I’m not a huge fan of commercial characters, but I have a soft spot for Mario and Luigi. My brother and I spent many hours of our youth seeking secret passageways and power ups to help those cute plumbers conquer dragons and rescue Princess Peach.
A few years ago my husband actually found a classic Nintendo on Craigslist, and it was one of my best Christmas gifts ever. (I trained from December to July, but sadly my brother was still able to defeat me, all these years later.)
Boys must have some sort of video game gene I will never understand, one that makes Sam beg and plead and drool for his daily 30-minute allotment of gaming time. He loves playing EA Sports with his dad: baseball, football, and hockey. But then there is Mario. He loves all things Mario.
Maggie, for the most part, could care less. Except for Mario. Apparently that game is gender-neutral, because our children will get into literal fist-fights about who needs to change the birds’ newspaper, but when it comes to Mario Kart they are a unified force. A team. A pair. They get along so well that they always get to play for more than 30 minutes, and they know how to work it!
Mario Kart has all the same characters as the Nintendo of my youth – Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Koopa, Yoshi – but with the new 3D-esque graphics I hardly recognize any of them.
All that said, we weren’t surprised when Sam asked for a Mario-themed birthday party this year, and it was a nostalgic one to plan.
The invitation was fun to make. During the sleepover the boys kept asking when the “Wii hours” would begin, so I know they read it carefully!
We combed through google images and Pinterest for cake ideas and, as usual, ended up combining a few online ideas into something our own. We think it turned out pretty darn cute:
The bottom was made with two 12″ round cakes, the middle was made with two 8×8 cakes (but I had to trim them to 6″ squares because one corner got smashed), and the top is a PVC pipe topped with a Rice Krispie treat that is molded to look like a mushroom and then roughly covered in fondant. (Fondant is not my friend.) The white dots on the mushroom are candy melts, and the little Mario figurines can be purchased from Toys-R-Us or Amazon. The cake is pretty heavy, so I put dowels and a piece of foil-covered cardboard in the bottom layer for support.
I must admit this cake took me forever, but it is possible for amateurs to achieve!
The food was simple and Sam made all the signs with a neighbor friend the morning before the party. We had his favorite meal again this year – spaghetti and meatballs – and called them “Mario’s Fireballs.” Sam also loves hard boiled eggs, so the kids decorated some “Yoshi Eggs.” There was a big vat of “Luigi’s Lemonade” to keep everyone hydrated, along with some “Power Up Potion” water bottles. Most of these were ideas we found online, so we can’t take any credit for the creativity here!
For activities, we asked all the boys to bring their bikes because Sam planned to design a Mario Kart track on the driveway with sidewalk chalk, cones, etc. However, Clark was busy with some major yardwork the day of the party (as in putting in a yard-work) and the driveway was tied up with a co-worker’s trailer and tractor. It was a gorgeous day and the boys had no problem having fun outside anyway, mostly in the neighbor’s yard.
We also bought some red blowouts that were going to be Yoshi tongues, but never got around to using them. The biggest bummer is I bought some fake mustaches for all the kids, and we forgot to use those too! Talk about a missed photo op! Oh well – everyone was too busy playing to stop and stick on a mustache anyway.
Of course the night ended with the “Wii hours,” with all the boys excitedly playing Mario Olympics and Mario Kart.
Look at all those kids! He only invited a few friends, but in the end half the neighborhood showed up to share in the fun, and of course our family friends would never miss a good party.
And it was definitely a good party!