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A Busytown Birthday

View Busytown Birthday
(It appears that clicking on the image above no longer brings you to a gallery of images, so I’ve posted them below)

My son has been smitten with Richard Scarry’s Busytown characters since June, when he picked up two of his books while we were on vacation. They were in Italian, but that didn’t matter. He poured over them for hours, including about half of our plane ride home from Rome. So we decided to make Busytown the theme of his 5th birthday party earlier this month.

The amazing Huckle Cat cake is entirely the work of my food-editor husband. It was a super-moist, dense yellow cake (FOUR DOZEN EGGS), covered in buttercream and decorated with fondant.

Meanwhile, the stuffed Huckle was my project. I started with a pattern for a baby doll, added the ears, tail and nose and lengthened the feet. The pattern included a little shirt, which I altered a bit to look more like Huckle’s. The pants are a modified version of an American Girl doll clothing pattern!

I bought a used but perfect copy of the out-of-print “Richard Scarry’s Biggest Make-It Book Ever” on eBay and scanned various pages to make the invitations and decorations. It also included the pattern for the Lowly Worm dolls I made as favors, though I came up with my own construction method to streamline the process since I was making so many. Rather than cut and sew 10 bodies, 10 pants and 10 shoes, I sewed long pieces of tan, green and grey felt together, traced the pattern 10 times, cut in between and then sewed on the drawn line. That part went quickly but I admit that by the time I got to all those buttons and bow-ties I was pretty sick of the whole project.

I had grand visions of sewing a cute bunting but ended up just cutting triangles from leftover scrapbooking paper and some more images from the “Make-It” book. I strung them together by sewing a piece of ribbon across the top of the triangles.

Parker’s main present, other than the stuffed Huckle, was another eBay find: a 1976 “Puzzletown” set so he can build his own Busytown. We came up with what we thought was a great idea: scanning more pages from the “Make-It” book (which included cutout images of various Busytown buildings) and attaching them to fiberboard to make extra pieces. My husband used a jigsaw to cut out all the pieces, but the fiberboard (actually a piece of paneling) was just a hair too wide to fit in slots on the Puzzletown base. Had we realized that earlier, we probably could’ve sanded the edges, but since I already had glued the pictures on, we stuck plastic stands (cut from cabinet child-proofing devices) to the back so they could be free-standing. I think this idea would be great to do with other books, or even using a child’s own drawings. You could cut a notch at the bottom of the pieces and use another little piece of fiberboard for a stand.

Here’s a picture of the 1976 “Puzzletown”


And here are the new pieces we made:


All in all, it was a great success! Huckle has bumped all other stuffed animals from their usual spot at bedtime, and even has been going to kindergarten this week.

UPDATE: Please do not ask me to share the Lowly worm pattern. As mentioned above, I found it in a book and am not comfortable sharing it. But I am sure if you look at a picture of Lowly, and my picture of how I traced the pattern, you can figure out that he is basically a long rectangle shape, with a rounded top for a head and an oval-ish shape at the bottom for his foot.

73 comments to A Busytown Birthday

  • This is awesome! I especially love the worms. My little boy loves Richard Scarry, too. Maybe a good theme for his next birthday….

  • I’m so impressed with this birthday set up you did! I remember that book from when I was a kid and my cousin had the town. This brings back so many memories of my childhood! And you did such a wonderful job with everything! Great job!! :)

  • Oh my goodness, what an amazing birthday party. I was obsessed with that same book as a child and this inspired me to go buy a copy on The Huckle Cat looks like it could be a licensed toy.

  • I love this idea for a bday party. Love the lowly worm stuffies, and everything else is fabulous.

  • OK, this is crazy cute.

  • Laine

    I had that make-it book as a kid! I made Lowly Worm too. I absolutely love this as a kid’s b-day party theme! No kids yet, but I’m filing away the idea for later.

  • Pamela

    You guys did a phenomenal job on this!!! I totally love it!!!

  • That is so adorable! My son would have loved that. Go lowly worm, go :)

  • micho

    Great idea. My daughter loves the Richard Scarry books too. I just ordered the “Best Make-It Book Ever” online since you’ve inspired me :) Thanks!

  • Catrina

    I love this idea! Especially the Lowly worms…is there any way you’d make one for my daughter? I’d pay! :)

  • oh my gosh- totally awesome! i love richard scarry books. a huge part of my childhood- esp. lowly worm! i had a plush lowly, but it is falling apart so unfortunately my children can’t play with it (displayed lovingly at my parent’s house). i would also totally purchase a lowly worm from you, if you were willing…i’ve been unable to locate one on the market. your little guy is so super lucky to have such fantastic parents that create such an amazing b-day celebration for him. (and i’m super envious of those children that will receive those sweet handmade lowly worms! ;D) so incredibly wonderful!!!!

  • Bonnie

    What a great birthday party! I made Lowly worm for my kids when they were little and I’m sure they still fondly remember Busytown. I’m glad to know kids still love it.

  • Anna

    I would buy a Huckle and Lowly from you if you’re willing to make them!

  • How wonderful! Will you arrange a party like that for me too please?! I’m a little bit older ( by about 40 years!) but still love Richard Scarry.
    He will remember it forever.

  • You are awesome! My children are in love with all of the Richard Scarry Busy Town books and characters and would die for this party. I’ve thought about using this as a theme but never put it all together. You have totally inspired me to do our own Busy Town birthday next year. Thank you for sharing! I love it all.

  • Pamela

    I agree with Anna, I would love to buy Huckle and Lowly too!!!

  • Holy Cow that is incredibly creative. My three year olds love Richard Scarry. I am so inspired to make some Busy town crafts.

  • i love it, you rock! my boys love richard scarry books. i am totally making them lowly worms for christmas.

  • those lowly worms are so cute!!

  • Wow – you so talented! What a great idea and everything turned out beautifully!

  • Holly, I was so thrilled to read your post, especially after your email! Hurrah! Those Lowlies are awesome! And the cake! And Huckle Cat! I know what you mean about getting a tad tired after sewing 10 worms, buttons and bowties and all! But they turned out amazing so it was all worth it! Am so glad I found your blog!

  • Betty Ann

    Holly!!!! so beautiful, sooooo talented…and Jason the cake so cute, what a wonderful 5th b-day.
    Miss You!
    Love, Aunt Betty Ann

  • Betty Ann

    The pictures are just beautiful Parker is so handsome growing up way to fast…..

  • Mame

    I LOVED Richard Scarry when I was a kid, and I hadn’t thought about him for years. Your heartwarming and beautiful Lowly & Huckle & co. really take me back :-) wonderful!

  • Rebecca

    Oh, please can you make one for me? My daughter (3) just loves Lowly Worm and Huckle!

  • Rebecca

    …A Lowly Worm that is! You are soooo creative!

  • oh good gravy!! i need a lowly worm of my own! that is such a sweet idea for a birthday party and how fabulous you got all those goodies on ebay
    i will have to keep an eye out for that book
    i really would love to make some of my own lowly’s
    i loved richard scarry as a child and my daughter did too

  • I loved my Lowly Worm that my mom made for me back in the 70’s. Unfortunately, so did my cat. Needless to say, Lowly did not fair well. Now I have a 3 and 1 year old of my own and I dearly want to make them their own. Any chance of you posting the pattern? The book is impossible to find anywhere.

    Fantastic job on the birthday, by the way. My son would do just about anything for a Huckle of his very own. Bravo!

  • […] Kitty. He has an assortment of Garfields from my husband’s childhood, and of course the Huckle I made him for his birthday. He also likes to “read” Calvin and Hobbes, so I decided […]

  • erin soulen

    you are amazingly talented. my son, in kindergarten as well is in love with huckle cat. he dresses like him for school(minus the cat ears). would you be willing to make us a huckle doll and a lowly worm? I will be glad to pay whatever you would like!!! thanks, erin

  • I am almost 30 years old and I want that to be my bday party next year. That is really awesome. I totally want that huckle doll. lol

  • Carrie

    Hi there:

    I’ve noticed a lot of people asking whether or not you make and sell the Lowly worm stuffies. Is this something that you would consider? I’ve looked everywhere and can’t find one. I am so not crafty, otherwise I would try and make one myself.

    Thanks in advance for your response,

  • Eileen

    I am another reader wondering if you can make me a lowly worm and huckle cat. I LOVE what you did but I am not very talented in the craft area. I have twin girls that will turn 4 in March and they will not go to bed at night until we read from a Richard Scarry book. I had one of the books as a kid and bought one on a whim. They love them and thankfully our library has a good selection. They would be over the moon for a stuffed Huckle and Lowly. Let me know:)

  • Can you make a step by step guide on how to make the huckle doll?

  • Emily

    I found your website when I searched for “Busytown birthday supplies”. I am blown away by all of the amazing and adorable crafts! I found the “make-it” book you mentioned on and can’t wait to get it. I am planning to do a Busytown Birthday party for my son in June. I am so excited to make the Lowly dolls! He’s going to love it. – I noticed the toy your son was playing with in the first picture. Where can I find a toy like that? Is it vintage? I am so inspired by everything I have seen on your website! I only wish I had more artistic talent…

  • Dawn K

    Wow! You did such a wonderful job with the Huckle and Lowly! Are you willing to make and sell a Huckle and Lowly? Please let me know for my son’s upcoming 4th birthday gifts. Thanks!

  • […] for Giveaway Day at Sew, Mama, Sew! I had no idea when I posted pictures from my son’s Busytown birthday party last fall that there were so many Lowly Worm fans out there! This version is a bit of an […]

  • Jennifer

    i found your blog when searching “lowly worm”. you did a fabulous job! my 4 yr old is obsessed w/ worms! i had my own Lowly when I was a kid! Lucky to find it today, as i was super excited to see that there is a give a way going on!

  • […] are still around on Ebay, and the videos (as above) still exist, yet folks are staging their own birthday parties (check out stitch/craft’s website) and turning Scarry’s book pages into amazing […]

  • atebyanimals

    Wow! put me on the list of people who would buy a huckle and lowly from you. My son would lose his mind!!! He’s obsessed with the Huckle cat mysteries… You did an amazing job!

  • […] on Saturday. I think I was so relieved to not have to make 10 party favors like last year’s mass-produced Lowly Worms that I went a little overboard for the three children in attendance (the birthday boy and two […]

  • This post is a excellent read. Thanks a lot for the post.I am looking forward for your next post.

  • I am in the process of planning my three year old son’s party and he is in love with Huckle. I am going to try to make a doll and a few Lowlie’s! Can you please share how you made the cake as he keeps telling me he wants a Huckle cake and I would love to do that for him!! Thanks so much for the ideas and inspiration and I will post pictures of the final products!!

  • Ellen Jansen


    I was wondering if you maybe have the pattern/tutorial of Lowly for me? I love him!

    Greetings from the Netherlands!

  • Carrie

    Hi! I am trying to make these Lowly Worms! You did a wonderful job. Would you share your pattern? I will pay for it! REALLY need on for my baby boy!

  • Priya

    I stumbled across your blog because I’m planning a Busytown birthday party for my 3-yr old son. I LOVE the photos and you obviously did an amazing job! I scoured the notes but it doesn’t look like you posted the pattern for the Lowly Worm. Are you able to do so? I’d also love to hear about activities that you did during the party for the kids – I’m trying to come up with a “mystery” that the kids can solve together. Thanks for your ideas and the beautiful pics!

  • Val

    What a great job you and your husband did. Thank you for all the great ideas! I found a copy of the make it book and am going to try making Lowly even though I’m not a sewer. Did you use a marker to draw the mouth or did you sew it?

  • Holly

    Thanks Val! I sewed the mouths on, I think with just one big stitch from the end of the mouth to the center seam on both sides. I didn’t follow the directions exactly since I was making so many. I sewed strips of the tan, green and black felt together first, and then cut out the whole pattern rather than making individual bodies, shirts and feet.

  • […] Most Popular Post: A Busytown Birthday […]

  • […] doll pattern that I’ve used a bunch of times to make stuffed animals, (including the famous Huckle) and it calls for this technique: Make the limbs, leaving the tops open, and a 1-2 inch section […]

  • Amber

    This is amazing, and timely! I googled Busytown birthday theme..
    my daughter is turning 5 in Oct and is obsessed with the Busty town.
    Thank you for an awesome job and all the information! :)

  • I came upon your site today doing a search for Busytown birthday ideas. My son will turn 3 in November and is completely crazy about the books, the show, etc… I swear we’ve read most of the books already. I actually was searching for vintage Budytown toys. I know my younger siblings had some when we were kids. I am hoping my mom saved them…especially the puzzletown sets. Your blog is beautiful and I am super impressed by your sewing skills. Wow. Thank you for sharing. Your photography is great too. Cheers!

  • Ruth

    I love your Busytown birthday and am planning one for my little girl who is enamored with all the Richard Scarry books. I was wondering is you’d be willing to share the pattern for lowly worm? Thanks.

  • […] Also :: We’re talking Breaking Bad, our new BOOK CLUB and Bad Hair over on Facebook today. Come join us! It’s not busy at all!  And the featured image on this post (at top) is via Stitchcraft Creations. […]

  • Dalila V.

    I tried looking at the full album for more pics but wasn’t able to…
    Such a great idea!!! Everything looks so pretty, lucky boy!

  • Yukon mamma

    Hi, your lowly worms are the best!! Do you ever sell them? I would love to buy 4 and have very limited sewing abilities myself….thanks!

  • Holli H

    I’ve purchased the book and started to make the worms (my first sewing project) and was wondering how you were able to get the worms right side out so you could stuff them? I’m having a heck of a time getting them past his leg and I don’t want to break him 😉 Thanks!

  • Hello Holly
    These look Amazing!! Your Lowly Worm has everyone here at the Cookie Jar offices very envious. We’d love the recipe for your Huckle Cake as we’ve got quite a few amateur bakers here who want to take a crack at it. I’ve placed a link to this post for everyone on our official Busytown Facebook Page.

    Cliff Persaud
    Cookie Jar Entertainment.

  • DomsMom

    I’d live to see some pictures of the puzzle town and your extra pieces!

  • Holly

    Sorry! Didn’t realize I hadn’t uploaded those. I just added them.

  • This is an absolutely fabulous party idea and I love all the special details. Those Lowly worms are amazing!! I want one for me!!! I remember Richard Scarry Books with great fondness from childhood. Thank you for sharing your very special party :) Georgia

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  • […] Richard Scarry’s Busytown ~ Richard Scarry’s Busytown Birthday Party ~ Lowly Worm dolls as party favors and a stuffed Huckle and […]

  • […] NOT make my son a stuffed animal for Christmas. Previous birthday and Christmas projects include Huckle, Hobbes,  the Cat from Outer Space,  a penguin, and some Angry Bird critters, but I thought […]

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  • […] there a. Other links: Get Involved! Better Recipes Community and Social Media | The Daily Dish A Busytown Birthday ? Stitch-Craft A Tale of True Chivalry by a Good Samaritan in Vancouver Ends Tragically ? Knights of the Pain […]

  • Emilie

    Can I buy a lowly worm off you :(

  • Holly

    I’m sorry, I am not selling these.

  • […] stitch/craft – homemade stuffed Lowly Worm favors and more! […]

  • […] soll!?Egon könnte man nun ja einfach einscannen und aus Pappe ausschneiden – aber dann habe ich diese hier entdeckt. So so toll. Dann war das Kind krank und wir haben zusammen schnell einen Egon […]

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