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How to Throw a “Where the Red Fern Grows” Birthday Party

One of the things I have loved about being a mother is getting to plan each of my children’s birthday parties.   Give me a themed party to plan any day of the year and I am a happy camper!

I have planned over forty parties in the last sixteen years and while each of them has its own special place in my heart, there will always be my favorites.  My son’s Where the Red Fern Grows party is one of them.

Honestly, I think it is because it was during a financially stressful time and I managed to pull it off for a whopping $25.00!

The money went towards some candy and food and the rest was created out of thin air and the utilization of our little farm.

Where the Red Fern Grows is such a unique and classic theme for a little boy and fall is the perfect time to set the stage.

For the invitations, I just used a cute fall themed e-vite and skipped my usual custom hand-made invites.

I encouraged each guest to come in flannels and coonskin hats.  And set up a simple table outside with some rustic decorations I had on hand.  The paper pendant is just a paper grocery bag cut into triangles.

Rustic Hunter Themed Birthday by sheholdsdearly.com

Trying to roughly follow the story line, I set up a sort of scavenger hunt with stations.  Once the kiddos arrived, I divided them into pairs and handed them each a hand drawn map, also taken from paper grocery bags.

Cheap Themed Party by sheholdsdearly.com
  • At station one they had to feed the chickens, i.e. earning money to buy their dog.
Rustic Hunter Themed Birthday Little Boy by sheholdsdearly.com
  • Station two was a pile of firewood they had to stack, still “earning money.”
Classic Book Themed Party by sheholdsdearly.com
  • Next, they had to successfully count some money in a can and tell the adult the correct total.
Where the Red Fern Grows by sheholdsdearly.com
  • This meant they could buy their dog, actually they just got to play catch with my friend’s dog.
  • For the coon hunt, I just made them run all of the yard, down the creek. . . .
Rustic Hunter Themed Birthday by sheholdsdearly.com
  • Climb up a tree. . .
Rustic Hunter Themed Birthday by sheholdsdearly.com
  • Go for a wagon ride
  • Then, they got to stop and shoot a BB gun at a pop can with the dads
Where the Red Fern Grows Party by sheholdsdearly.com
  • And chop some firewood with a hatchet.
Themed Children's Party by sheholdsdearly.com
  • Finally, they ran around the back of the property to find a red fern (I spray painted it!) and some treats in a treasure box underneath.
Economical Custom Birthday by sheholdsdearly.com
Rustic Hunter Themed Birthday by sheholdsdearly.com

The only food I served was individual apple pies, for the cake and homemade lemonade.   I learned to play Happy Birthday on a harmonica and played it for my boy, as we all sang.

Where the Red Fern Grows Party Theme by sheholdsdearly.com
Where the Red Fern Grows Party Themed by sheholdsdearly.com

For presents, they all sat around on stumps and ooohed and awwwed over each gift.

Where the Red Fern Grows Party Children's Birthday by sheholdsdearly.com
Boy Birthday Party by sheholdsdearly.com

We finished with a bon fire, popcorn and the original movie.

We even had our neighbor bring over his pet snake.  Whoever wanted their picture taken with it, got to do that.  I will spare you the photos of that, though!  It still gives me the willies a little.  My picture is just me cringing really bad as it hangs over my shoulders.

I had saved tomato sauce cans for a few weeks, cut up a burlap bag and stamped little red ferns on tags.  Each child received their own little can with chocolate gold coins to remember their day by.  So sweet!

Fall Themed Children's Birthday by sheholdsdearly.com

So, for only $25 we still got to have a special day for my little guy.

Use what you have, put your money into a little bit of special food and choose a theme from a favorite book and you will never be without options for celebrating a birthday!

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Where the Red Fern Grows by sheholdsdearly.com

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