What Color for the Birthday Party?

Planning a colorful birthday party for your child can be exciting and fun if you let it. Each age has its own special challenges, but your child is definitely worth celebrating, and you don't need to break the budget to make your son or daughter feel special. By deliberately showing a color theme in the decorations, your efforts will make a much bigger impression. It's just a matter of choosing the right color for your little one.

Baby birthday parties aren't really about the baby at all. They are an opportunity for parents to get together to "ooh" and "aah" over cute baby gifts. With few exceptions, you are free to indulge your own favorite colors if you wish. Pastels are always safe when you choose pink, green, yellow or lavender for your baby girl. Stick with blues, browns and greens for little boys. Never add pink or purple to a boy's color scheme.

If you could actually poll babies and toddlers, they would tell you how much they love bright primary colors. Reds, yellows, blues and greens in big splashes are exciting. So are big patterns and prints. One fun idea might be to choose one specific primary color and ask the guests to come dressed in that shade as well. Make the entire party about one of these basic colors and you'll have a guaranteed success. A word of caution about red: It is definitely a high energy color, and that may not be the best idea for a large children's party. You might want to temper it down by keeping it as a secondary or complementary color.

It doesn't take long before your school-aged children want to have some say in what their birthday party will look like. Themes are always fun, but they can become expensive if you need to buy a lot of props. However, by using color as your primary design tool, you can create your own theme without breaking the budget. For example, a girl's "Barbie Party" would be all about pink. You could include the color in the cake, the balloons, the table wear, the prizes and the take-home gifts. Little boys might enjoy the greens of a jungle theme or the colors of their favorite action hero.

"Tweens" can be a bit of a challenge. Once again, if you can build your decorations around two or three colors, you can create a great birthday party setting. Imagine a "Spa Party" in teal and blue colors. How about a "Beach Party" with Caribbean shades? Pull out the main colors of a sports team, and your son will think he's having the best party ever. How about a "Martial Arts Party" that celebrates the colors of the various achievement belts?

After you have chosen your dominant colors, shop for matching table wear, candles, streamers, flowers, balloons or hanging lanterns. Get creative and look for ways to turn the entire room into a party space. You might even want to cover some of the furniture or wall art with the party's signature color or string some special lighting. Whatever you do, keep the fun in the planning and your party is sure to be a success, regardless the age of your child.