I had a head start on this party because when my daughter was three, she first presented this idea. Then the day before I started shopping (because back then I'd wait exactly three months before I started buying anything for the party) she started talking about a circus theme. My husband thought she'd go back to space, but I knew better. But she meant what she said about keeping space for her fifth birthday and she did indeed!
The invitations came to me one day while I was driving. They looked like something an assassin would have, but I liked them anyway. I made miniature file folders and with the help of my computer, I had little mini files for everybody with "classified" stickers on the outside and information inside (tiny letters that I made to look like official letters, included a magnet in the shape of the star that served as a party reminder, and even paperclipped a photo of my Redhead on top) and mailed them out in manila envelopes. I even used Star Wars stamps!
I made a moon cake for her to blow out the candles. I used a dome shaped pan for that. The cake for everyone else was cupcakes into the shape of a rocket, which is what my daughter requested. I didn't go all out on it, as I was short on time, but it did its part.
The building we used has two main rooms, plus a kitchen. When you first walk in is one room and the kitchen, and between two wooden doors is a larger room. In the one room with the attached kitchen, I had the tables set up for our lunch which consisted of "our Last Meal Before Take Off"- pizzas. Also with lunch, we had a salad bar, breadsticks, and soda, Capri Suns, and Aqua pods to drink.
My neighbors' son had been to several of our parties by now, so he just knew I had something else behind those doors that said, "Authorized Personnel Only" (although he couldn't read), something more than pizza and balloons. Sure enough, I asked the kids if they were ready for astronaut training, so we went through the doors and went to the "Astronaut Check-in." There at the check-in table were authorization badges with their names and plastic astronaut helmets. (Those helmets were SO awesome and worth every single penny. I ended up only being able to get them on Ebay, and even at $5 a piece, they were a steal!) I had my handy clipboard with me and suddenly realized we didn't have time for training, as NASA had some budget cuts, so we were ready to launch. From there, we followed the countdown (I used contact paper and put the numbers 5-1 on the floor) we entered a real life space ship (or at least as real as you can get from white butcher paper hanging from the ceiling in a cylinder shape and a sign inside that said "This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"). Inside the ship on the floor were the words, "BLAST OFF" taped on the floor. Shortly thereafter, our ship landed and it appeared that we were at Mars. On Mars, we found five aliens apiece and put them in little plastic baggies. (I put little plastic aliens in a kiddie pool filled with red Lava rocks.) From Mars, we left to refuel our ship at the space station before our next destination. The space station had The Star Station Souvenir Shop where we made sand art out of star shaped plastic key rings and then we refueled with cake and ice cream and drinks from the Cosmo Bar. Shouldn't every child's party have a Cosmo bar? I used miniature martini glasses found from Party City and used blue Hawaiian fruit punch and put poprocks in the glasses. The kids really loved that!
After we refueled, we went back into the ship (the ship was in the middle of the room and each location was in a separate area next to it, and I used black tablecloths hanging from the ceiling for the separation, except in the Space Station. It had white and black.) Our next stop had us saving the universe, sort of. First, we threw rings back on Saturn. (One of those giant whirly bouncy balls from the toy aisle- the ring was a hula hoop.) Then we had to put Pluto back in the Solar System. Okay, so the geek in me HAD to play this game. I came up with it one day, and couldn't wait to do it. I put the Solar System on a piece of poster board, but not to scale, sadly, using planets I printed out from Microsoft Word's clip art. Above the poster was a little sign that said, "Back in my day, Pluto was a planet." Heh. With the help of a blindfold, the kids tried to put Pluto back in its rightful place. After that, we went to where the pinata was (a space shuttle) and eventually broke it (well, my neighbor did). Inside the pinata were large and miniature Moon Pies, Starburst, Starcrunch, Skittles, and Milky Way. There may have been something else space-themed, but I can't recall. I bought each child a reusable blue shopping bag from The Retail Giant for the pinata goodies. After that, we went back into our ship and then after that, landed safely and went to open presents.
For the goody bags, I used rocket ship "boxes" I found from BirthdayExpress. I put miniature containers of MoonSand that had lids with stars and moons on them, one mini Milky Way, bouncy "rocks," Wall*e tattoos, a Starcrunch, glow sticks, miniature moon pies, glow in the dark stars for the ceiling, and star stickers. I had one toddler, and she didn't receive all the same things, but I did find some bubbles in a rocket shaped container in Target's dollar bins that I gave her instead.
I bought lots of balloons online from both Ebay and another site. The astronaut plates, napkins and some other hanging decorations were also bought online. On top of that, I used basic patriotic supplies like miniature American flags and some red, white, and blue streamers. I have a thing about making signs on the computer, so I had lots of those around, including "Area 51" on the kitchen door and signs for the bathrooms. I also made a CD full of great space tunes that played during lunch and present-opening. It was a very successful party and I'm glad my daughter loved it.
Activities / Games
Space Mission! Alien discovery on Mars, trip to the space station for souvenirs (sand art in star keyrings) and refueling their bellies with Cosmos- poprocks in blue punch and cake, then putting a ring around Mars and placing Pluto back in the Solar System, then finishing everything off with smashing a space shuttle (the pinata).
Space shuttle boxes with Moonsand, Starcrunch, Milky Way, star stickers, Wall*e tattoos, glow stars, glow sticks, bouncy moon rock, and mini moon pies, etc. Plus their astronaut helmets, badges, pinata bags, and aliens.
Knowing my daughter had the best time for her fifth birthday.
What People Ate
Last Meal Before Liftoff- Pizza, breadsticks, and salad
What People Drank
Capri Sun, soda, and Aqua pods
Most Touching Moment
Watching my neighbor's toddler try to wear the helmet on her head.
The fact the pinata wouldn't break, no matter how hard my neighbor beat it.
The craziest moment
A church was using the same building after our party so we quickly had to tear everything down as fast as we could and get the rooms all cleaned. Fortunately, everything came down a lot quicker than it went up.