Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Birthday parties for kids

Have birthday parties gotten totally out of control? When I was a child, it was all at home, all homemade, and very simple. Now, even though I try to keep it under control, no matter what I do, I'm always laying out over $100. There's cake, goody bags, decorations, and an activity.

For my son's 7th birthday, we went to a local bowling alley with 4 other boys. Two girls were invited but no call/no show but I sent their goody bags to school anyway. I guess I could have made a cake at home, and we could have stayed home and had a pool party, and I could have made the decorations, but my MIL did subsidize some of this excess so DS could have the party he wanted. But, is it worth it? I would have rather bought him a really nice gift with this money I suppose, or saved it for him for a future use. I even offered him a trip to Sea World (we live in Central FL) rather than spend it on a party.

What do you think?


Asked by dwmom2008 at 9:29 AM on May. 15, 2011 in Parenting Debate

Level 18 (5,767 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (24)
  • They are only as elaborate and expensive as you let them be. We didn't throw parties at all for our kids until the last few months. When my youngest daughter turned 5 in April she had her very first party. I spent about $30 on it. There were like 6 kids that came (only 2 were invited and they only got goodie bags). I got everything at Target and Dollar Tree and made my own cupcakes.
    There were no games or entertainment. The kids made that up themselves. Most of the kids were much older than my dd (friends of my older kids) and eventually they all went outside to play. She had a blast. My 8yo dd's birthday was even cheaper. It was spur of the moment and all I paid for was the cake mix. We weren't planning on having a party, she just invited a bunch of kids over to play Rock Band. They had a lot of fun.

    Answer by justanotherjen at 1:39 PM on May. 15, 2011

  • well I would never send a no call/no show a GOODY BAG to get that IF you come. They did get pricey and with my girls I try to do simplepark parties. In fact our last bag had no food just the cake i make and I thoiught my MiLwas going to have a breakdown! Lol
    My son is a summer bday and in az its way to hot for anything outdoors unless its a pool party. i am cutting back because I want to go on vacation and just done with making the party about adults in the family! Its for the kids....

    Answer by hill2 at 9:45 AM on May. 15, 2011

  • I never had a Birthday party when I was a child, so I can't compare anything to that. But what I will say is of all the children's parties I've been to I've never seen all that. Usually there is cake and some games. Then usually pizza and soda to eat and possibly some streamers or balloons... In total it's like $30 worth of stuff... most of which is reusable. Maybe it's just because people around here are simple people or maybe my friends and family are just too broke to do all that. For my son's birthday party we just bought a 24pack of Pepsi, ordered a $10 pizza and bought a small cake... That was it, the kids all ran around the yard and played tag... But, parties really aren't a big deal here...

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 4:53 PM on May. 15, 2011

  • Birthday parties do seem to be a BIG deal in our playgroup. Even the "simple" ones have printed invites and goodie bags. I think the parents just really enjoy the whole thing (the kids are all way too small to care that much), so they should do whatever makes them happy! You know what makes me happy? Not having to plan a gigantic, showcase party! Until DS asks for a party, we're just going to do a small family celebration on his birthdays.

    Answer by Sebbiemama at 9:56 PM on May. 15, 2011

  • I think birthday parties are completely out of control. A friend of mine just last week had one without goody bags and 2 of kids got a little attitude, they think its mandatory. I want to to do some sort of party for the boys this summer but hoping whoever we invite comes without any entitlement issues.


    Answer by meooma at 9:36 AM on May. 15, 2011

  • I agree. I was talking to the kids at school about this...4th graders. They were all telling me that they get a choice. They can either choose a big friend party with no gift from their parents...or a nice gift from their parents. Most of the kids say that they always choose the gift ;)

    Answer by MommyH2 at 9:39 AM on May. 15, 2011

  • I have done Build a Bear birthday parties for 2 years in a row (then got lunch for everyone after, including parents). However, this last year, at least I made the cupcakes. Now I am learning to do birthdays for under $50. I am inviting everyone to Chick-Fil-A and get kid's meals for the kids who come and bring cupcakes (they give free ice creams for birthday parties). Then the kids can play in the indoor play ground (this will be my DD's 5th birthday party)

    Answer by JLS2388 at 9:54 AM on May. 15, 2011

  • I think birthday parties are getting way out of control. I do mine homemade and invite family (of course mine are still little) when they get a little older I still plan on a homemade birthday party. I may have a family party and they can invite their friends for a sleepover at a different time or we may do something reasonable with friends. Growing up my little birthday parties were still very special...I wouldn't have it any other way for my girls.

    Answer by amber1330 at 10:08 AM on May. 15, 2011

  • I don't really throw birthday parties, my kids are only 5 and 3, they each had a 1st birthday party and my son had a 3rd birthday (b/c my kids birthdays are 2 years and 2 weeks a apart, I did them together) But so far they are satisfied with dinner, cake and maybe a trip to chuck e cheese (with just the 4 of us) I might have a couple of my friends kids come over to play. I know he is starting school this fall so that might change, but then I think I am going to keep it as small as I can, I will never invite the entire class to anything.

    Answer by Bubbie0809 at 10:18 AM on May. 15, 2011

  • I LOVE my son's bday parties!! I start planning the next one as soon as the last one ends. I look at it as a day of celebrating the life of the most important person in my life, it's just something that is very important to me. I always plan an awesome party but on a budget. I make my own food, desserts whenever possible, I don't do gift bags, I do a lot of homemade games- I basically just try to make it the funnest 2 hours the kids can possibly have.


    Answer by skittles1108 at 12:37 PM on May. 15, 2011