Charley's party theme for her 4th birthday was decided the day after her 3rd birthday party or soon thereafter. I kept thinking she may change her mind as the day grew nearer but she never wavered so Rapunzel it was. She threw around the idea of having a multiple princesses party (like wanting to also include Tiana and Ariel) but in the end it was easiest to just stick to the one princess and call it a day.
Charley was very adamant this year about inviting friends as well as family. Last year we did family only because I was in the first trimester and not feeling so hot so I thought that was a fair request from her for this year. She really loves her little friends too so I was happy to oblige to this request. I prefer an at home party so we picked a day and I made some invitations. Pinterest was my inspiration, of course. These took only a few minutes once I slightly altered a tower castle design that I purchased with my Silhouette machine.
Other stolen Pinterest ideas included braiding those cheap yellow tablecloths from the front door and down the sidewalk to mimic Rapunzel's hair. I don't think I even took a picture of that, but it was basically this. I also mimicked this and hung crowns with long "hair" attached by the doorway.
I have reused a grapevine wreath each year for Charley's parties also that originally was a wreath used at my baby shower. This year I added some braided yarn, flowers, and purple glitter letters to it, took a very washed out picture of it and called it a day.
One afternoon while perusing Pinterest looking for cake ideas, Charley wandered into the office. I was trying to find a simple Rapunzel design to draw onto the cake a la last year's Goofy cake, but Charley spotted something right then and INSISTED that be her cake. It was a Barbie cake using the Barbie Rapunzel doll. She loved it and was not backing down so I gave in. I decided we'd order cupcakes for our guests and I'd make this cake for her instead. I had experience in decorating a Barbie cake before as we (my sister and I) made similar cakes for my nieces' 5th birthday party years ago.
So, the night before her party I made her a Rapunzel cake just like those. And since my sister also had experience she came over to repay the favor from 6 years prior. I baked the cake in the Pampered Chef batter bowl and also made a small cake in a 9" round cake pan to give Rapunzel some more height so her hair wouldn't be dragging the ground. We iced the cake and then came time to add Rapunzel into her cake. We slid her in as gently as possible, but there was still some damage and she seemed to be leaning towards the right. I was worried about her slowly falling over and not making it through the night and the cake being RUINED in the morning, so we rigged up some yarn to go around her neck and hold her up which we tied to an upper cabinet's knobs. I can't remember if we made and aluminum foil dome to go around her or if we just left her out as is, but Rapunzel was literally hanging from a cabinet knob overnight. A little disturbing, but it worked! The next morning she was still standing and the cake looked great! Whew.
Charley requested pizza as her party food (which is odd because usually she doesn't even eat pizza if we get it - we always have to order pasta for her instead!) so that was very easy. My sister helped make a purplish punch and I had a few other little finger foods out also. I didn't bother with creative food labels this year. Easy, peasy.
As far as games go I planned on having two little activities. One was just going to be playing Hot Potato with one of those sticky lizards (Pascal!) while playing songs from Tangled, but just before we were to play the game I mentioned it to Charley and she FIRMLY PROTESTED against it. She seems to be moving out of the phase now, but at the time she was very much in a phase where she would have had a breakdown if she were to lose the game. I decided to scrap the game at that point. Not that we don't let her lose while playing games at home, but I figured there was no point in basically ensuring a meltdown at her own party. Little did I know that was to come a bit later anyways.
The other activity I planned was something I actually came up with all on my very own! Take THAT Pinterest! I (with the help of my dad and John) had a board cut and painted to look like a castle. Our deck on the back of our house is up very high since we have a walkout basement below. So, having a castle up on the deck made for the perfect "tower" from which to toss down our hair! I used more of the yellow plastic tablecloths from the dollar store and tied them end to end to make the hair. That was stapled onto the back of the castle board just below the notch, so that our hair wouldn't accidentally go flying down to the ground each time it was tossed over. As each guest tossed the hair down, a secret hair fairy down below attached a goody bag to the end of the locks and they would pull the hair back up over the castle board. It was easy and cute and the kids seemed to like it! Charley played with it a good bit after everyone left also. This cost us $2 (for 2 tablecloths) as the board and paint were already on hand. Yah!
I'm jumping around here as the goody bags were done at the very end of the party but oh well. So, the cake. As we were putting the candles in the Rapunzel cake we couldn't really find a good placement for them. They ended up sticking straight out of the front of Rapunzel's dress. As John starts to light the candles, I casually say something like "don't catch Rapunzel's hair on fire!" and Charley becomes terrified.
After the candles were lit and we all started singing Happy Birthday, it just went downhill fast. It was her party and she could cry if she wanted to, and she definitely did.
Sorry for the blurriness of those, but at that point I was struggling with continuing to take pictures of something we'd surely laugh at later, or going to comfort my poor baby. John ended up blowing out the candles for her and I put the camera down and went to comfort her. I am still glad I got a couple of pictures though - even if they are blurry! So yeah. No blowing out the candles for Charley! She still talks about this today 3 months later and how she does NOT want candles at her next party either. Maybe we'll get some battery powered tealights she can just turn off at the end of Happy Birthday. That will be exciting.
After many of the guests had left John just could not take it anymore and wanted to give Charley her big gift from us that day. Her party was actually 6 days before her birthday as we were trying to avoid having a birthday party on Labor Day weekend so I had wanted to save her big gift for her actual birthday. But in the end it doesn't really matter WHEN she got it so I obliged and he rushed down to the basement to bring it up to her while a few friends were still over.
It was worth it. This was as John was walking in with it:
And then she and her buddies had so much fun trying it all out.
It was actually a really fun and low stress party! Yay for that! And most importantly, our sweet Charley Jane was as happy as she could be for most of the party. I hear though that is pretty indicative of four year olds though. And so far, 3 months into age 4, I tend to agree. But, it is still all worth it for this sweet face.