Jack, our 10 year old, is absolutely obsessed with Mario right now. When it was time to plan his party, the question wasn’t what the theme would be… but how we could make a Mario birthday party theme work on our limited budget. After all, we take birthday parties pretty seriously around here!
Fortunately, Jack is a very thrifty and thoughtful kid. As I was busy scouring Pinterest and creating a long list of lofty goals, Jack was bringing me back to earth with sagely, budget-saving wisdom. It wasn’t as epic as some of our other parties (like his Skylander party two years ago), but it was still a lot of fun.
So, without further ado… Here’s our Mario birthday party plan.
Mario Birthday Party Games
Boo’s Haunted House – Total Cost: $1 (white balloons)
I wanted to do this. I really, really wanted to do this. However, I didn’t unpack fast enough so I didn’t have enough stackable boxes available… and I definitely didn’t have a budget for paint. My fantastically frugal boy recommended that we use brown cardboard boxes because, as he put it, “most of the boxes in the ghost houses are brown anyways, right?”
So, instead of these beautifully stacked boxes, we made a haphazard fort and called it Boo’s Haunted House. The kids loved it!
Koopa Stomp – Total Cost: $1 (green balloons)
Remember Koopas, those delightful little colored turtles that make a “pop” noise when you jump on them? I wanted to do this fun Goomba stomp, but I couldn’t find any brown balloons and the $4 price for the file was a bit much. Besides, my kids wouldn’t notice if the balloons had faces.
I did find green balloons, though… and I blew them up, tossed them all over the yard and announced that the house was being attacked by Koopas! Our partygoers immediately ran out to defend the castle.
Feed the Yoshi – Total Cost: Just the ink to print the picture!
I used Google Image Search to find a picture of toad carrying an ever-hungry baby Yoshi. I taped it to a small box, cut a hole and used ball pit balls we already owned to create this throwing game. I wish I could’ve printed the image a bit larger, but the small space made it much more challenging for the big kids.
Total Cost: $2.50 (black balloons and individually wrapped candy)
One of our favorite (and most frustrating) mini-games from the old Mario Party 2 we love to play is Hot Bob-omb. In it, four players toss a bomb around until it explodes… and whoever it explodes on is out. The game continues until there’s only one person standing: the winner.
Obviously, we don’t play with explosives in real life. Instead, I filled a black balloon with individually wrapped candy and set a timer on my phone. When the timer went off, whoever was holding the balloon (or closest to it) was out. The winner was sent outside to pop the balloon and retrieve their prize. However, since it’s a party and I didn’t want hurt feelings (and I had plenty of supplies), we played again and again until everyone had won.
DK’s Banana Derby Race – Total Cost: $3 (bananas)
Donkey Kong is one of my kids favorite characters from Mario Party, so of course we had to play a DK game. I wanted to have a proper fruit derby, but in the interest of keeping it cheap Jack suggested we build Lego cars to carry bananas down the sloped driveway. The result was rather interesting… but the kids enjoyed it and that’s what matters.
Photo Booth – Total Cost: $2 (blue tablecloth, skewers and the cost of printing)
Although this fancy backdrop would’ve been more fun, I couldn’t manage it this time. I simply hung a blue tablecloth from the mantle and taped clouds (cut out from white printer paper) to it. We used these free printable Super Mario photo booth props and had a great time!
Hunt for Yoshi’s Eggs – Total Cost: $4 (plastic eggs and individually wrapped candies)
Since Jack’s party was conveniently planned for the day before Easter, a Yoshi egg hunt was extremely convenient.
And a few more free games…
We also played a variation of musical chairs, where the children walked around a pile of one-up mushrooms (made of Legos) and had to grab one when the music stopped.
We had plans to use large toy cars down the sloped driveway in a Mario Kart race.
Mario Birthday Party Snacks
We used mini-marshmallows to represent Boo ($1.25, Walmart), cheese puffs for Mario’s fireball power ($1.75, Winco) and jelly beans for Yoshi’s eggs ($2, Walmart). Rice Krispie Treats, cut into squares, represented coin blocks and were assembled (vaguely) into the shape of the castle at the end of old Mario levels ($3.50, Walmart). Hugs barrel drinks made perfect Donkey Kong barrels ($3, Walmart).
“Mario & Luigi’s Pizza Rolls” were incredibly easy, reasonably cheap and extremely delicious. I just spread out Pillsbury crescent rolls, sprinkled them with cheese and added pepperoni… then I rolled them up and baked them for 10-12 minutes. I highly recommend them.
To create the Piranha Plants, I stuck an Oreo into the bottom of each clear plastic cup. The Oreo was a great way to hold the skewer in place! After that, I filled the cup with chocolate pudding and crumbled Oreos. Just stack green grapes on the skewer and top it off with a strawberry. I cut a V shape out of the end of each strawberry to create the Piranha Plant shape.
The Koopa Shell Pasta Salad was, well, mostly for me. I love pasta salad. Click here for a great recipe – but, don’t be silly like me and forget to add bell pepper. Bell pepper makes it soooo much better. Also, remember to use shell-shaped pasta to keep it on theme!
And, of course… the cake!
I made this cake in two pieces, using a mixing bowl and a round pan with a slightly smaller diameter. I baked both cakes and froze them, frosted them and wrapped them in homemade marshmallow fondant. I used chocolate melts for the eyes.