It’s your child’s birthday. You are wanting to throw a great party but obviously you have a budget. Wouldn’t it be great to know the things that you don’t need to worry about buying? Well never fear, here at Act One Adventures we have literally attended over a thousand birthday parties and we know the things that are really not needed, don’t work or can just cause you hassle and we are going to share this knowledge with you.
1) Glitter curtains – They sound lovely don’t they? A lovely tinselly, glittery curtain up at the entrance door for the guests to walk through as they arrive. Creates a wow factor? Well you would think so but it is very rare that these curtains stay in tact long enough for anyone to be wow’ed by them. They fall down at the drop of a hat, often get tangled up around the children and then end up a sorry mess on the floor – one more thing to clear up.
2) Pinatas – I know, I know how could something that rains sweets onto children be a waste of money? Have you ever tried to break one of them? I’m not sure even dynamite would get through them! Even if you try the old trick of spraying the pinata with water to soften them the pesky things still won’t break sufficiently enough for any sweets to come out. And then there is the hazard of letting a small child loose with a big stick. I have seen so many near misses at parties that it is a wonder I don’t suffer from high blood pressure. It is also an activity that requires small children to wait for their turn. Fine if you only have a handful of children present, but if you have ever tried to negotiate a pinata with a line of 30 children waiting you’ll understand. You haven’t? Well trust me it is a very stressful 10 minutes (yes that’s at least how long it will take for them all to have a turn) making sure everyone gets a go without being clubbed to death. Much better to have a treasure hunt to find sweets. Much quicker and much more fun.
3) Balloons – What? No balloons at a party? Well obviously I am not Cruela De Vil and I wouldn’t go that far, but having too many balloons and either positioning them over the floor or dangled on strings can be a nightmare. Balloons all over the floor can look nice and can be a nice activity for the children to play with as they arrive, but as the party gets going they are a huge distraction. Children fight over them (“I had that balloon first”, “I want the red one” etc), they pop and that can scare the life out of more sensitive children as well as breaking the flow of any entertainment you have paid money for, and generally your entertainer will spend more time sorting out balloon disputes than actually doing the job you have hired them for. Balloons attached to strings with a weight on the floor can look lovely, but they don’t often stay that way. The temptation to run around with said balloon will be too overwhelming for most children and they will soon end up a tangled mess or, worse still looped round a child’s neck. A health and safety nightmare! Balloons work and look best attached to the wall, as a centerpiece on the food table or tied to the chairs at the table. You can also do some very clever things with balloons to help with your theming.
4) Noisemakers – Yes those trumpet type things that are rolled up and then blow out. These are quite often put on the food table. There are two reasons why these are not a good idea. Firstly, the children won’t eat. They will too busy trying to get a sound out of these that all the lovely food you have prepared (and spent money on) will go to waste. Secondly, they will then try and make as much noise as possible for the rest of the party. This is quite fun for 5 minutes but after that everyone will just go home with a headache and you could ruin any entertainment you have booked for the last part of the party.
5) Food for parents – It is a nice gesture but it is really not needed. Most parents will be happy to be offered a drink but lots of food will just go to waste as some parents won’t stay. There is usually food left over from the children’s tea so let the parents who have stayed tuck into that. If you do want to offer a token something then those bitesize cakes or a selection pack of biscuits usually go down well.
I feel the above tips could save you at least £30 at the average child’s birthday party and none of the above will be missed. If you have any tips on things you don’t need to buy for a child’s birthday party please do share in the comments below.