Oh, my heart. This boy of mine who made me a mama is three today, and I’m all sappy about it. When we asked him a couple of months back what kind of birthday party he wanted, he responded without hesitation that he wanted a Pixar Cars third birthday party. And while I’m not huge on branded characters, how can you deny a boy his birthday dreams?! Also, if we’re going with characters, at least he’s got his priority straight and picked a Pixar movie. 😉
So we did it! I leaned into the Radiator Springs thing a little more than actual characters, so the party overall would just have a Cars “vibe.” We decorated with racing flags, balloons, cacti, and lots and lots of traffic cones. Read on for the how-to on all of the details we added.
Route 66 Sidewalk I wanted something fun out in front of the house to welcome our guests. So we cut up some strips of yellow vinyl and made a dotted line on the sidewalk to look like a road. We had two cactus balloons flanking the front walk, and a racing flag garland at the front door. In a blast of last-minute genius, Ryan decided we should have a Route 66 sign so we made one the morning of the party out of foam core and used the Cricut machine to cut out the lettering.
Ka-Chow Baseball T-Shirt I got a plain red baseball t-shirt for Henry at Old Navy, used the Cricut to cut out “Ka-Chow” from stencil paper, and stenciled on the words using red fabric paint. (The font is Komika, in case you’re wondering.)
A Simple Lightning McQueen Cake I always make my kids’ birthday cakes (hello, Betty Crocker box mix!) and just decorate them with something fun. We baked a triple-layer chocolate cake that was super crooked, but Henry never noticed. 😉 Red and yellow sprinkles went on top, and regular and mini Oreos were piled in the center to kind of look like tires. Then I used Henry’s little Lightning McQueen toy car as a topper (spread a little frosting on the bottom to get him to stick if you try it out). We used tall gold foil candles as well. The cupcakes were similar; they each had one Mini Oreo in the center.
For the sign behind the cake we used our trusty Lightbox. It’s been used at just about every party we’ve ever thrown!
Balloon Garland I just repeated the same type of DIY balloon garland that we did for Maggie’s birthday! We’ll have a tutorial coming up on that soon. We also had a big silver 3 balloon floating around for fun.
Traffic Cone Ring Toss We had some outdoor time to fill, so we got some toy traffic cones, stuck them to the ground with stakes, and set out some rings for a ring toss.
Coloring and Sticker Table This was super simple and a major hit. I bought one coloring book and one sticker book, and cut out the pages. One large pack of crayons was split up into a few cups along the table. Kids could come and do some coloring or stickers as they wanted. The center of the table was decorated with felt cacti and the toy signs from Henry’s wooden toy set.
Cone Cup Party Favors I looooove thinking up party favors! We found these traffic cone cups, and popped them in a gift bag with a mini Cars guy and a gorgeous cookie from Bird Treats. Grownups took home cookies too.
When In Doubt, Have In-N-Out We didn’t want to spend the whole party cooking, so we had In-N-Out delivered! It was kind of perfect. I had prepped some red food baskets with basket liners and we just popped the fries and burgers in. Kids got plain cheeseburgers and grownups got the works. If you do this, be sure to grab a bunch of the tiny ketchup cups too! You can fill them from your ketchup bottle at home. It was super handy. (I promise, we had fruit as well…)
And that’s it! Henry was over the moon to have all his friends together, and just ran around all morning without stopping for anything but cake. I’m sure every mom feels this way, but I’m just so blessed by this little boy. His excitement for life is contagious and he surprises me every day. We love you, Hank! xoxo
16 thoughts on “A Pixar Cars Third Birthday Party”
This is the CUTEST!!! There are so many details but it doesn’t seem like you went crazy with money or stress! Way to go, mama!
What a fun birthday party! I love that vinyl road down the front walk, and In-N-Out was the perfect way to go. Have a very happy birthday, Henry!
By the way, it was a pleasure to meet you and your sweet family at the Mod Shop last Saturday, Chelsea! I appreciate your taking the time to stop by my booth. 🙂
It was so fun to meet you in person! Hope ModShop was great for you. I’ve been wearing my new necklace this week and getting lots of compliments! I shared it on our IG stories as well. Hope to see you around again soon!
Fun EVERYTHING! My favorite snapshot—the BIrthday Boy hugging that big 3 balloon (and it is hard to choose just one favorite!☺️)
The kids are getting so big and adorable. I just love the whole party decor and food.
Omg I’m in love with everything creative you come up with. I know you don’t remember me, but I remember you from when I was in high school at Downey and you where the choir teacher I believe. I enjoy your posts 🙂
Lysa, of course I remember you! Thanks so much for saying hello! xoxo
Love this. My son turns 3 next month and asked for a “lightening McQueen” party so this is inspiring! Did you happen to do invites as well!
Hi Katie! I did do invites — we printed them with lots of personal info so I didn’t share. But for the background of the cards I used a photo that I took in Radiator Springs at Disney’s California Adventure. Sorry, wish I could share those! Hope the rest of the tips help with your party! xo
Where did you get the white sign “Ka Chow” that is on counter next to cake?
Hi Tara! It’s a lightbox with interchangeable letters. You can find a similar one here: https://amzn.to/2SUTOuk
Hi! I just a stumbled across this page and loved this theme! Do you by any chance remember where you got the cacti from?
Hi! I think I just did an Etsy search for “mylar cactus balloon.” Start there and see what you find!
I love this and also want to try to make my sons cake this year. What size round cake pans did you use for the three tiers?
Hi! I believe they were 8-inch.
My Little guy is obsessed with cars, stumbled across your party info and i too am obsessed! Wondering were you ordered the balloon garland?