A Spider-Man Birthday (or: How to Throw a Social Distancing Party)!

Ain’t no party like a quarantine party! Okay, that was lame, but our oldest turned 9 years old last week, so I wanted to share some things we did to make his birthday special despite social distancing!

First off, I made sure we had cake ingredients and presents weeks in advance. Obviously, things are taking longer to ship these days, so that was priority #1 (and it was harder to find a Bluetooth microphone that would arrive in less than a month than you would think)!

Next up, I focused on little things I could do to make it feel like a special day for him. He loves doughnuts, so I was thrilled when I found out our local Duck Donuts would deliver (even though they’re 20 minutes from our house)! The extra $15 for delivery and tip was worth it. None of the kids had seen doughnuts for over a month (my hubby usually gets them for the kids on Fridays, so they were missed); it was a HUGE deal when they were delivered! I actually placed my order about a week in advance, so if you’re looking to do something like this, don’t be afraid to plan early!

Another easy thing I did, which had a HUGE impact, was decorate the night before (after the kids went to bed), so that the birthday boy could wake up feeling like it was a special day. There are a ton of great ideas on Pinterest for different ways to do this – from crepe paper to balloons to signs – the possibilities are endless! I have a bunch of balloons leftover from the epic balloon garland we made for his first birthday, so I went the balloon route.

I also bought a #9 balloon (it came with a straw to inflate it, so no helium required, and it’s still going strong almost a week later! Actually, the “ROAR” balloons from our other son’s dinosaur party in August are the same type and are STILL going strong, too!). Hmmm… I might have a balloon hoarding problem?

I used a simple decoration approach. I hung the #9 balloon from a curtain rod, and taped the other balloons randomly around on it on the window. It actually looked really cool in the morning with sunlight pouring through the window.

Needless to say, the birthday boy was impressed! And bonus: since each balloon was only held up by some scotch tape, the kids wasted no time plucking some off of the window to play with. It was adorable until I had a work meeting, which was about the time that playing with the balloons became a basement activity. Haha.

We pulled out all the stops for lunchtime – the kids had mac ‘n cheese AND ravioli! We’re rebels. 😂 For dinner we had our son’s favorite – cheeseburgers and fries. And of course, chocolate cake!

Okay, so… the cake. My son requested a Spider-Man cake, so I thought I could pipe a cool spiderweb design in the background on the front (not top) of the cake. This was 1) a bad idea. And 2) not something I’d recommend you attempt doing for the first time after work, in preparation for dessert that same night. If you do, please at least level off your top cake so it doesn’t look so comically (hah – see what I did there? 🤓) imbalanced. I think that would’ve taken this cake a long way. And then you’ll have extra cake to eat while decorating, since you’ll be decorating while your family is eating dinner. (Or maybe decorate the cake the night before 😂).

At any rate, I just used modeling chocolate (dyed, accordingly) for the eyes (which actually helped hide a lot of the spiderweb mistakes), and for the “web” that Spider-Man is shooting onto the candle. I did use some common sense when creating the eyes though. I put a piece of parchment paper on top of half the black modeling chocolate, folded it over the top (so the paper was sandwiched by chocolate), and used a knife to cut out the shape. This way the eyes were symmetrical. Plus, it gave me an eye-shaped piece of parchment paper as a template when doing the same technique with the white modeling chocolate, so I could easily make symmetrical white eyes that were slightly smaller to fit inside.

Also, I have to say – trying to get the modeling chocolate thin enough to stay in the air (and somewhat resemble web shooters), but thick enough to stay in a single strand, was NOT easy. That alone probably took 5 minutes. Which doesn’t sound like a long time, unless your son is already finished with his dinner… So I did rush the cake a bit, but it was clearly a Spider-Man cake, so my son was happy with it. (I actually did a Captain Underpants cake for him last year that has some concepts you could copy for a super hero cake, too!)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention calling and video conferencing with family, too! But I think the entire world has a handle on doing both that and drive-by parades at this point, haha. Of course family called, and it was a great way to end the night (along with presents!).

It was such a full day that I forgot to bust out the super hero masks I had gotten for the kids until the next day. So the super hero and balloon fun was extended into the weekend (my son kept announcing that it was his birthday for a solid 2 days after his birthday, so I’d say it all made an impact on him ☺️)!

I had also planned on some water balloon fun outside if it was warm enough, but it was pretty cold and rainy all week. I thought making some targets on some cardboard boxes would be fun. You could either make these as a surprise or have the kids make their own targets to destroy! Another idea I had (but didn’t execute!) was having the kids decorate their own super hero wrist cuffs using toilet paper or paper towel rolls. (Yes, I’m clearly hoarding all cardboard waste instead of recycling right now, but desperate times call for desperate cheap-craft-idea measures, lol!). Just wanted to mention these ideas for anyone else that might be planning for a birthday in warmer weeks, or perhaps – on a weekend instead of a work day. 🙂

So there you have it – some easy ways to make a birthday that falls during this unprecedented time, still feel special and fun!

What are some other ideas I missed?! Our next birthday to plan for is in August, so I’m hoping things are back to normal by then, but just in case, I wouldn’t mind some more ideas… 😁

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