hwtm icons row

Retro Bowling Party with a Modern Twist

Quick Jump To » Vendor Credits | Comments

{HWTM contributor Maureen Anders of Anders Ruff here!} When my son requested a BOWLING Birthday Party for this year, visions of a stylish and retro bowling team kept coming to mind.  There are so many easy and effective ways to add style and character to a bowling party, and I’m excited to share the Anders Ruff take on the retro bowling party theme with you today!

Sprucing up the bowling alley was not a tough task when armed with some versatile printables, fabulous themed desserts and retro, kid-friendly decor. I’m excited to get the “ball rolling” on sharing my party photos and ideas because I couldn’t “spare” any details for my little bowling fanatic.

Bowling pin jello shots, gutterball gumballs, “spare” sweets, alley decorations and team logos were some of my favorite details of Pierson’s retro bowling party.

Trendy two tone chevron paired with classic stripes, retro dashes and polka dots were used throughout the fabric, printables and decor.  Easy to serve snacks were displayed such as cheddar popcorn, sixlets in coordinating aqua and red, and bowling pin and ball lollipops shaped for the occasion.  Spare sweets were displayed throughout the party scene.

I made layered jello shots to mimic a bowling pin and topped it off with a printable bowling ball logo.

The incredible cake, by Mandie of Got What It Cakes, was designed to mimic the look of our printable “retro bowling” collection. Vintage Confections made the most adorable bowling pin, ball and “4” lollipops.

Giant balloons (Polka Dot Market) were perfect and really helped fill and balance the huge space we used at the bowling alley. Our printable retro bowling sign was hung as the backdrop focal point.

I found the most fabulous red and black melamine trays and serving pieces that looked like lacquer and to stick with the “retro” vibe.

I found old (by “old” I mean beat up, terrible condition with ugly pink stripes) pins for $1 each and refurbished the bowling pins by using good old spray paint and red electrical tape (which is flexible and easily wraps around the curves of the pins).  I embellished them with an oversized printable P logo that was matted on a ruffled tissue backing.

Bowling ball and pin cake pops by Pop-A-Razzi were displayed.  We stuck the pin cake pop or “4” lollipop in each box of popcorn to look cute and ended up being a favorite sweet and salty retro snack.

Chevron cookies and bowling pin cookies from JP Creatibles were perfectly decorated and even more delicious than they look.

The children were organized onto teams so I designed 4 team logosThe King Pins, The Strikers, The Gutterballs and Rolling Thunder.  It helped keep the party activities organized and less chaotic with 20 4 year olds running around.  (The youngest guests were on The Gutterballs team, no doubt, and the oldest were on the King Pins team!)

The team logos were printed on both label paper and photo paper for different uses.  The stickers were used for team logos which would be worn on the backs of the t- shirts.  The other logos were used to embellish the chairs on the alley so that each team knew where their lane was. (And it made them look adorable!)

To spruce up the lanes, printable “Let’s Bowl” Pennant Banners adorned the bowling ball return.  Circle party signs added color to the scoring panel post and giant balloons were tied to these posts.

The seated tables we set up right behind the lanes, and our dessert table was actually 2 sided.  The backdrop served the function for the dessert table and behind it, a favor table.

When the kids arrived, they were given a “bowling bag” (Gable box) that included their team logo sticker, name tag sticker and custom bowling shirt (adorable shirt by Made by Morgan).

We designed a cute label for the Gable Box/ Bowling bag and added the kids’ names with a printable customized name tag.  This helped us keep the correct size shirt and team name in the correct child’s bowling bag.  (Organization is key!)  These bowling bags would also be perfect for the kids to use to take home all of their favors and goodies.

The favor table also included cellophane bags that held customized coloring books from the printable collection with homemade bowling pin and ball crayons.  Black and white striped bags (Shop Sweet Lulu) were set out that had our printable sticker that said “Keep the Sweets Rolling!” The kids loved filling their bags with extra sweets.

Cello bags included chocolate bowling pins and balls.  The bag was topped with a printable bag topper that said “Spare Sweets”I just hope the kids don’t get confused between the bowling pin crayons and the chocolates!

The kids loved rocking their custom bowling pin tees from Made by Morgan and their personalized printable name tags and team logos on their backs.  I think these are much cooler than the old school button up shirts with embroidered names!

The kids couldn’t wait to get seated because the knew a retro red burger basket full of goodies awaited them.  I used the black melamine / retro plates as the “charger” and placed a red burger basket on top with aqua tissue (Nashville Wraps) inside.

Inside the basket was a gumball pipette (Polka Dot Market) with red, white and pearly blue gumballs (Oh!Nuts).  I designed a party flag to embellish the tube which said “Gutterball Gumballs”.

Vending machine capsules (Shop Sweet Lulu) with black lids were the perfect fit for a bowling party and we filled them with aqua Sixlets (Oh!Nuts).  We also included lollipops and black round candies (Candy Warehouse).

bowling pin jello was placed on their plate as well as a plastic drink bottle (from Shop Sweet Lulu) embellished with a printable drink wrap.  Paper straws were tacked onto the bottle using a tiny Glue Dot.

We also displayed red window boxes filled with popcorn and tied on a printable favor tag with raffia.  We crafted our raffia to look retro by unrolling the raffia paper and fan folded it back and forth.  A new look for paper raffia.

Cupcakes were given to take home in ice cream cups with lids (Polka Dot Market).  We designed a printable wrap for these tubs.  The cupcakes were topped with coordinating fondant toppers from Two Sugar Babies.

The kids packed up their goodies in their “Bowling Bag Gable Boxes, which was the perfect carrier for their treats!

STRIKE! We all had a blast at Pierson’s retro bowling party!

retro bowling birthday party cake

Are YOU in the mood for a bowling party? Good news! The printable retro bowling party invitation and collection is now available in the Anders Ruff shop.

Vendor Credit


  1. Amy March 13, 2012 at 9:07 am

    As part of Poetry Photo Booths, we LOVE this bowling inspired theme, it is unique, colorful and inviting!! If you ever need a Booth for your event, let us know! This theme is adorable and we’d love to be a part of it! xo, Poetry Booths https://mobile.twitter.com/signup!/poetrybooths

  2. Vivian March 13, 2012 at 9:54 am

    AMAZING! Love, love, love everything about it.

  3. A Styled Fete March 13, 2012 at 10:08 am

    What a gorgeous and fun party!!! It is amazing how these ladies transformed a bowling alley into such a fabulous space! I love it!!

  4. Jen Carver (Banner Events) March 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I am bowled over (lol) by all of the fabulous details Maureen. :) You truly did not spare any creativity or thought. I love, love, love it!

  5. Marcie (Celebrating Moments by Marcie) March 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    WOW!!!!! Absolutely incredible! All the ideas, the colors … and the graphics were FANTASTIC!!

  6. Daneilia March 13, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    OOO I love this party theme. I use to do league bowling, this would be a fun party :)

  7. Jean March 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    What a gorgeous party! I love the details – the cupcake cups, gutter balls, spare sweet bags – so many great ideas!

  8. Dianne March 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Amazing! Love all of the design and detail! The team logos and coloring pages are absolutely adorable! What a fun and unique party idea – Thanks for sharing Maureen!

  9. Caryn March 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Another GORGEOUS party by Anders Ruff! There are so many great printables to choose from. So much fun!

  10. Kristie March 13, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Love the Retro Bowling idea and this party looks like so much fun! The colors and design details are so adorable!! Love Anders Ruff!

  11. H. Hammers March 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    I am always amazed at the creativity and style of Anders Ruff, and yet again I am blown away with an AMAZING party! You ladies are so talented, thanks for all the inspiration!

  12. nancy pfeifer March 13, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    I’m totally speechless!!! mouth dropped….lol

  13. Ashley March 14, 2012 at 6:58 am

    OMG – who knew you could make a bowling alley look so fabulous!!! Can’t wait to show this to everyone I know!

  14. Party Girl March 14, 2012 at 7:32 am

    I love all things retro and bowling so this theme is right up my “alley”….such a fun party!

  15. Carmen March 24, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Hi, I’m hoping you can let me know what size balloons you used.
    Great party decor. I will be using this for my son’s upcoming b-day.
    Thank you for sharing,

  16. Nicole January 27, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Hi!! I LOVE everything you did!! Would you mind sharing how you made the adorable jello shooters!! Thanks so much!! Nicole

  17. Vicky March 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    How do we get thwe jello shot recipe? Love them!!

  18. Gladis Fox October 21, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Any suggestions as to where I can get the black bowling plates? thank you

  19. Kristin January 2, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Absolutely amazing party! Did the kids have lunch at the party? Love the idea of having their goodies at their seat but what did you do with everything while they ate?

Comments are closed.

Browse Party Ideas:

Vendor Credit