Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Let's Get This (Kids) Party Started!

HE'S HAD a party on a boat, in a museum and even in Italy but this year our son wanted to celebrate his seventh birthday at our house. 
‘Good idea,’ I thought. It would be less hassle to organise and credit-crunch friendly on the purse too. 
So I agreed he could invite as many of his little friends as he wanted and leave the rest to us. ‘It’ll be easy,’ I told my husband, Alexio. ‘I mean it’s only seven six-year-old boys coming over for a few hours. What could go wrong?’
A lot actually – so here’s my top six tips to surviving your little one’s birthday party:
Be prepared – it’s best to make the guest list early. Little Johnny or Keanu has a packed social diary so send out Save The Date e-invites six months before.
This should be followed up with a hand-written (preferably hand-designed) invitation with every which way to RSVP – which no one ever does. Most mums ask for a present list. This could be done at John Lewis or Toys R Us or you could set one up online. Or do as I do and say: ‘don’t bother, he’ll only break/lose/hate/have it anyway.’
Never just send out an invitation email, like I did, a week before. It might mean no one turns up to your child’s party. Or that everyone knows you’re a slovenly disorganised slummy mummy.
Let us entertain you – don’t ever think a bunch of kids could enjoy themselves playing together with your child’s toys. They must be entertained at all times.
Hire in boy bands (for mixed parties), Girls Aloud (for boys only), anyone who will make them march around like soldiers (but not your veteran granddad), teach them football, or to sing and dance (David Beckham and Britney).
Otherwise call in anyone who’s been on the X factor or Britain’s Got Talent – this is easier if you’re friends with Simon Cowell or ask him to be the godfather to your child. Best to do that before the party to avoid disappointment.
On no account hire a magician (all kids hate them), stick on one of your ‘albums’ for them to dance to or dream of making a pass the parcel. Party suicide.
Drop the dead (sweet-filled) donkey – a piñata is the ultimate in party fun. Stuff the hollow cardboard donkey with sweets then blindfold your little one and his/her friends and tell them to bash it until its guts (sweets) fall out.   
This is great for anger management and building up an appetite before bringing out the party food.
Unfortunately, it has to be hung up – usually on a washing line, so the kids can get a good swing at it without getting hurt.
We don’t have a garden, let alone a washing line, so I tied two dressing gown cords together and made my husband and his friend hold either end in the middle of our tiny living room. Nearly being smacked by blindfolded kids only added to the danger and excitement.
I’d also forgotten to buy a stick so had to improvise with Deme’s Harry Potter broomstick.
The boys loved pummelling the donkey. But it was so stuffed with sweets it wasn’t given up without a fight. One friend beheaded it, my son took out two of its limbs but still it held onto the sweets.
‘Hit it harder,’ everyone shouted as their craving for sugar increased. Deme almost took another boy’s eye out and one of the other boys snapped the broom in half.
It smashed into the balcony window, bounced off and narrowly missed the plasma TV.
Half an adrenaline-fuelled hour later the donkey finally split and the broken sweets came out in a mushroom cloud of sugary dust. It coated us, the kids, our furniture and the floor with a zillion bits of love hearts, lollies and boiled sweets.
We then invented an even better game of pan and brush – where the boys had to sweep up the mess before their friends could eat all the sweet debris.
Have your cake and eat it – never, ever make your own. A lop-sided, burnt Victoria sponge with green icing will not pass as a Ben 10 Alien Force intergalactic cake.
It must be from a supermarket, packed full of additives, sugar and have an iced figure of the latest hero on top for the guests to fight over.
‘I want his omnitrix,’ my son wailed as his guests bartered over which body part of Ben 10’s they deserved. My husband performed a professional autopsy before everyone stopped screaming.
Bags of fun – party bags are the real test of how good the party was. You could have booked Justine Timberlake, Diversity or Beyonce to entertain your little one’s friends but if the party bag’s not up to scrutiny you’ll be judged accordingly.
Last year we thought we’d cheat by buying posh metallic Transformers and Spider-Man ready-made bags. ‘Wow,’ all the boys said until they opened it. ‘This is rubbish,’ one five-year-old sniffed.
‘It’s only got a poster and a sweet in it. It’s not even worth taking home.’
So this year we went all out to impress and stuffed the bags full to bursting. Not only was the best candy inside but a yoyo, parachute soldier, harmonica, spinning top, flashing necklace, edible vampire teeth, glow-in-the-dark skulls, bubbles, cuddly toy…if the supermarket had it, we bought it.
‘Not bad,’ my son’s friends murmured.
Next year we’re saving up to include Apple Macbook pros, I-phones, a Wii and an all-inclusive trip to Disneyland with £1,000 spending money each.
Stock up on stain removers – sleepovers are the new going out and every guest must be invited to stay the night.
That doesn’t mean they will, of course. Most will wait until it’s at least 10pm, you’ve relaxed, had two glasses of rioja so you’re over the limit, and then decide they need to go home right now.
Do ring their parents to collect them. Don’t try to persuade them to stay. They’ll only wait until you’ve had another two glasses and gone to bed before repeating the same process.
Do put a DVD on a continuous loop, give them popcorn in bed and tell them to help themselves to breakfast. You’ll need all the sleep you can get before beginning the big tidy up after the party.
Make sure you’ve got a variety of stain removers before the sleepover part of the party begins.
The kids will find a way to cut themselves, be sick down the stairs carpet, and miss the toilet.
Buckets, plaster and bed mat protectors are optional but will save the laundry/dry/steam/industrial cleaning bill.

We’re still cleaning up the house three days later. ‘It was a brilliant party,’ my son announced last night. ‘All my friends can’t stop talking about it.’
Neither can me or my husband – as we desperately try to find a carpet cleaner, decorator and psychologist to repair the damage.
At least we’ve got a year to organise the next one. I’m thinking Macdonald’s, the O2 or The Albert Hall…it’ll work out cheaper and less stressful.


  1. sounds like u had a good day then! haha lol. x

  2. party can be really fun but can also be stressful. However, if you use a planning guide to assist with the plans, your party will be a spectacular party without all the stress that comes along with planning such a special event.