So I’m realizing now I wasn’t very good about taking pictures at the party, but trust me – it was PERFECT! First off, let me tell you how I got to this theme. Rob and I are pretty obsessed with Day of the Dead. I learned about it in seventh grade Spanish class and adored it. For me, it was the perfect mix of bright colors and skulls – I loved the aesthetic and what it represented. Rob came to love it in a different way. He has family that lives in Tucson. The Mexican holiday is important there as well as the imagery. It’s one of those random things we can always agree on. Our engagement party was Day of the Dead themed – I never thought our son’s first birthday would be!
When I started to search first birthday themes on Pinterest, I found one that was a fiesta and I WAS SOLD. An excuse for me to throw a Day of the Dead party and drink copious amounts of margaritas?! DONE. Since I knew that was going to be my plan ahead of time, when Halloween was over, I went crazy buying up all of the deeply discounted Day of the Dead decor. It was the best thing I could have done! I was so set on a lot of key things that would have been really hard to find in March.
Now let’s talk about the second most important detail, our outfits! Dylan’s skully shirt came from Rowshop on Etsy. The graphic was perfect for the party and the shirt was super soft! I can definitely see him wearing this again. For his second shirt – the post cake shirt – I found this treasure at Target the other day, it says I <3 tacos. It was a great fiesta shirt! For his footwear I made some booties out of a Day of the Dead print. This was literally the last thing I did for the party at 1am the night before, but they were so worth it! They really tied the whole outfit together AND stayed on his feet the whole party. For me, I wore an embroidered shirt I bought on my first trip to Tucson 9 years ago. I’ve only worn it a handful of times in those 9 years, but it was the most perfect shirt for this party and I am so thankful I had it!
Onto decor. We weren’t allowed to tape anything to the walls and I took that as a challenge to find a way decorate sans-tape. After brainstorming, I realized it meant the air was my canvas and I went balloon crazy! Cactus balloons, fiesta balloons, and then three different colors of regular balloons. We rented a helium tank and went to town! My poor husband’s fingers were killing him by the end.
In addition to the balloons, I wanted to construct two “screens” to cover two really tragic tapestries that were hanging on the wall. I wanted to use one as a photo booth and the other just as a backdrop. We put together a PVC pipe structure and picked shower curtains from target. Pricewise, they cost about $30 a screen, which is counting the $15 shower curtain. It was a great value for how much it added to the decor. To decorate it, I bought paper accordions fans from Amazon and make some tissue paper flowers. Since we used a shower curtain, we were able to use safety pins to attach the decorations – which I think is so much better than tape!
The centerpieces varied. I had some little pinatas that I had bought from Amol’s and some cardboard cacti that I had made. These all sat on fabric rounds. For the cacti, I am so mad I don’t have a good picture to share with you. I got the idea from a blog I love, The House That Lars Built. I collected the materials I needed and went to town painting the cacti really fun bright colors. To add to the centerpieces, I bought lots of fun fiesta stuff from Oriental Trading. Fiesta balloons, temporary tattoos, noise makers, as well as these amazing sombrero headbands. They were the perfect thing for adults and kids to wear to get in the spirit. AND! Major plus here, the headband was not painful! It was so comfortable in fact that it was really easy to forget it was there. I don’t think I’ve ever said that about a headband before.
For lunch, we had Moe’s cater it. We are obsessed with their food and it really went well with the theme. And of course, everything was delicious! For drinks, we rented a margarita machine. We don’t mess around when it comes to drinks!
For dessert, my father in law made Dylan’s cake…so I made his cake! We are a family of MANY March birthdays. So for his cake, I used a silicone sugar skull cake mold and decorated it. I had acquired a Wilton skull mold during Halloween and I wanted to make something with that too so I made something close to a whoopie pie. Shaped like a skull. For the filling, I mixed heavy whipping cream with blue raspberry Jello and blended it up. I blended until it was pretty stiff and scooped it on the middle of the skulls. These were such a hit! I also bought a cactus cookie cutter and used it on some green rice krispies. And last but not least, some mini churro cupcakes! These were a basic yellow cake but with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. It was a subtle hint of the cinnamon flavor which I think was really appealing.
I am so thankful for all of our amazing family and friends that celebrated with us! We had a great time!
If you feel like throwing a fiesta, here are some links for the stuff mentioned above:
- Cactus Balloons
- Fiesta Balloons
- Paper Fans on photo booth
- Mini Pinatas
- Dylan’s Skully Shirt
- Sombrero Headbands