Juliet recently turned 4 years old and we celebrated with her friends by throwing a "police-themed" birthday party. I use quotes because it was very much our own interpretation of a police theme and most of our ideas were based on Officer Flossie from Richard Scarry's Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go.
Flossie and Robert (of Robert the Rose Horse fame) are pretty much the only two police characters Juliet is aware of. I'm not sure she even knows what real police officers do...but she sure thinks their uniforms and cars are cool.
The idea for this party was born exactly one day after her mermaid party last year. She was telling me how much fun she had at her party and I responded by asking her what kind of party she wanted to have next year.
We might have been reading Cars and Trucks and Things that Go or maybe we had just finished it, but somehow the police theme came up and it became something we talked about on a weekly basis for the next 12 months. Every time it came up, more ideas were born and I tried to keep track of them in case she really wanted to go with this in a year's time.
It turns out she did. And she remembered every single details from all our discussions. So I had some scrambling to do once January rolled around and this party of her dreams was drawing near. Here is how it turned out.
You've seen the stop sign invitations inspired by Flossie's own stop sign. (I'm not sure any of the guests actually picked up on the police theme from them, but once they arrived at our house, they figured it out!)
Juliet's costume was my first priority. She was very clear about NOT wanting a regular police outfit--she wanted Flossie's. I had to do some ebay searching for a navy blazer in her size, but I found one just in time. We never found a pleated navy skirt, so we ended up using a pink tulle one that she already owned (It wasn't hard to convince her to wear something pink since it is her favorite color.) And we modified a regular police hat (gift from her friends) with a nice pink bow--just like Flossie's.
I wish I had found this pink police shirt to go under the blazer before the party--isn't it cute?
A whistle, a belt, and she was ready to go.
It turns out police hats are pretty pricey (meaning I didn't have the budget to buy all her friends one), but I hit the whistle and handcuff jackpot at the dollar store at Halloween. They had police sets which included a whistle, handcuff, keys, badge, walkie talkie, and baton all for $1. I bought one for each child and we were ready to play.
The best thing about the whistles (besides the price) is the fact that they didn't work! Can you imagine 10 preschoolers running around the house blowing whistles? Nightmare. I was so relieved they didn't make a peep.
The kids each got a whistle and a pair of handcuffs at the door. I placed the batons and walkie talkies in the playroom for them to use as they wished.
I also put all the keys out and several post it note pads (to serve as "tickets", but I don't think that idea caught on very well).
We tried to create some ambiance and bring a little more of Richard Scarry's world into our home by painting this flag banner (found in the book).
Ben's my party streamer/balloon expert, so he took care of all the "bars" around the house (sort of a jail bar motif).
Here's the view into the kitchen. You can see the blue "picnic" area for all the kids.
In a nod to Robert the Rose Horse, I tried my hand at Martha's pom poms....the picture makes them look a lot better than they actually did in real life. While the directions are simple, I found them really difficult to spread and pouf without tearing the tissue paper. Guess I need more pom practice.
Ben ordered these flashing police lights online and set them up around the house. Not only are they perfect for police parties, but now we can have crazy disco dance parties in the kitchen any night of the week.
This is the #1 thing Juliet asked for: the police car made out of a box. Ever since I threw out this pink box car that I made her last Christmas, she's been asking for another one. Instead of wrapping it with blue paper, I went for the spray paint option this time. Also, I used Amanda's letter cutting tutorial to get the perfect letters for the front of the car. (You've got to watch it. It's awesome.)
The second most important item for the party was this cardboard box jail! Two days before the party, we still had not found a suitable box. I asked Juliet if we could just use her pink princess tent as a jail if I hung a "jail" sign from it. She responded to that with a kind, but firm "But jail's aren't pink, mama." She had me there. So Ben had to drive all over town until he found this one. Whew. Then he did a rock star job of transforming it into a really fun jail with a door, two windows, and even some bars. The kids LOVED it.
I also had Ben pick up this car mat from Ikea, so the kids could drive their own little wooden police cars around town (found the cars at the Target $1 bin at Christmas time!)
Remember how I wanted to make a book nook for the party? Here it is! Not exactly what I had hoped for, (turns out there are very few police books in our library) but these two were good. Although, I don't think anyone looked at them--too much fun going on in the county jail, you know.
I cut out cardboard circles, glued some red-ish paper on top, attached a popsicle stick, and let the kids stick on letters to make their own stop signs. Again, not as fun as the jail...
We tried to convince Juliet to just go with donuts, but she also requested pink cupcakes--so we had those, too! The pink roses? Another birthday girl request and Rose horse shout out.
Phew. This probably should have been divided into two posts! We had a lot of fun and made some beautiful memories. I've been careful NOT to ask Juliet what she wants her 5th birthday party theme to be...I need a break from party planning! Although, she did mention that she'd like a Rapunzel party after attending her friend Lydia's party just last week......we'll see what she says next year.