The Superhero party ideas below were mainly designed with a kid's birthday in mind. However, a lot of the ideas could easily be adapted for an adult costume party so I've also included some tips and supplies specifically for adults—such as cocktail recipes.
The great thing about throwing a generic Superhero party is that there are lots of elements that are common to all comic book heroes and villains, so it doesn't matter whether your child's favourite isBatman, Superman, Spiderman, or any other. In fact I think it's often better to broaden your birthday party theme to include all Superheroes, rather than focusing in on just one, so that guests can come dressed as their favourite character—and demonstrate their own unique super-power!
superhero party Invitations
mask / cape Invitations
You can pick up Superhero eye masks (below left) really cheaply, so use these as your birthday party invitations. You could also combine the masks with these cheap plastic Superhero capes (below right). Check out a selection of cheap masks and capes here.
Either hand write all the Superhero party details onto a decorative shipping tag and tie onto the masks, or you can have these printed quite cheaply incorporating your own photograph - see printed mini cards in the Photo Invitations section below.
Alternatively, for a few extra dollars you can get the mask and a fabric cape set (below left) with the option to have the cape personalized with the child's name (below right).
The great thing about these fun 3D Superhero party invitations is that the recipient can incorporate them into a costume and come to the birthday party dressed as their favourite Superhero.
You can easily make your own personalized Superhero party invitations with these cute printed mini cards (below) - and they're really good value at just $19.95 / £12 for 100 cards.
All you have to do is upload your own photo using their simple online tool (for example, your child dressed as a Superhero) then choose which text you want to print on the reverse. You can then print a simple text based invitations onto colored cardstock using your home printer then attach these mini photo cards to them (see example above right). The cards are fairly smal so youcan attach more than one per invitation showing your child in different poses - as per the example above.
When taking the photo cut a comic book style speech bubble out of plain card with the words "Calling all Superheros" and stick it on the wall behind them when you take the picture.
There are also lots of great Superhero party invitations available, such as the ones below, which can be personalized with your child's name and/or a photo. Click here for a full range.
For a budget option, there's also a good selection of ready-made fill-in invitations featuring specific characters, such as Batman or Spiderman, or general Superhero party designs (below).
For your Superhero party invitation wording, include familiar Superhero phrases such as:
'Look, up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, it's Super-(name)!'
'Holy Birthday Bash, Batman!'
'Reply to (address / telephone). Or you'll make me angry....You wouldn't like me when I'm angry (The Hulk)'.
Incorporate fictional locations into your address such as 'Dr Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters' (X-Men), 'Gotham City' (Batman) or 'Metropolis' (Superman).
Start each sentence with a different exclamation from Batman, such as:
'Pow! You're invited to (name)'s birthday party'
'Zap! July 18th 2011, 4pm'
'Kerpunch! Come dressed as your favourite superhero'
Don't forget to make it clear on the invitation if you want everyone to come to your Superhero party dressed up.
Superhero Party Stamps
If you want to make your Superhero party invitations special, these themed postage stamps (below, more designs available) are a great way to add extra embellishment.
Note: These stamps are only available in the USA
Below are some Superhero party drinks that are perfect for a kid's birthday.
Make blueberry smoothies such as this one (below left, from Super-Charged Smoothies on oprah.com), then serve in green colored cups and call it 'Joker Juice' (the purple and green combination is synonymous with The Joker).
This fruit smoothie (below left, by Annie at Annie's Eats) recipe uses spinach to achieve the green color—better than food coloring and a great way to sneak some spinach into a kid's diet. Don't worry, it tastes of the fruit and not at all like spinach, so there shouldn't be any problems getting kids to drink it.
You can theme this drink for your Superhero party even more by including some Hulk fist ice cubes which come in this Superhero ice cube tray (below right). The ice cube tray includes 2 x Iron Man heads, 2 x The Thing heads, 2 x Captain America shields, and 2 x Hulk fists.
The Dark Night
Re-label Cola (if your kids are allowed it) as 'The Dark Night'.
Use this ice cube tray (below right) to add Batman logos to your drinks, or use mini bat cookie cutters (USA only) to cut the famous bat logo out of lemon slices and float on top of each drink.
Note: Cut both ends off lemons and stand up. Then cut four thick slices of zest off each side (so the remaining lemon is now square shaped). Use the cookie cutters on the slices of zest that you have just cut off to make the bat. They will hold their shape better this way, as opposed to trying to cut the bat shapes out of the lemon flesh. Float in the drink zest side up.
Captain America Juice
This patriotic drink for kids (right, by Pam-I-Am on food.com) is a perfect recipe to turn into Captain America juice for a Superhero party. Then use the Captain America shields from this ice cube tray (below right).
Use any brightly colored fruit juice and label it 'Ker-Punch!' Then add either Superman (below left) or Spiderman (below right) ice cubes.
If you're planning a Superhero party for an adult costume / birthday party, below are some cocktail recipes.
When serving cocktails at parties I always thinks it's a good idea to set up a bar area and have some pre-made pitchers of cocktails. Then for some of the other cocktails, set up recipe cards alongside the ingredients with a few cocktail shakers, so people can make their own—it's a great ice breaker and people love to experiment.
There are lots of cocktail recipes around that are simply named after Superheroes, but I prefer it when there's a more obvious link, so here are my favorites:
The Dark Knight
Blavod black vodka is perfect for creating black drinks such as Black Martinis (right, by Colleen Graham at about.com).
If you can't get hold of Blavod just serve Black Russians (vodka, Cola and coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua).
Use a mini bat cookie cutter (USA only) to cut the famous logo out of lemon slices to float on top of each drink. (see instructions in kids drinks above).
Serve in green cocktail glasses (green and purple are the Joker's colors) and stick one of the Batman TheDark Knight joker-only playing cards (see Joker Juice above) to the front of each glass.
I love this clever use of lemon zest to represent The Flash's lightning bolt (right, by Kelson Vibber and Katie Foreman at Speedforce). There are two recipes here, one alcoholic and one for kids.
If serving this cocktail, pre-make all the lemon slices and leave one in each serving glass. Then let guests pour their own drink from a punch bowl.
superhero party Food
Here are some recipes I came across to give you inspiration for a superhero birthday party:
The super-creative Jill at Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons has lots of really cool Spiderman themed receipes such as these Spiderman Pizzas (below left) and this Spiderman head 7 layer dip (below right) which you can serve with chips.
The same link (above) also features these Spiderman devilled eggs (below left) and Spiderman Spaghetti (below right).
See the same link (above) for these cute Spiderman burgers (below left) and this Spiderman quesadilla dinner (below right).
Similarly, there are also these great Batman burgers (below left) and Batman quesadilla (below right) also via the same link above.
Label flapjacks as 'Power Bars'
Use the Batman cookie cutter (below right) to shape sandwiches, pizza slices, and fruit.
For Batman sandwiches, look for some Russian black rye bread (or make your own using this recipe, below by Kevin at Food o' del Mundo). Fill with cheese, then use a Bat cookie cutter (here for UK) to shape into the famous logo. Note: Traditional Batman logo cookie cutters are hold to get hold of nowadays and are generally second hand and quite expensive. So I found this bat cookie cutter which is a pretty close match to the new Dark Knight: Batman logo (below right).
Alternatively, you can get this set of Superhero cookie cutters which includes The Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America and Spiderman.
Check out these Superman toasted sandwiches (below, by Karathc). Just cut out a simple Superman stencil then add some red food coloring to spray butter before toasting in a sandwich maker.
Serve squares of green Jell-O and label them as Kryptonite (alternatively give them green popping candy)
Use this Spiderman pan (below, USA only) to make pancakes more interesting for kids.
Serve Chilled Pea Soup (below, by Epicure Catering via The Herald Sun) in shot glasses and call them Hulk Gamma-Ray Soup Shots (serve with toast or mini grilled cheese sandwiches to dip). Or see this demonstration video (below by L'atelier des Chefs) for Pea and Mint Shooters.
Instead of trying to hand make complicated Superhero logos out of fondant, just use these plastic Superhero toppers (below) for cupcakes.
Below are some ideas for how to style and decorate your Superhero party:
Buffet / Dessert Table
Below are step by step instructions for how to create a themed buffet / dessert table like the one below:
Start by using a New York skyline scene setter as a backdrop for the food / dessert table. Update Oct 2012: Unfortunately the scene setter shown in the illustration above has been discontinued. Below are a selection of alternative skyline scene setters. These are only 4ft tall so if you want to the get the full height effect shown in the illustration (which was 8ft tall) I would suggest using the scene setter shown below left. Cut the 30ft roll in half to create two identical 15ft long strips. Then positon one strip on top of the other and line them up so that the top strips hides the tops of the buildings and the sky from the bottom strip. If you line them up carefully the illusion you will create will be of very tall skyscrapers.
If your budget allows you can add some 3D buildings with these stand ups (below, USA only). Alternatively just make your own buildings and skycrapers (like the ones featured on the scene setter above) by covering different sized cardboard boxes in black / grey paper then adding yellow / white card squares and rectangles to look like windows.
Alternatively, you could use this city skyline roll to create a backdrop running along the back of the table.
Add some detail to the skyline backdrop by applying these wall stickers (below). The great thing about these stickers are they they're re-usable. So you can let your child decorate their bedroom with them after the party.
Alternatively, if budget permits you could use a life-size Superhero stand up (below left, USA only, other characters available) or a single giant wall decal (below center, other characters available) as a centerpiece. Or, for a cost effective way to feature more than one Superhero, fill these character shaped balloons (below right, other characters available) with helium and arrange them along the back of the dessert table.
Hang one of these Superhero party personalized banners over the dessert table to help frame the scene.
Dress the table with a solid color tablecover depending on which colors are associated with the Superhero you're using for a centerpiece (ex, blue / red tablecover for Superman or Spiderman, black / grey tablecover for Batman etc) then use a mixture of square and rectangular black / white plates and bowls to present food on. I recommend these disposable Premium Plastic Plates (below left and center), they're great value and look really stylish. Alternatively you could use these Superhero themed plates (below right).
Finally, hang these Superhero danglers (below left) either side of the dessert table. Alternatively, use bunches of these Superhero party balloons (below right).
Use these Superhero treat pails (below, USA only) to serve chips, candy, and other foods in. They'll look great on the dessert / buffet table.
Use covers of Superhero comic books to make cones to serve snacks in.
Use these Superhero party stickers (below) to create food labels. Just add each sticker to a food pick and stick in sandwiches and cakes. You could also print out simple text labels to give each dish a Superhero name (ex, Holy Crime-fighting Cupcakes, Spidey Sense Sandwiches etc) and add these to the food picks underneath one of these stickers.
Line serving trays with laminated pages of comic books (or position underneath glass serving trays)
Gatorade bottles are perfect for a Superhero party as they have a lightning bolt embossed onto the front of the bottle. Re-label them as Ker-Punch! (see drinks above) or use them as water bottles.
Present cupcakes on these Spiderman cupcake stands (below left) or in these Batman cupcake holders (below right). See here for more info.
Below are some tips for how to style and decorate the dining table for your Superhero party:
One way to give your party a professional feel is to make sure all the chairs have a uniform look. Often, if you're using mis-matched chairs or chairs that don't fit with the theme of your party they can really clash and it detracts from the overall aesthetic. Matching the chairs with the table linen is one of the reasons the table styling always looks better at professional weddings or events. If budget permits, use these simple stretch fabric chair covers which you can pick up for approx $7 each in black or white. You can then add a splash of color that compliments your party theme by adding a colored sash (below left) or band (below right). For a Superhero party you could make the sash or band using the fabric by the yard mentioned above.
If you haven't already used them as the invitations, hang Superhero masks and capes on the back of each chair. There are lots of different types of capes available to suit all budgets, from plastic capes (below left), to simple fabric cape and mask sets (below center) or more decorative shiny ones (below right)
Alternatively, use these cardboard Superhero party masks.
Check out this amazing homemade centerpiece I came across by Charynn of Two Sugar Babies for her son's Batman birthday party. She covered 3D letters spelling out her son's name, Keaton, with vintage comic books and used them as a centerpiece for the dining table. I think this looks amazing, and is something you could make yourself at home for your Superhero party. You can pick up cheap 8" paper mache letters here (USA only). Just remember to fix them to the table otherwise the kids are certain to knock them over in all the excitement.
Alternatively, use these Superhero shaped balloons to create a centerpiece. You could fill 3 different balloons with helium and space them out evenly down the middle of the table, or bunch all 3 together in the center at different heights.
Below are some ideas for general decorations for a Superhero party:
I always recommend starting with a few party decorations outside to greet people as they arrive. This doesn't have to be anything huge, It could just be bunches of balloons, chalking the pavement, a personalized yard sign, or a personalized banner (below, other designs available) over the door. Just something that makes it feel like the entrance to a party.
If budget permits, I think these life-size Superhero party stand ups, such as the ones below (USA only), are a great way to bring the theme to life.
Alternatively, you could print a life-size cut out (below left) of your child dressed as their favorite Superhero character to position at the end of then drive or at your front door. You can also add a motion-activated voice recorder (USA only) for under $10. You just have your child pre-record a short welcome message which then starts to play as people walk past the cut out.
These giant wall stickers (below, other characters available) are a easy way to decorate large areas, plus they're removable so you can use them to decorate your child's bedroom after the birthday party.
For a quick and easy solution to Superhero favors just use one of these ready-filled favor boxes (below left). There are a number of different ones to choose from incuding Batman, Spiderman, Captain America, or Marvel Superhero Squad.
Alternatively, if you prefer to fill these yourself use these cute treat bags (below right).
There's a great selection of Superhero party costumes and masks available (below left) if you want to let your child get dressed up for their birthday party.
If you don't want to get a kid's entertainer in, get a parent to dress up as a masked Superhero (using a costume where the kid's can't see their face, below center) and make an entrance halfway through the birthday party when they're least expecting it. Then let the kids pose with the Superhero for photos to take home.
Alternatively, if you can't persaude anyone else to dress up, check out the pet costumes (below right) so you can have a mini Superhero running around the party.
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Matt James is a professional party planner and owner of event agency DNA Productions, which has produced events for Elton John, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kevin Spacey, Stella McCartney, David LaChapelle, John Waters, and Elvis Costello & Diana Krall. Since 2004, DNA has won 24 industry awards for excellence including Production Company of the Year.