“Thirty Going on Ten!” Throw this throwback to childhood birthday party

Guest post by Colleen
The snacks, games, and activities of birthdays past... but like, for today.
The snacks, games, and activities of birthdays past… but like, for today.

I love throwing parties, and a theme makes any party better. For my 30th birthday I wanted to do something simple, yet festive. I picked the theme “Thirty Going on Ten” — a throwback to childhood birthday parties. My guests really embraced the theme and we had so much fun!

Here’s how I did it…

Food and drink

food from when I was a kid

I served food from when I was a kid. And if my friends asked what they could bring, I encouraged them to bring their favorite childhood foods. We had Cheetos, Doritos, ants on a log, mini hot dogs, popsicles, and other kiddie treats.


I had a cookie-decorating station, as well, with frosting and sprinkles.


For drinks I served Capri Sun juice boxes, Sunny D, and Kool-Aid, alongside a variety of liquor mixers. I also had beer and sparkling water since those are favorites in my crowd. It would have been fun to turn a kiddie pool into a beverage cooler but I didn’t get that fancy.

birthday goodie bags

I also made goodie bags filled with things like animal crackers, fruit snacks, and Ring Pops for my guests to take home.


coloring party

In addition to the cookie decorating, I had a coloring station with free coloring pages I printed online. The finished art was taped up in the “art gallery” on the wall. Coloring ended up being really popular; it was a great way for people who didn’t know many others at the party to mingle while having an activity to focus on.

pin the broom on the wizard

A friend made “Pin the Broom on the Wizard” for us, and it was another fun way to relive childhood parties. I also had games like Jenga and Yahtzee.


Had the weather been nice enough to be outside, I was also planning to have bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and sparklers. I considered adding a piñata, as well.


dolphin birthday party plates

The dollar store proved to be a great source for cheesy plates, cups, and napkins. The dollar store also had glow bracelets (20 for a dollar) that I offered to each guest as they arrived.

glow bracelets

A friend brought balloons which were a great addition to the ambiance. I didn’t have the time to get more elaborate but you could easily do so with more dollar-store finds like banners, streamers, squirt guns, silly straws, etc.

Music was easy: The Pandora “90s Pop” station fit the bill perfectly. Another option would have been to have childhood movies playing in the background.

My 30th birthday was a ton of fun and I just might have a kiddie party every year!

What would you include in YOUR throwback birthday party?

Comments on “Thirty Going on Ten!” Throw this throwback to childhood birthday party

  1. Stealing all these ideas.

    In college, when we didn’t have the room for a party at our place, we threw a party for my friend’s birthday at a skating rink! Remember those?? We had the overpriced pizza and balloons and danced the hokey pokey and it was just like being 10 again. 🙂

  2. We did something similar for my husband’s 40th. His folks wanted to throw a party since we were visiting around his birthday, so I asked what they used to do when he was a little kid. It turned out–go-karts and super-hero cakes. So that’s what we did, with the whole family. As it turns out, those things don’t get old even if we do–highly recommended!

  3. A friend of mine had a fairly similar 30th theme – it was something about reliving childhood so we all got to dress as childhood heroes, kids games like pinata, pass the parcel etc, kids party food, loot bags… it was fabulous!

  4. Only thing I’d add is crazy straws. Crazy straws make everything better.

    Also, apparently, there’s wine you can buy in pouches. ADULT CAPRISUNS. YAY!

  5. Our friend had a kids pajama party for his 30th. We played foursquare, ate bugles, watched the SandLot, and drank Sunny-D (spiked with vodka). It was AMAZING!

    I LOVE the goodie bag idea!

  6. When my dad had his 45th, my parents booked a kid’s party package at the local mini-golf place. There were green army men on the cake. The place also had go-carts, which were a particular hit–Dad and most of his friends are bus drivers and they got to race each other. I didn’t get to go, but everyone who did had a blast.

    • My husband actually had his birthday party last year at a kids’ party place with mini golf, laser tag, and arcade games. Everyone had a great time–that stuff never gets old!

  7. I didn’t have a throwback party for mine, I had a Halloween party since we didn’t get to have one in October the previous year and everyone dressed up including my parents.

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