Moms Talk: 50 People at a Kid's Birthday Party? When Do You Dial Back the Bashes?

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We celebrated my little Will’s second birthday with a bash on Sunday. We reserved a park, ordered pizza and had a blast with more than 40 of our closest friends, family members and their kids. There were lots of balloons, games, food and homemade cupcakes by yours truly. My husband and I even put our handy work to the test with some homemade decorations. Everything turned out great, and everyone had a great time!

Is it a party for Will, or for us? It’s hard to tell, but that’s OK, right? I’ve learned that if I start planning his party far enough in advance, I can slowly pick up supplies as they go on sale, which helps keep the costs down. We even scaled the party down this year. Last year for his first birthday, the guest list was easily more than 50 people. But it was his first birthday. It’s supposed to be on the larger side.

Parties can get expensive, especially since it’s a great excuse to go overboard. I already have a theme in mind for his party next year, but at what age do you stop the extravagant birthday parties, if ever? When you have more than one kid, do you change your tune and tone it down with a handful of friends and a movie night in? Or do you just find less expensive alternatives so you can keep your guest list?

Loves Lake Forest March 30, 2011 at 08:27 PM
My mother established party parameters for us that I've made a "tradition" by passing them on with my kids. Two parties. That's it. The first one when they turn 7, is an at-home party for no more than 10-12 kids. Games with small prizes, bounce house, pizza, cake/ice cream, and goody bags. Runs 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours. The second one, when they turn 10, is a "go somewhere" party (bowling, Pump-it Up, etc.) About the same size, or smaller. After that, they're done. Oh, and if the first party goes badly on the kid's part (poor behavior, snottiness, lack of gratitude), the second one is off. It goes very much against the grain in south Orange County, but it's kept me sane, and on budget!
Dawn Thiery March 30, 2011 at 10:48 PM
Martine, I like your idea. My daughter is 4, but the parties we have had for her have been small. She gets very overwhelmed by parties as it is. This year, we took her to Disneyland. When she is a bit older, I am sure she will have larger parties, but for now we like to keep it simple.
Sharlene Earnshaw March 31, 2011 at 04:31 AM
I grew up without birthday parties and honestly, it sucked. So I have made sure that my kids have had birthday parties to make up for my own childhood. Our parties have always been either at home or at the park to keep costs down and I am lucky that I only have to do it once a year since I have twins but my kids love it and I do too. I think people do completely go overboard (Beverly Hills Housewives being a perfect example) and I refuse to jump on that bandwagon. One year we ended up going to Legoland instead of having a party and that was fun too. I think as my children get older, I will give them option of a party or big experience like a theme park. I am happy with either one.


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