Sacramento Parent June 2016

Page 28


Choosing a Party Everyone will Enjoy By Jennifer Rodgers

How many kids' birthday parties have you attended in the last year? Were they extravagant affairs or a simple at-home get-together? My kids are eight and almost six and I've been doing the "birthday circuit" for the last five years or so. It seems like once kids turn four, they want to share their party experience with their friends. Both of my children have gone to preschool since three, so they made a lot of friends and we went to many birthday parties, from a party in a park to grandma's living room to fancy places with people serving us food! If you are unsure about how to handle your child's next birthday party, here are some factors to consider:

COST Cost is probably the deciding factor for many of us. Birthday parties typically aren't cheap, especially if you do it at a venue instead of your own home or a park. Total cost varies of course, even if you decide to skip an expensive place, your expenses can still add up—are you getting a bounce house, renting ponies, buying a cool cake (with a big price tag)? If you're supplying food, are you going with pizza (which can be costly if it is from a reputable place that delivers it to you), hot dogs and hamburgers, chips and dip, drinks, organic juice, ice cream to go with that fancy cake? Don't forget those goodie bags (which aren't always necessary). Make a list of everything involved and put approximate prices beside them. We all want our kids to have an unforgettable birthday experience, but if you're going further into debt to do it, then it's time to scale down. I always figured that a party at home would be the least expensive route, but after "doing the numbers," with the number of kids involved, it comes very close to having it a venue instead. 28 JUNE 2016