Firmly entrenched in American pop culture history, the crime-fighting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise has captured the hearts and imaginations of children since 1984. Living in the sewers of New York, the four chemically altered turtles spend much of their time eating pizza and battling bad guys. The colorful cast of characters, the high-energy martial arts theme, and the gritty urban design elements easily translate into a "turtley" awesome birthday party that fans of any age will love.
Commercially licensed, pre-printed invitations and thank you cards are available via party planning vendors. But if you prefer to design your own, use city-inspired elements, such as brick walls, manhole covers and graffiti writing, for a TMNT theme. Add one of the ninja turtles' wacky catchphrases, such as, "Turtle Party Power," "Party on Dudes" or a "Gnarly Good Time." The modern versions of the "Heroes in a Half Shell" have recently traded in the historically cool "Cowabunga" for "Booyakasha."
Black and silver provide a striking contrast for the vivid pops of green, blue, red, orange and purple included in a TMNT birthday party. Decorate balloons, buckets and cups with masks made from crepe paper or fabric strips. With some silver duct tape and a black marker, styrofoam disks mutate into manhole covers. Transform a backyard turtle sandbox into a superhero cooler by using washable paints to draw on a mask and filling it with ice and green beverages. Mini pizza boxes, which can be purchased from a restaurant supply vendor, make the treat bags.
A TMNT-themed party naturally incites a rambunctious atmosphere, so provide some safe activities to help the kids explore their inner ninjas. You can offer a variety of games with prizes or combine several fun challenges into one gnarly ninja training course. Kids can pop balloons decorated like the Foot Clan, dodge hanging sewer mutant rats, toss pizza-decorated Frisbees into an ooze bucket and defeat a Shredder pinata with Donnie's bo-staff. Calmer activities include making green slime, competing in a trivia contest or learning how to make origami throwing stars.
Top a traditional cake or cupcakes with green frosting and TMNT fondant shapes, flags, rings or throwing stars. Pizza-shaped sugar cookies, mask-painted green apples, ninja net rice cereal squares and wiggly lime jello make themed turtle treats. Pretzel and celery sticks also become relatively harmless swords. A TMNT party is not complete without pizza, so order a few pies from a local pizzeria or set up a fun bar. Alongside the traditional cheeses, meats and veggies, let the kids top their slices with silly ingredients, such as gummy worms and crushed "dirt" cookies.