Last weekend we threw a bonfire birthday party in celebration of Kennedy’s 17th birthday. Of course, she wanted her own space to hang out with her friends and you all know me better than to think I would vacate the house for such an event. Our solution? A birthday bonfire party held in the backyard. Here in Arizona we can do that sort of thing–even in January. In order to pull off a successful event, I thought it important to cover three key points. We needed: food, ambiance and fun. Here’s a look at how we aimed to include all of the above.
Bonfire Birthday Party Food
When I’m playing host for my friends and family, it’s not uncommon for me to spend upwards of two days preparing food in advance. It’s a problem; I know. For Kennedy’s friends, though, we took the approach that quantity was more important that quality because, well, seventeen. We served food that was simple and in theme. We did pigs-in-a-blanket, Fritos, Coke in bottles and tater tots (not pictured).
We wanted to be sure to serve the grub in themed containers as well. To that end, we whipped up the cutest little tin can serving containers. Once the tater tots came piping hot and crispy from the oven, we scooped them into the cans and delivered them to the hungry masses outside.
You guys, the containers were stupid easy to make. More on that soon.
Bonfire Birthday Party Ambiance
With the food all taken care of, we needed to focus on ambiance. What we came up with was both fun and functional. First of all, we printed directly on paper bags to make quick and easy luminaries with a woodsy theme. We then lined the driveway with them and made a path straight to the backyard. Kennedy’s guests arrived and headed straight back! Our luminaries were printed with the phrases: C’mon back, great friends and chilly night. We also had some printed with trees and stars.
We didn’t stop there. In the backyard, we hung mason jars with candles from the branches of our trees. We piled firewood into a wheelbarrow so that the teens could easily throw another log on when the fire needed it. Just in case someone needed an extra dose of warm, we also set out a basket with blankets for snuggling up in.
Bonfire Birthday Party Ideas
Lastly, we needed a bit of fun. That was easy enough. We set up a game of glow in the dark ring toss using neon glow necklaces. And then there was the sparkler station. We wanted Kennedy’s friends to light the night as they sang Happy Birthday.
We also had a thermos with hot water and cocoa packets just in case an ice cold Coke wasn’t quite right. And then, of course, there had to be s’mores. C’mon. You didn’t think we’d forget that, did you?
Kennedy loved the party, especially the part where they lit the night with sparklers and sang to her. Hopefully it’ll be one of those birthdays she remembers for a long time to come.
Very nice! How did you hang the mason jars?
It was easy! I used craft wire to make a sort of “holster” for the jar and then used more craft wire to attach a handle.
Fun! She’s more beautiful every time I see her. Her personality really comes through the lens. :)
Aw, thank you. I know she’ll love to read this :)
What a fantastic idea! Two thumbs up!
How exactly did you print on the paper bags? Tutorial, please.
P.S. Totally agree w/ Heather! Kennedy IS beautiful.
Darcie, you are the coolest person I know! Great theme. And your daughter is beautiful….definitely a ‘minnie’ you!
I can assure you, Diane, that I am not the coolest person anyone knows, but I will smile and bask in your compliment anyway! :) Thank you for your kind words about Kennedy. I know she’ll be happy to read it (potentially not the part about being a “Minnie”–I love what you did there–me, but the beautiful part for sure!
Hi! I love this idea so much. I’m trying to recreate something like this for my 18th birthday party, how did you make the tin can containers?
Everything you did is so cute! Where did you find the tin containers? I would love to do something similar with them!
The tin containers are from canned tomatoes. We peeled the labels and cut off the tops with a can opener. They cost pennies.
Oh thank you so much!
Love the plaid fabric around the tin cans!! What did you use for that? Old flannel shirts?
No, Stacey. I bought flannel fabric at JoAnne and used that!
I tried to find what the tin can containers are for and how to make them but could not find it?
this is so fantastic!! where can you purchase these sparklers? is there a certain brand?
Did u use battery lights in the bags? Are they just reg brown lunch bags? We are doing a Bonfire last minute party. Great ideas!!! Ty
We did use battery operated votive candles. I hope your party goes (went?) beautifully!
This is exactly the party I want to have this fall! I can’t thank you enough for posting this, it inspired me so much!
Excellent ideas and inspiration! How did you print directly onto your luminary bags?
I am planning a s’mores party for my son and daughter (3 and 6). What did you give out as party favors? And how did you print on the paper bags?
Hi Deana! We didn’t do party favors. To print on the paper bags, I set my printer size parameters to match the size of the bags and it worked!
Where did you purchase the sparklers?
We purchased ours at a roadside stand, Lauren.
This is probably far fetched, but could you happen to tell me where you got the tartan fabric? I have been searching everywhere for it!
I bought that fabric at Joann Fabrics and Crafts, but it was years ago now.
This is exactly what I want to do for my sweet sixteen. Your ideas are perfect!
I’m blonde here so bare with me lol. The saying you put on the bags you said you made the printer to match the size of the bag? And you put it right on the bag?
Hi Melanie. Yes, I simply adjusted the printer settings so that the paper size matched the bag dimensions and then I printed directly onto the bags. Hope that helps!
Hi, I’m trying to plan a birthday bonfire party for me in June, and I don’t know what else to do for decorations and seating. Any ideas?? Tysm