Is there any birthday tradition more beloved than blowing out candles on a cake? It prompts the collective singing of "Happy Birthday" and signals that dessert time has arrived! The birthday kid gets to summon up their biggest wishes and release them out into the birthday ethos through their breath and saliva (ewwwww, how was this never a thing we questions before now?). A few cheers and cake cuts later and everyone is basking in the sugar high that immediately follows. "This cake is excellent Mary! Where did you get it?"
Buttttt, these are different times and if you're not supposed to be within 6 feet of someone, how on earth is eating their spit-laden cake kosher? Easy answer - it isn't. Add it to the long list of things Covid has robbed from us. But, there are still ways to enjoy this experience AND eat your cake too! We've got a list of modifications to the birthday cake and candle blowing tradition that should keep everyone happy. More importantly, it still allows kids to send those very important wishes out into the universe.
Why is blowing out candles on a birthday cake during Covid a bad idea?
A 2017 study on the bacterial transfer associated with blowing out candles on a birthday cake found up to 1400% more bacteria on birthday cakes that had candles blown out on them compared to those that hadn't. Although Covid is not a bacteria - it's a virus - it still presents concern. Covid-19 spreads mostly through viral particles ejected through the mouth so eating something - no matter how delicious - following a viral confetti-off, is a bad idea. And let's be honest, vaccine or not - are we ever going to eat cake again after little Johnny blows-moistly on it?
Can't we just skip the whole candle blowing thing and go straight to eating cake?
Of course you can just forget about the candles altogether, but then Covid would win. We're not sure about you, but this is one tradition we're not willing to let go of and we're pretty sure our kids aren't either. This is also a tradition that has been around FOREVER and can be traced back to Ancient Greece where candles were burned as offerings to their Gods and Goddesses (reference). Today, most of us believe that if you can blow out all the candles in one breath, your wish will come true and you'll have good luck for the next year.
Alternatives to blowing out candles on the birthday party cake.
Since we're not ready to say goodbye to this much-loved tradition, we've created a list of healthy alternatives to blowing out candles on a birthday cake.
1. Make two cakes (or cupcakes) where the birthday girl/boy/person blows out the candles on the dessert they'll be eating; sparing the party cake everyone else will be indulging in from the blow. Shop candles.
2. Get sparkler candles, like this adorable star sparkler candle we carry, and let the candle blow itself out. These will light up your cake and still allow wishes to be made.
3. Blow out the candles using another object, such as a fan or very aggressive clapping.
4. Get a smash cake! Think: piñata meets chocolate structure. Have the birthday kid whack the chocolate dome (that's typically filled with candy) and celebrate once the task is complete. Hooray!
5. Buy a birthday cake cover. Yes, this is actually a thing! I believe it first started on TikTok and is now patented. Cue: "why didn't I think of that." It's exactly as it sounds. A clear cover that goes over the cake and only allows the tips of the candles and flames to be exposed. Genius.
6. Pop a can of confetti. Just as the final note of "Happy Birthday to Youuuuuuuu" comes to an end, shoot the confetti into the air in celebration. Shop Knot & Bow for the cutest selection of confetti, along with adorable beeswax candles featured in our themed boxes.
7. Use a "Blow Out." Nope, not your great hair after a trip to the salon, but an actual device intended to prevent the spread of germs while blowing out candles. It looks sort-of like a mini party hat and claims to trap 99.78% of harmful germs and viruses. Fingers crossed it doesn't sound like a kazoo.
As always, we'd love to hear from you and learn about all of the creative ways you are keeping birthdays safe. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us up on social @caringconfetti, #caringconfetti. Happy Partying! Shop here.