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REAL PARTIES: Monkey Business

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Monkey Birthday Party

We’re going bananas over this monkey themed first birthday that Shawna Pardo, coordinator and owner of Trio Events, threw in honor of her son’s first birthday!

Shawna wanted to put a “swinging spin” on the usual jungle-themed children’s party. With a little help from some gorillas, orangutans and spider monkeys, Shawna turned her backyard into a wonderland full of primate fun. Here are all the party details, as told by Shawna herself…

Monkey Birthday Party

I’m all about atmosphere and dress up when it comes to designing children’s special events. I wanted to have a backdrop that transported guests to the treetops. I began by cutting out the shape of tree trunks from plywood and hand painted them to look lifelike but playful. The trunks were then attached with screws to the blue painted background. Once attached, I painted the grass blowing in the wind.

To give the tree murals a more life-like, three dimensional appearance, live tree branches were then attached with brackets to the ends of the painted branches. The plush swinging spider monkeys found this tree to be a perfect “hang out” spot for the party!

Monkey Birthday Party

The beautiful cupcake tower in the center was custom created by the amazing Julie Desmueles from Blue Cupcake.  The unique tower added the perfect bit of spunk to my table décor.

No monkey event could ever be complete without some swinging monkeys…

Monkey Birthday Party

Monkey Birthday Party

I used the same hanging spider monkey’s I used in the murals, to hang in the real trees in our backyard. The plush monkey’s long arms and Velcro hands made hanging them a breeze.  We conveniently have banana and plantain trees in our yard, and hung our new friends to add to the ambiance.


I wanted each table to be greeted by their own special primate friend. I bought brown woven baskets from Target in the seasonal summer section. The plush monkeys were all purchased from either Target or at my local toy store.

Monkey Birthday Party

The turf grass that each monkey sits atop in the baskets were bought at www.partypartnershop.com. The monkey printed fabric overlay was purchased at my local fabric store. I used pinking sheers to cut the edges instead of having to sew them all with a finished edge. This works great when you are pressed for time and actually makes a really great little detail.


No children’s party is complete without a personalized table just their size!  This table is fun and inviting for all the little monkeys…

Monkey Birthday Party

The tablecloth and runner I custom made with fabric I bought downtown in the garment district when I couldn’t find the exact brown stripes I wanted at my local fabric store.  The plush monkeys were found at my local toy store and I used the same tissue turf inside the baskets from www.partypartnershop.com.

Monkey Birthday Party

Monkey Birthday Party

The melamine monkey plates I found at Target much to my surprise after I had no luck at my local children’s boutiques or online searches. The plates were another perfect take home item for our guests. I used the same stickers I used on the invites on white cups that were personalized with each child’s name. The palm trees were actually mini-pinatas I bought at Party City.


I wanted to kids to be able to run around with their masks on and play a bit of dress up. These boy and girl monkey faces did the trick for my pint sized guests…

Monkey Birthday Party

Monkey Birthday Party

The favor pails came in sets of a dozen with all the foam parts that I put together as you see in the photo above. (Masks and pail party favor kits purchased at www.orientaltrading.com.)

At every party I host or coordinate, there always has to be a craft or activity table. It’s always theme related and original. This party was no exception with it’s “Build A Monkey” station.

Monkey Birthday Party

I purchased the unstuffed monkey kits and blank T-shirts at www.adollysworld.com. The white T-shirts were not decorated initially so I scanned in a sticker of a banana and printed them out on iron-on sheets. I have used iron-on sheets many times to personalize t-shirts or bags for parties. I recommend buying Avery iron-on transfers at your local office or craft supply store.

Once the children stuffed and dressed their chimps, I used a permanent brown fabric marker to write the name given to each new monkey. Each monkey came with a carry home tree box and birth certificate.


This handmade invitation was pretty simple to construct. Once I chose my theme I began looking for 3-D stickers.

Monkey Birthday Party

I found the above monkey stickers at my local craft store. The raffia edge is simply cut raffia attached to hot glue. The green, brown and yellow card stock I merely cut to the preferred size and attached in layers with a glue stick.

Monkey Birthday Party

This party was soo much fun to coordinate and design. All of our guests had a wild time and were so excited to make and take home their own new monkey friend.  My guests are still talking about this event, which is really all I could ask for.”

Thanks for sharing all of this the fabulous inspiration, Shawna!

Be sure to visit Shawna’s website – www.trioeventskids.com – to check out more of her work!

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  1. Kimberly B. June 19, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Oh wow….that is hands down the BEST Monkey party I’ve seen online….I’ve searched long hours up until 3:00 am sometimes for something like this! Thank you Thank you!!!

  2. modern eve June 19, 2009 at 11:08 am

    i love every little detail!

  3. Mara June 19, 2009 at 11:47 am

    this is so cute!!

  4. Shena Hays June 19, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I LOVE this! I will have to share this with my friends…sooo cute.

  5. Suzanne B (Crunchy green Mom) June 19, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    OMG.. this is so cute! I love this party… i need to find someone to let me plan their son’s party….. girls like monkeys right???

  6. Rebecca is Thrilled by the Thought June 19, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    So so cute. I was going to start listing things I like, but it would take too long. I just love it all!

  7. Joy June 19, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    This is so adorable!!

  8. colleen slanina June 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    phenomal party ….,, very creative, but way over the top for a 1st or 2nd, maybe even 3rd BD….the party was for the mom (parents and friends) to ooh and ahh over…..very clever, beatifully done …save it for the later years when the children can appreciate it more………….

  9. Sandra@ribbonsandfavors June 19, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    All your details are amazing! And, of course, the monkey project was just darn cute. Thanks for the great inspiration and pictures.

  10. Mel June 19, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    AMAZING!! I love all of the detials. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Dawn June 19, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    This is adorable, I love it!

  12. Sugar and Spice Event Design June 19, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    You are amazing! You have a gift to great a joyful ambiance and a wonderful whimsical day. Your gift is a blessing… and you are using it to empower others. Thank you! This is so great!

  13. Chris@Celebrations At Home June 20, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Such cute details. I especially love the invitations and all the monkeys in the trees.


  14. Tommy Bahama Bedding June 21, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Too cute! Love the swinging spider monkeys :)

  15. amydeanne June 22, 2009 at 5:56 am

    oh i wish i would have seen this last month we had a monkey theme, but not this good! lol well done!

  16. Cheri Peoples June 22, 2009 at 6:20 am

    sooo cute

  17. Kristy June 24, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Masterpiece of Monkeys! Amazing detail…The fabric choices were perfect.. Love the place settings and the personalized cups..Of course the hanging monkey are adorable..I am madly in love with the gorilla monkey in the basket of turf grass-too cute…Perfect party:)

  18. Montanna June 24, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I’ve been searching everywhere for ideas for my sons 1st birthday Monkey bash! Thank you for posting his! Great ideas!!

  19. grandpa June 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    the monkeys were cute , but my grandson is is the real monkey

  20. Shawna -Trio Events June 24, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks Everyone for the compliments and feedback. I had a great time putting the theme together-the kids had an absolute blast.

  21. glamslam June 24, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    What a great party! Is there any better way to celebrate a 1st birthday? No matter what the age this is a party where the child will look back and say “WOW, Mom, you did all of this for me!?” So unique and creative. Just perfect!

  22. Tori {Thoughtfully Simple} June 25, 2009 at 7:21 am

    Great party! I think the swinging monkeys are my favorite detail!

  23. denise nering July 6, 2009 at 3:56 am

    Absolutly without a doubt the best monkey party pix ever!

  24. nicole July 12, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    I also did a Monkey party for birthday party.Please take a look!
    CEO strawberry Fields

  25. Tania July 21, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I am planning a monkey theme birthday party for my daughter’s second birthday and I am totally inspired. Great ideas to add to my own. Very cute!!!

  26. Tonya -Soap Cafe July 22, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    I am doing a monkey party for my daughters 1’s in Aug and these are great ideas!

  27. jinette August 18, 2009 at 10:12 am

    loved the birthday banner. could you tell me how you did it and where you got the supplies?

  28. Mae August 21, 2009 at 9:09 am

    This is an ADORABLE bday party with the monkey theme! I just got a stainless reusable Monkey water bottle because I love monkeys…photo )

    This party takes the cake (or banana, in this case!). I’ll have to tell my hubby that even tho’ I’m in my 40s, he could adapt these ideas for my next bday… thanks for the super creativity!

  29. Erika September 1, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Can you please tell me which craft store you found the 3d stickers?


  30. Shawna -Trio Events September 1, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Hi Erika,
    Actually those stickers were a seasonal item from Target that are no longer available. Target currently has monkey stickers in their craft section but they are not the same ones.

  31. jinette September 1, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    what about the birthday banner? i loved it. how can i do something similar?

  32. Shawna -Trio Events September 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    The Birthday banner consists of basically just traced circles. I printed out all the letters on colored cardstock and traced around them with a coffee can. The monkey faces are just different shaped circles cut out and placed together as you see. The mouth of the monkey is a small punched circle that I cut in half. The eyes were made using a hole punch. String all the letter circle shapes together through holes punched in each one by using one long ribbon. It’s time consuming but super easy.

  33. Kendra September 4, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Wow I love those plates. Would you want to sale them by chance? Not finding them at my Target.

  34. Shawna -Trio Events September 5, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Sorry the plates are not for sale. Target has some monkey melamine plates for sale at http://www.target.com They are not the same but you may find they work for you.

  35. Erika September 8, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Thanks for getting back to me. I did find some at Target… but they look pretty small compared to the ones you used. Can you tell me approx. how big your stickers were?

  36. Trish September 9, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration! I’m even more excited to plan my little monkey’s 1st birthday! I’m in Canada, any chance you can give the name on the bottom of the plates to see if I can find them? I’m only looking to find 6….any chance you may sell to this Canadian???

  37. Shawna -Trio Events September 9, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Trish, the plates are from Target’s home collection, but they are from last year and no longer available. They do have new version you can find on http://www.target.com Search, monkey plates. I
    hope this helps.

  38. Trish September 9, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks…I was also wondering about your menu! How did you carry out the theme with that? Looking for some additional ideas!

  39. samantha September 17, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    OOH i Love monkey themes! that sO CUTE, i try lOOKIN girly monkey birthday themes, my daughter love monkey! i would can add monkey with skirt… for my daugther’s 2nd birthday..

  40. kim September 23, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Would you mind helping me find those foam monkey favor pails on orientaltrading.com? I have been searching with no luck!!

  41. Shawna -Trio Events September 24, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Kim, I mixed and matched some pails and a monkey door knocker craft to make my owl version of the pails that’s why you cant find them. You can find a monky foam craft like I did and adhere the face to a brown pail . Good luck.

  42. jsg October 8, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Wow! I love this idea…I was thinking of a ‘curious george’ themed party but this is too cute!

  43. Jamie October 18, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    WOWOWOWOW!!! I just got so many great ideas from you! I have been looking everywhere for something like this. Brilliant. xo

  44. Jamie October 18, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Ohhh…one thing…what did you use to make the sign? Is that yarn? foam? marker?

  45. Shawna -Trio Events October 19, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Hi Jamie
    I’m so happy you loved the party. If you would like to know more about the sign, comment #32 explains the construction in detail.

  46. Gracie November 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    This is adorable i love it i useed it for my 13 birthday it never gets old

  47. vin November 30, 2009 at 7:51 am

    i love it all! how did you make the little palm trees seen on the tables?

  48. ANNE January 12, 2010 at 1:41 pm


  49. Jessica January 13, 2010 at 6:52 am

    I am so thankfull to have found your birthday party… thank you so much for posting it!!!
    I am doing my son’s 2nd birthday monkies and you are so inspirational.
    I decided that i couldnt buy a bunch of pinata trees just for decoration, so i make one out of paper mache, and now its turned into more of a centerpeice. I used a barrel of monkeys, and candy runt bananas and clear enamel spray paint to solidify it!
    Also I really liked the idea of stuffing your own monkeys, but really expensive. So I got down to business and searched EVERYWHERE on the internet to find a company with the cheepest price. Hard to find any under $15 each unless you get the little 8″ monkeys.AND GUESS WHAT?!?! I found a company that sells the 15″ monkeys for $5 each! PLUS the ware house is local to Kansas City, i.e. Me. and i can pick them up with no shipping. Im only getting the monkeys, and the stuffing I can get at Hobby Lobby, when they have 40% coupon on their website!
    As you can tell… I get excited when I save money!
    The Build your own monkey site is ….


    if anyone wants to get some monkeys at wholesale price.

    I also made a happy birthday sign inspired by yours!
    Hayden’s birthday is not untill May, but I like to get started EARLY.

    Thank you again!

  50. nichcole January 19, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Where did you find the “tree” boxes for the stuffed Monkeys? I contacted adollysworld and they said they never carried them (the boxes)

  51. Jamie Lehr January 21, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Love, Love, Love all of the monkey details! Putting a big basket of bananas on the table would have been a really cute decoration as well!


  52. Nicole Shore January 21, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing…my daughter’s first birthday is coming up in March and I feel so inspired! you did an amazing job! I was wondering if you can tell me where you got the masks from? I was looking online and couldn’t find them anywhere. I love how you have the male and female monkey masks

  53. Nichol January 22, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Where did you find such a cute napkin holder?

    I am hosting my son’s 1st birthday and I too will be doing a monkey theme….super excited! Thanks for the inspiration…how did we ever live without the internet! =)

  54. Erika January 23, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    You have given me such inspiration for my son’s first birthday party! We are trying to duplicate your Happy Birthday Sign, however, I am having trouble trying to figure out where you got the letters for the banner. Could you how you got them that size? When I try it on word, they are not big enough???

  55. Erika January 23, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    I forgot (tell me how) in my statement, woops!

  56. Shawna -Trio Events January 26, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Erika, I don’t remember the exact font size but it’s probably somewhere around 50 or so. I give a pretty complete explanation about the rest of the sign in comment #32. So glad you loved the party.

  57. Shawna -Trio Events January 26, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Nicole I looked through my reciepts and can not find where I purchased the boxes. Sorry. Many sites that sell the stuffable animals do sell boxes. You might want to start your search there.

  58. Nichol January 28, 2010 at 6:42 am

    One more question…sorry…where did you purchase all the plush monkeys from…I can’t find any similar…they are too cartoon like…please help!?

  59. NICHCOLE January 30, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Where can I find that really cute brown wrought iron napkin holder? LOVE it…..and if you decide to sell those CUTE monkey face plates, I would love to purchase them.

    TIA for your time and info.

  60. trio events January 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Nichole-the napkin was a seasonal item I bought over a year ago from Target.

  61. Stephanie January 31, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I absolutely love this! I am going to do this for my daughter’s 2nd birthday and I am so excited about it.

  62. Jennifer February 5, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I have looked everywhere for cute monkey plates for a 9 yr old BD party. Target does not have yours anymore. Any suggestiopns?

  63. Blanca February 9, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Hello! I love your ideas. I was just wondering what size of pail you bought for the favor pails.

  64. Alicia Moran February 23, 2010 at 9:16 am

    I disagree with colleen slanina that this party is over the top for a 1 yr. old. Maybe for the actual birthday boy, but not everyone that’s invited is that young. my daughter will have her 3rd b-day party this year, but there will kids up to 8 yrs. old at the party. it’s good to have things that the older kids can get into, as well!

  65. Julie April 26, 2010 at 7:28 am

    I LOVE this. I am actually planning a monkey themed first birthday party for my son and it is so HARD! Even with your awesome ideas I’m having a really hard time finding monkey stuff. Even at Target and Oriental trading :( I’m not giving up yet though!!!

  66. The Fairy June 28, 2010 at 9:28 am

    What a cute party!

  67. Julie March 22, 2011 at 11:47 am

    I love this and have stolen a few ideas for our upcoming monkey party. I got the buildable monkey stuffed animals, can you tell me how I can get the iron on bananas for the shirts?
    THANKS again for sharing!

  68. Marissa June 9, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I was searching the web for monkey party ideas for my little boy’s first birthday when I found this. LOVE IT and the crazy part is my son’s name is BARRETT too!!! Thanks for posting this!!

  69. Sandy July 5, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Monkey themed parties are all the rage right now! This is a great theme that will be loved by any birthday boy or girl.

  70. Nicola @ Twisty Noodle December 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I might be having a monkey birthday in February, thanks for all of the great ideas! Here’s a coloring page that matches your monkeys. You can customize the text for your party!

  71. Gabbie Lopez January 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I love evrything about this, unfortunately OrientalTrading no longer carries the monkey pail favor kits..

  72. Erika Casarez June 25, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Hi I love the whole monkey idea I so wanna do it for my baby. Under what category did you find the mask and pail kits? I was searching for them on the website you provided and didn't find the? If you can help me search them please :) thank you!

  73. Jodi July 24, 2012 at 3:46 am

    I love this party theme. I am planning my nephews frost birthday party, and my sister-in-law loves loves the monkey theme. I am having trouble finding raffia to make the invitations. Does anyone have any suggestions on what type of raffia that I can use for the invitation?

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