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El Toro Birthday Party (36 photos)


El Toro Birthday Party

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  My younger son's 3rd birthday fiesta fell into place at the last minute.  His request was a "cow and horse" party.  Doing a farm birthday just didn't seem to fit him and I didn't want to repeat the cowboy theme which I had covered a few months prior with my older son's Cowby & Ninja party.  Then it hit me that his zodiac sign is Taurus -- The Bull.  El Toro. Perfecto.

To seal the deal, the week of the party I serendipitously found my husband's red scarf from San Fermin, the famous "Running of the Bulls" in Pamplona, Spain.  The red handkerchief turned out to be a fun prop and accessory for my boys.

Horses came into play, too, because they do, in fact, have a role in the traditional bullfighting performances.  So my son got his cow and horse party after all.

Though this was for a 3-year old party it could easily be transformed into a guy party for any age.  The manly bull as the central theme pairs well with equally bold colors: red, white and black.  Though bullfighting is prevalent in many places around the world and the bull is a central figure in these place, I focused on Spain, drawing from my time spent there years ago.  It goes without saying, however, that though I use elements of bullfighting and the "Running of the Bulls" in the party my desire was to make it more of a symbolic representation with the bull as the central character.  And that bull could even be a peaceful bull, as in the acclaimed book (and one of my favorites): The Story of Ferdinand.

If the party had been larger and at home I envisioned a spread of Spanish tapas to feed the crowd.  As it was, we had the party at the Portland's Children Museum so we opted for pizza and Manchego cheese & crackers.  My focus became the El Toro dessert table.

I still vividly remember travelling through the Spanish countryside and seeing the huge black Toro billboards cut in the shape of the iconic bull silhouette.  Once I settled on the birthday party theme I knew that I had to include this symbol in the party.  The invitations were the logical place to start.  Complemented with red, white and black craft paper form Michael's, El Toro was the main image.  The same craft paper paired with the bull emblem in miniature form made simple yet striking labels for the desserts.

And now for the array of goodies:

Agua and kid-friendly sangria (i.e. fruit punch or any type of juice) were Spanish-inspired drinks.

Fruit skewers {banderillas} were simple representations of the colorful arrows that are used in one stage of the bullfighting performance.  The fruit kabobs were easy, pretty party food that added a healthy component to the meal.  I used watermelon and strawberries, two of the birthday boy's favorite fruits.  However, any skewered food (sweet or savory) would work great.

Caballo {horse} cookies represented the horses in the party.  I followed a tutorial on Pinterest to ice and decorate the horses that were a huge hit with the kiddos.

The El Toro cake was the dessert centerpiece.  I made an almond poppy seed cake with raspberry filling for the bottom tier (to fit the red, white and black color scheme.) For the top, I made a white vanilla cake with a homemade caramel filling {think Spanish flan i.e. creme caramel}.  I purchased an Andalusian (Spanish) bull figurine on for the cake topper, which quickly became a favorite toy with the birthday boy.

I originally planned to serve churros at the party, a typical Spanish treat.  However, getting churros delivered to the party (because they need to be consumed right as they are cooked) became a logistical nightmare so I made churro cookies (dipped in chocolate) instead.  When packaged in cute, little decorative bags they made perfect party favors to go.

Tres Leches cake is an easy (and oh so delicioso!) addition to any dessert table.  Though it is a stretch if following a strict menu from Spain, I was able to justify its inclusion because it is a popular dessert in many countries in the Americas where bullfighting is also a  central cultural tradition.  Maraschino cherries on top (the traditional garnish for the cake) coincidentally fit the color scheme.  Skewering the cherries with red and black party {toothpick} swords was the icing on the cake,....or should I say cherry on top!

To say Muchas Gracias! to our guests, bubble party favors were easy and simple. I wrapped them with red and white-striped washi tape. The little decorative bags filled with leftover party treats rounded out the favors.






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