Kids birthday parties have gotten crazy with parents spending $200 (even more) for their kids to celebrate with their friends. While a bowling (about $150 for two lanes + food/decorations/party favors) or gymnastics party ($150 + food/decorations/party favors for 10 kids, more for additional kids) can be fun and easy for parents, and worth it on the occasion, I've decided to go back to basics with some creativity with my three children's parties... and they're really having a lot of fun with parties that stand out from the crowd.
First up in this series, a glow-in-the-dark dinner party.
I just held one of these last night for my 6 year old's birthday. We had eight children (the number of seats that fit around our table) at the party, which was a great number for everyone getting to play with each other and talk and laugh. We held it from 5:30-8pm on a Friday night, enough time (where we live) for parents to pick up kids, get home from work and head over. The kids loved doing something at night and the parents loved taking us up on our offer of dropping the kids off so they could go on a Friday date night. Of course, Saturday nights work nicely too and give you plenty of set up time. We just worked on set up after school/work every night that week, which was a fun family activity and got the kids to happily comply with keeping things clean.
Set up: We strung white Christmas lights across the front porch and back patio and opened the windows, which made the house glow inside and was a really fun welcome for the kids as they walked under the criss-cross of lights. We also strung up some Halloween-colored orange lights for extra color. But any lights will work. We also hung a pinata from a tree near the lights. We also used glow chalk to write welcome and happy birthday messages on the sidewalk and driveway leading up to the house. You could also string up lights around your house too, then turn the lights down for ambiance.
The night of the party I set the table with a tablecloth, taped balloons in the middle for the centerpiece and added a few Littlest Pet Shop toys to add a fun touch (you could add any small toys that fit your child's theme here). Then I placed a plate, napkin and fork at each place, topped with the party favor gift bag and a name tag.
For party favors and party fun, I bought a bunch of glow necklaces and bracelets in fun colors and a few other trinkets and stuffed them into pretty clear gift bags, along with "happy birthday" sparkly headbands which caught the glow of the glow jewelry and the lights.
When all the kids arrived, we had them sit at the table and open their party favor bags and get "dressed up" in their glow gear, which they all delighted in. Now, they were part of the decorations too. Then we had them put their name tag in the clear party favor bags so they would know whose was whose when we did the pinata and gathered the treats.
The party then consisted of eating dinner - we served pizza, breadsticks and a snack plate of raw veggies with ranch with iced herbal tea or water to drink; followed by cupcake decorating - a great edible craft where every kid got two cupcakes to decorate any way they wanted with "squirt" icing (that comes in neat little cans) and sprinkles plus candles, so everyone's would glow (and because every kids at our parties always wants a candle); then onto the pinata by glow light because by this time it was dark outside and the kids' glow jewelry lit up the yard; next back inside for face painting and drawing; then pin the tail on the donkey; and present opening with time to play with the gifts with the kids while we played "Too Cute" on the TV because it was my daughter's favorite show.
The kids all left saying this was the best party they've been to and my daughter was so happy to have had such a great time celebrating her birthday in a unique way. And when all was said and done we probably spent about $75 for everything, including decorations for the house, for the party but the time we all had was priceless.