Entertaining | Urban Camping Birthday Party

Written by: Kaja Bolton

Photography by: Robert Socha

Nature is a hard to find in the wilds of Hoboken, see how Kaja Bolton set out to have a campground birthday party at home.

Where I grew up in Norway, summers are spent outside hiking, camping, and enjoying the seemingly never setting sun. I think many of us have fond memories of playing outside in the wilderness as kids, and would love to share that with our children. Unfortunately, nature is a little hard to find here in the wilds of Hoboken. So for my daughter Sophie’s 8th birthday, I figured why not bring the nature to us? Introducing Camp Harborside!

Being prime sleepover age, I knew the girls would love the pink tents I set up in the living room. A simple piece of turf scattered with daisies created a fun and comfortable play area, and a fire in the fireplace set the campout mood. The girls received goodie bags with flashlights and nightgowns, then each was paired up with a tent buddy for the night.


I wanted the party to reflect the simple fun I felt playing as a kid, so all the games were screen free and many were taken directly from parties I had attended back home. Pass the Parcel, Musical Chairs, and Pie Face were just a few of the activities. My personal favorite was a stand in for a camp tradition; the pie eating contest. Each girl was given her own fruit by the foot and, with hands behind their backs, raced to be the first to eat the entire length. All of the games were simple to play, and everyone had a blast.

Since it was a birthday party pizza and cupcakes were served, but it wouldn’t be a camp out without s’mores. Marshmallows were set out on decorative sticks next to graham crackers and chocolate. The girls took turns toasting them over an indoor grill. The s’mores station was a big hit and as an added bonus, it took almost no prep.

Once the games and snacks were finished the lights were dimmed and ghost stories were told. Large lanterns and firelight created a warm evening atmosphere beckoning the girls to their cozy tents. It was a wonderful night full of fun, games, and for me, a bit of nostalgia too.

Want to add a cozy campfire in your apartment? Check out some of our favorite ethanol fireplaces here