Birthday parties, with a twist

If you are tired of the same old party ideas, here are few ways to put the fun back into your kid’s party



There was a time when mom’s homemade chocolate layer cake and a rousing game of pin-the-tail-on-the donkey were enough to celebrate the day your child was born.

Nowadays children’s birthday parties are all that and more. As much fantasy as festivity, New Hampshire is a hot bed of cool alternative birthday parties.

Pet a bunny, get your hair French-braided, make bath salts with six of your best buds and a lot more. It’s all possible in New Hampshire.

At Shabby Chic in Windham, it’s all about the pink -- at least for the girls.

Birthday parties are a big part of Lisa Desrochers’ elegant cupcake bakery.

“We do a lot of parties. For younger girls we have pinkalicious parties. We make pink cupcakes, with pink frosting, pink sprinkles and serve it with pink ice cream. We have a candy bar with pink organza bags for stuffing. And the children hear a storyteller read “Pinkalicious” the story about a little girl who eats so many pink cupcakes that she turns pink. The antidote, is to go home and eat veggies.

That’s how Olivia Strong of Windham and nine of her good friends, decked out in aprons and chef hats celebrated her seventh birthday.

“It was the best birthday ever,” said Olivia.

Desrochers said she doesn’t leave boys out of the occasion. She also has Bob the Builder cupcake parties where the boys wear tool belts and don hard hats when preparing and devouring their confections.

Having a party at a bakery, or a hair salon like Snip-its on 449 Amherst St. in Nashua, which offers hair salon parties, means not having to clean up before or after the shindig.

The salon has in-house party directors who see to birthday cake, juice, party favors, a special gift and pampering for the guest of honor. Party girls can choose a glamour, Hollywood, rock star or spa-style party.

Boys and girls with a creative bent can leave a birthday party at Time To Clay in Nashua (www.timetoclay.com) with a work of art.

Groups of 8 to 14 kids get to party in the loft area of the studio where they will have cake and snacks while making their pottery.

For those who would like the party to come to them, there are also plenty of choices including New Hampshire Princess Parties (www.Newhampshireprincessparties.com) for children, age 3 to 10.

Princesses and other fairytale characters are played by actresses in costume who also serve as party hosts leading activities like games, face painting, balloon art and storytelling an pose for photos with guests. They will also pose for photos with the birthday girl and her guests and lead in a happy birthday ceremony. For older girls there are diva parties, with the actresses playing pop stars and the guests having face makeup applied, then joining in on karaoke. And there are pirate parties for boys.

For lovers of bling, Dazzle U (www.dazzle.org) comes to the house, and helps children design their own hair wraps, headbands, barrettes and more. Also, guests get to apply nail and face paint.

After all the glitter it might be time for scones, tea sandwiches and a little mint tea. Keene-based High Tea by Two, (http://highteabytwo.com) caters birthday tea parties in the home and offers a variety of children-based tea themes, including American Girl Doll tea parties.

If you like your birthday parties more on the wild side, there are several businesses who will bring live animals to the festivities including Wildlife Encounters, (www.wildlifeencounterszoo.com) a nonprofit traveling education zoo based in the Seacoast area, and Hampshire Seacoast and McDonny’s Traveling Farms of East Derry (437-5172), which brings a petting farm or event pony rides to the birthday.

Adventurous boys and girls might also like to celebrate their birthday with a treasure hunt. Ultimate Treasure Hunts in Exeter, (www.ultimatetreasurehunts.com  provide the real thing, based on the Scandinavian navigation game of Orienteering. The group will either come to the house or a park, create a map of the area whether inside or out, and plant clues that lead to a treasure chest.

There are other ideas for alternative birthday party for kids and websites out there to help you find them. There are several directories including Kids’ Fun Directory (www.kidspartyfun.com), which gives ideas for party themes, invitations, food and decorating.

Stacy Milbouer of Hudson is a freelancer writer, who writes for local newspapers and magazines, and adores her son, Sam.

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