Planning a birthday party for yourself or a friend is easier said than done. There are many different parts of planning that you may have to consider months in advance. Whether it is a birthday party for your child or for a spouse or friend, these steps will help you stay on track throughout the process.

Simple Steps to Party Planning

Pick a Theme

If you are planning your own party you are in luck! You can pick whatever theme that you want. If you are planning the party for someone else, you should consult them unless it is a surprise party. Whatever you choose, try to make the theme consistent throughout the party. Try to incorporate it into food, decor, and invitations.

Choose a Venue

One of the best venues to choose is your own house or backyard. If you have it in your budget and you are celebrating a larger birthday, you should consider holding the party at a separate venue like a restaurant or hotel. If you don’t want to have the party at your own house you can ask a friend if they would be willing to hold the party.

Prepare a Guest List

If you are planning your own party, it is obvious who you want to invite. However, if you are planning someone else’s party, make sure that you check with them to see who they want on their guest list.

Send Out Invitations

If you have a theme for your party, consider making invitations that match the theme. You can always personalize an invitation to fit the theme. Be sure to include all of the information for the party on the invitation, and send invites out at least a month before the party.

Once you’ve planned out the party you can get down to the fun part, planning out all the birthday treats to serve your guests!

Plan the Food

It’s never good to have a party with hungry guests. For a larger party, consider doing your birthday party food options in a buffet style so that everyone can get their own food. This allows people to feed themselves when they want, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Here are some great ideas that you can make yourself whether you are hosting or need to bring food to a party:

Homemade Caramel Corn

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup pure Sugarman of Vermont Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to Bake at 200°F and line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a very large pot over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn and shake the pan to coat the kernels with oil. Cover with a tight-fitting lid (alternatively, cover tightly with foil). Wait for the popcorn to start popping, then shake the pan gently every now and again to keep the kernels moving. When the popping slows to about 2 seconds apart, remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl, making sure to leave any unpopped kernels behind.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, and salt and stir until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture come to a gentle boil. Stirring occasionally, boil the syrup over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the baking soda. Stir well as the mixture turns foamy.
  4. Immediately (and carefully — it’s very hot!) pour the syrup over the popped corn in three separate additions, stirring gently as you go, until the popcorn is evenly coated.
  5. Spread the caramel corn into even layers on prepared pans. Bake for one hour. The caramel will be a little soft at this point; let it cool completely to crisp up. Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Maple Caramel Bacon Bites

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to Bake at 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and lightly grease it with cooking spray. Place the phyllo cups onto the baking sheet and set them aside briefly.
  2. Fry the bacon in batches in a large skillet, cooking until the bacon is just about done but not crispy. The bacon should be on the chewier side, as it will continue to cook more as you bake it. Drain the bacon onto a paper towel-lined plate and let cool briefly before chopping it into tiny bits.
  3. Scoop a 1/2 tsp of brown sugar into each phyllo cup and add a small squirt of maple syrup on top. Fill past the brim of the phyllo cup with bacon, mounding it into the cup. Sprinkle with the remaining brown sugar.
  4. Bake for approx. 12-15 minutes or until the phyllo cups and bacon are crisp and the maple caramel is bubbly and caramelized. Cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Maple-Chipotle Hot Wings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 2 lb chicken wingettes and drumettes
  • 2 1/2 tbsp red hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper, minced
  • 2 tbsp Sugarman of Vermont Pure Maple Syrup

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to Bake at 500°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with vegetable oil. In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt and sage. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Spread the chicken on the baking sheet in a single layer and spray with vegetable oil. Roast the chicken for 45 minutes, turning once or twice, until browned and crispy.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the hot sauce, butter, chipotle pepper, and maple syrup until combined. Add the chicken wings to the sauce and toss; serve.

Plan the Drinks

Treat your guests to some festive cocktails to add a little fun to the celebration. Consider drinks that you can make in bulk so that you aren’t stuck behind the bar all night. You need to have fun too!

Rosemary Maple Bourbon Punch

Ingredients:

Punch:

To Serve:

  • 6 to 8 stalks fresh rosemary
  • apple slices, preferably Fuji or Golden Delicious

Instructions:

  1. For the punch: Add the maple syrup and rosemary to a small pot. Let steep over low heat for 20 minutes, then let cool. Remove the rosemary and pour the maple syrup into a pitcher. Add the apple cider, bourbon, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine.
  2. To serve: Serve punch over ice with rosemary stalks and apple slices as garnish.

Tropical Rum Slushie

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Add frozen mango, frozen pineapple, maple syrup, lime juice, and rum to a blender. Blend on high until everything is combined.
  2. Add in a couple of ice cubes and blend to your desired slushie texture.
  3. If the mixture is too thick, add a bit of water & blend until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Garnish with lime or mint & enjoy!

Don’t forget the sweet treats, it is a birthday party after all. You don’t have to stick with the old standby birthday cake. Change things up a bit and serve individual treats that people can choose from. A few options can go a long way!

Maple Glazed Apple Blondies

Ingredients:

Blondies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Apple Filling:

  • 2 large apples chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Maple Glaze:

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to Bake at 350°F and line an 11 x 7 pan with tin foil (or spray the pan with cooking spray).

Apple Filling:

  1. On med-low heat, cook the apple filling mixture for about 3-4 minutes. Pull off heat and allow it to cool.

Blondies:

  1. Cream butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add in brown sugar and granulated sugar, and mix until well combined.
  2. Add in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Add in salt and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and cinnamon together. Add to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. In the bottom of the pan, spread half the blondie batter evenly, using a spatula (or your hands–batter is very thick, so I prefer to spread with my hands).
  6. Spread apple filling all over the layer.
  7. Top with remaining blondie batter and spread evenly.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean.

Maple Glaze:

  1. Melt butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and cinnamon over low heat. Once melted together, pull off the heat. Sift in powdered sugar, and whisk until fully combined. Allow it to cool for 8-10 minutes so the glaze can thicken.
  2. Allow the bars to cool for about 10 minutes, then pour the glaze over the bars and allow it to set.
  3. Slice into squares and enjoy!

Chocolate Maple Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup Sugarman of Vermont Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp 2% milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Frosting:

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to Bake at 350°F. In a large bowl, cream the shortening, syrup, and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Remove half the batter to another bowl.
  2. Combine melted chocolate and pecans; stir into 1 bowl of batter. Spread into a greased 13″ x 9″ baking pan. Add coconut to the remaining batter. Spread carefully over chocolate batter.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For Frosting:

  1. In a small bowl, beat butter until smooth. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa. Gradually add syrup, beating until smooth. Fold in marshmallows. Frost the bars.