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It’s a Party and I’ll Obsess, (or not) if I Want to: A Birthday Guide

 

I consider myself a reasonable person. I’m a planner, and I try to use my best judgement to make good, sound decisions. It keeps me organized, which is essential when trying to manage my son’s school and sports schedule, work, home life, and my cute but quirky Chiweenie.

 

However, two years ago as I was frantically adding individually cut one-inch squares of fondant, which I had spent all night on, for my son’s pixelated ombre three-tiered, (three flavored) Minecraft birthday cake, I realized I had lost all control over the party. My son is very social, which is wonderful. He had “promised” an invite to many of his friends at school, and of course we can’t break a promise. This led to almost 80 people attending. I’m also a people pleaser and a Pinterest lover. These two factors lead to my cruise ship buffet of Minecraft themed food and personalized party favors. It was not the first time a party had gotten the best of me, but year after year as his parties seemed to grow, it seemed to reach a point that for me, wasn’t manageable or enjoyable.

 

I decided to finally take the advice that I offer to guests that have questions about how to better manage their parties at Kidspace. So here are a few tips and tricks to having an amazing party that you can actually enjoy.

 

Manage Expectations: There is usually more than one person in the family that has a vision for what the party is going to be like. From the birthday child, (or children), to partners and grandparents, everyone may have a different idea of what the party is going to be like. It’s important that everyone has a clear idea of how large or small the event will be from the very beginning.

 

Invitations: A key fact to remember is that if you invite them, they will come. When I talk to guests about booking a party at Kidspace, one of my first questions is, “How many people are you planning to invite?” I will often hear a host say, “I’m inviting X number of people, but I think only half will say yes.” Although there is always some wiggle room, it’s better to assume the people you invite will come. It’s much easier to extend more invitations than to tell guests they can’t come. Also remember to account for siblings that may attend with the invited child.

 

Food: Whether you’re ordering food or making it yourself, keep it simple. Depending on the time of day, you don’t always have to offer a full meal. Small bites and snacks are great. I usually suggest communicating to guests if you will provide a meal, or snacks. That way they will know if they should come hungry, or eat before the party. If you’re ordering food or having it catered, ask for advice on quantities. If you’re worried about food preferences or allergies, ask guests to reach out to you for any specific accommodations, and then plan accordingly.

 

Timing is everything: Parties at Kidspace are typically two hours long. I’m frequently asked is if two hours is enough. A longer party means that more people may be able to attend, which means a larger guest list. It can also makes the timing of when to eat, and cut the cake more challenging. Most kids love to sing happy birthday and enjoy cake (or whatever favorite sweet treat your family prefers). If you’re having a party that takes place over a longer period of time, try to fit singing happy birthday sometime in the middle. That way people arriving early and people arriving later can all take part.

 

It’s your party!: From the location, to the cake, to the food, it’s your party, and there are no right or wrong answers. At the end of the day, it’s about doing what works best for you and your family.

 

I love birthdays. Most of all I love seeing how happy it makes my son to have a great party. I don’t regret the pains-taking three-tier Minecraft cake, or the personalized favors. However, I am happy to report that last year I ordered the cake, invited 10 kids, and at the end of it all, my son, as he does every year, gave me a huge hug and told me he had “the best party ever.”

 

 

Thinking of having a party at Kidspace? Visit our About Birthdays page for more information.

 

 

Author Info
KHickey's picture
Bio:

Kathleen Hickey, Operations & Events Manager, has been with Kidspace Children’s Museum since 2014. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from California State University Long Beach. Her favorite exhibit at Kidspace is the Interpretive Arroyo.