We had a Ladybugs' Picnic at the local Botanic Gardens, inviting all his friends to wear black and red and join us near the really cool playground there.
I've been prepping like mad, and can now totally understand other parents' love for pay-n-play padded spaces and professionally catered events! I tried not to pressure myself too much (hence the low-key theme), figuring two year olds would just love the chance to run around and have fun, but the one thing I did pull out all the stops for were the party bags. I'm not super-comfortable with handing a group of very small people a bunch of sugar and chemicals to take home and smear all over their rooms, and I really wanted not to give away a heap of disposable plastic junk that would go into land-fill in no time at all.
Also, the food issue was especially important for me since not only does the birthday boy have some food sensitivity issues, but quite a few of his friends do, as well as having all-out allergies.
So instead of traditional party bags I found vegbee's toddler backpack over at her indietutes blog. It was the perfect size for our toddler invitees, and the perfect shape for bug bags!
Inside each bag was a bubble-blowing kit (so I didn't totally escape the cheap plastic - at least it's reusable), a red ribbon on a stick (made at home with chopsticks and lengths of ribbon from Spotlight) and two home-made lavender bath fizzies (with printed instructions designed by me).
Long story short the bags and contents were a bit of a hit - far more than my mediocre attempt at a birthday cake (thank goodness I have lots of years to perfect this art!) and now I have to go figure out my neglected Paypal account, to donate to vegbee.
And after all my stressing and work we all had a lovely time and quite a few of our guests decided to wear their new backpacks before they even got home.