Sunday, 27 January 2013

Hassle Free Kids Parties

Is there such a thing really? Really?  I was thinking about this whilst washing-up - where all my greatest inspirational thoughts take place I have you know. It is party season for me in this house - well January and February that, in my over exaggerated way, means party season. My friend would probably say are you frigging kidding me? She has 4 children who's birthdays are end of November, beginning of December (enter her birthday on Christmas Eve), middle of January and end of January.  I think its fair to say she could probably claim party season more than I ever could. I digress.

Now, back in the day when your first born had a birthday, it was a momentous occasion with much thought and planning going on. Then cue more children and you've been there done that and the birthday planning becomes a bit of a chore.

There are parents mums that love to do the whole DIY party scene. I have friends that practically wet themselves at the thought of doing a crafty or themed type party. I have done them but I don't enjoy them. I've had craft fun with my daughter's friends at home and for my son's 5th party I invited practically the whole class and some non-school friends. Why I didn't invite them all I will never know - in fact I do know I let him choose. Looking back that was just stupid. I hired a hall, we carted all the stuff over, pinata, food, party boxes, party bags (I'm exhausted just writing this), balloons, sack race, medals, disco lights, fancy dress, party games that I did. I hate doing party games. Hate.It. Not one but two cakes as he was into Ben 10 so I did the watch thing and another cake alongside with characters. To top it all I made the husband wear an adult Spiderman costume. He was pretty reluctant to do this as any self respecting 6ft alpha male would be. Given that the costume was a bit snug in the...erm..nether regions also didn't do anything to help my cause.  Having said all this, once he put on the suit and entered the room with the cake he did become Spiderman. 

Not the actual picture of my husband but you get the picture! Pic ebay

He shook all the children's hands, in particular, the boys who were dressed in Spiderman costumes. My son was opened mouth and the parents found it all rather amusing. The husband even cocked his leg up on the way out in a vein attempt to climb it before merrily departing the room waving to all his admiring fans.

Never again I vowed. For 3 years running my son has had a stay at home cinema party - that in all honesty is about as stress free as you can get for a kids party.  Make the room dark, give them popcorn and stick on a DVD. Okay I did order cinema ticket type invitations, had a VIP banner on the door and something Oscar related but all in all it was stress free. 

So without further ado the hassle free parties what are they? Well they're the ones that say "let us take the stress out of you party" normally a minimum number of children is required like 100 - okay I exaggerate again but the minimum is set so you pay somewhere in the region of £80-£100. That's the price of stress free.

But is it really? I decided on 'stress free' this year as my son didn't fancy a cinema party. I'd had a good innings with this one but alas it came to an end. So laser quest it was. On their website there was no minimum - oh the joy, the joy! Given that he only likes 2 boys in his class this was easy. Turns out, yup, the minimum was 6 = £100. Still its stress free.

He invites 2 boys not in his class. Two boys I don't even know what they look like. One by all accounts, who's very nice, but his parents can't be arsed to let you know if he's going to attend. No he will just turn up. One of the school mum's gave me the heads up on this. A friend of mine had the same problem but the person didn't turn up and she made the mum explain her reasons why and I quote "I had her in the playground you know, I fucking had her (we don't all star in Eastenders by the way) I went right up and said oh X was disappointed X couldn't come and we had a party bag." Cue bumbling answers and cold looks all round.

So if you reading this and think oh yeah I don't do that then you is one LAZY THOUGHTLESS FUCKER. Okay. How difficult is it to text and say "yes" "no, can't". Not very I'd hazard. I'm assuming you teach your child manners? Well don't bother if you can't do this simple thing. No one is that important or busy. So you have that aspect of 'hassle free' parties - guessing who's going to turn up. By the way, this child was vegetarian. As I'd had the heads up and my son had collared him in the playground I'd pre-ordered his food. 

Then the snow comes. It hasn't snowed on my son's birthday since he was born.  So I have to re-arrange to the following Saturday. By the way, the thoughtless one phones on the Friday to check about the snow and when I say "oh, thanks for coming back to me" they laugh nervously with embarrassment.

I've spent 3 days making him a cake. Now I have to arrange something so it gets eaten. So I collect 3 of the friends in the snow to play at our house. I don't know why I suggested collecting his friends - I trudge out with all 3 children in tow thinking why, why, why! This birthday party has dragged on forever - it finally finished on Saturday with a shop bought cake (oh the shame of it, the shame). So two cakes and two 'stress free' parties for well over £100. Thank you very much.

Talking about the shop bought cake - it was a chocolate affair from Sainsbury's and very tasty it was too. It felt strangly liberating just bunging the box over to the staff and sitting down.  One mum had made a cake covered in snakes and my word it nearly did 7 laps of honor. She was having her picture taken with it, she was all puffed up proud as a peacock (I don't do this I promise) and my friend said (who isn't at all ranty or gossipy like me) "she seems very pleased about her cake doesn't she?!" cue giggles.  I didn't even feel annoyed the Skylander one wasn't there to upstage it - see, you get to an age where you just don't give a hoot about kids parties. I am at that age. I have arrived.

So, tonight I've been organising my daughters bowling party. Of course its 'stress free' and only for a hassle free amount of £75!


  1. God it's exhausting isn't it.
    My youngest was born at the end of July so luckily no school attention for it. We just go up to my BFFL in Yorkshire and call that a party. Well, the adults get drunk and the kids run wild in the dales in various stages of undress. It works for us.
    My childhood birthday parties were in nightclubs and sordid affairs where Mum and Dad (divorced) would flirt like something off Blind Date and just as tackily. I was never allowed to win Pass the Parcel or Musical Chairs because it was 'my party' and I always had to wear some bloody awful dress from the teen section in M and S because of my fat arse.

    The parties I attended as a private prep school girl were always out in the sticks and required combinations of public transport to get to. The goody bags were ok, I like cake. As I got older, parties were just a complete source of tension with curfews, dress codes, many many notes passed and phone calls made between parents and my unreasonably over protective and extremely nosy Mother.

    I admire your efforts. I know my strengths. Inventing lethal cocktails, being firm but fair, and moaning. Absolutely no room for hosting other peoples kids in that lot. Excellent cake by the way

    1. Oh I do so love your comments - do you fancy a guest post spot? Top ten rants by May B? Shame the parents divorced given they were so flirty and all. Yes that's the golden rule isn't it you can't win at party. Don't get me started on prizes for losers! Thank you re the cake ! x

  2. I've always felt parties were a hassle especially ones at home, with games! Arghhhh! Paying through the nose to let someone else organise it all is definitely worth it. Shame the snow messed up your plans this year, hopefully that won't happen again. X

    1. Let's hope not - bowling is booked and it looks like it could be a mental affair! x

  3. Love your post :) I guess you're not alone as we help thousands of parents with arty birthdays parties. We rather love them :) but we do lots so like all things you get better the more you do! let me know if you want a few tips for planning a party I'm sure I could write something up for you if that would be helpful?

    1. Hi Sarah thanks for commenting- glad you love the parties are you insane!! My blog is generally ranty about most things and parties just got it this week! I don't mind that much honest guv! x

  4. I'm yet to have a kids party but I aready know three things:

    1. It will not by held in my house.
    2. I will not be cleaning up after it.
    3. It will be a shop-bought or made-by-someone else cake.

    I'm will to supervise a few games, glass of champagne in hand, but I'm not really the kids party type. A cinema party sounds more up my street :-)

    1. I think these simple 3 rules should be every mum's mantra! That is most definitely the way to start. If I had my time again I'm sure I would just purchase a shop bought cake! x