When your child suggests having his party at home instead of going somewhere else, and you think to yourself how much easier and low key this will be, think again. Brendan wanted a simple party. He wanted to invite all of the boys from his class over to the house for his birthday. I don’t know what I was thinking when we said yes he could invite all of the boys from his class. Had all of them accepted the invitation we would have ended up with 14 boys in the house.
Thankfully, we only ended up with 6 boys for the party yesterday. The down side? We didn’t know if we would be having 6 or 11. We sent out invitations at the beginning of December, and asked for RSVP’s by January 1st. We only got back about half of the RSVP’s. 4 said yes they were definately coming, and 3 said no they were not. The remaining 5 never responded at all. I can’t blame the parents entirely, I’ve been in the same situation before. You intend to RSVP whether you’re going or not, something comes up to distract you from your intended actions, then suddenly it’s the day before the party and you realize you never said anything one way of the other. Then you’ve got the decision to make…do you go ahead and send your child to a party to which you never RSVP’d or do you keep them home even if you intended to send them because you never did RSVP.
I’ve even tried to make it easier on parents lately. We got an invitation to a party a couple years ago which included an email address to RSVP. I absolutely hate calling people I don’t know so having an email address to RSVP to was a godsend. From that day forward I always include both our phone number and my email address to RSVP to. I will say it’s increased the RSVP’s we actually receive back to our parties, and I don’t end up having to talk to any parents in advance. 100% of my RSVP’s for Brendan’s party came in via email.
So we just planned for all of the boys who did say they were coming and all the ones who never answered. That way we’d be prepared. As it turned out, only the boys who RSVP’d and said yes were the ones who showed up for the party. But that’s okay, because we know that if we hadn’t prepared for the extra guests more would have shown up. And actually for what we had planned having 6 boys ended up being perfect (in case you’re trying to figure out my math that would be 4 guests plus my two boys).
Big surprise, Brendan wanted to have an Avengers themed party. And being the anal, organized person that I am I wanted to have planned activities for the boys to do while they were here. I figured we could have them play games, but as the boys would all be 9 (except Cameron) what could we play that they wouldn’t consider dorky and childish? I mean I just couldn’t see these boys wanting to play pin the tail on the donkey. Then it hit me, why not create some games to go along with The Avengers theme? So that’s exactly what we did. We set up a scenario that the kids were training to become a part of The Avengers and the games that we played specifically showcased one of the Avengers super powers.
So the boys all started showing up around noon. We sent them downstairs to play until all of the guests arrived. Once the last boy arrived, we called them all up for pizza and explained that we would be playing games before opening presents and having cake. I heard at least one boy grumble under his breath, “Can’t we just go back downstairs and play?” But once they realized that the games were all superhero themed they jumped right on board. (I think it also helped that the first game was on the Wii…I’ll admit that was by far their favorite of the four games)
The other thing that helped to get them on board was that we’d splurged on the prizes. We’d decided to have the prize for the game match the superhero that the game was based around. So we had an Iron Man mask, Captain America’s shield, Hulk fists, and a Nerf shooter to represent Hawkman. (Every store in town was sold out of Thor hammers or we would have had one of those, and the Nerf shooter was the closest we could come to a bow and arrow which would have been more appropriate for Hawkman). The boys seemed both really surprised and really excited to be taking home prizes like the ones we’d picked. In addition to the four big ones we’d also picked out some small party favors, so the first place person (or second place if the same person won more than once) got the big gift, and then one or two boys got to draw out of the prize bag for a little gift.
We’d scheduled the party to be two and a half hours long. That ended up being absolutely perfect. Last year we stupidly planned Brendan’s party to be 4 hours long, and by the end we were ready to pull our hair out. Two and a half hours gave us time to feed the boys lunch, play all our games, open presents, serve cake, and still left the boys about 45 minutes to go downstairs and just play. By the time all of the parents arrived I felt like the boys had had sufficient time to have fun but I wasn’t yet desperate to get them out of my house.
Overall, Brendan and his friends seemed to have a really good time. More importantly, we survived another birthday party and have approximately 84 days before we have to worry about it again.