Monday, March 11, 2013

Thrift Store Birthday Party

We like parties at our house.

And birthdays are a BIG DEAL.

My daughters like to talk about themes for their birthday parties all year long.

My oldest daughter, McDaniel, came up with a thrift store theme for her birthday some time ago.

WAY before that stupid song came out.

She has been forced to like thrift stores by me.

After finding some pretty cool stuff, 
she genuinely likes to thrift now.

She decided to enlighten some of her friends on the thrift store experience this past weekend.

She handed out price tag shaped invitations that I made.
(Can't find an extra one to photograph.)

Since we were taking 13 14-year-olds shopping, 
we decided that bright t-shirts would make them easy to spot.

We found a 2 for $5 deal at Joann Fabrics.

My husband Monte picked those up and had to negotiate HARD for them to honor the online deal in the store.

They did.
Because that is how it is with Monte.

But they rang each of the 15 shirts separately.
Typing in 100 numbers each time.

Monte felt the hate of everyone standing in line behind him. 

The color of the shirts is Safety Green.

As in "I could see you safely from 2 miles away."

I made my own stencil to paint on the t-shirts.

I printed this out in Word and using an Exacto Knife,
cut out the words.
I decided to go with the spray fabric paint
again. So fast and easy!

I used a paintbrush to spread around the paint in
thin spots.

We decided to have the girls do a scavenger hunt in the thrift store to give the shopping experience some structure.

McDaniel divided the girls up into 4 teams that we posted at the house.
Monte found an article on the web about a guy who had found a signed Picasso at a thrift store in our area. He posted it for the girls to read.
He bought the print for $14 and sold it for
$7,000. It pays to thrift!
Once we got to the thrift store, I handed out clipboards with 12 items for each group to find. Each group's list was different.

There were things like:

•Find something with a squirrel on it
•Find something with fur.
•Find something creepy. 
(black cat with green eyes. shiver shudder!)
•Find a leather jacket.

Each group had a photographer who took a photo of each item with their phone.


Hamming it up.

When they were done, they found either Monte or I 
and we checked off each item as we saw the picture.
Monte found this huge desk that he
made his "office". We saw the desk
being loaded into someone's
truck before we left the store.

The girls blew through the lists faster than I thought!
(And our lunch reservations weren't for another hour.)

On the fly, I had each team regroup and I gave them themes to dress and accessorize for.


•The 80s
•Country & Western
Not sure what the red hat has to do with
this theme.

•A wedding
Groom. She even put silk flowers in her

Bride. They couldn't find a wedding dress
so they used a bed sheet, belt and a lacy
table cloth for a veil. LOVE their

Flower girl.

They even had a preacher. 
I made trophies for the teams who finished
the scavenger hunt first. I bought
these plastic trophies at the Dollar Spot
at Target last year.

I decided to paint one gold.

I decided to embellish the trophies with little
hangers using this fun wire.

I just twisted the wire into a hanger shape.

Aren't they cute?

I twisted a piece of wire to each hanger so I could
hot glue it to the inside of each trophy.

So fun.
After a great lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant, we came back to our house for cupcakes.

I had them made by Chocolate Cafe and they did a great job!

They turned out so cute!
Jeans. The cupcake to the right has
pennies on it.

A blazer. A quarter is on the cupcake to the right.
These hangers are adorable.

Scavenger hunt winners of the Gold Cup.

Silver Cup winners for creativity for the wedding theme.

 It was a good day.

Did McDaniel successfully make thrift shoppers out of any of the girls?


I saw some girls buy a camouflage snuggie 
(they gave it to McDaniel).

A Barbie DVD 
(they gave it to McDaniel).

And a Cinderella 3 DVD 
(she kept that for herself).

This party worked so well that I just might try to do it for adults.

My girlfriend's birthday is this week and I do have a few t-shirts left over…


  1. I love this idea for a party! So creative. I might steal it for my daughter's b-day. Did the thrift store workers mind you guys being there?

  2. Lisa,

    I should've addressed that, I did NOT go to the store ahead of time to warn them of a large group of teens coming in (even though a friend thought I should). We went in the morning on a Saturday and surprisingly few people were in there. The staff was so sweet--even offered one of the teams help in finding things on their list. I did give specific rules to the girls: no running, no shouting and let someone know if you break something. Which happened. One girl broke a vase but again, the staff was so sweet about it. Good luck! If you need ideas on what to look for in the hunt, let me know!

  3. Anonymous11:10 PM

    You are awesome. OK, I had to Google I <3 since I had no idea what that meant. ;) I totally love Monte's "desk!" xoGretchen

  4. Gretchen: the only reason I know anything about the "text language" is because of the girls. We called Monte "The Godfather" at that desk, which was at the front of the store and made him look like he worked there. He did say hello to people as they entered. He was so sad to see the desk get loaded up in someone's car.

  5. Anonymous10:14 PM

    Genius! what a great idea for a party!

  6. This looks like such a fun idea! I love thrift shopping too, and so do my kiddos.

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