It’s a Birthday Party, Kids!
It used to be that a simple, homemade birthday cake and a few token streamers constituted a successful kid’s birthday party. Throw in a handful of friends and a donkey without a tail, and you were done.
Today? Not so much. Birthday parties for children have been elevated to an entirely different level, with hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars being spent to celebrate this annual event. What’s a parent to do?
“Plan ahead,” says Heather Lapham Kuhn, events concierge at L’Evento Boutique. “The biggest reason people overspend on any celebration is last-minute planning. By giving yourself plenty of time to make smart choices and seek out bargains, you’ll save a bunch of money.”
Here are some other no-nonsense tips to keep in mind:
Be Yourself. Don’t get sucked in to a keep-up-with-the-Joneses scenario. Stick to your guns when it comes to the budget, guest list and location. If you’re not the do-it-yourself kind of person, there are plenty of options in the Indianapolis area that will bring the party to your home, or will host your special event at an offsite location. “Having parties at home, with family and friends gathering together to celebrate, has become more popular again,” says Amanda Henson, Best Fun, Inc. “But it can also be lots of pressure. Having someone at the party to entertain the kids, and even adults, is a good idea as it takes that pressure off and allows everyone to have fun.”
Have a Back-Up Plan. If your party is going to be outdoors, make sure you have an alternative date in mind or a location available should the weather not cooperate.
Combine Celebrations. Many party vendors and businesses offer better deals for larger guest lists. Consider holding one big bash on a neutral date for two or more children at the same time.
Give Back. Fishers residents Lori and Matt Trulock started a family tradition with Camden, their son, on his very first birthday party held last month. In lieu of gifts, they asked each guest to bring items found on the Hamilton County Humane Society’s Wish List. “We actually collected a truck load full of donations, and we took Camden with us to deliver them,” Lori says. “He won’t remember it now, but he will understand it as he gets older, as we’re going to do the same thing each year.”
Be Creative. Pop culture, television shows, books and trends are always a good place to start for inspiration. Here are just a few examples of clever party ideas:
- Letterboxing – Combine this popular activity with a round of pizzas at home and a gift bag filled with stamps, pens and a notebook. Check out www.letterboxing.org for inspiration.
- Toddlers & Tiaras – One local group of tweens gathered for a slumber party and an all-out spoof on this television series. While poking fun at kid pageants, guests donned outlandish hairstyles and exaggerated make-up while competing for titles like Worst Costume and Funniest Routine.
- 39 Clues – This popular book series lends itself to scavenger hunts, endless activities and exotic locales. Carmel resident Deana Keen, who chose this theme for one of her son’s birthday parties, said it was a hit. “It was a blast watching the kids eat Ramen noodles with chopsticks, wrapping toilet paper around themselves to look like mummies, and eating Vienna sausages in ‘Austria,’” she said.
- Mall Time – Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on decorations and food, one mom simply gave her daughter and each guest $20, drove them to a popular mall for a casual lunch, and then tagged along while they figured out how to spend it all.
Planning a party for your child can be daunting, but with a little forethought and a bit of imagination, they can also be unforgettable events, with memories to last a lifetime.