A Unicorn-themed 5th birthday for my unicorn-obsessed girl

I’m not sure what it is about these magical, mystical creatures but sure enough, like so many other little girls out there, my daughter just can’t get enough of them! Unicorn stuffys, unicorn toys, unicorn dresses – she is obsessed. So when it came to picking a theme for her 5th birthday party, it was a no-brainer!

I initially wanted to see if there was any way to bring a unicorn to our home, but it turns out unicorns don’t really come that readily for hire. I found a couple of places that did something like that but they were very far away, extremely expensive, and did not travel to you.

After what felt like countless hours of google searching and trying to get creative with what was out there, I stumbled upon a little farm that had horses in the North County area that allowed people to host parties. What was so sweet about this farm was that they already had some pre-planned activities for the kids, including an art project where the kids got to paint horseshoes, so I wouldn’t have to plan any extra activities on my own. After ringing them up and chatting through logistics, toward the end of the call, I sheepishly asked – hoping they wouldn’t hang up on me – “would you be at all willing to let me dress your horse up as a unicorn?” I figured if there were places out there that dresses their own horses up as unicorns, why not try to see if we could do that ourselves? To my relief, the owner exclaimed, “well, nobody’s ever asked that before! Absolutely!!” And so, at that point, the party planning began!

With my daughter getting a little older now, I also wanted her to have more input into her own party. She chose her own invitation this year, which I then planned the color scheme around.

I then started doing some Etsy searches (thank goodness for Etsy)! I do some DIY when I can, but it’s always a cost-benefit analysis for me; sure, it is more affordable to make many of the paper goods on our own, but our plates are full as it is, and I just don’t have the time! I found a birthday banner with the aesthetic I liked, and also some tassel garlands that matches the aqua and pinks of her invitation.

My girl also had input into the food. Perhaps it’s because she associates it with dates with Daddy when she gets to eat treats with allergens around (her brother has multiple severe food allergies), but she loves doughnuts and wanted that to be one of the main treats. And hey, everyone knows that doughnuts are unicorn food! Because of my son’s food allergies though, gluten-free doughnuts that are also vegan and nut-free aren’t that easy to find (not cheap). But it was important to our family to make any event we hosted safe for our son, since there are so few gatherings where he (and frankly, we) can fully relax due to unsafe food being present. After looking into our options, I decided I had to make them myself.

First time making sprinkled (gluten-free and vegan) donuts – we think they turned out pretty well!

Since our party was in the afternoon, we didn’t have to provide a full meal. So when it came to snacks, I got creative with fruits and veggies, both of which are safe for her big brother. At their preschool, they had done a unit on heathy eating where they “ate the rainbow”, so it gave me inspiration on how to tie those into our unicorn theme!

Rainbow crudités platter
Rainbow fruit cups

I ended up also making cupcakes, but for the cake itself, I wanted to try to tie it to the theme as well, and getting fancy with the layers and the colors and the frosting would be a little too time-consuming. Our local allergy-friendly bakeries were not able to accommodate our wishes of doing a funfetti or rainbow-themed cake. I finally found a gluten-free vegan bakery in Los Angeles that shipped nationwide. They didn’t typically offer custom designs, but it never hurts to ask, and luckily in this case, they were able to make the design I sent them for an extra fee.

Nothing like little cake toppers to pull otherwise basic cupcakes into the theme!
I absolutely loved how our cake turned out, and again, our custom cake topper make it complete!

Then, there was planning out the goody bags. I always love putting thought into party favors as I feel like they are a wonderful way to make your guests feel appreciated. And again due to my son’s allergies, I’m always trying to find non-food items, which helps to keep him and other kids with food restrictions safe and included. I always forget to take pictures of our party favors but this time, we included rainbow colored slap bracelets, glitter unicorn stickers, unicorn tattoos, a balloon, and a party blowout. During the party itself, I also forgot to distribute our unicorn-horn shaped party hats, so I quickly threw those in too.

The cost of the bags themselves were something I couldn’t justify, given how easy they were to make. So we turned it into an art project that my daughter could get involved in too! I have to say, it was an exercise in letting go of perfection for me 😉, but I forced myself to be OK with it. After all, what makes a party special is making it personal. And it was such fun 1:1 mommy-daughter time to get to make these together, not to mention how she felt a sense of pride in giving them to her friends.

Letting go of perfection for meaningful involvement! Here is my girl helping to cut out unicorn ears – some great fine motor skills practice plus fun 1:1 mommy daughter time!

The other item I just couldn’t justify paying for was some cotton candy favors. My kids had been bugging me about trying cotton candy sometime, after seeing it at the local strawberry patch over the summer. But individually packed rainbow cotton candy cups were going for $5-$7 a cup! I ended up buying some plastic cups with lids from Amazon and assembling individual cups from bulk cotton candy in various colors. So my daughter was able to help decorate the cups as well.

Diligently helping mama assemble cups and goody bags

Lastly, I had to figure out how we were going to hang the birthday banner to create a central focal point for the party. While we own some large wooden panels that we’ve used for parties at home, they were very heavy, would require a rental truck, and involve a lot of lifting. Knowing that I would have a newborn in tow, I needed to figure out a cost effective way to make that happen. I looked into flagpole stands but those were pretty pricy. I ended up finding a square metal arbor used for garden parties or small ceremonies, that would in pieces and could be assembled in just a few minutes.

Here is how it all came together!

Our dessert spread
Love how our sprinkled donuts turned out
Our cotton candy cups that my little girl helped decorate
Horseshoe painting station
Refreshment table with the goody bags that my daughter helped make

The party started off with the owner of the farm explaining some rules about handling to horses to the kids, as well as how to brush them. Then they brought the horses out for the kids to help actually do so. That was when we did the big reveal! I hadn’t told my daughter about getting to meet a unicorn, as I wasn’t sure if it would work out and I didn’t want her to be disappointed. While the horn didn’t stay on for the pony ride, it did stay on for that first encounter, which was such a special moment!

Getting to meet a real live unicorn!
Brushing the unicorn’s fur
Big brother and cousin brushing too

Then it was time for the highlight of the party – the unicorn ride itself, which the birthday girl got to do first! We had two horses for the parry, and every kid had a chance to ride each horse for multiple laps around the ring. The kids who wanted to go more than once all got a chance, and the birthday girl got to ride her favorite horse twice!

My beautiful princess on a unicorn!
I just had to share this second shot too, as the glare formed a perfect rainbow over her head…couldn’t have planned that more perfectly!
Her first time riding ever
While each child rode, the other kids got to paint horseshoes and do other crafts
Big brother conquered his fears and went for a ride too!
The whole crew

All in all, it was a super sweet afternoon! The kiddos all had a great time! It seemed like the grown-ups all enjoyed it too, as the kids were occupied the whole time. And most important of all, my little girl felt loved and celebrated. ❤️🦄🌈

We managed to get one full family shot, including with our 4-week-old!
We love you, our sweet girl!

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