David’s surprise Incredible Hulk birthday party

Yesterday we threw a surprise birthday party for David, and I’m telling you right now that it was the greatest scheme I’ve ever been a part of. This was such a fun party to plan, and if you think your kid would like being surprised, I HIGHLY recommend it.

I’ve thrown a lot of birthday parties through the years, but I was by-far, for sure, without a doubt more excited for this than any of the others. The week before the party I couldn’t sleep because I kept running through the details and imagining the surprise.

The details actually weren’t that hard. I was able to do a lot of the party prep without David noticing. This wouldn’t be true for all kids, but David isn’t the type to give me the third-degree about details. If I tried to do this for Mary Virginia, she would not be fooled, “Hey, Mom?” she’d say. “I noticed you’re cleaning the house with increased anxiety. I wrote up a report cataloguing some of your behaviors this past week and I can only conclude that you’re planning a surprise party for me in the next four hours or so.”

The whole thing was actually David’s idea. Sometime in July I asked him how he wanted to celebrate his birthday. I figured he’d say something like “a shark party” or ask to go somewhere special with friends, but instead asked for a surprise party.

I laughed, and told him that surprise parties don’t work that way. You can’t request to be surprised, because then it won’t be a surprise at all.

He was disappointed, but he understood, and a moment later I started planning his surprise birthday party.

We leave for vacation a few days after his birthday, so I told him that we’d celebrate with family and then after vacation we’d celebrate with some friends, and since he was expecting a much-later celebration, I was able to ask him questions like who he wanted to invite, what sort of cake he wanted.

Easy Incredible Hulk or Frankenstein cupcakes

He asked for Incredible Hulk cupcakes, which I tried to talk him out of because the Incredible Hulk is super-hard to create in cake form for someone who is sleep-deprived and also skill-deprived. My cupcakes initially looked like dead-ringers for Oscar the Grouch, and even after a lot of work look like monsters, zombies, Frankenstein, oh yeah and sort of like the Incredible Hulk now that you mention it!

David also mentioned wanting a piñata, and so I made my first ever piñata. Maybe you’ve made a piñata before and so you already know that they take days of application, drying, decorating. The entire time I was terrified that it wouldn’t turn out. Tom was THISCLOSE to recording himself on a loop saying, “… This is going to be smashed by 7-year olds … You can always just tape over any holes … worst case scenario we can just buy a piñata … David’s going to love it no matter what … You’re the greatest mom ever … ”

DIY Incredible Hulk Pinata

DIY Incredible Hulk pinata

The piñata looks super scary and is far from perfect, but it did its job. It broke after a few kids got some swings in, and most-importantly, David loved it.

I think when I make another piñata (that groan you just heard? That was Tom, because, “What do you mean ANOTHER piñata!?”) I’ll be more confident.

After David’s party, we now have a new Venus Flytrap, a pet Beta fish, and a freshly-minted seven-year old.

It’s going to be a great year.



Easy DIY Incredible Hulk or Frankenstein cupcakes


Easy DIY Hulk Pinata



  1. Becky August 17, 2018

    Yay!! So glad it turned out well.. for the record I knew you had in the bag! You are a great mama!

  2. Annie June 29, 2019

    omg I’m crying, like always 😉 At least I’m not in public this time. Love the pinata, love everything about the whole party and the way it was described. Bravo best mom ever <3


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