At Home

Birthday cake full of candles

The options are legion, but the first decision you must make is a simple one. Are you prepared to hold the party in your own home, or do you feel the pressing need to hand over responsibility for the whole event to a venue?

Pros

  • This can be a comparatively cheap option.
  • It gives you a good excuse to be highly selective about the numbers of children you are inviting.

Cons

  • Do you care about your home? Think carefully about the impact that a group of excited children will have on your décor. You may have a dedicated space (an attic, basement, playroom) that will accommodate the children comfortably, or you might want to think about using the garden (bad news for kids with winter birthdays).
  • Are you prepared to do the catering? Depending on your ambitions this can be a reasonably easy task, involving a trip to the supermarket and preparations that go no further than opening up the packaging and putting the food on plates. But if you're fussy about food, you might be making a lot of work for yourself.
  • Have you thought about keeping the kids entertained?  If you want to avoid a bunch of kids running riot and trashing your home, you will need to think about a level of formal entertainment. This could consist of organising some traditional party games (pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey, musical chairs) etc.
  • Alternatively, you might want to hire a children's entertainer. Options include magicians, clowns (though some kids find them frightening), or maybe something novel, like a snake expert who comes round armed with an array of repulsive reptiles and allows the kids to handle them (this may end in tears if you have any phobics amongst your guests).
  • The other option is to hire a piece of equipment - a bouncy castle, or a giant trampoline - which can be erected in your garden.
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