This 3-Year-Old's Target-Themed Birthday Party Is Honestly Grown Woman Goals
We’re all in agreement that Target is a magical place, right? A place full of useful home staples, fanciful paper goods, and delight? Yes? Good. Then no one will be surprised to find that a 3-year-old had a Target-themed birthday party recently, and that it was absolutely magnificent. In fact, you will be further unsurprised to know that when parent Emily Kern posted a photo collage of her daughter Charlie’s birthday party to Target’s Facebook page, it went viral pretty much immediately. Honestly, it made me want a Target-themed party for my next birthday, and I don’t even like throwing parties. That is how wonderful everything about this story is.
Kern told Scary Mommy that the party had been in the works for a while. “About January, I started asking my daughter what kind of party she wanted,” she said. “Right off the bat, she said ‘Target.’” Kern said that initially, she tried to point Charlie towards something else — Trolls, for example — but Charlie was firm about what she wanted. “Well, she wasn’t having it,” Kern told Scary Mommy about the Trolls suggestion. “Anytime someone asked her what kind of party, she said, ‘Target.’” Kern eventually came around to the idea (because when your child tells you in no uncertain terms what their preferences are, you listen); she told Scary Mommy, “The more time went on, I was like, ‘You know what, it’s different, let’s do it!’”
All the décor was red and white (complete, of course, with a whole passel of bullseyes), and the food was designed after the Target Café food courts that feature prominently at Target stores. “With that, we did what you find at Target: Pizza Hut, hot dogs on a roller, and then popcorn,” Kern explained to Café Mom. There was also a red-and-white Target-themed cake, because what’s a birthday party without cake?
It’s the goody bags for the kids that really clinch the whole thing as genius, though: Kern got some plastic bins and made a Dollar Spot, filling the bins with candy and small toys and letting the kids fill Target shopping bags with whatever they liked. “I got bulk items of toys and candy and bubbles and put them in bins so the kids could ‘shop’ for whatever they wanted,” she told Café Mom. “I had gone to my local Target and they were kind enough to give me a bunch of checkout bags as well as stickers for the kids.” She added, “I think that was their favorite spot of the day!”
The Target phenomenon will never cease to amaze me; it often seems like it cropped up overnight, although there’s a long, long history behind the company that would eventually become the Target Corporation. Personally, I only recall starting hear about Target in the early 2000s, towards the end of my high school years; no doubt this had something to do with the fact that Dayton-Hudson, which had hitherto operated Target, was officially renamed the Target Corporation in 1999. (1999 was a big year, in fact; that's also when the Target website launched, and when the Bullseye dog made his first appearance.)
Even then, though, the nearest Target to where I lived was substantially further away than a number of other similar options — we’re talking at least a 45-minute drive — so Target did not factor much, if at all, in my pre-adult years. Indeed, it was only after I finished college in the mid-2000s and moved to the area of Brooklyn which, at the time, hosted one of the few (if not only) Targets in New York City that I was really able to experience the glory that is the House of the Red Bullseye. Believe you me — I made excellent use of the fact that I lived mere blocks away from the place.
But, honestly, if Target had been a thing when I was a kid, I would likely have been just as enthused as Charlie is about the place. (Heck, I’m just as enthused as Charlie is now, and I’m a full-grown, 30-something adult.) I imagine that for kids today, trips to Target are viewed similarly to how trips to the mall were during my childhood, or how trips to major department stores were viewed in previous generations: Amazing adventures that took place in a location where you could find literally everything. To a small child, that’s magical.
For her part, Kern thinks it’s possible that Charlie’s deep and abiding love of Target stems back to how she coped with new parenthood. “When she was born, I was struggling with being cooped up inside, so I would load her up and off to Target we went,” she said to Scary Mommy. “I would go 1-2 times a week just to get out of the house. So maybe she just grew to love it from that. I don’t know!”
Then again, I feel like the answer to the question, “Why is this kid so obsessed with Target?” could very easily be explained simply as, “Why wouldn’t she be? Target is FANTASTIC.” What’s more, between things like the brand’s gender-neutral Pillowfort bedding and its bathroom policy, Target is very visibly teaching tolerance and breaking down stereotypes — all things I would feel excellent about passing down to any kids I might have or otherwise care for in the future.
When it comes to favorites, there are worse things to love than Target. And Charlie? I hope your Target party was everything you’d dreamed of and more. Happy birthday!