With the release of the Barbie Fairytopia: Mermaidia movie, it’s all about mermaids this summer. If you know a little one who wants a magical mermaid birthday party, here’s a fun and inexpensive idea.

The challenge of a mermaid birthday party is that mermaids can’t walk! So if you want guests to really feel like mermaids, you’ll need to plan for this downside.

In order for each guest to feel like a real mermaid, we will carefully wrap her legs with colored fabrics. The easiest way to do this is to gather several bright, colorful fabrics, each at least a yard or so. Blankets and sheets can work as well, and the thrift store has a nice selection of fabrics. But you will find the best in the manufacturer’s store. Check the first section for free space.

Before guests arrive, choose a nice area or room to lavishly decorate. Since the mermaids will spend the party here, make it look beautiful. Is your theme an underwater cave or a palace? Cover the furniture with dark colored blankets or fabrics to make them look like rocks. Hang different shades of blue crepe paper on the ceiling and walls. Put paper fish and seaweed on the walls and windows (or hang them from the ceiling). Try to make the room as blue as possible, perhaps hang a blue sheet over a sunny window. Scatter real or paper starfish and seashells. Place an old chest in the room and fill it with costume jewelry, gold candy coins, maybe some sand and seashells, handcrafted jewelry, glass beads, and anything else you can find in a treasure chest. Each of your guests will be able to choose several items from the chest before they leave, instead of a goody bag. (You decide how many items they can choose, or maybe each child gets a handful.)

Another room theme COULD BE AN OCEAN BEACH. For this idea, you want the room to be as sunny as possible. cover the ground with sand-colored blankets; the pillows can be rocks. Cover furniture with dark sea lava rock blankets. Scatter seashells, green crepe paper algae, driftwood, and starfish around the room. You could even put in an ocean wave sound effect if you have a noise maker! Again, place a treasure chest somewhere in the room as well.

As each guest arrives, let them choose which fabric will be their own mermaid tail. Then escort them to the party room and carefully wrap the cloth around their legs. You can simply tuck the end in to hold it in place, or use a safety pin, fabric strap, or ribbon to tie it in place. Leave your feet free at the end, and make sure there is plenty of extra fabric hanging down to cover your feet. I would advise you to make each guest go to the bathroom before putting on your tail! And be sure to instruct each guest to ask for help if he needs to go somewhere. It’s a good idea to make the train tight enough to look like a mermaid tail, but loose enough that a person can carefully walk over to the couch if he needs to. Just make sure there is always someone watching and helping anyone who wants to move! Otherwise, it’s best if each guest stays in one location for the party.

If it’s hot enough, guests can show up in their swim tops and really look like mermaids. There should be plenty of comfortable pillows and blankets around, so that each mermaid can rest comfortably.

After all the guests have transformed into mermaids, it’s time for the fun to begin. Be on the lookout for Mermaid Birthday Party: Part 2!