Famous parents dish on the best birthday bashes they've thrown for their kids.

By Jill Daniel

A Reptile Party

Jane Seymour actress and author of the new memoir Remarkable Changes "My twins' most ingenious birthday party was their third. Kristopher and John wanted a reptile party, and the reptile wrangler arrived with all sorts of creatures. At one point, I had a six-foot albino boa constrictor around my neck, but it was perfectly safe. There were snakes, iguanas, tarantulas, and scorpions without the stingers, and all the kids got to hold them. Anyone who had a phobia about creepy, crawly things was cured that day! We always home-bake two different birthday cakes for the twins and decorate them with the kids at the party."

Connie Chung anchor of CNN's Connie Chung Tonight "Our son, Matthew, enjoys magic, so for his fourth birthday, we brought in a magician and invited all his friends and classmates. Immediately, I tried to imagine how I could survive having 30 4-year-olds in my home! What made it work was getting little beach chairs for party favors. I put each child's name on a chair and lined them up in rows to be the audience for the magician. When the kids walked in, I said, "See if you can find your name, and that is your chair." I was amazed that all of them found their spots, sat down, and remained very attentive during the magician's act."

Marilu Henner actress and author of Healthy Kids and other books "My older son, Nicky, loves musicals, so I threw a 'Come as Your Favorite Musical Character' party for his fifth birthday. Nicky was Danny Zuko from Grease. We made a collage invitation of images from Singin' in the Rain, Annie, and the Disney musicals, decorated the house with big cutouts of musical notes, played Musical Chairs, and had kids' karaoke. The party favors were harmonicas."

A Rock-and-Roll Party

Kathy Ireland designer of the Kathy Ireland Home furniture collection "For her fourth birthday, my daughter Lily wanted a princess party with all the girls in her class. We did an invitation with the Disney princesses, including Cinderella and Ariel. Everyone was asked to dress up like a princess, and seeing all the guests arrive in their little costumes was adorable. My two sisters and my mom, who surprised everybody by dressing up like princesses too, brought out a Barbie birthday cake. We had a royal treasure hunt in which the girls filled goodie bags with princess-type favors like costume jewelry."

David James Elliott and Nanci Chambers stars of the CBS series JAG "For our daughter Stephanie's seventh birthday, we gave her an old-fashioned tea party. We decorated with pink flowers and pink balloons and put out dress-up clothes: hats, pearls, gowns, and long gloves. We also brought in a manicurist and a face painter. For place cards, we had Cookies By Design make giant teacup cookies with each girl's name. We served mint tea and lemonade from teapots; sandwiches cut into heart, flower, and star shapes; birthday cake; and petit fours."

Natasha Henstridge star of the upcoming film The Whole Ten Yards "When our sons Tristan and Asher turned 4 and 1, my husband, Liam, and I planned an outdoor fair with a cowboy theme. We brought in ponies and a petting zoo and hired a balloon guy who made all sorts of animal shapes. We had a hot dog cart and cotton candy, and the kids got cowboy hats. For the invitations, I made up a goofy poem and had caricatures of the boys drawn."

Ricki Lake actress and talk-show host "My son Milo, who's now 5, loves 60s groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. For his fourth birthday, we put together a rock-and-roll party. The cake was a piano with figurines of the Who on top. As favors, we gave CDs of Milo's favorite music. For my younger son Owen's first birthday, we threw a party at a favorite Mexican restaurant. The invitation was a mini piñata donkey, and the favors were maracas and little sombreros."

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Copyright @ 2003. Reprinted with permission from the April 2003 issue of Child Magazine.



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