One of the best things about being a child is attending birthday parties. Over the years, parties have evolved from traditional jelly and ice cream afternoon get-togethers to full on events. These can involve anything from a day out bowling with close friends, right up to a seventy thousand pound Alice in Wonderland birthday extravaganza, featuring colourful props and lighting effects.
Needless to say, the Alice in Wonderland party is an extreme case, but a recent report did find that the average birthday celebration now costs around £309. Certainly an increase from your bog standard pass the parcel party.
Are Expensive Parties Really Worth it?
With all this money being lavished on a one day affair, you need to ask yourself: is it really worth it? Well, actually it can be. But you don’t need to spend anywhere near seventy thousand pounds.
Researchers have advised that if you’re searching for the key to happiness, you should spend money on experiences, not products. After all, you’re more likely to share a story about a trip you went on with a friend rather than talk about buying the same model of phone as them. And think back to your own childhood. Which do you have more memories of: the presents you received as a kid growing up, or the birthday parties you hosted and attended?
So move away from the gift wish lists and start to think creatively about investing in an awesome birthday party experience instead.
Check out our top six ideas to make your next party full of priceless memories.
Plan and Plan Some More
Any good idea needs to start with a solid plan. Set your date, budget, guest list and venue before you even start thinking about the main birthday party experience.
What kind of food will you be serving? Will you be catering for anybody who has a food allergy? Will you be serving vegetarian food or healthy alternatives to crisps and sweets? Awesome birthday parties all have one thing in common – they have been planned to precision and there’ll be a back-up plan as well, in case of bad weather or the unexpected addition of unplanned guests.
Hire a Magician
Kids of all ages love magic and mystery. Magicians are a versatile choice and can be used for kids’ parties as well as corporate events.
A good magician will provide tricks for all ages and birthday party themes. Maybe your guests will get the chance to learn a trick or two themselves, and wow a younger sibling back at home.
Have Fun with Balloon Modelling
Older children might be interested in balloon modelling. Not only can this be a fun activity to watch, as the modeller creates all kinds of beasts and shapes with the balloons, your guests will have something to take home too. Just make sure your guests are supervised when playing with balloons and anyone who is afraid of loud noises is warned beforehand!
Add Some Bounce with Inflatables
I challenge anyone to look at a bouncy castle and fight the urge to tear off their shoes and leap on the inflatable pillow of fun. It simply can’t be done.
Can you remember the feeling of leaping on a bouncy castle and jumping so high you could see right over your neighbour’s fence? Or of tumbling into a friend, only to bounce off them and be unable to get up again? Unstoppable giggling and great times guaranteed.
These days, party inflatables come in more varieties than just castles. Why not consider a Space Shuttle Fun Run, Pirate Galleon or even a Human Football Table? There’s something for everyone when it comes to inflatable fun.
Mesmerise With Story Tellers
Don’t you just love a good story? You’re not the only one. Scientists have proven that story-telling is a powerful human trait, which not only helps us connect to other humans, but also sets our moral compass and reaffirm values and beliefs.
The best stories are those with a moral or a reason behind the tale. Great story tellers will incorporate funny voices and sounds, wild arm movements and engaging faces to keep their audience entertained and hanging on their every word.
Include All the Fun of the Fair (and more!)
Forget computer games and laser quest, why not go old school and host a fun fair or circus-themed party, complete with bright lights, loud sirens and good old-fashioned popcorn and candy floss? You can also include barrels for supervised apple-bobbing too.
Traditional parties like these are a hit for all kinds of ages. Why? Because they encapsulate everything that we learn about fun growing up. Laughter, exhilaration and wonder. The things that we used to run home and tell our parents about and couldn’t wait to talk about in the playground on Monday. Let your imagination hold no boundaries, as you include anything from stilt-walkers to jugglers and face painters to create a birthday experience no-one will be forgetting in a hurry.
Of course, you don’t need to break the bank and include all of these ideas to create your own awesome birthday experience. Think about what the birthday boy or girl is interested in and what kind of experience they would like to have. And don’t be afraid to step out of your boundaries and try something new. After all, why should the kids have all the fun?
James Sinclair is the Managing Director at The Partyman Company based in Basildon and specialises in children’s entertainment and event planning in the UK. All of the above activities and entertainments are provided by The Partyman Company.