My twins turned 7 last week and we chose to have a big blow out type birthday party at our neighborhood association’s clubhouse. This facility is large and can accommodate big groups so we threw caution to the wind and let the boys invite as many friends as they wanted. (I can hear what you’re thinking – “As many friends as they wanted? What are they, nuts?”……The answer is yes, yes we are.) We’re one of those crazy families that does a birthday party every year for every child so considering I also have a 3 yr old, I’ve definitely hosted my share of birthday celebrations. But this party was a little different than the others and I learned a few new lessons that I hope will be helpful to other moms:
1. When hiring a costumed performer, make sure you see an ACTUAL PHOTO of said performer in their costume. The gentleman we hired to be Darth Vader showed up in a polyester, cheapish costume with screen print type graphics emblazoned on the front – the kind someones enthusiastic dad might wear for Halloween. In fact, my boys kept asking me if he was one of their uncles.
2. Discuss with the performer what to do if the balloon blowing mechanism intended to inflate 25 balloon light sabers BREAKS at the start of the party. Soldiering on and blowing up the light sabers with your mouth (under the big Darth Vader mask which, consequently, makes it look like these balloons are being blown up through a hole in the Dark Lord’s neck) makes flimsy, easily pop-able light sabers which don’t work for the planned dueling demonstration. Our guests got frustrated with the swords so they started asking for puppies and octopuses.
3. At the start of the party, when parents look around and decide that 2 adult hosts can easily take care of 25 screaming, playing, bouncing kids and politely ask if they can leave to go ________ – make sure you get contact info in case you need to reach them before the end of the party. Now that my boys are 7, we have apparently entered the age of the “drop off party” but we neglected to have a system in place for contacting parents. Luckily nothing happened that required parent intervention but when my 3 yr old and an adorable little girl ran smack into each other in the bounce house, I had visions of trying to track down her mother with a smoke signal.
4. When it becomes obvious that the children at the party WAY out number the adults, consider removing all small snackish type food from the refreshment table. Having popcorn and tiny pretzels at arm’s reach was extremely convenient for the “let’s make food-confetti” crowd.
5. If choosing to open presents at a later time, make double TRIPLE sure that the cards are attached to each gift. We took home no less than 40 gifts to our house (trust me, no one wants to watch twins open each and every present at a party) and for many gifts, we were super confused about who gave what to whom.
6. Finally, when reliving the chaos of the event, try to focus on the birthday child (or in this case, children) and their experience with the party. My boys had the time of their life and kept saying that they felt like the luckiest kids in the world. I guess that’s the the most important part, even if Darth Vader was lame.