Kids’ parties. Tough gig. 3-5 year olds. Tough crowd. Think you know what kids want? Think again.
1. Cheestrings. They’re a funny colour. They look like plastic. They’ve definitely never seen a piece of cheese. Kids will love these! Either that or open them, taste a bit, turn their nose up and ask if you have any organic cheddar instead. In short, they aren’t cheese, they aren’t strings and no one really knows what to do with them.
2. Bouncy castles. Always a hit, right? You go to the fair and your kids make you pay £15 for 3 minutes. You drive 100 miles to a zoo and they only want to go on the bouncy castle (or in the soft play). You pay £100 for them to have their very own one for 3 whole hours? They want to know what else is going to happen. ‘Where are the games?’ ‘Where’s the magician?’ ‘Erm. THIS is it. The bouncy castle IS the party!’ Well, I’ve got news for you, it’s not. It’s just a bloody expensive backdrop for other, more exciting activities.
3. Pass the parcel. The name of this game is completely misleading. It should be called ‘Forget the parcel and everyone just take some sweets.’ (In fact, ALL party games should be called this as sweets are the only goal). So, remember when we were kids? A parcel made up of layers and layers of newspaper? That you passed around? With ONE winner. ONE prize. Not any more. You HAVE to have one layer per child with sweets or a prize in EVERY layer. So what if you have 30 kids and it takes 2 hours to pass it around? Resist and you risk half the party guests melting down and the other half going home in protest. Which may be no bad thing.
4. Pinatas. It doesn’t matter if they don’t really know what these are. Or if most of the guests are way under a metre and unable to reach the sink let alone an expensive and unattractive straw donkey hanging from the ceiling. No party is complete without a Pinata. Unless you fill it with fruit. THEN it is.
5. Balloons. Spend ages decorating the hall. Arranging balloons in colour coordinated clumps. Then watch as 30 kids storm the hall and demolish every single one. The best you can hope for in this scenario is that you have a balloon for every child. The worst is a punch up. Parents can be very possessive.
6. Sweets. At parties it is a requirement that EVERYTHING is rewarded with a packet of sweets. ‘Look at me standing up, breathing! Sweets please!’ This is pretty much all kids want at a party. That and balloons. Forget about doing anything poncey. Hire a hall. Fill it with Haribos and balloons. Job done.
7. Sweetie Cones. So it’s a good job you’ve made beautiful sweetie cones then. They’re much better than those party bags full of cheap tack that the kids discard just to get to the sweets. And let’s not forget the fun you’ll have saying goodbye to your guests and watching their disappointed faces as you explain that THIS is the party bag. ‘No, there isn’t a party bag AS WELL. No, I’m not lying. Look, I’m sorry. I thought kids liked sweets. That’s right, the sweetie cone IS the party bag. It’s not a joke. OK, please just go home now.’
(Turns out that plastic tack is pretty darn important).