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Well, after putting in an embarrassing number of hours on my sons 5th Cops & Robbers birthday party it all came down to the weather forecast, which I checked ceaselessly the week leading up to the event. Sure enough the foreboding 50% chance of rain went up to 60%, and then 70%… the night before it said 90% and it was time for plan B. My sweet hubby suggested we hold the party at our church, which of course was probably the best idea. But I already had the dining room partially decorated and an exact idea of where I wanted everything in my brain and the thought of transporting everything to another locale was giving me severe anxiety. So it was the patio or the garage. We opted for the garage. So sweet hubby cleared it out for me and I did my best to make it look… a little less garage-y. All in all the party did not go off as I had hoped. I think it was mostly due to the weather. Cause oh boy did it rain, and rain, and rain. I think that kept some people away. And of course the garage did not offer the same atmosphere that doing it on the lawn (like I had hoped) would have provided. About half way through the rain let up so we opened the garage doors and the kids ran around and actually played cops & robbers for a bit, so there was that.
But as for the party logistics, here we go…! I guess I should start with the invitation. I was going for the more vintage cop feel:
When guests arrived I tried to make sure they got checked in at our “choose your side of the law” table where they could decide if they were going to be a cop or a robber. Can you guess what all but 2 of them chose? (thank goodness for Luke & Adriane!). Yes, they all wanted to be the good guys ;). I seriously struggled to find police hats for the kids to wear! I ended up buying these super cheap-y hats that barely lasted the duration of the party. I liked the way they looked, but they were so cheap. And I paid like $2 a piece too! I was upset about that. We ordered some handcuffs in bulk on amazon- those ended up being the biggest hit as far as the “costumes”. So I would definitely put those high on the priority list. The kids were loving handcuffing each other (and of course escaping!) and spent the majority of the party fixated on that. And my dear mother in law made some robber masks for the lone robbers (have I mentioned I don’t sew?). The cops got sheriff badges and the robbers got inmate tags. I always like to have something personalized with the guest’s name on it. That gets tricky though when people don’t RSVP! (not ranting…not ranting…)
After they checked in I led them to the front patio where they could complete their physical fitness test to be inducted into the police academy (or for the robbers hone their skills to prepare for their next heist). It was a simple course made of string and a balance beam at the end. The string kept coming down so I enlisted some of the other kids who came with their siblings to help keep the obstacle course intact. I think they felt useful 🙂
Party Tip: If you have older children that show up to the party (because ‘mom MADE them go with their little brother’ … or you know, whatever the case may be) get them to help! Have them run a station, help serve food, walk around with a garbage bag and be on garbage duty. They’ll feel useful and all grown up and then you wont have older kids making mischief (not that they EVER do that…)
I tried my best to capture each kid’s “mug shot”… but you know… party chaos made that hard
The other party games were:
1. Thumbprint art (big hit with the girls):
I made this in powerpoint, printed it out and then used an inkpad to make the different animals in the left column, I left the right hand column empty for the kids to fill out. Once my thumbprints had dried I put it through the copier to make enough for all the kids.
2. Target practice: (i didnt get a picture until the party was over, we actually had 3 or 4 different “weapons” including two nerf guns and a blow dart. It ended up working really well to use the white board, the nerf bullets stuck perfectly. I bought this particular nerf gun for the occasion and considered it one of the birthday boys gifts from Mom & Dad.
3. Actually playing cops vs robbers with our “county jail” and “city bank”. My dear mother in law sewed some canvas bags for me and I spraypainted the money sign and stuffed them with paper. We loaded them in the city bank…did I get any pictures?? Have I mentioned how hard it is to throw a party AND photograph a party?
Can you believe this jail made out of PVC pipe. Who did it? That’s right, my dear mother in law. How awesome is she? We saw it on pinterest and I thought, “thats cool but there’s no way I have time”. And she totally did it! I cant wait to reuse it as some sort of “spiritual prison” for sharing time. And we just stuck some police lights (can you see them in the back?) on our power wheels & declared it the cop car.
The biggest hit of the party was definitely when we had a real officer show up and give us a tour of his car! A big thanks to Eldon for arranging that:
Unfortunately we got distracted by this event and all the hamburgers (aka hamburglers) that were on the BBQ got a little….well done…
So now that the hamburgers were past ready to eat we headed inside for lunch.
I ended up getting some of the supplies from birthday express (plates, tablecloth & cupcake holders) because while they were definitely pricey- the artwork was exactly what I was going for with the more vintage feel. Now amazon has them! So lucky for you! And when they came I was pleased with the quality. I even saved the tablecloth b/c it is pretty thick and wiped down easily.
On the menu was: hamburglers (I actually thought of that myself, I felt pretty ingenious), cop corn, tossed in jail fruit salad & mug shots.
mug root beer for our “mug shots”. I just reused some glass bottles and stuck the label on ’em. For dessert we did a “donut shoppe”. Cause you know, cops…donuts…get it?? get it??? I used the old fashioned spelling to go along with the vintage feel.
I was pretty proud of the dessert table. I had never made donuts before, and the thought of dropping something in a boiling vat of oil scares me to death, so I opted for the baked version. They were seriously delicious.. oh my the spiced apple cider donuts were heavenly! Definitely my favorite. And who can go wrong with nutella!? I did make some run of the mill cupcakes just in case donuts didn’t do it for the myriad of 5-year-olds. And somewhat unsurprisingly many of them opted for that over my homemade donuts I spent hours slaving over. Oh well, more for me! I did like my robber repelling to get away from the police scene I put on the cupcake stand though- hah! I don’t know if anyone noticed it so I have to highlight it here 😉
Party Tip: Man I love that sticky tac stuff you can get at walmart or here. I used it SO much for this party.. including here to get the figurines to stick.
mmmm, I’m getting hungry all over again.
The birthday boy enjoying what??? Yup, a box mix cupcake.
The adorable vintage policeman & robber image that I used on everything for the party I purchased on etsy from this talented lady. She actually just had the policeman and I asked if she would make a matching robber. I think they are adorable. And while I’m usually all about the “free” stuff you can find online, occasionally its really worth it to shell out a couple dollars I think. And lastly, I meant to put these on the car windows of our guests, but totally forgot. So I ended using them as thank you cards with notes on the back:
I have to give credit to Cakes Likes a Party from whom I got many ideas. If you are throwing a cops & robbers party you have to check out her post! It looks like it was one amazing party.
Here are a few of my files if you are interested in downloading them for your own cops vs robbers party!
Cops&Robbers paper goods police hats (hope you find better ones than I!) hamburger buns
crime scene tape robber masks (buy or make) hamburger fixins
police lights (red&blue) raffle tickets (for policemen to hand out-$store) fruit salad
$ bags (buy or make) yarn (for obstacle course) mug root beer
paper straws donut ingredients (follow links for recipes)
Some other great finds from people who have used this post to throw their own cops & robbers party:
I pretty much rely on Amazon & the dollar store when it comes to my party shopping. If you don’t already have Amazon Prime, its a life saver! Lots of items come to my front door the very next day!A huge bonus when you have three kids you would rather not lug through walmart. You can sign up for a 30 day free trial here.
You can find the cops & robbers food and drink labels here. If you are getting ready to plan & throw a party, check out my post 6 things to consider when planning a party to get you on your way! And follow my pinterest board for more party ideas and free printables.
*All Amazon links are affiliate links. In other words if you purchase something through that link I earn a small commission. Thanks for supporting my site!!