RETRO NINJA TURTLE END OF SUMMER SURFING PARTY DETAILS:
This is what Amber said about planning the party-
“Inspiration: My boys LOVE the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so choosing a theme for their birthday party this year was easy. The challenge was that their birthdays are six months apart! So I decided that rather than throwing two separate Ninja Turtle parties in one year, I would combine both birthday celebrations into an End of Summer Party that both boys (and all of our neighbors) could enjoy!
As I was looking around for ideas, I noticed that many of the TMNT parties had a lot of dark colors (which is completely true to the Ninja Turtle Cartoon) and were often held indoors. Since this was going to be a party celebrating summer it had to be outside and I also wanted it to have a bright, happy feel to it. Then I realized that the word “cowabunga”, so commonly associated with the old-school Ninja Turtles, is also a surfing term! So I had my solution… combine the ninja turtle theme with retro surfing and I would have the perfect outdoor summer party!
Printables: I contacted Lauren of Lauren Haddox Design with my vision to see if she could translate it into printables and she exceeded every expectation I had! Not only did she come up with the perfect invite but she was able to design everything I envisioned for the food labels, activity signs, etc. and then added some of her own ideas from a banner to cupcake toppers to posters. I’m so grateful for how wonderful she was to work with!
Décor: I wanted the party to have a festive, summer feel so I strung lights and hung paper lanterns around our yard and then set out tons of outdoor tables and chairs for the guests to sit at. I had fun turning all of the green paper lanterns into Ninja Turtles, using the tutorial on Kara’s Party Ideas here. I topped some of the tables with tin pails containing chalk, markers and crayons. I had sprayed the tops of the tables with chalkboard paint so they could be drawn on. I also provided paper fans for younger kids to color and duct tape for older kids to make ninja turtle wallets with. I set up several water and beach-oriented activities around my yard, including a sandbox for younger children, a rotating Ninja Turtle sprinkler, a huge slip-and-slide (labeled “Sewer Slide”) complete with inflatable surf boards to slide on, and a water blob (labeled “Toxic Waste Puddle”) topped with beach balls. I found the instructions for the water blob here. The additions I would make to the tutorial are:
1. Use Gorilla Tape.
2. For the prep, fold the plastic sheeting in half so the short ends match up, then measure a strip of tape the length of one side and lay it on the ground next to the sheeting. Then place the bottom layer of the sheeting halfway up the piece of tape and press to secure. Next, line the top layer of sheeting with the bottom layer and fold the tape over it to secure. Repeat with the other two sides, being sure to leave a small opening for the hose on one side.
3. I think it would be really cool to add neon green food coloring along with the water!
Dessert Table: When I was planning the backdrop for the dessert table, the first thing that came to mind was a brick wall with the word “cowabunga” written in graffiti across it. Turning that into a reality was harder than I thought it would be, however! Thanks to Kara for helping me find a wood paneled white brick wall and then to her brother-in-law, Sebi Tello, for being AWESOME at spray paint graffiti. The backdrop turned out absolutely perfect!
The other highlight of the dessert table was the AMAZING blue ombre wave cake topped with a fondant Ninja Turtle who was “surfing” on a fondant sewer lid. A HUGE shout out to Jen Hanna of Sweeten Your Day for making such an impressive and perfect cake!
I had so much fun coming up with different Ninja Turtle and surfing themed treats to serve at the party! Of course pizza, sewers and surfing had to play a big role. I found some fitting pizza slice shaped lollipops from Oriental Trading. I also found chocolate nonpareil discs that reminded me of pizzas so I included those as well. I knew I wanted to have sewer lid cookies but hoped to come up with something different than the Oreos I had seen in other parties. When I came across Italian chocolate waffle cookies I knew they’d be perfect! Other treats included:
- Turtle Shell Mints (green chocolate coated mints)
- Surfboard Gummies (cream filled gummies that looked like colorful surfboards)
- Master Splinter Gummies (white gummy mice)
- Turtle Cheesecakes (turtle, meaning covered in nuts and caramel)
- Gummy Life Preservers (gummy sour rings)
- Ninja Turtle Ice Cream Bars (the original Blue Bunny bars from the 80’s, these were not easy to find but I had to have them!)
I mod podged the printable food labels (which looked like sewer lids) onto wide-mouth Mason jar lids. Then I adhered the lids to toy barrels found at Dollar Tree that were labeled “Caution” so the jar lids could stand on end. I was also really excited about the table centerpiece. It was a “Cowabunga Carl” TMNT van I found on Ebay and then topped with a cardboard surfboard. I had to have it because what surfing party is complete without a retro surf van?
Drinks: To drink, there was “Toxic Ooze” (recipe here) which tasted A LOT better than it looked or sounded, and “Waste Water” which was just water but sounded appropriate. There were also single serving juice barrels sorted into Styrofoam barrel coolers according to their color and labeled for the various Ninja Turtles. The drink station was topped with watermelons carved to look like TMNT faces and filled with glow sticks in red, orange, blue and purple so each turtle would glow in his appropriate color as night came. A HUGE thank you to my patient husband for carving the watermelons!
Party Favors: As the guests arrived, they were greeted with TMNT paper masks, seashell necklaces and green Frisbee “turtle shell” backpacks accompanied by instructions to “Shell Up”.
Before the guests went home, they stopped by a party favor area labeled “Take Out”. There were stacks of empty pizza boxes for the guests to fill with their favors. All of the goodies were displayed on an industrial ladder to symbolize accessing a sewer tunnel. The favors included:
- Gummi Pizzas
- “Sewer Water” Taffy
- Seashell Whistles
- Wax “Soda” Bottles
- Toxic Waste Sour Smog Balls
- TMNT Jump Ropes & Paddle Ball Games
- TMNT rubber bracelets
I also made Glow in the Dark “Toxic Ooze” Slime (recipe here) for the guests to take home. I packaged the ooze in flip-cap pill bottles available in Kara’s Party Ideas Shop here. I ordered printable biohazard labels from freshlycutcards on Etsy which I mod podged to the caps to complete the look. For when you’re inevitably trying to get the slime out of your carpet or off of your kids’ clothes, I found the secret here. It’s so simple and works like magic!
I had so much fun planning this party and my boys had even more fun attending it, which is the whole point of course! Thank you to my husband for being so supportive and for patiently being my sounding board all summer. Thanks also to all of the vendors and to everyone who helped me with the planning (once again my mom and Kara were both indispensable!) and to everyone who celebrated with us!”
Items and supplies used in this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Party available in Kara’s Party Ideas Shop:
- Salt Water Taffy
- Paper Lanterns
- Flip-Cap Pill Bottles
- Colored Tin Pails
- Carboard Berry Basket
- Beach Balls
- 2-Sides Frames
Also available in Kara’s Party Ideas Shop:
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