So I’m still recovering from Thing-three’s fourth birthday party yesterday. It was such a success I feel qualified to give my tips on how to throw the ultimate kids party.
1. Never have it at home
I can’t stress this enough. It is never worth it. Kids need lots of room to run around, pop balloons and scream. Unless you live in an old disused orphanage, hold it somewhere else. I booked out the hall at my local community centre. It had an outside space and a kitchen. This meant the children could go mad in the hall, while the parents hid outside drinking tea and eating olives and hobnobs.
2. Use your friends
If you don’t have any, you will have to make some first. When picking friends, make sure between them, they have certain skills sets, i.e.; organising, cake-baking, of great height, good at face-painting, the possessor of snazzy cucumber cutting skills and so on. Rope these people in to help. I find the best way to do this is drop it on them last minute, whilst not making it sound like a big deal. I snared my friend Victoria by suggesting she ‘drop in early with the cake she had made’ before others turned up. She actually ended up getting there before us (see above ‘organising’ skills).2. Use your friends
3. Don’t prepare food at home first
Take it unprepared to the venue and look flustered. People turning up to the party will then offer to help you make sandwiches and cut up cucumbers in a snazzy fashion (see above ‘snazzy cucumber cutting skills’). This also means no mess is made at home to come back and clean up having cleaned up the party venue.
4. Rope a dad into being the DJ
I am lucky here. I have some awesome friends. One of them has a jazzy speaker and some flashy disco lights. While his wife was making the sandwiches, me and him had a quick MC session on the mic and made a ‘most inappropriate kids party playlist’ before getting back to looking busy.
He did a fantastic job of entertaining the kids for the first hour with all the traditional games, musical statues, musical chairs, best dancing competition and so on. I won all of them apart from musical chairs (I was robbed). Whenever a kid was ‘out’ we consoled them with a Starburst.
5. Hire an entertainer
This is the first year I’ve ever done it, as my other two kids have always been scared of them, but Thing-three loved it, and the one I found was brilliant. I got to spend an hour away from (watching other people do) all the chores and enjoy my baby in a waistcoat helping run the show.
6. Go vegan on food
Rather than waste money on food they won’t eat, keep it cheap and safe for all by keeping it vegan. Marmite or jam sandwiches, grapes, strawberries, cucumbers, breadsticks, Oreos, Party-Rings and Pom Bears are all vegan and all you need. We served veg sausage in baps, olives and hob-nobs for the parents with big mugs of tea and coffee.
7. Give books instead of party bags
Thank you for coming to my party’ into all of them (“Well, while you are sitting there doing nothing…”) You could gather books from charity shops before-hand if you are organised. You might want to check no one else wrote it in first though.
8. Cry a lot
Get suddenly upset that your child is getting older and someone will make you tea, offer to wash up, sweep the hall, take down the balloons or ideally all of it.
9. Enjoy it
Kids parties have always been as much social occasions for me as they have been for the girls. Afterwards, when nearly all the guests have gone and your midriff is soaked from washing up, when the last balloon is popped and the car is loaded with presents, the people who are left are the best people in your life. Have a cup of tea and share the iced dog’s nose from the cake with them, and tell how much you bloody love them.