Is it OK to serve alcohol to the adults at a child's birthday party?

Real Mom Problem

“Is it wrong to have alcohol at a first birthday party? My family likes to drink; they do not get drunk, but they just like to have one or two drinks. Would it be inappropriate?”

by sharisse sharisse

Quick Tips

  • 1. Consider whether any of the adults might be uncomfortable if alcohol were available
  • 2. If many of the adults will be driving home from the party, alcohol might not be a good idea
  • 3. Think about the time of day. If the party is early, many guests might not expect alcohol to be served
  • 4. If you do serve alcohol, be sure to keep it separate from the kid drinks, and out of reach
  • 5. While some prefer not to serve alcohol at kid parties, many moms agree that it's fine

Real Mom Solutions

While the kids are throwing back fruit punch and apple juice, is it OK for adult guests at a kid's birthday party to enjoy an alcoholic beverage? Get tips on serving alcohol from our expert mom and other moms like you.

Laura Wallis Laura Wallis

Our Expert Mom Says...

Ok to drink at a kid party? I'd be disappointed if you didn't! Just kidding. I am surprised, though, that this subject seems to inspire so much disagreement. There are folks who simply would never consider imbibing at a child-centered event -- and at least as many others who will look at you with incredible gratitude if you offer them a glass of wine when the clown arrives for the entertainment portion of the party. So you'll have to use your judgment. Some factors to think about:

What time is it? If the party is early in the day, alcohol is neither expected nor super practical. These adults have to stay awake for many more hours with their sugar-hyped kiddos. It IS nice to offer coffee for anyone who needs a pick-me-up. (Exception: if you're serving brunchy foods to the grown-ups, a mimosa might be received very happily.)

Who's coming? Only you know your guests. Are there a lot of teetotalers in the mix, or are these the kind of moms who show up for a play date with a bottle of wine? Take the temperature of the guest list before deciding what to serve.

Do they have to drive home? If most people are walking or hopping the train, there's no problem. But the last thing you need is a tipsy parent loading her kids in the car at the party's end. So think logistics before you finalize that drinks menu.

Laura Wallis is a mom of two and a veteran food and lifestyle writer. She was a longtime staffer at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and still pitches in as a freelance editor on "Everyday Food" magazine and special issues, and contributes to a variety of other food, lifestyle, and health publications. She has also contributed to numerous Martha Stewart books, including "American Food" and "Favorite Crafts for Kids."

More Tips on Serving Grownup Drinks

  • colbysmama89

    This is just me, but I wouldn't serve alcohol for the adults at a young child's party. Kids can get in to a lot of things so you have to be on the alert and alcohol won't help in that department. I would do what is best for you and your lifestyle, though.

  • TXMOM00

    I think it would be alright to serve alcohol for the adults at a child's party. I mean, a couple of drinks per person is totally different than kegs and an open bar. I guess it would depend on who you invite. Is it close friends and family? Or a bunch of people you don't really know well? Heck, they used to serve beer at Chuck E. Cheese's! You'll need something to get you through the day!

  • MandyO25

    I think it is okay to serve alcohol at a child's party. My in-laws like to drink so all of our parties have alcohol involved. (My hubby and I don't usually drink.)

  • oliviaangel

    I would say yes to serving alcohol for the adults at a child's party -- why not? You just have to separate the kids' drinks from the adult drinks. We like to put signs on the ice chests designating which is which. Or put the kids' drinks outside and the adults' drinks inside and tell your adult guests if they wish to have a drink, to go inside.

  • stummegirl

    I think it's okay to serve alcohol for the adults at a child's party. As long as nobody's drinking and driving, and getting belligerent in front of the children, then hey, what's the big deal?