garbage truck themed paper goods.
Though the neighborhood would be the focal point of the party, I knew I wanted to do some type of backdrop for the food table. I needed somewhere to put the title of the party! I attempted a similar streamer curtain last year but I did it while suuuuuuper morning sick with Caroline and had always wanted to try it again. So I found streamers in the color palette I wanted (Hobby Lobby, for the win!) and went to work. It can be tedious to make and you have to fiddle with the placement but it’s honestly not super complicated to do if you’re patient. And I loved adding fabric and trim and other materials to make it more interesting. Add a balloon garland and banner and you’re done!
If you’ve been reading TCK for a while, you know that the activities are always the hardest for me to figure out. My favorite activities are crafts and treasure hunts- they’re my go-to! I found trashcan-shaped easter eggs that I spread out around our yard and the neighborhood and I decided to make a road and some garbage trucks for the kids to pull around and collect the eggs. I was already buried under cardboard boxes but what were a few more?! I also added real trash for Jack because he literally told me he wanted to pick up and “crush” trash at his party. And as much joy as these parties bring me to plan, they are ultimately for my kids. So I kept random magazines and ads that came to our house and Jack went to town.
Now for the showstopper: the neighborhood! I started collecting large cardboard boxes (my package hoarding is well documented on my Instagram) and at first, I wasn’t exactly sure how to turn them into the buildings I wanted. But I couldn’t get this idea out of my head! I wanted to make a house each for Jack and Ella, a theater with puppets, and a post office. Then Jack asked for a grocery store and immediately, “Trader Jack’s” came into my mind. That’s when I really started getting excited and I was determined to pull this off. So I started on the first building (which would become Ella’s house) and I taped the flaps together so that it would stand. Then I drew the outline of the door and slowly cut it out. The process was a lot easier than I thought it would be! Time consuming, sure, but not impossible. And then once the structures of the buildings were done, I could add fun details like scalloped awnings, doorbells, shingles, and more. Trader Jack’s and the puppet theater were my favorites!
My philosophy for parties is that there is no detail too small. People might not notice them but they will feel the effort and love you put in. The bell on the post office help desk, the Employee of the Month plaque on Trader Jack’s- it’s these little surprises that add whimsy and magic and childish wonder to a party.
For weeks, the Jack in the Box neighborhood took over my mind and my time and honestly, the entire first floor of my house! But watching Jack run around, knowing he owned the place made me so happy. This is how all of this party planning started for me– wanting my kids to know just how much I love them. Having another year with Jack feels like a triumph and it’s something so worth celebrating. And creating and curating is my favorite way to do it.
p.s. I feel like this needs to be said: we had a paper airplane contest (the garbage truck party was also generallytrash/recycling party) and my dad won handily.