How to Plan a Star Wars Birthday Party

Geeky Daddy and Lil’ G-Man both had milestone birthdays this year within 3 weeks of each other. It seemed only right to have a shared birthday party – Star Wars themed of course. We might have gone a little overboard this time, but everyone had a blast.

Here are the Star Wars elements of the party, how we did it and the amount of effort involved for each step. We’ll use 50 people as a baseline for timing and cost.

Lightsaber Napkins

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Cost: ~$10 for 50 (not including printer ink)
  • Time: 1.5 hours (could be less if you have a paper cutter)

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Use the forks, or the napkins in this case. You can wrap silverware in the napkins, or just the napkins on their own. We opted for just the napkins to save on potential waste. We found these printable wraps and printed them off on card stock. I used black and white ink, but you could probably use color to get a little more of the gray coloring. We then got lightsaber colored dinner napkins (we used lime, red and turquoise) and started our arts and crafts project.

Cut out each of the wraps (they are not overly large, so don’t cut off too much!), roll them and use a glue stick. We found that gluing the rings first and then adding the rolled napkin was easier than trying to roll first and then glue.

Then we popped them in Light Side and Dark Side baskets and grabbed some action figures to make them a little more interesting.

Star Wars Themed Food Tags

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Cost: ~$5
  • Time: 15 minutes

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We used some fun and punny Star Wars food labels to label our food items. You can buy some cute patterns on Etsy for under $5 (instant download), but I opted for the free version from OverTheMoon.com. They include 4 pages of some of your favorites, and some blank labels for your own witty concepts (For example: Jawa Droppings and Mandalorian Mac & Cheese).

You can open in Photoshop or that type of program. We didn’t have access, so we just wrote in and no one seemed to complain. Just print them and then cut them out. You can tape them to the table, or put onto a place card holder. We already owned some so just taped them on, but these clips would also work great.

Tie Fighter Cheese and Crackers

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Cost: $20
  • Time: 1 hour

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Everyone always loves cheese and crackers, so these Tie Fighters were a huge hit. I meant to have additional cheese and crackers out at the same time but just ran out of room. These weren’t too difficult to put together – the hardest part was finding octagonal crackers! We used Wheat Thin Multigrain crackers. Either order these early or look for them at the market earlier because they’re seriously hard to find. We then bought cubed cheese (you can get a bar and do it yourself, but we didn’t have time for cheese cutting). Make sure that the cheese is thick enough otherwise it doesn’t look quite right.

The original recipe calls for peanut butter, but peanut butter and cheese seems gross and with all the allergies out there, I didn’t want to risk it. So I used the American classic – Cheese Wiz. Be sure to get the can so that it’s easier to “paste” the cheese and crackers together. Quick warning – it comes out super fast at first, so watch out!

Take the crackers, dab on some cheese wiz on each side, put the cheese in the middle and you’re set. I laid them flat to start with so that they could dry and hold a bit better. Don’t make these too early (1 day prior to party at max) as the crackers will get soft.

You can also make a version of these with cookies, mini marshmallows and frosting, but I couldn’t find Oreo Thin Crisps anywhere (seriously, the only hexagonal cookie out there!).

 

Han Solo in Carbonite Jell-O

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Cost: $10
  • Time: 5 minutes prep, 4 hours to set

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Somehow we wound up with a bunch of Uncle Mike’s old action figures down our basement. This is what happens when you leave your toys here, Mike!

After finding the toys (these are circa 1995), we scrubbed them down (Han might have been put in a Medela sterilization bag in the microwave for a few minutes – he didn’t melt!) and started to make Jell-o. We used the new “Simply Good” Jell-O which uses natural juice. For strawberry, the simply good has a darker color. We debated which color to use for longer than it took to make it and decided to go with Strawberry since that’s what people tend to like to eat. We felt Grape would have given more of a carbonite feel, but the strawberry seemed to work.

I made the Jell-o like normal (1 cup boiling water, stir, 1 cup cold water), put it in the banana bread glass pan and plopped in Han. Keep an eye on him while moving to the fridge as he tends to move. It helps to keep an arm or two above so that you can move him and it also adds to the effect.

And even though I sterilized Han, people felt a little weird eating from the carbonate, so I made individual servings of Jell-o and put the in disposable cups. And called them Jabba Jiggles.

Edible Ewoks

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Cost: $10
  • Time: 5 minutes

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I’m a huge lover of Ewoks, so was a little weary of thinking about eating Ewoks. But then it’s not really eating Ewoks and they’re cute, so I went with it. This was so easy. We bought a few flavors of Teddy Grahams, found a cute vase and put them in. You can also use gummy bears. We found some chocolate covered peanut butter Ewoks at the grocery store last minute so added those as well.

We were originally thinking of using the large Teddy Grahams (the soft baked ones with filling) as key Ewoks, but decided to stick to the little ones to help prevent total sugar overload.

Star Wars Cookies

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Cost: Depends on how you make
  • Time: Hours and hours and hours

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We’ve owned Star Wars Cookie Cutters for many years, but never really made cookies because I hate making sugar cookies/gingerbread cookies. They’re just such a pain. We have the Williams’ Sonoma cookie cutters, but there are other versions as well that are nicely priced.

For these cookies, Grammie outsourced the work to a real-life pastry chef – Desserts By Emily. I gave her the cookie cutters and poof – these showed up in our house in time for the party. Pretty amazing. However, if you want to do this on your own, get the cutters and some frosting and have at it.

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Sarlacc Pit Bundt Cake

  • Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
  • Cost: $15
  • Time: 30 minutes

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Did I mention Uncle Mike shouldn’t leave his toys around the house. Poor Boba Fett.

There are multiple recipes out there for the sarlaac pit that includes making your own bundt and cookies. I have a 1-year-old and a full-time job. There’s just no time for that. So I bought a store-made bundt cake and store-made cookies.

The original suggestion was to get Biscoff cookies, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. Instead I used Belvita cookies and broke them in half. I first put Almond Slivers into the bundt cake to look like teeth. Start low and move higher, otherwise it’s hard to get in there. As it is, the bundt opening is not that large, so not a ton of wiggle room. Next, I took a small tube of frosting and made additional teeth on the outside of the cookie. Then place the cookie inside the cake with its mouth opening. Don’t do this too early – the cookie also gets soft/soggy when near the bundt for too long, so maybe do it day of.

I next had to have tentacles. One recipe shows to make your own from cookie dough if you made your inside cookies. Another woman dipped gummy worms in chocolate and then draped it over. I opted for just regular gummy worms and they seemed to do the trick. Just space them out and you have a Sarlaac pit. We added Boba Fett afterwards for an extra oomph, but it would work without as well.

Yoda Guacamole

  • Difficulty: Moderate/Expert
  • Cost: $15
  • Time: 45 minutes

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Another party staple is always chips, salsa and guac. Considering one of the iconic characters from Star Wars happens to be the same color as guac, Yoda-mode happens. This could be difficult to make, or easy depending on a) your level of artistry and b) how good you want it to look.

You’ll need guac (smoother is better), sour cream and olives. I opted for store bought (huge surprise, I know). I was just about the make the guac about an hour prior to the party when Uncle Mike showed up. He has to be creative for a living (designing the interiors of cars) and has more artistic talent in his pinky than GeekyDaddy or I have combined.

So I might have conned him into making this. Basically, you plop the guac on a tray and start to shape. He used a butter spreader knife and a sugar spoon. He shaped the initial outline first and then started to add some dimension to the ears, nose and mouth. He then scooped out the eye area, put in some sour cream and added two olives for pupils.

Star Wars Cake

  • Difficulty: Easy (for me)
  • Cost: $75 for a full sheet + toys
  • Time: 45 minutes

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I love going to a grocery store and looking at all the cute kid’s cakes. They have a ton of licensed character cakes available for pre-order in any flavor. We went to our local Kroger to find a suitable cake. The biggest problem is that the main Star Wars options are Force Awakens themed. It’s really hard to find anything that’s Classic Star Wars.

One option is the newer “photo cake” where an image can be printed onto sugar paper – you could get Darth Vader or Yoda. We were originally thinking of doing something a bit more custom but licensing could have been a problem with a Star Wars image and I don’t like the idea of eating a cake with someone’s picture. That’s just weird when you get the slice of cake with their face!

We saw an R2D2 border (you can buy the border if you want to DIY) and decided to go with that and I would find some toys to place on top. The issue with the border is that it’s typically for round cakes – not sheet cakes. We were able to make it work though by just adding an extra layer of frosting to even it out a bit so it didn’t look too tall. Another option would have been to trim the strip a bit but it was already applied, so that wasn’t really an option.

For decorations, I found the Star Wars The Black Series Titanium Series Vehicles. I know these aren’t all classic vehicles but I figured it would be fine since most of the people attending the party wouldn’t know which ship was featured in each movie. Quick warning though – these are really heavy. They were fine on a large sheet cake, but might not work for something smaller. There were some other really cool cake toppers like a Darth Vader complete with breathing sounds, lightsaber candle holders, and a fancy Millennium Falcon on a stand.

We then finished up the look with a Darth Vader candle holder that we’ve had for a while (so great to be able to re-use from year-to-year). I can’t find the exact one, but this one was pretty cool.

Star Wars Chocolates

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Cost: $30
  • Time: 2 hours prep + several hours of time to set

 

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We purchased some Star Wars ice cube trays several years ago and have made ice cubes from time to time (Han Solo and The Death Star). We were originally thinking of having Star Wars soap as party favors but pivoted to just making chocolate instead.

We found some Wilton meltable chocolate in multiple colors. It was on sale at Joann’s for ~$2/bag so it’s recommended to wait for a sale to get these if you have time! We got white, red, blue and brown. There’s also a cool sprinkle colored one that I wish we would have gotten, but oh well.

You melt the chocolate in the microwave on half power, stirring every 30 seconds or so. The milk chocolate melted the best, followed by the white chocolate. For whatever reason the blue and red ones were much more difficult to melt so I think I’d skip them if I ever make these again.

I melted the chocolate in a glass Pyrex measuring cup with a spout and then poured/scooped it in the molds. I found this Wilton spatula to be helpful in making it smooth on the back. Make sure there are no air bubbles and that the chocolate is pressed in all the way otherwise the mold won’t come out quite right. The mold also needs to be 100% dry to avoid issue.

Once the chocolate was poured into the mold and evened out, I moved it to the fridge for it to set for several hours. Once completely set (you’ll be able to feel that it’s hard), I removed from the molds. It feels like you’re going to crack the candy when you’re removing from the molds, but the good news is that it’s so thick it’s highly unlikely.

Other Touches

While the main focus was on food, we used Uncle Mike’s old toys for decorations outside and included a few extras like Star Wars Tablecloths and Star Wars Party Favors. We also found an inflatable Stormtrooper who stood guard by the photo booth and some cardboard masks for some fun photos. Everyone had a blast and are still talking about it weeks later. Time to plan for his second birthday!

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