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Off Topic- Birthday parites and no shows

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How do you ladies handle it when you plan a party for your kid and no one shows? 


We had this issue last year, and I'm worried it's going to happen this year.  Last year ds decided he wanted a halloween birthday, which is cool, right?  So we plan and send out invitations for a costume party 5 weeks in advance.  Now, I throw some pretty great parties, if I do say so myself, and for this one I had planned a scavenger hunt in the yard, set up a maze in the house, a "crazy corner" with sheets and sheets of bubble wrap taped to the floor and a bubble machine, cake pops, cookies, white chocolate eyeballs, gift bags for the parents that included gift cards, crafts, the whole shebang. 

One kid showed up out of 30 invited.  Ds was heartbroken.

His birthday is coming up again, and he's decided he wants a Sonic the hedgehog party, and he wants to wear a Sonic costume.  So I've got the invitations made out that it's a themed party but we want to see everyone's super costume, we're having a make your own sundae bar instead of a cake, rented a room at a local activity center, and have some games.  I don't think I can stand to see ds cry over another birthday with no friends though!  He doesn't want gifts, or even activities, he JUST WANTS HIS FRIENDS THERE!   It's even in the invites that we don't want any gifts, just company.  Ds has no cousins anywhere near us, so if none of his friends show there really isn't a back up.

Gah!  Ok, rant over.  I'm just hoping for his sake that we can convince people to come.

"Parent" is a verb.

by on Sep. 4, 2013 at 9:42 PM
Replies (11-20):
TidewaterClan
by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 9:11 AM

 My younger daughter's birthday is right in between Christmas and New Year's Eve, and everyone we know is incredibly busy.  We hold her parties in January. 

Was your Halloween party on or super close to Halloween?  That could explain why so few showed up.  There are SO MANY family activities during the month of October, and it could be impacting your guest list.  Just from personal experience (with Christmas), I would hold his party the weekend after Halloween, when all the fun of hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin patch trips, etc., has died down and Thanksgiving/Christmas action hasn't picked up yet.

I agree with Krissy too.  Five weeks is a wonderful notice, but some folks may forget or be overwhelmed by the time the RSVP date comes up.  Two weeks would give them plenty of time to save the date, but they'll also know if they're available.

Lastly, if it were me, I would say costumes were optional so folks aren't pressured to purchase one if they don't have one already.  I know a lot of children who show up to trick or treat as home-made zombies, but their parents may not be comfortable sending them to a birthday party that way!  :) 

Your parties sound like an absolute blast btw.  I hope you have a great time.

KickButtMama
by Shannon on Sep. 5, 2013 at 9:16 AM

I'm so sorry, we had that happen once. I'd think maybe making it theme optional? I know we probably wouldn't remember to get a special costume and so might flake out of embarrassment? Not everyone celebrates Halloween (especially in the homeschool community) we had a freak blizzard one year on Halloween so no one could trick or treat, I tried to throw a trick or treating day at our next co-op meet day, and I got tons of crap for it? 

Oh, and I agree w/ the invites. I'd probably put in somephone calls as well, people always feel more obligated to attend..lol..

coala
by Silver Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 3:30 PM

I feel your pain Momma.  We had our oldest DD's party 6 mos ago.  We adopted her nearly a year ago...so it was her first birthday with us.  We don't usually do parties, but this was special.  I invited a bunch of close friends and family.  I had gotten NO RSVP's upto 2 days before the party.  I started making phone calls.  I was SO mad that our family wasn't going to come.  We invited 12 kids and had 9 show up and some of them were invited at the last minute the day before her party....I just let her invite whomever she wanted the day before just so she would have some friends show up.  We won't be doing that again, but it was incredibly heartbreaking.  I think that 5 weeks may be to much notice...although I am one that likes to plan things weeks in advance.  I would say do it a 2 weeks before, but also make sure that you aren't scheduling it around any major events going on.  Our party happened to be scheduled on my DD's actual birthday as it was a weekend, but it was also the day of the Daytona 500.  I wish you luck and if we were closer I would give you a huge hug.  We never want to see our kids sad or disappointed.

Pukalani79
by Kristin on Sep. 5, 2013 at 4:21 PM

 This summer, only two of my son's friends showed up.  He had a blast just enjoying those friends.  If he's young, maybe dont make a big show of how many people you are expecting and if just one or two come, act like that was the plan all along?  I do facebook invites primarily (that way fb reminds them!), and not too far in advance.

oredeb
by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 5:48 PM

 rsvp

Knightquester
by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 6:08 PM

It's never happened to us.  This year was the only year I've ever done a party for the kids, it was for an up to 18 party, and 15 were there.  The only guest that was family was a cousin and she was one of the no-shows (which we predicted).  The other no-shows a kids soccer game ran late, and the last  kids parents work overlapped the party time.

One of the reasons why we haven't ever done a party prior to this year is because they weren't really that close to very many children.  I would have to say that within the last three years they have made a lot of close friends that we see on a regular basis, and are close to their families.

It could be that the friends your son has aren't as close of friends as he or even you would hope?  How long has he known these other children, does he get together with them frequently and are you close to the other childrens parents to where you'd know their schedules and reasons for coming or not coming?  I would think the other 29 invited guests would've contacted you with a reason why they were no-shows.

I don't blame you for not wanting a broken hearted kid :-( I feel bad for your little guy and honestly a Halloween themed and Sonic themed party would have my kids, and most I know rushing over to join in the fun.  Are you guys a part of any co-ops or homeschooling groups that you guys can invite to join?  I hope his birthday is a good one and things get worked out for your son.

elizabooks
by Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 6:15 PM
I have no clue. This year was the second in a row where 1 kid showed up. Invites went up at the coop 1 month in advance, invites 3 weeks. Ten said they were coming. All backed out three days before.
The reason? A pinata is too violent.
Ecoseem
by Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 8:02 PM

Well, for that one, I had sent out the invites, and they were all people that I saw every day when I picked ds up from school, so I brought it up quite frequently.  Yes I had asked them rsvp, and had gotten a lot of "We'll try" or "I don't know yet" responses. It was on a weekend, and none of the kids invited were in sports.

Quotin

Well, there's a balancing act in WHEN to send out invitations.   It's possible 5 weeks is too early because people have time to forget.   One idea, is to send out SAVE the date cards, and then send out actual invitations a week or two outside the party.  

Or are the party times more inconvenient (lots of conflicting sports events)...

Do you ask people to RSVP?   

Some of your closer friends that have RSVPed and then not shown up, have you actually personally touched base?   "Hey, is everything OK.   I was worried when I didn't see you at so-and-so's birthday."   Listen for their response.   Be understanding because we live in a very chaotic world.  HOWEVER, I'd make sure and get a good plug in there about "well, he had a pretty miserable birthday because only one child showed up.   I do understand, but it really broke his heart."
 


"Parent" is a verb.

Ecoseem
by Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 8:03 PM

His birthday is at the end of Septemer, so I made it for the first week of October to try to balance out people's schedules.

Quoting TidewaterClan:

 My younger daughter's birthday is right in between Christmas and New Year's Eve, and everyone we know is incredibly busy.  We hold her parties in January. 

Was your Halloween party on or super close to Halloween?  That could explain why so few showed up.  There are SO MANY family activities during the month of October, and it could be impacting your guest list.  Just from personal experience (with Christmas), I would hold his party the weekend after Halloween, when all the fun of hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin patch trips, etc., has died down and Thanksgiving/Christmas action hasn't picked up yet.

I agree with Krissy too.  Five weeks is a wonderful notice, but some folks may forget or be overwhelmed by the time the RSVP date comes up.  Two weeks would give them plenty of time to save the date, but they'll also know if they're available.

Lastly, if it were me, I would say costumes were optional so folks aren't pressured to purchase one if they don't have one already.  I know a lot of children who show up to trick or treat as home-made zombies, but their parents may not be comfortable sending them to a birthday party that way!  :) 

Your parties sound like an absolute blast btw.  I hope you have a great time.


"Parent" is a verb.

Ecoseem
by Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 8:06 PM

I'm thinking that facebook would probably work better, but I'm very opposed to the site, especially since they admitted using pics in the facial recognition program. 

Quoting Pukalani79:

 This summer, only two of my son's friends showed up.  He had a blast just enjoying those friends.  If he's young, maybe dont make a big show of how many people you are expecting and if just one or two come, act like that was the plan all along?  I do facebook invites primarily (that way fb reminds them!), and not too far in advance.


"Parent" is a verb.

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