Throw an Eco-Friendly Birthday Party

See how you can put an eco-friendly touch on your child's next birthday party.

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Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Save the Planet One Party at a Time

A birthday bash outside shows kids that a low-waste party can be super festive. Take a peek at how eco-expert Danny Seo helped Eric Ryan, the cofounder of Method natural products, celebrate his daughter's day in a magical forest near San Francisco. With Mother Nature as the party planner, there's no need for streamers and balloons to make it fun -- all you need is your backyard and a little imagination.

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Thayer Allyson Gowdy

A Good Seed

Anya's invites were handwritten on plantable wildflower paper. Instructions on the back told guests to lay paper in a pot of soil or a small garden patch that gets plenty of sunshine, cover with a thin layer of dirt, then water well.

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Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Twirly Batons

Party guests ran around with recyclable wands made from fringed, rolled-up newspaper.

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Name Dropper

The birthday girl was greeted at her party with a darling welcome sign -- Seo spelled out Anya with sticks, flowers, vines, and greenery, using thin garden wire to secure the various elements.

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Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Made in the Shade

The kids ate under a sweet and simple tent made from curtain panels (strips of fabric work well too). We suspended it from a branch, making the perfect dining room for Anya's outdoor party.

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How to Make Newspaper Medallions

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Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Sweet Drink

We filled old jam jars with juice and kept them cold in an ice-filled pail until ready to serve.

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These Take the Cake!

Whoopie pies are making a comeback, popping up at hip bakeries around the country. With no paper wrapper and no need for plates, they were the ideal sweet for a green party. Top a platter of pies with all-natural beeswax candles.

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Sandwich Satchel

A meal wrapped in a bandanna-turned-napkin created a paper-less lunch.

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String Along

Ryan leads partygoers Jacob, Noah, and Mia through the trees, following a red string to discover small notes and a treasure box. It's a new take on the standard scavenger hunt!

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Plant Life

Each party child went home with a small sapling bundled in burlap.

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Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Green Gifts

Encourage guests to save on wrapping paper by using reusable wooden boxes or sheets of newspaper. For the eco-conscious birthday child, set up a donation registry at, where she can select from a list of youth-focused nonprofit causes that friends can give to in lieu of buying gifts.

Originally published in the July issue of Parents magazine.

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How to Make a Baby-Food-Jar Lantern

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