Libby Lane Press

Amazing Race

Amazing Race Birthday Party

by Nicolle Spitulnik/Libby Lane Press

Theme :

So, when I received the email from Ebony informing me that the theme for this round of Designer’s Challenge was a Favorite TV show I immediately went into panic mode.  Sadly, I no longer get to indulge in my evenings of reality TV like I did pre-LLP.  But I delved deep, chatted with the people that know me best and landed on the Amazing Race.  Just like everything else I do I was determined to learn as much as I could. So, I googled, DVR’d and became an Amazing Race aficionado {self- proclaimed, of course}.  I also think that the ‘tween’ age misses out on great party ideas since so much is catered to the younger ones, so I took this opportunity to design a party made for the in-between kids that are way too cool for bounce houses but still like to have cupcakes, see their friends and engage in a little healthy competition.


The vintage airplane that is featured on the dessert table was my inspiration.  I bought it months ago on clearance at Home Goods and it has sat in my garage waiting for the perfect opportunity. So, I decided to tailor the look and feel of my table around this little treasure.


I typically have photo shoots in my kitchen for the sheer factor of convenience and the ability to transform the room while my family sleeps.  For this challenge I welcomed the opportunity to adhere to the strict budget, but then also pushed myself to pack up the car and drive to a different venue with all of the props, desserts, 6 ft table and my 20 month old, and a plethora of sugar-laden treats (both of which were used for display and bribery).

The party was staged in a local county park that provides picnic tables and entrance free of charge.  While brainstorming location, I also thought that a park would be the ideal place since there would be adequate secure space, plenty of areas to run and follow the Route Info as part of the Amazing Race activity.

Pit Stop: Dessert Table:

I used my own folding table and covered it with a recycled white sheet and leftover burlap from a Christmas craft.  I designed, printed and assembled the ‘Pit Stop’ banner, strung with twine and attached each letter with mini-clothespins. I tried to come up with creative ways to incorporate the various means of travel used by the contestants on the show.  So, the vintage plane resting on a white wooden box turned upside down was one focal point, while a globe stacked on a box covered in brown wrapping paper was another.  I also found the best little paper suitcases at Paper Source on my last Philadelphia trip and knew I had to have them despite having to pay full price. They were also used for display and housing treats.  I created ‘runways’ for the Propeller Pops using foam blocks, brown wrapping paper and yellow duct tape. The earth cake pops were placed in faux wheat grass pots that I recycled from the Honeybee Gender Reveal photo shoot.  The cupcakes and cookies were placed in distressed serving trays I bought at Home Goods on clearance after the holidays.

Sweet Treats:  

With a limited budget I knew I was not going to be able to call upon multiple dessert vendors so I chose one and made the rest myself.  I made the earth cake pops and cupcakes using the same box of cake mix and frosting.  I created the “Orange Boats” using blue jello, a clementine, a toothpick and a piece of white felt.  The propeller pops were made using marshmallows, candy wafers and a mini M&M.  I purchased the donut holes from Target and called upon my very sweet {and local} cookie friend, Sarah Kerchner of Bundles of Cookies in Bethesda, MD.  I told Sarah about my vision and she created the most perfect cookies to match.

Lunch (just to inspire):

Since we did not have to provide lunch in the overall cost I did want to offer the idea of making a bagged lunch for each party guest ahead of time.  I have found that this saves a ton of time and encourages the kids to sit vs running here and there for plates, snacks, drinks etc. I printed an Amazing Race sign from the computer, cut and attached to the white lunch bag with spray adhesive.  Then to dress it up I folded the bag, used a punch and attached ribbon. Very inexpensive and very easy.

Papery & Decor:

I wanted to use lanterns to give a globe-like feel to the background of the table.  I recycled the blue lanterns from my son’s 1st birthday and purchased the white lanterns for this event. They were strung from twine and attached to neighboring trees.  I also used a free local road map that I had to create paper rosettes for the table.  Each cupcake was adorned with free printables of flags from around the world.   I designed tent cards using a free printable world map as the background pattern.  I found the Amazing Race Clue Templates online and free for personal use:  I also used this site for the clue envelope graphic that was incorporated onto the lunch bag as well. I purchased colored vellum paper to create paper airplanes for the dessert table and to place on each party guests plate.  The lunches and paper products were placed on bamboo place mats.


In typical Amazing Race fashion, the party guests would be paired up and given a tear-away envelope that contains the clue information .  Each clue sheet would contain Route Info, Detour, Fast-Forward and Road Block. Guests would have tasks to complete to move on to the next activity.

Some of the ideas that I envisioned were:

Route Info: Using a Detour Donut, balance a donut hole on a spoon and walk around the perimeter of the park without dropping the donut or spoon.

Detour: Involves deciding between two tasks- The guests would choose between assembling a puzzle in a select amount of time OR hula hooping for 3 minutes without the hoop ever touching the ground.

Road Block: Only one guest can partake in the activity: Using the mini wooden spoons provided, eat the baby food jars until you find the jar with the gold star on the bottom.

Fast Forward: Using Twizzlers and marshmallows, construct a type of transportation vehicle. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box!

Favor Idea:

Since this party focuses on elements of transportation and travel, an affordable and useful favor idea would be to create personalized luggage tags for each guest.  They can be created on the computer, printed and laminated at a local copy center for minimal cost.


Bundles of Cookies, Bethesda, Maryland


Price Breakdown:

Lunch Table:                                                                           $5.06

-4 Bamboo placemats: $4.00

-4 pieces of vellum for paper airplanes: $1.06

-paper plates, napkins: FREE

Desserts:                                                                                              $45.13

-Dunkin Hines cake mix: $1.54

-Betty Crocker Frosting: $1.69

-toothpicks for printable flags-$1.26

-Wilton Candy Wafers: (2 bags) $3.98

-Marshmallows: $1.99

-tube of mini-M&M’s- $1.06

-Entemann’s Donut Holes: $2.99

-Jello: $.62

-Bundles of Cookies: small decorated cookies: $30

Decor:                                                                                                $45.33

-2 styrofoam blocks: $6.28

-roll of jute twine: $2.35

-Paper Source luggage boxes: $21.00

-Globe: $7.86

-Mini Clothespins: $1.50

-Yellow Duct Tape: $2.99

-Brown wrapping paper: $1.99

-White Paper Lanterns: $4.99

-Green Cupcake Tray: $5.00

    GRAND TOTAL:    $95.52

Recycled/Free Items from home:

-white sheet


-white wooden box to prop airplane

-faux wheat grass pots (2)

-Additional Green Tray- Used as the one FREE serving tray/cake stand permitted

-white cardstock for printing

-blue lanterns

-plastic cocktail cups for blue jello dessert


-white felt pieces

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