How to Train Your Dragon party – Decorations and Games

My previous posts have all been about how we prepared for the party. Today the party is on!

We arrived at the park with plenty of time to set up. Make sure you give yourself lots of time for this – it always takes longer than you think! This year we were ready when the first guests arrived, so I was happy 🙂

We set up our gazebo to make it easy for our guests to see where we were. The gazebo was decorated in our theme colours of black, white/silver, and a splash of red. We had balloons (not enough – you can never have enough balloons at a party! – but the balloon blower-uppers had no breath left!) as well as bunting. A red tablecloth completed the simple look.

HTTYD party decorations...sawitdidit.wordpress.com

The bunting was a combination of flags. I bought a pack of black and white bunting of various design from the discount shop. I picked out the simplest designs to use along with some very cool Viking flags which I downloaded and printed from the How to Train Your Dragon site (it’s in the party kit). I also cut a few plain red flags from cardboard. I think the combination of colours and designs looked very effective!

I set out the food ready for the boys to help themselves whenever they needed to. There was a variety of party foods (chips, biscuits, jelly) and some healthy options (carrot sticks, fruit). The boys all got a personalised water bottle. I made the bottle label by downloading a cute picture of Toothless, then adding the text. I called the water ‘Dragon Drool’. This is a very simple thing to do, but the boys love it. They can take their water bottle home, and I know some continue to use it 🙂

HTTYD party food  sawitdidit.wordpress.com

I didn’t take any specific photos of the food table, but two-toned jelly is a must at parties and it looks good, so that did get a photo!

I had made each of the boys a Viking helmet, which they got as they arrived at the party. They were all happy to kick a ball around until everyone arrived.

The first game was Dragon Flying Training. This required the boys to each make some paper airplanes to use as dragons. I found a page of dragon drawings which I downloaded and printed. I cut the dragons out and made up a set for each boy. They glued a different dragon picture to each plane that they had made, and wrote their name on it.

HTTYD party paper planes . sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Then it was time to fly their dragons. They took turns aiming to fly their creations through a hoop. Some dragons were good flyers, others not so much 😉

HTTYD party Dragon training . sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Next up was Pin the… In this case it was Pin the Eyes on Toothless, and Pin the Nose on Stoick. I do 2 separate but simultaneous games of this as it stops the boys who are waiting getting bored and annoying those that are blindfolded (as happened a few years ago!). I searched for 2 reasonably simple images I could copy and drew them freehand on some cardboard. The images I copied are on my Pinterest board

HTTYD party Pin the Eyes on Toothless . sawitdidit.wordpress.comHTTYD party Pin the Nose on Stoick . sawitdidit.wordpress.com

The cardboard pictures were attached to a nearby tree, and the boys’ eyes were covered with a makeshift blindfold. Yes, even though I wrote copious lists, I forgot just one thing – blindfolds!

HTTYD party 'Pin the ...' sawitdidit.wordpress.com

The next game was Dodge the Dragon Fire. This game was very popular last year at our Adventure Time party, so I just renamed it for this party 🙂 The boys stood in the middle, surrounded by all the adults who had stayed to help. Let me tell you, if you have friends who are available and prepared to stay and help with your party, you are very lucky! We then rolled balls (aka dragon fire) through the crowd of boys, aiming for their legs. When they got hit they joined the outer ring and helped throwing the balls.

HTTYD party games .. sawitdidit.wordpress

HTTYD party games . sawitdidit.wordpress.com

The boys thought it was pretty funny when the adults had a turn in the centre and had to jump over the dragon fire!

HTTYD party game ... sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Everyone was hot and tired after this game, so we stopped for a drink and some snacks.

The last game we played was Frozen Dragons. All the boys except for 2 froze in a dragon pose, and those 2 had to try and make the frozen dragons move. They weren’t allowed to touch them. They could tell jokes, act silly, whatever it would take as long as there was no touching. Once they moved, they helped ‘unfreezing’ the other dragons. The posing boys worked out very quickly if you lie face down on the ground, or shut your eyes and cover your ears with your hands, it is very difficult to make them move. If you play this game, include in the rules not to do this! I stopped the second round and made them do it properly lol.

HTTYD party Frozen Dragon game sawitdidit.wordpress

I find four organised games are enough for a 2 hour party. After we had birthday cake, the boys were happy to play Dodge the Dragon Fire again and again. Then they switched over to playing soccer. Give a group of boys a ball and they will happily amuse themselves!

As the boys went home, they were given a lolly bag containing a small selection of sweets along with a small plastic dragon which I found on eBay. The bags were very simple to make. I stuck Toothless eyes to a black bag (you can find a couple of examples of eyes on my Pinterest board). That’s it!

Toothless lolly bags ... sawitdidit.wordpress.com

We are very lucky to have great facilities nearby where we can hold parties, and we were also very lucky that the weather worked in our favour on the day.

So that’s it! All about our How to Train Your Dragon party. If there is anything I have left out or not mentioned, please ask.

I wonder what will be the theme of next year’s party….

Linking up with:

The Pin Junkie

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How to Train Your Dragon Party – The Cake!

I think the birthday cake’s design is much more important to the mum creating it than the birthday child. Well, it is in our case 😉  While the kids appreciate a good-looking cake, really once you’ve sung ‘Happy Birthday’, blown out the candles and made a wish, the cake gets cut up and eaten. All that work destroyed in a matter of moments!

My son told me he was very impressed with the cake I made, but he says that every year, and I think he would say it whatever I made. I am a lucky mum!

However, I am still prepared to put in an appropriate amount of thought and effort. And he gets to look through Pinterest at examples and see what takes his fancy, so he is happy.

We narrowed it down to three examples, which we then combined. The first one is reasonably simple, and I thought we could replicate it by using a Toothless toy on top of the cake. (Link to pin here.) The second one had a great idea for candles (check out Life is a Party for that one).

But the third idea came to me as we were watching How To Train Your Dragon 2 (for about the 763rd time!). Hiccup’s mother Valka lives on an island, which she shares with the snowy Bewilderbeast. Together they provide a safe haven for other dragons Valka rescues. It seems the Bewilderbeast has provided camouflage and protection for the island by creating ice caves and glaciers.

Here are some images from the movie to give you a bit of an idea. The images are saved on my How to Train Your Dragon Party Pinterest board, which you can check for individual links.

Collection of images from Pinterest

These images reminded me of the beautiful sugar shards which other mums were using to decorate their daughters’ Frozen cakes. Check out Pinterest for many, many examples of those! In fact, one of my friends had done one for her daughter.  So I combined the tips she gave me with some research of my own.

Most recipes for sugar shards call for corn syrup which is not a common ingredient here in Australia. I found an English website which substituted golden syrup, but not wanting a final product as golden as that, I continued looking. Since it is only toffee, surely it could be done with just sugar and water. That’s when I came across Martha Stewart’s ‘Broken Glass Cupcakes’ which uses clear shards as decoration on the cupcakes.

I used her recipe, remembering my friend’s tips as well, and I had success first time! I was very excited 🙂 Martha’s recipe is:

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup water

Bring granulated sugar and water to a boil in a small high-sided saucepan, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-high, and cook until mixture just starts to turn pale gold around edges. Remove from heat, and immediately pour caramel onto a rimmed baking sheet. Working quickly, tilt pan to spread caramel to edges to make a very thin layer. Let cool to harden.

In Australia granulated sugar is normal white sugar, the stuff you may use in your coffee or on your cereal. Instead, I used caster sugar, which is finer and dissolves a little quicker.

What I did: stirred my caster sugar and water over high heat until the sugar dissolved, then I turned the heat down and let it bubble away without stirring. I wasn’t sure I would see it start to turn gold at the edges so I went with the tip of getting it to ‘hard crack’ stage. This is when dripped into a glass of cold water the toffee is hard and cracks. It doesn’t squish at all, it goes totally hard and snaps when you bend it. It also goes all squiggly when you drip it in the cold water, which is quite cool! I kept my glass of water in the fridge so it stayed nice and cold between testing. For me, getting to hard crack stage took around 10 minutes.

I was so excited when it got to the definite hard crack stage, that I quickly ran to get my phone to take a picture. Of course the rest had gone quite golden in the 30 seconds or so that took!

Hard crack stage of making toffee sawitdidit.wordpress.com

But that was ok, I stirred in some blue food colouring and poured it on my baking paper-lined trays and watched it set. It was beautiful! I divided the toffee between 2 baking trays so the shards would be nice and thin, and that worked well with this amount. I didn’t have to wait long to see that it was hard, and I couldn’t help myself, I had to snap it. It was indeed like broken glass.

HTTYD cake 1 sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Being that my first attempt had turned golden, adding the blue food colouring made the toffee green. I had read this was a common complaint from mums making these for Frozen cakes, but for this cake it didn’t bother me at all. What I intended to do was make several batches of varying colours. You can see the ice caves and glaciers are colours of blue through to green, so whatever I got would work. I even kept some clear/white. The batches that were beautifully clear until I added the food colouring ended up crystallising. That would generally be considered a failure, but it added to the colour and textures so I didn’t mind a bit!

Crystallised blue sugar toffee sawitdidit.wordpress.com

This crystallised toffee crumbled a bit when I broke it up, but I used those crumbled bits as decoration on the cupcakes that went in to school, and it also went on the actual cake

HTTYD cake sawitdidit.wordpress.com

So you can see all 3 ideas were combined to create this cake. A plastic Toothless figurine atop a square vanilla cake with blue icing, with the various colours and textures of the sugar shards forming the backdrop. I also used the curly candles to represent Toothless’ plasma blast. To save accidents, I added the decoration to the cake at the park, just before it was served. So taking photos of it were not my priority. Special thanks to my friend Melissa for taking these. She was also the one who gave me sugar shard making tips, so she was a great help throughout this process!

Here it is with the candles lit:

HTTYD cake with candles sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Yes, a certain birthday boy couldn’t help but add some extra decoration around the edge of the cake!

Strangely enough, many of the boys asked if the ‘glaciers’ were edible, and declared them delicious when they were allowed to taste. See the big plate of fruit next to the cake? I made whoever come back wanting seconds have some fruit before they could have more cake 😉

HTTYD cake...sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Linking up with:

The Pin Junkie

How to Train Your Dragon party – the Viking helmets

Following on from yesterday’s post about how I planned for this party, I’ve got another project that I completed before the big event. I think it’s nice for the guests to take something home that reminds them of the party, if they want to. So I found a great Viking helmet idea on Bug, Boo and Bean, and mostly followed Emily’s instructions when I made them.

I started with making the template for the horns. Emily used corrugated cardboard for hers, I used whatever cardboard I could find in the recycling 😉 But I did adapt Emily’s technique for attaching the horns to the helmets, so I needed 2 pieces for each horn. This is also because my cardboard was printed on one side, which I didn’t want showing. When I was happy with the size and shape of my template I drew around it on my various pieces of cardboard. Since I also needed mirror images (for the two sides) I flipped my template over to do them. I marked the shapes with a 1 or a 2 so I could tell how many I had of each. I was making 13 helmets, so I needed 52 horn shapes altogether.

Viking horns sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Then I glued two horns together, leaving the bottom bit open so they could be folded back giving me a way to attach them to the helmet. (This is why I needed the mirror image shapes.) I used clothes pegs to hold them together while they dried. Hopefully this will all make more sense in the photo a little further on.

To make the headband I allowed a head circumference of around 53cm. Some are a little larger, some a little smaller. By this stage I had resorted to asking a friend for cardboard (she’s building a house so lots of spare boxes 🙂 ) so I used corrugated cardboard for this. The strip that goes over the top of the head is 25cm long. I attached it about halfway up the headband strip, not aligning it with the bottom. All these pieces are about 4.5cm wide, matching the base of the horns.

Firstly I joined the two ends of the helmet together using silver duct tape. I didn’t overlap them, so here is where I could make them slightly different sizes by adjusting how much space I left between the ends when I taped them together. Then I added the strip across the top of the head. This covered the ends I had just joined, then over to the opposite side. Several pieces of duct tape horizontally and vertically kept this in place nicely. The horns were attached to the sides. I folded the headband in half to get the spots where I added the top strip and the horns.

Making viking helmets 1 sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Is it making a little more sense now? I hope so

When that was done I needed to cover the band with the tape. I left the horns uncovered as they were quite neat anyway. The first helmet I taped using a continuous strip. It was fiddly, took a long time, and used a heap of tape. It also looked a bit messy. But I was pretty proud of my creation, and uploaded this photo to Instagram 😉

First Viking helmet sawitdidit.wordpress.com

After the first one I cut smaller strips of tape and wrapped them around the base and across the top.

Making Viking helmets sawitdidit.wordpress.com

This gave a much neater helmet, used less tape and was much quicker. It took me just under half an hour to make each one this way. Not including all the cutting out. That took a long time.

Top tip: don’t leave making these until the day before the party! I started more than a week before.

The birthday boy was very impressed when he saw what I had made, and wore one straight away. As I continued making them he gave most of them the ‘wear test’.

Viking helmets sawitdidit.wordpress.comAnd the party guests seemed to like them too!

Viking helmets 2 sawitdidit.wordpress.com

I even got a text the night of the party with a photo of one of the boys eating his dinner wearing his helmet. He wouldn’t take it off!

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The Pin Junkie

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