Ok, so I have orchestrated 15 birthday parties for my two boys over the years.  You would think by now I would be an expert.  Well in the real world it never goes as planned.  You just have to go with it.  My oldest son’s bike party, this past weekend, came with a storm in which we had to take cover (not much cover to be had).  We had it in a parking lot to avoid having the kids in the street.  Well I forgot to plan a bathroom location (I have had how many parties!!!).  We got very wet and the kids didn’t do too many crafts, but they had a GREAT time riding in the puddles.  The real world might not be perfect looking but it sure can be fun!

Here is a little birthday party info from those 15 birthday parties (I did learn some things):

http://familyfun.go.com/ and www.celebrateexpress.com/celebration/landingnr.aspx?htmldata=184 (under party planning ideas) are great websites for party ideas

I keep a supply bucket of old party (non-edible) goody bag items left over to use for the next party as well as extra streamers, plates, goody bags. decorations, etc

Keep the party nutritious with only 100% juice and water.  Try and have veggies and dip with some cut up fruit for snacks as they will get enough sugar from the cake and ice cream.

Keep it simple…have games and activities planned only if the kids are bored or rowdy otherwise let them play

If you are budgeting, only purchase a few items of the theme.  The rest of the items can just be in the colors ($ savings) instead.

If you usually purchase a cake, try to make a box one (or two) or cupcakes are easy.  It is way cheaper and you can use any decorations you want.  One year my son had a skateboard party and he had some skate board ramps that we cleaned in the dishwasher and used on the cake..with frosting.   Or you can purchase items at the dollar store.

Goody Bags can make a dent in your wallet.  Try to use the dollar store.  Make sure to have a good count of the kids that are coming and have a couple of extras (I usually make too many and should have made less).  Purchase only one theme item as their gift rather than a bunch of cheap toys.  Do a goody-bag buffet…. get all previous birthday party goodies and let kids choose a few for their bag plus a piece of candy or two.  Hold onto extra meal toys from fast food restaurants.

I would like to know what others do to encourage parents to stay that you don’t know.  I have had kids dropped off at my house with siblings and parents use it as a babysitting service.  In the past I have written on invitations that parents are encouraged to stay, but that has not proved to be successful.  Any tips you can share?

Have an AWESOME day!