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

When plans for her daughter’s 7th birthday in January had to be changed due to the pandemic, Syosset’s mother, Sloane Grober, switched to a family-only backup plan. His 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 up in our backyard and used it for family movie night. It was really cool.” It was actually very hot for birthday girl Hunter and her sisters, Harlow, 4, and Hayden, 1. a radiator.

“When life gives you lemons, make ice cold lemonade,” says Grober, whose save-the-day solution is straight on trend. Out-of-the-box 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’s party pros and parents are sharing some hot themes and trends in 2022 — looking at you Spider-Man and TikTok — who are ready to make kids’ parties unforgettable, even if it’s plan B.

SWEET DREAMS

Roni Gaon, 36, a party planner with three daughters who worked with Grober on an Oktoberfest-themed gathering for Hayden last fall, predicts sleepovers will be all the rage. “Everyone wants to party at home,” she says.

For her daughter Madyn’s 6th birthday, she created a basement spa at her home in Woodbury. The girls dozed (and giggled) in teepees, pampered themselves with mini makeovers, made dreamcatchers and, of course, dined on irresistible desserts. Special delights, she says, “are about incredible decor, attention to detail and fun activities for kids.”

JUST AT THE BEACH

Look for certain children’s parties that will take place in the summer, whether or not their birthday falls. The outdoors is still where people want to party, says Andrea Correale, owner of Elegant Affairs at Glen Cove.

Turning a garden into a beach is a growing trend. Fill the inflatable kiddie pools with sand and you have the makings of a place to build sand castles. Colorful beach balls provide themed hues for decorations. “You can press small sandwiches into seashell cookie cutters,” Correale says. “Personalized beach towels are great gifts kids can take home.”

ROYAL TREATMENT

Every child wants to feel like royalty on their birthday. Princesses will continue to reign as a trend this year. Islip’s mum Kerry Sluker, 40, who is in advertising sales, gave her 4-year-old daughter Juliette the royal treatment on her birthday. The party under the tent in the garden would have awakened Sleeping Beauty from her nap.

The decor was pretty in pink. The cake was an edible castle. Two artists in royal attire set the tone. The cake pops were topped with a candy crown. “The princess theme really popped,” says Shira Bush, 39, a Westchester-based planner who handled the party and often works on Long Island. “There should be no doubt about the theme.”

ANIMAL MAGNETISM

“Parents are very excited to celebrate as we move forward into 2022,” Bush says. “A lot of people said, ‘My kids missed out last year. “Animals are big on trends — from woodland creatures to barnyard cuties to mythical beasts. “Unicorns are always big,” Bush says.

CHOICE OF MOVIES

If your Spidey senses suggest a certain web-slinger is trending hotter than ever, they’re right. After the billion-plus hit of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the popularity of Peter Parker’s alter ego is set to skyrocket.

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

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

“Encanto” is another blockbuster movie that party planners expect to translate into party trends. This owes not only to the charm of the animated film, but “We are not talking about Bruno”, a breakout song. “I just got a request for large letter balloons spelling out Bruno,” says Laurie Ferrara, who runs Balloons by Laurie.

CANDY IS DANDY

By all accounts, moms and dads are planning the 2022 holidays well in advance – and it’s going to be a sweet year. Ask Elli Krempa, 39, co-owner of children’s boutique Koukla 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 Candy Land. “She loves cotton candy, Swedish fish, ring pops, she loves everything.” For a day, she will indulge in the sugar rush.

GROOVY FEELING

Everything tie-dye and hippie Coachella will be among the top trends again this year, party experts agree. TikTok will also lead the way. This was the original theme for Hunter Grober’s 7th anniversary. And she’ll be able to enjoy what was planned – on her “half-birthday” in July.

The summer party is expected to include “someone who specializes in TikTok dances to teach the girls choreography,” Grober says, adding that revelers will also be painting sweatshirts. “It’s going to be fun. I love throwing parties. These days you have to be on your toes.”

TO GATHER OR NOT TO GATHER? DOCTORS RESPOND

Should parents organize small play dates or birthday parties at this stage of the pandemic?

“I don’t think it’s easy at this point to make big-picture decisions,” says Dr. Aaron Glatt, chief of infectious diseases at Mt. Sinai South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside. “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.

Glatt instead recommends that people consider their personal risk factors and make individual decisions based on the idea that it’s healthy for children to get together if possible.

If all the children (and any accompanying adults) are immunized and the foster family has no members at high risk of illness, then it’s reasonable to get together, Glatt says. However, congregating in a large, well-ventilated room is safer than a small, poorly ventilated room, he says. And having everyone wear masks further reduces the risk, though he says it’s not entirely realistic to expect toddlers and preschoolers to keep their mask properly.

“The most important thing for children five and older is that they should be vaccinated at least two weeks before any gathering,” agrees Dr. Mundeep Kainth, a pediatrician who specializes in infectious diseases at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park.

However, not everyone in this age group has taken up the vaccine, Kainth says. For example, Kainth says she wanted to throw a party for her son Jaishan’s 9th birthday this month, but ultimately chose not to as at least one of his friends is unvaccinated and she feared the risk to his elderly parents. Her two sons, including 6-year-old Ishan, have been vaccinated, she said. “If you really want to do 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 an eye on the level of community spread when making choices — although there may be a drop in numbers now, in a few weeks the virus could rise again.

—Beth Whitehouse

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