a colorful 3rd birthday: the inaugural birthday color run

The final piece of Miss L’s birthday celebration was a last-minute addition. You may remember that we ran in The Color Run last summer, and that during the event I learned that she loved to run and loved getting doused in color. Well, since that time, she literally asks weekly about doing it again. While we’re signed up for August already, and I thought about signing up for some other similar events this Spring, I had a revelation last week. Basically, one thought led to another, and the upcoming Holi festival celebrations came to mind… and I remembered knowing a friend who had easily held a Holi celebration by buying the colored powders online. So, using that logic, why not just create our own mini-Color Run at home for her birthday using Holi color packets?

And, as my crazy ideas go, that’s just what we did.


We started with the requisite white shirt and goggles, and added to it some Holi Festival color packets that you can buy on Amazon. I put each packet of color in a ziplock baggie, then cut it open once it was inside.

(When searching for colors, search for “Holi Color Powder” or “gulal” – if you’re using a lot of it, look for a guaranteed non-toxic brand, like “Royal Colours” – you can buy it here from India – or other “non-toxic” sources here. The brand I bought said to keep away from children, so I’d recommend another if you’re using it around lots of kids or you want to really get them covered)


We gathered at the park at noon and found a nice area on the grass to set-up everything. And we gathered some help: 6 adults ready and willing to throw colored powder at a giggling 3 year old.




The course was set-up as a simple 50 foot loop and the color throwers were on the inside as she ran the outside course for 5 laps.


She was doused in color, giggling and happy, and didn’t want it to end!


So… she got into the throwing of powder as well!


It might look insanely messy, but all you need is to brush yourself off well, use lots of baby wipes, and you’re pretty decently clean after everything. Of course, a good scrub in the shower doesn’t hurt either.

I missed out on the color fun as photographer this year, but I have a feeling that someone will be itching to revive this as a tradition and maybe invite some friends over to participate in this event next year. I’ll have to start planning the t-shirts now…

But if you decide to have your own color festival… Leave a comment here :)


  • Arpita

    Very impressive – i talk about your page today on my Facebook page: Morning Chai With Arpita – A Mommy Related Page. Enjoy all the wonderful comments. My little girl enjoyed looking at the photos and wants to color run today.

  • Ive

    thinking of doing this for my 7year old birthday party. I love the google ideas!!!! trying to find the best way to make it fun with no tears shed. tks for the input:)

  • allie8302

    Does the color wash out? We do tie-dye each summer for our VBS and I was thinking this might be a fun, but the kids will want colored shirts after.

    • Kim

      The color does wash out. You can try applying vinegar to the shirt w/a spray bottle and that might retain some of it. It’s tricky because you want the color to come out of hair and off of skin… so that leads something not as stain prone for cotton.

  • Gina Tester

    Do you use your hands and just throw handfuls at the person or ? Can you make this instead of buying it?

    • Kim

      You can make it by mixing cornstarch with powder-based tempura. And yes… you just toss it up in the air!

  • Katherine Varnado

    I love this idea! I was wondering how much powder you would need if you had multiple people do it?

  • Sally Andrews

    Did the parks & rec or community services department approve the event or was it not even an issue? Also, how stained was the grass? I’m planning to do this for my daughter’s 4th birthday party, but so far, the parks departments I’ve spoken to are a bit squeamish about the idea of it. I’m hoping to convince someone! Especially if I promise to put down some sort of tarp or plastic to protect the grass and ease the cleanup.

    • Kim

      We didn’t have a parks & rec department to deal with or permits for a party or anything… it’s just the neighborhood city park down the street. However, if you use cornstarch/pigment, then you’ll have ZERO issues. It’s gone with the wind before the party is over. It’ll all wash off quickly too. We have multiple “Color Run” events in the area and it all gets cleaned up quick with some sweeping and barely any water. :)