Wednesday, September 19, 2012

birthday party preparations

The kids will be turning eight in less than four weeks. Since Charlie and I haven't hosted a birthday party for them since they were four-years-old, we think they're overdue.  I promised the kids that TONIGHT I'd draft up the party invitations, but they've been little help telling me where they want this party or what they want to do. So I'm at a loss. Even though I've been thinking about it for weeks. 

This is me, brainstorming out loud....

  • They're all in the same class.  I suspect that because they all run in their own social circles, we'll be inviting the entire second grade class. To limit the number of kids when these students have all been together since kindergarten doesn't feel right. 


  • They've made wonderful friends through their Girl Scout and Cub Scout troops who aren't part of their class (and whose birthday parties they've attended), so we'll be inviting those kids, too. 


  • We want to have one co-ed party, not two.

Option 1: Host it at an offsite location. Gender-neutral venues that come to mind include Miniature Golf. Bowling alley. Gymnastics center. Ice skating rink. Laser Tag. Indoor swimming pool. Pumpkin patch. My preference is the pumpkin patch because we've had such great success at pumpkin patches in the past. The place that we have in mind has hayrides and corn mazes and a petting zoo and nonstop fun. The advantage is that it's at an offsite location so preparation and cleanup is essentially a non-issue. The drawback is that every person that enters the patch will require a ticket. If we invite the class + the scout troops, we'll have close to 35 kids. With that many kids, we'll need chaperones whose tickets we'll also need to purchase. Then there's food and a cake. Or two.  Also, there are time limits on the party. We couldn't extend it beyond 2.5-hours because you've got a "time slot."

Option 2: Host it at our house.  The advantage of having it here is that we could fix up the yard real pretty and have our very own Fall festival. Also, other kids from the neighborhood (with whom are kids are also close), could drop in.  Parents and siblings could come over and stay awhile.  We'd decorate with hay bales and lots of pumpkins around the front yard. There would be bobbing for apples, a piƱata and capture the flag in the backyard. We've also looked in to renting ponies and/or a moon-bounce and/or a rock climbing wall. The drawback of having it here is that one of our bathrooms is defunct and one is being remodeled. So we might have one operational bathroom and up to 70 people. On the upside: there are lots of trees in the backyard! And this, just in! Charlie found a place that rents out mechanical bulls. 

I'm sure the children would love that!

What do you think would yield more fun for our (soon to be) newly turned eight-year-olds?

25 comments:

  1. Laura in Indiana9/19/12, 10:21 PM

    Do both!! They both sound like fun. The pumpkin patch could be for the class and then you could scale down the house party for the neighborhood kids. Seriously, the backyard party could be as simple as roasting hot dogs & marshmallows over a fire with a few games thrown in for fun. Probably not helpful, huh?! I've been following your blog for 4-5 years now and am happy you have comments back open! Good luck in your decision making!

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  2. Ouch that is a tough one. I believe you will make the right call and everyone will have a blast. Enjoy those amazing trips....

    Heather Mott

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  3. Actually, it's very helpful. Last year we had a big Halloween drop-in, we could do that again, this year. We just need to make a decision one way or another because otherwise we'll run out of time (just like we did last year. And the year before that!)

    Thanks Laura!

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  4. My son will be 1 Oct 19th. I have a feeling we'll have a few costume parties in the years to come. Just think, Henry's already dressed for a costume party. :)

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  5. You can rent port -a- potties too. I vote house. Way more fun. You have such a great backyard!

    Natalie

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  6. Can you rent a port-a-potty or two? You see them all over the place here for construction workers... don't know how it would work out for a day rental... Or ask a neighbor if they could be the backup bathroom for you ;-).

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  7. Oooh, I like Laura's idea a lot.

    The thing with an outdoor party, especially if it is the Big Kahuna party that you are talking about, is that it is very weather-driven. If we have a cold, windy, wet day, that would be a miserable party.

    For young kids, I would not go the putt putt golf route. There's a lot of waiting and a lot of potential for tears. Bowling seems pretty popular, especially duckpin, but again, that can be a lot of waiting. My kids have been to gymnastics parties, Pump It Up type parties (Huge hit, always!) and laser tag parties and those are all very popular with the kids.

    I think two and a half hours is plenty long for a party.

    It's been nice to see so many entries on your blog and to have comments opening up too! Hope all is well with Henry and preschool.

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  8. Please don't overwhelm yourself unnecessarily. If your kids aren't giving you suggestions it may be because this isn't that important to them. Are you doing this for you or them? Go small and make it special. Keep your stress low and your mobey in your pocjet for your renovations.

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  9. Rent a rec center that will host a gym party. We had one for our boys in second grade and the kids go crazy over it. Just make sure you bring plenty of water because the kids get super-thirsty. Do not do bowling with that many kids especially at that age. Trust me.

    Having it at your house sounds fun but however much work you are thinking it will be multiply by 10. You could rent a port a potty if needed. But a cheaper alternative is to put an end time on the invite - get a bounce house, bob for apples, feed them some pizza and send them on their way - shouldn't be too much for the bathroom.

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  10. I would do the house party - is there any way you could rent a port-a-potty? Half the people using it would be kids, and it wouldn't bother them (or tell the adults they're allowed to use the house bathroom).

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  11. I really like the idea of just doing it at your house and having the kids run around in the that nice big yard. Any way this could be incentive to finish the bathroom remodel early?

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  12. I too invite everyone since it just feels wrong to leave anyone out. I like the idea of two parties, and we often do that. One class party, and then a family party where we invite closer friends, parent's friends, and families.

    This year, I rented a bouncy castle for my older kid (he turned 7), and then my younger one (also a Henry) turning 5 decided to have one as well. So home party it was!

    You could always rent a portapotty to help alleviate the bathroom flow.

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  13. Do it at your house! Rent a port-a-potty for the kids (you could even decorate it!) and put a sign in your other bathroom (If it's mellow yellow, wait for the next fellow. If it's turning brown, flush 'er down!)

    I did a football/cheerleader theme party for my 5 year old b/g twins this year and we served walking tacos-what a hit! I bet that would work great for your party. Just make a bunch of taco meat (keep warm in crock pots), cut open individual bags of doritos and fritos and let the guests help themselves with toppings!

    I also know you are big into philanthropy, and something that worked great for my duo was collecting supplies for the animal shelter in lieu of gifts. They still received a generous dose of wonderful things from their family, but the classmates all brought animal shelter items.

    Good luck!

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  14. My son turns 6 mid October, and I just went through trying to figure out what to do for his birthday. I thought about having "The Fun Bus" come to our house, and hosting the entire party outside, but then thought, what if it rains. I know I don't want everyone inside our house. So we decided on Pump It Up. No set-up or clean up required. All of your ideas sound great, especially the pumpkin patch or backyard party. Now if you could just predict the weather for that day!

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  15. I like Laura's idea! Do one on Saturday and one on Sunday, then it's over and done! Miss you guys and I'm still waiting on my list... I made a friend this week and she's part of a local mom's group... so yay!!

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  16. At home... you'll save money in the long run. Think of it this way, you also take care of decorating your house for Halloween (so you save money and time on that too!).

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  17. My eight year old just went to a party with a rock climbing wall. She LOVED it. Although both ideas seem great, I'd go with at home.

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  18. The house party sounds fun and allows you to include everyone and set the timeframe. Fall is a perfect theme for a coed party. Keep the food simple and have lots of garbage cans available to streamline cleanup. I'm jealous of your close knit neighborhood.

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  19. No comment on the party plans. I am just so glad your blog is back to "normal" and I found it again! Whatever you do there is no right or wrong, and the trio will love it! Can,t wait to read all about it!

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  20. I would say the house party too. But yes the bathroom would worry me. Do you guys have a septic tank cause if so it would not hold 70 people ( they say allot for 3 bathroom trips per person) you could always rent a port a potty for the men and boys (my friends did that for a large bbq party and the men didnt seem to care)

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  21. BlackOrchid9/20/12, 3:58 PM

    some farms/pumpkin patch type places have group rates? you could check on that!

    I am going to vote "offsite" - jeez it's just way easier with a lot of kids. but, you're right, having it at home means people can relax and hang. either way is good!

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  22. I will say the easiest party we ever had for our ggb triplets was the year they turned 9 and we had 21 kids plus our 4 at the movies. It was at a Movie Tavern and the kids loved it! They had a deal where each kid got a drink, popcorn and pizza. After the movie we had cupcakes and opened gift and the parents pick up the kids. It was worth the price, which wasn't too bad. No worries about rain or my house being clean or a wreck after....

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  23. Option 2 and look into renting a port-a-potty. We rented one for our wedding, we had 2 bathrooms but 135 people.

    It wasn't that expense, the service included pickup and delivery so we didn't have to worry about a thing.

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  24. I'm cracking up about the port-a-potty suggestions, of which they ABOUND. When I read that first suggestion to Charlie, he snorted. RIGHT! Like we'd have a port-a-potty in our yard!!! Oh, but then I read another 20 comments, seemingly IN A ROW, that all suggested we have it here and rent a port-a-potty.

    A decision will be made of soon - I'm sure of it!

    thanks so much for the input! :)

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  25. I love backyard birthday parties. A few games, cake, pinata, and send them on their way. My kids had a non-backyard birthday party for the first time this year (they turned 7). We had it at House of Bounce, and everyone had a fabulous time. I would check them out. (I personally like their set-up better than Pump It Up.)

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