Party On

As my daughter’s second birthday is quickly approaching, I was thinking about how children’s birthday parties have changed. As a child I did not have big elaborate parties with bouncy houses or a petting zoo in the backyard like some, or dare I say, most kids do today. Instead, I had paper streamers, musical chairs, and pin the tail on the donkey. Let me add that a simple party was just fine because everyone had a good time anyway. I have been to a few parties at bowling alleys, cake shops, and the local Chuck E Cheese, but they are usually so scheduled and nerve-racking that I don’t really enjoy them. So I have decided to have a party that falls somewhere in between.

Anyone who knows me knows I like a party with a theme. Because Nicole is turning two, I have planned a tutu-themed party. All the little girls will have fairy princess tutus and the boys with have foam prince swords. I am making the no-sew tutus from a pattern I found on the internet for less than three dollars a piece and I was able to order the foam swords on-line for less than four dollars a piece. Having this theme also eliminates the much dreaded, waste-of-money “goody” bags that I usually give out because the tutu and swords are the favors.

The menu is equally as simple. I am serving chips, dip, and pizza strips. I’ll serve the cake, which I’ll make so that it will match the theme, along with some Hoodsie cups (this is ice cream for all you non-Rhode Islanders) for dessert. As for the games…we’ll play musical chairs and pin the tail on the donkey. Why mess with a good thing.

Kathy Adds:

Is it me or are things getting to be way too extravagant for our children? You wouldn’t believe some of the children’s parties I have been too. The amount of money spent and the indulgence is ridiculous for an adult, not to mention a child. I couldn’t justify spending that kind of money even if I had it. If we are taking our 5 year old daughters to a spa with all of their girlfriends for mani/pedis, what are they going to expect when they are 12 or 16?

I recently had a party at home for my 6 year old and it was fantastic! It was a treasure and scavenger hunt. We started out by breaking the kids up into small teams of about 3-4 kids. Each team had a cooler and much bigger brother and his buddies in charge of the group. (One poor group had to go with me and didn’t have nearly as much fun.) The teams each had a paper bag with a list of items on it and they had to go throughout our neighborhood and find them by asking neighbors to help them out. Among the items on the list were…a golf ball, paper clip, pen, nickel, yarn, and a stamp. I am sure you get the idea. The kids ran themselves around our neighborhood for a half and hour and came back hungry and happy. They were then served a gourmet delight of pigs in a blanket, (Why don’t you make these all the time my boys asked?) and sent off again in search of the treasure chest, which was hidden in my best friends yard in a wheel barrow. It was filled with candy and small toys and the kids then made their own treat bags. I made the birthday cake myself and it was one cheap party. Most importantly, it was exactly what my son wanted and everyone enjoyed themselves, even the teenagers!


Heron responded on July 9, 2008 at 1:55 PM #

Just a plug for Audrey's party planning abilities: We always had pretty rockin' birthdays growing up - scavenger hunts and pillow case jousting and snoopy themes and alien themes (I'm to blame for that one, and it wasn't very good). I think the best thing that she did, though, was to let us pretty much pick the theme and the elements, and then bring it all together with her excellent cake-making and game-designing skills. I remember some pretty elaborate parties at friends houses that were either boring or uncomfortable because the parents were controlling of the whole affair. Our mom pretty much set up the activity, and then let us mess it up however we wanted.

On a side note - I'm the only person I know whose friends and mother jointly arranged three separate surprise birthday parties. And I never suspected a single one. Now that I think about it, this is more of a reflection of my lack of awareness than my mother's planning skills.

Side side note - balloons and streamers go a LONG way in making a party feel festive. Can't stress it enough. Lots of balloons. But no helium, because it can escape outside and choke a little animal.

Final side note - sometimes non-gendered parties are the best, because then all the kids feel comfortable being whatever they choose to be. For example - at my brother's knight party, I got to be a knight and joust and have fun. But at a friend's knight party I was a lady, and didn't get to have a sword. Lame. I wanted a sword.