Trend Reports

The 2023 kids’ birthday party trends you won't stop seeing—according to the experts

Beds in teepees set up for a sleepover with unicorn stuffed animals around the room.

Image credit: @dream_and_party_llc

Who needs a crystal ball to see into the future of kids’ birthday parties when you have the expertise of party planners Candice of Little Lavish Party, Josefina Martinez of Dream and Party, and Diana Bang of Paperlattes? Disco dance parties, spa days and personalized everything are just a few of the trends they’re predicting to be big on the kids’ party scene in 2023. Keep reading to see what else to plan on seeing everywhere this year!

Immersive, interactive activities + party favors

Paint-your-own birdhouse goodie bag kits.

Image credit: @paperandstitch

Interactive parties have started to become more popular,” says Diana. “One example is making a party backdrop that’s not just a focal point for photos but also incorporates a dessert or snack wall into the design. Another example is creating a tablescape where kids can interact and do a fun activity. We have done spa parties, carnival snack walls and movie nights. By curating an activity that is cohesive with your decor and theme, you are adding value to the overall life of the party.” Josefina agrees, saying, “Parties that are able to create a special, magical and immersive environment will be the winners. Sleepovers and spa parties are great examples. These kinds of parties stay trendy as they are getting more and more sophisticated, elaborate and organized every time. Picnic parties will also continue to be popular among every age group. Kids and teens will always look for adventures throughout their parties.” Diana also notes that a great party activity can serve as a unique party favor: “In addition, the favor doesn't always have to be something that is store-bought. It can be a painting that the child creates at a crafts party or a tie-dyed shirt from a tie-dye party.” 

Don’t forget to make the party fun for parents, too! [Have] entertainment for both the parents and kids,” Diana recommends. “For example, having mocktails and cocktails not only makes the party fun for the kids, but also the adults. Or, allow your guests (both parents and kids) to dress up to match the theme of the party. For instance, we created a castle backdrop, and all the guests, including the parents, dressed up as fairy tale characters.”

Classic themes that will continue to be everywhere

A semi-circle of cots inside of teepees with candy and donut pillows.

Image credit: @dream_and_party_llc

It’s no surprise that classic party themes continue to delight kids. “Unicorns, race cars, Mickey Mouse, Toy Story and rainbows. Those have all been around for years—they never change,” says Candice. Unicorns are on Josefina’s list of top tried-and-true trends too, along with other faves:Carnival, Candyland and safari themes will continue to be great options for coed parties as their color palettes offer incredible options. Construction zone, car racing themes, sports and hands-on activities will continue to be top choices for little boys. Paris and disco/rock star themes might continue to be popular among young girls.” And Diana points out that even classic trends are evolving, explaining, “While I believe that these core classic themes aren't going anywhere, the vibe and manner in which these themes are interpreted transition over time. We went from a time when rustic/vintage and boho/chic with muted and pastel colors was the main trend. In 2023, the trending colors will be vibrant and bold, and designs will be modern and clean.”  

Teens are turning to the classics, too!

A neon sign that says "Happy Birthday" and colorful balloons.

Image credit: @pattilozano

The hottest teen birthday party themes of 2023 look remarkably similar to the ones you may remember from your own teenage years. “Neon! Definitely neon. And disco,” are Candice’s top teen party trend predictions, while Diana notes that, “Pajama parties, spa dates, and gaming trucks have been increasingly popular.” 

Personalized everything

A dessert cart with bouquets of flowers.

Image credit: @paperlattes

“Happy birthday!” is no longer the only phrase you’ll see at a birthday party. Parents are personalizing everything at the party with their child’s name, the party’s name, you name it! As Candice puts it, “Kids’ parties are like the new weddings! With creative backdrops, neon light signs with their names on them, party favors (like sunglasses and hats), and just personalization on everything. Soft play areas and bounce houses can even be personalized now!” “Personalizing and customizing parties can’t get any easier these days, as options are endless for any budget, theme, age, space or style,” says Josefina. “You can go from DIY printable projects to calligraphy and hand-lettered custom signage. If you are a balloon lover, you can go from personalized balloons from your local store to professionally installed backdrops. If you want to make a statement with lighting, options range from custom-made neon signs to giant marquee letters. You can also personalize sweet treats, ice sculptures, water bottles, robes, totes, travel bags, etc.” Josefina also offers this sage advice: “Just keep in mind that personalizing takes time, so start planning very early in advance.” 

Themed around their interests

Image credit: @paperlattes

When it comes to picking the party theme, kids play a big role—they have incredible resources to take inspiration from real parties everywhere, so they are aware of how creative and original they can get," remarks Josefina. "Kids add character to their parties and love to see their interests— sports, hobbies, fashion, trips, favorite colors, characters and animals—become a theme.” Diana concurs, saying “I see more and more parents wanting themes based on their child's interest. Themes can take life based on anything your child loves: a favorite bedtime book, a catchy YouTube song, or a favorite food.” One theme that kids are still starry-eyed over? Space! “Space themes are super big! And people are opting for this theme for every age and kid: younger kids, older kids, first birthday parties, girls, boys, etc,” says Candice. And Diana remarks that party themes can carry on beyond the actual party. “I love party favors that are cohesive with the party theme. Some examples include a book that relates to the theme (animal books, superhero books) or a toy that is relevant to your age group.”

Keeping it simple (the food, that is!)

A charcuterie board with cheese cut out to say "HBD Kenzie."

Image credit: @2.board.sisters

The results are in: kids love pizza and nuggets! Diana advises parents to "Give the kids what they love! Pizza, sandwiches, mac and cheese, chicken nuggets. For a more unique presentation, you can serve personalized mini pizzas, colorful fruit on a stick, or a kid-friendly charcuterie board." Josefina agrees and points out, "Kids don’t like to spend a lot of time seated eating while a lot is happening around them." 

Bigger, grander parties

Superhero-themed party decor featuring giant Hulk and Batman sculptures.

Image credit: @paperlattes

"I’m seeing parties getting larger since Covid, even larger than pre-Covid," says Candice. "There are more attendees and more money is being spent. Innovative new concepts around backdrops, balloons and new types of decor will be big. People are very creative and come out with new things all the time, and people are buying into it. They’re looking for bigger, better decor options and fancier tablescapes." Josefina is seeing a similar move toward more extravagant parties, saying, "Movie night setups are also getting fancier, with gigantic screens, cozy and comfy lounge areas, and concession stands with unlimited treats. Picnics won’t get casual but rather will continue to scale up in order to create the wow factor and get kids engaged with the setting. Entertainment is always getting fancier for girls, so professional dancers teaching choreography, hairstylists, make-up artists for glam stations, chefs making special dinners, and DJs will be big players in entertainment in 2023." Diana also notes that backdrops are becoming more impressive. "Main moment" backdrops will continue to be big in 2023. [They] are the focal point of the event. They tie together the theme of the party, serve as a backdrop for photos, and provide space for guests to interact and bring the theme to life."

New innovative sweets

A little girl holding  animal-shaped cotton candy.

Cake will always be a bday party staple, but now, it’s joined by tons of exciting new sugary treats. “Personalized dessert bars, called treat bars, are popular right now,” reports Candice. “Chocolate-covered Rice Krispies treats, chocolate-covered strawberries, cookies, candy popcorn—all of these are popular and personalized for each party.” Josefina is seeing new ways cake itself is being created, sayingThemed cake pops and cakesicles are becoming very popular because they are easy to handle and serve and can also be personalized and given as a party favor. They can also be incorporated into the tablescape for each place setting.” Diana, too, sees cakelike alternatives continuing to be popular: “For dessert, cupcakes are a good alternative to cake. They are easy and convenient to pass out, and taste like cake!” She goes on to note a rise in sweets that double as an activity. “Ice cream and cotton candy vendors are also great options if your budget allows for them. They can also double as entertainment for your guests. If you are going budget-friendly, you can create a self-serve ice cream station and have a fun array of toppings that kids can top themselves.”

Bounce houses + soft play

A bounce house, slide, and ball pit.

Image credit: @paperlattes

Soft play is no longer just for fun fairs and malls. "[Soft play is] a newer trend that’s only a few years old now, and we’ve seen a surge in it lately,” says Candice. “It’s popular for parties with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers—they’re mini versions of play zones in malls, and I think they’re going to increase a whole lot more in popularity. Soft play options for older kids are also very popular, like ball pits with slides that can be brought to their homes.” Josefina agrees and offers some advice: “Classic entertainment like themed bounce houses, water slides, dry slides, or obstacle courses will continue to be a must-have for any outdoor party. Keep in mind that not every inflatable is appropriate for every age group, so make sure that you pick the right one.”

Want more kids’ birthday party inspo? Check out more of Candice, Josefina and Diana’s work!

Little Lavish Party (Candice) in Houston, TX: Instagram | Website

Dream and Party LLC (Josefina) in Greenwich, CT: Instagram | Website

Paperlattes (Diana) in Los Angeles/Orange Country, CA: Instagram | Website

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