Don’t miss another birthday: 6 ideas to make it work | Wender Mind Kids

Don't miss another birthday: 6 ideas to make it work

When plans for her daughter’s 7th birthday had to be changed in January because of the pandemic, Syosset mum Sloane Grober switched to a family-only backup plan. Her revised strategy: Dome is where the heart is.

“I rented an igloo,” says Grober, 32, a consultant for Blue Jean Baby, a children’s clothing store in Woodbury. “We put it in our garden and used it for a family movie night. It was very cool.” In fact, birthday girl Hunter and her sisters Harlow, 4, and Hayden, 1, were toasty and warm. The furnished, freeze-proof shelter rented from Long Island Igloos featured a TV, a popcorn maker — and a heater.

Syosset mother Sloane Grober rented a backyard igloo for her daughter Hunter and sisters Harlow, 4, and Hayden, 1. Credit: Sloane Grober

“When life gives you lemons, make frozen lemonade,” says Grober, whose save-the-day solution is right on trend. Unconventional party experiences are more popular than ever. “We try to make things memorable so our kids don’t just remember the masks,” she says.

Long Island party pros and parents share hot topics and trends in 2022 — looking ahead to Spider-Man and TikTok — that are out there ready to make kids’ parties memorable, even if it’s Plan B.

NICE DREAMS

Roni Gaon, 36, a party planner with three daughters who worked with Grober on an Oktoberfest-themed get-together for Hayden last fall, predicts slumber parties will be in fashion. “Everyone wants to celebrate at home,” she says.

Roni Gaon, 36, a party planner with three daughters who...

Roni Gaon, 36, a party planner with three daughters who worked with Grober on an Oktoberfest-themed get-together for Hayden last fall, predicts slumber parties will be in fashion. “Everyone wants to celebrate at home,” she says. Photo credit: Matthew Starr

She set up a basement spa at her home in Woodbury for her daughter Maddyn’s 6th birthday. Girls snoozed (and giggled) in teepees, indulged in mini makeovers, crafted dream catchers and, of course, sampled irresistible desserts. The special delights, she says, “are great decor, attention to detail, and fun activities for the kids.”

BEACH ONLY

Look for some children’s festivals that take place during the summer, whether their birthdays fall then or not. Outdoors is still where people want to party, says Andrea Correale, owner of Elegant Affairs in Glen Cove.

Turning a backyard into a beach is a growing trend. Fill inflatable kiddy pools with sand and you have what it takes to be a place to build sand castles. Colorful beach balls offer themed hues for decoration. “You can press little sandwiches out of shell cutters,” says Correale. “Custom beach towels make great giveaways for kids to take home.”

ROYAL TREATMENT

Every child wants to feel like royalty on their birthday. Princesses will reign as a trend this year as well. Islip mum Kerry Sluker, 40, who works in ad sales, gave daughter Juliette, 4, the royal treatment at her birthday party. The tent party in the backyard would have woken up Sleeping Beauty from her nap.

Islip mum Kerry Sluker, 40, gave daughter Juliette, 4, the...

Islip mum Kerry Sluker, 40, gave daughter Juliette, 4, the royal treatment at her recent birthday celebration. Photo Credit: Danielle Sheridan Photo

The decor was pretty in pink. The cake was an edible castle. Two entertainers in royal costume created a good atmosphere. Cake pops were capped with a candy crown. “The princess theme really popped up,” says Shira Bush, 39, a Westchester-based planner who hosted the party and often works on Long Island. “There should be no question as to what the subject is.”

ANIMAL MAGNETISM

“Parents are excited as we move forward in 2022,” Bush says. “So many said, ‘My kids missed it last year.’ “Animals play a big part in the trend – from forest dwellers to farm cuties to mythical beasts. “Unicorns are always big,” says Bush.

FLICK PICKS

If your Spidey senses are leading you to believe that a certain web-slinger is trendier than ever, you’re right. After the $1 billion hit of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Peter Parker’s alter ego’s party popularity is set to skyrocket.

Sara Caiola, owner of Lavender Cupcakery & Dessert Shoppe in Hauppauge, has transformed the character into festive cakes and cookies. “Spider-Man has always been popular,” she says, adding that the new hit film has amplified that. Super Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog and mermaids “are always there”.

LMNO Party Planning in Babylon expects Spider-Man to have company when it comes to party requests. “It’s not just one superhero, it’s the whole team,” says co-owner Nicole Rosales. These include the Hulk, Captain America, Superman, Batman and others.

"Encanto" is a hit movie that party planners are expecting to translate...

Encanto is a hit movie that party planners are expecting to translate into party trends. Laurie Ferrara, operator of Balloons by Laurie, made this display for an encanto themed party at home. Credit: Laurie Ferrara

Encanto is another hit movie that party planners are waiting to see translated into party trends. This is not only due to the charm of the animated film, but also to “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”, a breakout song. “I just got a request for big letter balloons that say ‘Bruno’,” says Laurie Ferrara, who runs Balloons by Laurie.

CANDY IS DANDY

From all appearances, moms and dads are planning well in advance for 2022 parties — and the year is going to be sweet. Ask Elli Krempa, 39, co-owner of Koukla Children’s Boutique in Bellmore, whose daughter Nikoletta turns 4 this summer. In January, she booked a party at a steakhouse with an outdoor patio.

The theme is Candyland. “She loves cotton candy, Swedish fish, ring pops, she loves everything.”

FEEL GROOVY

Batik-everything and hippie-happy Coachella will be among the top trends again this year, party experts agree. TikTok will also lead the way. That was the original theme for Hunter Grober’s 7th birthday. And she’ll be enjoying what was planned – on her “half birthday” in July.

The summer party is said to have “someone who specializes in TikTok dances to teach the girls choreography,” Grober says, adding that partygoers will also be spray-painting sweatshirts. “That will be funny. I love planning parties. Nowadays you have to be on the ball.”

TO COLLECT OR NOT TO COLLECT? DOCTORS REACT

Should parents be hosting small playdates or birthday parties at this point in the pandemic?

“I don’t think it’s easy to make blanket decisions at this point,” says Dr. “I don’t think there is an absolute recommendation. I don’t recommend people to be lenient, I don’t recommend people to be strict.”

Instead, Glatt recommends considering personal risk factors and making individual decisions based on the idea that it’s healthy for children to hang out whenever possible.

If all children (and any accompanying adults) are vaccinated and the host family has no family members at high risk of the disease, gathering together makes sense, says Glatt. However, it’s safer to congregate in a large room with good ventilation than a small room with poor ventilation, he says. And having everyone wear masks further reduces the risk, although he says expecting toddlers and preschoolers to wear their masks properly isn’t entirely realistic.

“The most important thing for children five years and older is that they get vaccinated at least two weeks before each meeting,” agrees Dr. Mundeep Kainth, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park.

However, not everyone in that age group has taken the vaccine, says Kainth. For example, Kainth says she wanted to throw a party for her son Jaishan’s 9th birthday this month, but ultimately decided against it because at least one of his friends isn’t vaccinated and she was concerned about the risk to her elderly parents. Her two sons, including Ishan, 6, have been vaccinated, she says. “If you really want it, I would do rapid tests and wear masks,” she says, adding that children should wear KN95 masks instead of surgical or cloth masks. She also recommends keeping the level of community spread in mind when making decisions – while numbers may be falling now, the virus could start to surge again in a couple of weeks.

– Beth Whitehouse

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