Story time: It’s the night of my daughter’s eighth birthday party. One of my friends is passed out cold on my bathroom floor. Another is wandering around my house looking for the passed out girl’s keys so he can get his new cowhide rug out of her car. I wander into my bathroom. Wait, wander isn’t the right word. I haul ass into my bathroom because I’ve had too many beers and my bladder isn’t what it used to be. I walk and see that the toilet is covered in blue icing and a cupcake in the trash can. With the urgency, I simply have no time to clean the blue icing from the toilet and just sit in it and experience that moment of euphoric relief when you realize you made it! And that’s how I woke up the day after my daughter’s eighth birthday party hungover with an ass full of blue icing.
Every year we throw my now-eight year old a huge birthday party. Why huge? First, she’s our only kid. The benefit to only breeding once is that your kid doesn’t have to share a room with anyone and, of course, they get everything – your effort, your time, your money. Second – we love a good party. Just because it’s the kid’s birthday doesn’t mean they get to have all of the fun. So in short, we do it because we fucking can!
Being that I am a good person so I would never burden a parent by having a birthday party at a place like Chuck E. Cheese’s, where you spent the two hours planning the different ways you could end your life in the most messy manner to punish the staff, we decided a LONG time ago that we’d do at-home birthday parties without planned games or activities so the kids could run around like crazy assholes and do kid shit while we ignore them.
Every year we have what we’ve dubbed as “Lolapalooza,” and I think I’ve found the recipe to success, which I’ll share below.
The biggest point to remember is this: KIDS DO NOT GIVE A SHIT.
I’ll say it again in case you didn’t quite understand.
THEY DON’T CARE. They don’t give a fuck about anything as long as they’re having a decent time so I’ve adopted the same philosophy.
Don’t bother trying to compete with perfect party tablescapes and food tables on Pinterest because none of the kids will notice your hard work anyway. And surely you’re not doing it for other parents. They certainly don’t give a shit; they don’t even want to be there. Make your life easy and follow my steps to a badass party with minimal time and effort:
- Forget the themes. Kid’s theme parties are lame. You spend a mint to get matching plates, napkins, cups … and for what? Nobody gives a rat’s ass what you eat off of. We’ve moved to black plates and napkins so the leftovers can be reused at other parties and Capri Suns for the kids.
- Skip the invitations: I used to spend lots of green having Office Depot print the perfect invitations. This year I learned that Facebook invites work just as well. We only had one family invited that wasn’t on Facebook and I could quickly text them a pic of the invitation. I instantly had RSVPs and I knew how many to plan for early on. Save your money and use Facebook or e-vites.
- Rent tables and chairs. This is a good place to spend the money. We have anywhere from 75-100 people every year (including kids). One thing that I can’t fucking stand at kid’s birthday parties is that there’s nowhere to sit and hide out so parents end up lining the walls looking like awkward preteens at a junior high dance waiting for someone to talk to them. Make sure everybody has a place to sit.
- Get some kind of entertainment. The past several years we’ve gone the face painting route. Face painting may sound lame but it’s totally not. In fact, it’s cool enough for the adults to always get something too. Plus, it keeps the annoying kids out of your hair. If you’re in the Houston area, we use Paintslingers and she is amazing. She goes far beyond hearts and stars on your cheek. We also always get a bounce house. As your kid gets older and they outgrow the regular bounce house, you’ll probably have to spring for the fancier obstacle course or something but it’s still an excellent form of entertainment to keep the little germ-magnets away from you. As a bonus you don’t have to organize any silly games or come up with prizes for the games. This part is totally worth the money.
- Don’t bother with decorations. You might as well just take a load of cash and flush it down a blue icing covered bowl, not to mention your time. You spend the night before hanging shit from the ceiling that nobody notices anyway. Then you have to take it all down. So skip it! A quick trip to Party City for plastic tablecloths and a few balloons is plenty. If you’re feeling fancy – throw some cheap containers with candy on the tables and you look like the fucking party monster.
- Use edible favors. Everyone knows favors are a crock of shit. They’re a big expense and you’re punishing other parents by bringing little shit toys into their houses. Instead, give favors that kids can consume and make disappear. You can create labels in any simple graphic design program and print them on cardstock from home. You slap them on something like Pop Rocks or Pixie Stix and voila! Or you can have custom cookies made if you’re fancy and have money to burn. Plus, there’s not much assembly, saving you time and the kids are just as happy because all they want is to shove their grubby little faces with sugar.
- Go easy and cheap on the food. We’ve learned the hard way to do something simple that will require minimal effort because we’re lazy sacks of shit who don’t want to spend all day cooking. A hot dog bar ended up being even less expensive than even pizza delivery. Grill the hot dogs and set up a table with a hot dog bar – all of the condiments, cheese, a tiny crockpot with chili and a tray with the hot dogs and buns and you’re set.
- Don’t stress about the cake. I used to pay a pretty penny for custom cakes that were decorated in fancy shapes with several tiers. I’m not sure what I was smoking back then but I learned that the 30 for $14 boxes of cupcakes from Sam’s work just as well. [Pro Tip: Skip the blue icing, lest you enjoy scrubbing it off of your ass the next day.] They don’t need a fancy topper or to be decorated in any way. Cupcakes are made to be eaten, so focus on eating the shit out of those cupcakes.
- Music. Set up whatever sound system you have to a high volume. You’ll drown out the sound of the neighbors complaining about the noise and keep the kids from asking you questions while you’re getting drunk. [Pro Tip: Work hard to find the clean versions of songs. We learned this the hard way as Big Sean’s I Don’t Fuck With You blared over the speakers shortly after singing Happy Birthday at her seventh birthday party].
- Booze. Finally we’ve reached the most important component of a kid’s party. Let the adults get loaded. Margarita machine, beer in the cooler, bottles of Ukrainian Vodka (yes, this actually happened), whatever. Just get shitty. It makes attending (and throwing) a kid’s party so much more tolerable. Then you get to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening getting drunk in the driveway while the kids run around and do kid shit. Win-Win.
Want to add to my list? What are your go-to tips for throwing a badass kid’s party with minimal time and effort?