My son's first birthday is in January 2006 and in Hawaii, where we live. 1st birthdays are a tradition and usually huge! We are inviting over 300, yes, three hundred, people.
We did a hot wheel party for my son. Not quite so elaborate, though. One thing we did was set up a table with a few hot wheels, paper, and paint. The boys loved making car tracks on paper. If you use a washable paint, this could be fairly unsupervised due to the large amount of people! Thats how many guests we had at our wedding! I can't imagine a birthday party so big! Have Fun!
For the little kids, you could have a "Go Fish" booth. People probably know it by different names, all with the word 'fish'.
Hang a sheet vertically. If you feel creative, pin or draw underwater scenes on it.
Give each kid a 'fishing pole'.
The pole is just a long stick and a string with a bent paper clip (or a chip clip, or a clothespin) at the end of the string.
Have someone behind the sheet attach little toys to the paper clip and give it a tug. When the kids feel the tug they pull the string toward themselves and get to keep the reward.
The alternative is a magnet on the string and the kids get to reel in a small toy attached to a magnet which is on a table.
You'd need a mom behind the sheet and one in front of the sheet to direct traffic and little bags the kids could put their winnings in.
I have volunteered at many fairs and birthday parties in the past when my kids were little, and this attraction has always been a big hit.
Another suggestion is to have a photographer there who puts people's pictures on round buttons. A huge hit at bar mitzvahs. After the party it's a souvenir. Teens and kids love doing this. Figure 3 buttons per teen.
Some cultures are big on baby party. Get a box of cornstarch and cookie cutters in shapes of fish and make ornaments and paint like Nemo.
Maybe put a centerpiece on every other or so table so you can scrimp there. I would put a couple of disposable camereas out and have people take snaps and drop of camera before they leave and yo
Good Luck remember most of us here are scrimpers by choice or not and so it may sound too much for a One year old.
i dont see a problem with huge parties for babies...if you want to do it go for it. dont let other things get in your way. celebrate however you want to. you will remember it and you son will like to look at pictures and hear stories of his parties! georgie is 2 1/2 and he just loves looking at his birthday pictures and videos.
for favors check out orientaltrading.com they have tons of little car & fish novelties.
for ideas on games and decorations check out birthdaypartyideas.com look under kid parties.
hope this helps and good luck with the humungo party!!!