Party Planning

The nuts and bolts of hosting children’s birthdays.

The anticipation and excitement have been building for months. Your child’s special day is nearly here, and you’re intent to celebrate with relatives and your kid’s closest pals. Whether you are hosting a bash at home or having a gala event at a party place, there are a few general rules to follow as you begin the planning process.

First consider your child. Is your birthday superstar looking forward to having a lot of friends to commemorate the occasion or does your child have a more enjoyable time with few children and less craziness? Base this decision on your little one’s age, the temperament of your child and what type of situation makes your child the happiest.

Once the size of the guest list has been determined, the next factor to consider is location. If your child wants to invite several guests, it may be a good idea to hold the party at a venue that can accommodate and entertain many children. Ask a few parents at the soccer field or dance studio for ideas about preferred party places. Then do some research online, including reading the Birthday Directory on www.parentguidenews.com. Also browse through Web sites for testimonials from patrons at party places. And if you don’t mind planning the gathering at a moment’s notice and can be flexible, many party centers offer deep discounts at the last minute. This is a great way to make your child’s birthday wishes come true, while saving a few bcks at the same time.

If your little one would like to celebrate in familiar surroundings, go for a home-based party. Just remember that the key to hosting a fun and successful party at your place is preparation. Whether you are hiring entertainment, providing games, or both, it’s important to have extra activities at the ready to keep kids engaged. Also, maintaining a sense of order and structure throughout the party makes the affair less stressful and more enjoyable for the hosts, while also avoiding periods of downtime and major meltdowns from the kids. Another tip to keep the party flowing and celebrants pleased is to provide plenty of food options and snacks for guests.

As for spreading the word about the big get-together, sending out online invitations is an environmentally friendly and economical way to inform guests of the day’s festivities. Evites.com, a free invitation site, can also send reminder e-mails to everyone on your list and keep track of who can and cannot attend the party. Of course, if you have creative flair and prefer to send handmade invitations, that always adds a personal touch. Just be sure to check with your child’s teacher about the class policy regarding the distribution of invitations at school.

Finally, after the last child has gone home and all of the presents have been opened, thank-you notes need to be a priority. While there are many innovative trends in party planning these days, this is one aspect that should remain traditional. Nothing says thank you more sincerely than a handwritten note from you or your child.

Planning your child’s birthday party may seem overwhelming at times. However, it can be a worry-free affair by staying organized. Do a little preparation and planning beforehand, and you’ll be able to delight in the occasion as much as your child and the guests.

Halloween Parties
Jack-o-lanterns, spooky witches, ghouls and goblins are lining store shelves now, and that can only mean one thing: Halloween is around the corner. Before your kids head out the door for an afternoon of trick-or-treating, throw a party to get everyone excited for the fall holiday. Or host a gathering afterward, as a way to regroup and keep the fun going after the last doorbell has been rung.

Serve treats like candy corn cupcakes, gummy worms in dirt (made of chocolate pudding and crushed Oreos), and edible eyeballs (made by pushing a chocolate chip into a marshmallow and then using red cake icing to draw the blood vessels). Plan a few activities, too. The Mummy Wrap game never fails to get the party started. Divide the kids into teams, give each group a few rolls of toilet paper and let the wrapping begin. The gang with the most kids wrapped as mummies in three minutes wins. Another idea is to dangle some white powdered doughnuts on strings from a pole and then have the kids try to eat the doughnuts with their hands behind their backs while blindfolded. This definitely gets the kids giggling and begging for extra turns.