Once Kamran Varghese began watching Sesame Street as a toddler, it didn’t take long for him to develop a penchant for “Melmo,” so his mother Shahnaz set to work to throw a fabulous second birthday party for her own Muppet Baby.
// Click on image at left to view more images from this party.
The Varghese family lives in Los Angeles full-time and planned to have the party in their native Texas during a monthly visit to see their parents and in-laws in Irving and Lewisville. Six months before the big day, Shahnaz began planning and stocking up for the party long distance, ordering supplies from Michaels, Party City and amazon.com and shipping most of them to her parents’ house. She scoured Pinterest boards and online vendors such as Etsy for hard-to-find items like the less popular Oscar the Grouch, as his name would imply, and decoration ideas in the party’s signature colors – red, green, yellow and blue.
The real eye candy was the dessert table of goodies with a three-tiered cake – a different flavor for each layer – cake balls in the likeness of Elmo and the Cookie Monster, and oversized martini glasses and apothecary jars filled candies and Sixlets that Shahnaz bought in pre-sorted colors. The wide-eyed characters appeared again in piñata form. Shahnaz propped up Elmo next to a “Kamran Street” sign and lamppost, and with a papier-mâché cookie-in-hand, a Cookie Monster piñata stood guard over a platter of chocolate chip cookies Shahnaz baked using the famous New York Times recipe with sea salt. The kids washed them down with chocolate chip cookie milkshake shooters, each rimmed with rainbow sprinkles and topped with whipped cream. “My only regret is that we didn’t make more,” Shahnaz said.
Shahnaz even found a way to make the healthy options enticing with fruit and veggie trays arranged to mimic the characters’ faces including Big Bird made with pineapple chunks and cups of dipping sauce with blueberries for eyes. The adults dined on Mediterranean catering and the kids on pizza, but despite the tremendous goodies, Kamran mostly ate Goldfish crackers, his favorite snack (perhaps not coincidentally – Elmo has a pet goldfish named Dorothy).
The kids set to work on foam picture frames and Play-Doh at the craft tables, requested balloon animals from the hired balloon artist and took turns batting at the piñatas. When one finally burst and the kids rushed in for the candy, Kamran dove under the pile after a particular bouncy ball. Then he crawled out from the heap of squirming kids with ball in hand, causing a riot of laughter.
The guests filled their party favors – personalized pails for the kids and small paper sacks for adults – with candies from the dessert table. Back home, the Varghese have kept several of the decorations around the house including bright frames with photos from the party. The “Kamran Street” sign still hangs on Kamran’s bedroom door to remind him how he got to Sesame Street.