I don’t remember where exactly I heard the statistic, but I recall hearing at one point that when you’re inviting guests to an event you should expect around a 60% turnout. And that’s always seemed about right for most of our shindigs. The only exception has been the birthday parties we throw for the kids when they’re really young. But as the guest list is basically our immediate families and the child’s god parents, I would expect close to a 100% turnout for those parties.
What I did not expect was a 100% turnout to Cameron’s birthday party. Last year we invited 6 children to his party as the party selection we’d done at the local arcade included play cards for up to 8 kids, including the birthday boy. Unfortunately Cameron’s actual birthday fell on Easter that year, and the only day we were free to do the party and could get the party room was the day before Easter. This led to a low turnout for his party and, though he didn’t seem to notice, we felt bad that so few people had been able to attend.
So this year we planned to go back to the same place for his party. They’ve changed their party options a bit in the past year and now 8 is the minimum number of children you can have at the party and you just pay a reduced cost for any additional guests. Remembering last year, we invited 10 kids to the party this time and with Brendan and Cameron would have a full dozen kids. Assuming the standard 60% turnout, we figured that would leave us with around 8 kids.
That is not what actually happened. We requested RSVP’s be in by the Sunday before the party. We were crossing our fingers that parents would actually RSVP for their kids. We’d had some issues with that in the past, like at Brendan’s birthday when we invited 12 kids and only got about half back as RSVP’s. Weirdly enough, we’d heard back from all of the parents 3 days before the deadline. Weirder still, none of them said no.
Not one. Not a single solitary kid was unable to attend his party. I was shocked. In all my years of planning birthday parties for my kiddos I have never run into a situation like this. Well, like it or not, I’m now about to be host to a dozen 5 year olds for 2 and a half hours. As overwhelming as that sounds, it really shouldn’t be too bad. 90 minutes of that time will be spent in the confines of the party room. While I admit it will be crowded and crazy in there, at least the kids will be confined to a single space.
Beyond that I only have to get through an hour of playtime with the kids. The package we purchased allows each of the kids up to 3 rides and 60 points to spend on arcade games. I figure if we take all the kids to do their rides as a group we can kill about half of the time, and then they can spend the remaining time playing arcade games. That seems managable.
Plus we’ve decided to splurge and hire the party coordinator. We weren’t originally going to because for a small party we could handle it ourselves. But with that many kids, and the parents not staying, we figured another set of eyes would be beneficial especially one trained to keep kids engaged in activities.
All in all, this should be a fantastic birthday for Cameron. He’s still a little confused about exactly how this is working. He went back and forth at least 10 dozen times about whether he wanted to have his party at the arcade or at home. So while he knows we are going to the arcade, he seems to think that we are also having his party here at the house. He’s asked me multiple times if his friends are coming over to his house on his birthday itself. Because that’s the other thing confusing him. His birthday is on Monday, and his party not until the following Saturday.
We plan to make Monday special for him. He gets to take treats in for his class at pre-school, and has requested homemade macaroni and cheese for his birthday dinner. We’ll probably spend the remainder of the evening playing Skylanders as a family since that’s currently his favorite thing to do.
Then all we have to do is make it through the rest of that week and survive his party on Saturday. I think my mantra of the week will be, “I think I can I think I can I think I can…”