Caelan’s Cars Birthday Party

I’m going to do a whole post on Caelan’s birthday party this year! This party was THE party I have been wanting to do for years – super theme-y! And honestly what made it so cool was that Caelan loved it so much!! In the weeks leading up to the party, he watched me buy all the supplies and do all the prep and he was just loving every bit of it. I could have done a super theme-y party for his first birthday and it would have been cool, but at age 1, he would have had no clue. At age 4, he was really into it!

We had good weather on the day of the party which was great because everything was outside. It didn’t rain and it wasn’t unbearably hot, so that was great. However, it was SUPER windy. Unfortunately that made getting everything set up a little difficult and I ended up skipping a few of the decorations because they would have blown away. #fwp

Here’s how we put our Disney Cars themed party together!!

EDIT: I forgot to include the invitations!!!

The Invitations

I combined a few ideas I saw online and designed these invites!


The Cake

I almost chickened out of making this cake. I almost did a regular sheet cake with Lightning McQueen drawn on it, and that would have been cool. But I’m so glad I went for it and made this Lightning McQueen *shaped* cake!

For the cake, I used this recipe which I have used before and I knew it was very sturdy and easy to carve. I made 2 batches, in 2 9×13 pans. I also made 2 batches of my favorite vanilla buttercream icing. I reserved about 1 cup for details and tinted the rest red with Wilton gel color. Red is notoriously hard to make REALLY red but I managed to do it this time by adding half a bottle of the red gel color and then letting it sit in the fridge for about a day before using it.

I looked up a few tutorials online and printed out some pictures of Lightning from a few different angles and then used all that info to free-hand carve the cake into the shape of a car. I frosted it with the red buttercream. Most of the shaped Lightning cakes I saw online were covered in fondant. To be honest, fondant cakes are not my thing so I knew I wanted to stick with buttercream. I did make the detail decorations with fondant.


The Games

I grabbed a Pin-The-Headlight-On-Mater game from the party store. It came with 8 headlight stickers, but since we had more than 8 kids, I just color-copied the stickers to make more.


Ramone’s House of Body Art wasn’t really a “game” so much as it was a station, I guess. In the movie, Ramone does paint jobs at his House of Body Art, so a temporary tattoo station seemed like a good fit. Unfortunately, this was one of the things that got skipped due to the wind 😦

The major game for this party was the Piston Cup race! We had stacks and stacks of boxes leftover from our move last year so, over the course of several weeks, I picked out 6 boxes and made them into cars! I chose to do Lightning McQueen, The King, Chick Hicks (Caelan’s favorite), Doc, Francesco, and Mater. I used scrap pieces of cardboard, styrofoam, and a ton of hot glue to make the cars a little more stable. I spray painted them their main colors and then used acrylic paint and a foam brush for the eyes and any details. The rest of the details I printed out and glued to the cars.

We kept the cars out of sight until it was time for the race, which was a stroke of genius on my husband’s part. Once those cars were out, only the mention of cake tore the kids away from them!




This is the race track my husband drew in the yard with spray paint! We also stuck little checkered flags in the ground to help the kids see where the track was. They still sort of took a few short cuts 😉


The Favors

I can’t really take credit for anything but the execution of these ideas! I found everything via Pinterest and Google searches. These Pit Passes looked really cute and the kids could wear them during the party, but also keep them as a favor. I got the lanyards from Party City and the plastic holders from Amazon. I designed and printed the passes myself.

I also grabbed some little trophies so that each kid could take home their own Piston Cup. They are really, really small so I couldn’t even fill them with treats. As it turned out, we weren’t able to set the Pit Passes and Piston Cups out on a table as I had planned (wind!!) so Caelan handed out the Pit Passes and we just forgot to give out the Piston Cups.


The Food

Despite the fact that all the food was themed, it was actually less food than we would usually have for a party and it was easier to put together. (I was still running around like a crazy person minutes before the party though. Isn’t that always how it is??) We ordered pizza for delivery (we had WAY too much!!), had sodas, water and juice boxes to drink, the cake, and the rest was just snacks – most requiring zero prep! I made the little signs and uploaded them to Shutterfly for printing. Easier and faster than messing with my printer (which I did do for other things). The plan was for the signs to be held with place card holders, but again…wind…so they ended up taped to the tables and I think a lot of people didn’t get it. #fwpagain Here are the foods we had:

Francesco’s Pizzeria (pizzas)

Sheriff’s Stop Lights (fruit skewers)


Sally’s Cozy Cones (Bugles)


Sarge’s Surplus Snacks (pretzels, Goldfish, Teddy Grahams)


Mater’s Taters (potato chips and dip)


Luigi’s Casa Della Tires (chocolate donuts)

These were supposed to be stacked into a tower, but I skipped that because of the wind (it was REALLY windy!) but these got demolished so quickly it didn’t matter!


The Decorations and Paper Supplies

We had several folding tables set up with red and black plastic table cloths. I ordered plates and napkins from Amazon (because it was cheaper than the party store, which is not usually the case for party supplies!) and got the rest from the party store. We had checkered flag banners, a race banner, and little mini checkered flags. I don’t have a lot of good pictures of these things because – you guessed it – wind!


The Birthday Boy

The most important part of the party!!! This was all for him and he loved it 🙂



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