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Kid Birthday Parties: To Stay Home or Not

Today’s blog post was inspired by the topic that has been going around in our friend circle.  Many of us wonder, should we throw our kids a birthday party and if so, should we do it at home or at a place? We decided to write a blog showcasing the pros and cons of hosting a party at home and hosting a party at a venue.

I want to premise this blog with a conversation my husband and I have every time we talk about kid parties.  The conversation looks like this:

Me, “What should we do for ____ (insert kid’s name) birthday?  Should we have a birthday party with friends and family or just a family one?”

Dave, “I don’t understand why birthday parties have to be so outlandish.  Growing up we always had great birthday parties and they were inexpensive.  All we needed was hamburgers and hotdogs and a cake.”

Me, “I agree, but you aren’t answering the question.  What should we do for ____ birthday?”

Christa and I have thrown lots of kids parties over the years.  Some have been extravagant and some have been simple.  No matter what type of party, most people nowadays (thank you Pinterest) come up with some type of “theme” to plan the party around.

Pictured Below:  Sophia’s 3rd Candyland inspired party. Her birthday is in December so the kids decorated cones into Christmas trees. They made candy necklaces and did a few other crafts. The huge cupcake piñata was a hit!

At Home Parties

These are parties that are thrown in the comforts of your own home and backyard.  Many of us remember having most of our birthday parties at home while we were growing up. We were fortunate in the Skelly family to have a very creative mom who loved planning parties!

Pictured Below:  Jack’s 5th Mindcraft inspired party.  This was a birthday party Sophia and I attended a few weeks ago down the street.  I will have to say it was one of the most clever birthday parties I have seen. My friend Karen went above and beyond with the small touches! The numerous Mindcraft boxes she painstakingly painted were a hit! They served as both a cute decoration and as a fun activity for the kids to stack and then knock down. Karen’s husband even performed an experiment with diet coke and something that caused it to explode.

Pros of Throwing an At Home Party

  1. You can invite more guests.

  2. Party times are more flexible.

  3. Pinterest ideas Galore!!!

  4. You can make your own cake/food/decorations.

  5. You can do it on the cheap if you really want to!

  6. Families can bring siblings, and it is not a big deal.

Cons of Throwing an At Home Party

  1. You have to spend hours cleaning your home, getting it “presentable” for guests.

  2. Often you end up spending just as much (did I really need to go to Kroger 10 times in preparation for the party) or more compared to an party thrown at a venue.

  3. People might stay longer.

  4. The weather might not cooperative.

  5. You have to clean up your house after the party.

Venue Parties 

Do I really have to go to another inflatable birthday party?  Ha Ha!  You know these types of parties.  They can be held at a wide variety of places such as the Little Gym, Inflatable Zones, Chuck E Cheese, a park, the zoo, the movies, etc.  You name it, there is probably a kid birthday party associated with it.

Pictured Below:  Sawyer’s 4th Sting Ray inspired party.  This was another super fun party. My friend Melissa went all out with the cute cookies and party favors. This party was located at the Houston Downtown Aquarium. The party started with a tour of the aquarium. Next, kids were ushered upstairs for a nice lunch. All the kids were given their own cute stuffed animal.  After lunch the kids fed the sting rays, rode a train, and rode a couple of carnival rides.  It was a 3 hour party that was packed with fun activities! 

Pros of Throwing a Venue Birthday Party

  1. You don’t have to spend hours cleaning your own house!

  2. You typically just show up and most of the work it done for you.

  3. Birthday party venues tend to be well oiled machines, they know how to do it in an organized way!

  4. There are lots of options!

  5. The venue cleans up after the party!

  6. You can still do a few small “Pinterest” projects. 

Pictured Below: Emerson’s 2nd Princess inspired party. This was a very fun party thrown by my friend Amy at the gymnastics gym near our house. Emerson’s birthday falls in January, so her birthdays will probably always take place at an inside venue. The kids had a blast playing in the mosh pit, jumping on the trampolines, and playing with a parachute. The party favors were too cute!

Cons of Throwing a Venue 

  1. You are often limited by the number of guests you can invite.

  2. If kids don’t show up, you still may have to pay for their spots. 

  3. The cost can get expensive.

  4. Some people feel they have to one up the last birthday party and do something more spectacular (i.e. limos for 5 year olds). 

  5. Some venues are more rigid than others. 

Pictured Below:  Isabella’s 5th Art Inspired Party. This party was a lot of fun to plan. My friend Stephanie (an art teacher) helped me with this party.  She had all of the supplies for the kids to make a mosaic frame.  The kids had a blast picking out beads and attaching them to the frames. I paid a small fee to have someone paint the kids’ faces.  This is an inexpensive way to jazz up a kid’s party!

In conclusion, throwing a kids birthday party (regardless if it is at home or not) is a big task!  No matter what, you are going to spend time and money organizing the event.  If you have a birthday party and lots of kids show up, you might feel obligated (rightfully so) for your kid to attend their friends’ birthday parties when they come around.  Don’t be upset when you have kid birthday parties on the calendar every weekend for the next year!

Pictured Below:  Jett and Jay’s Fireman inspired party.  This was a super cute birthday party located at the Houston Fire Truck Museum.  The kids got to dress up in fireman gear and play with fireman equipment.

On a sidenote, I like the idea of having an “after school” birthday party for a couple of hours on a school day.  I feel that many parents are so busy during the week, that attending weekend birthday parties can become a chore.  To me it this idea would be win win for both kids and parents.  The kids would have fun at the party no matter the day, and parents would have a more relaxed weekend schedule.

Our question for you, what type of kid birthday parties do you prefer and why?

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