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Old 10-28-2013, 11:59 AM   #1
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Help me plan a birthday party

DS1 is turning 6 in December. He's requested a superhero party at the local bowling alley. Prior to this year, all of his parties were at home, mostly with family and a couple of friends from a play group. Planning a party where I have to follow the bowling alley's rules is new to me. I'm thinking we'll do a party at the bowling alley for his friends, and a separate party at home another day (more like dinner and cake) with family.

The bowling alley does lane rentals in two hour blocks. They only allow a maximum of five bowlers per lane. We can do an official "birthday party" on a Saturday with one lane and shoe rental for $60 for five kids total. Or, we can just rent a lane on a Sunday for $30 per lane. Shoes are not included, but are only $2/pair on Sundays. The only time available for Sundays is 11am-1pm; we have a wider range of times to choose from on Saturdays. I'm still not sure what the benefit of a "birthday party" is at this alley other than that shoes are included. We still have to buy the food from their restaurant, except the cake which we can bring ourselves either way.

I'm seeing two options.
A- schedule party on Saturday. DS1 can invite four friends from school. There's no room to invite his cousins (whom he's very close with), his two friends from the play group, or his little brother. Then again, Saturdays are traditional for parties, we can choose whatever time we want, and smaller might be easier. This party would be $60+$15(pizza)+$5(pitcher of soda)+favors and decor= about $120.

B- have the party on Sunday and get two lanes. Invite everyone he wants, but run higher risk of people not coming due to it being Sunday morning. Also, might be too many people. And how are kids on the other lane going to feel about not sharing a lane with the birthday boy? Maybe we could switch lanes halfway through? This party would be $60(lanes)+20(shoes)+30(2 pizzas)+10(2 pitchers of soda)+ favors and decor = about $170.

Which would you choose?

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Old 10-28-2013, 12:46 PM   #2
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Re: Help me plan a birthday party

It sounds like you have more people who should be there than can be reasonably accommodated by the venue. But given the two choices, I'd go with A and perhaps have another kitchen table party at home at some other time.

eta, but I'd tell him he can invite any 4 people he really wants to - maybe he'd like to invite his cousins?
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:53 PM   #3
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He's having a really hard time deciding who to invite already. Before I looked up the alley's rules, I told him he would probably be able to invite six friends (one for every year of age rule). He has four friends he hangs out with a lot at school (all five boys play together a lot), two cousins, and two close friends from the play group (one of which is his best friend). I was already asking him to basically cut out two people, but I figured cutting the cousins wasn't a huge deal since they'd come to the family dinner anyway. If we choose A, he has to either cut out his best friend, or split up the group of boys who plays together every day at school.

ETA: I was trying to keep the party budget in the neighborhood of $150. I could do two lanes on Saturday, but then that comes closer to $210. It's doable, but more than I was hoping to spend on the party.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:38 PM   #4
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Re: Help me plan a birthday party

Were you planning on purchasing him a gift as well? Why not ask him whether he prefers a bigger party or a bigger gift? I know I would do that with my 5 year old and I'd be confident that her answer was a thoughtful one.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:51 PM   #5
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Idk your schools rules, but here you have to either invite all the boys (or girls) or the whole class. You can't pick and choose. That may help you settle who to invite...
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BootsNBuckles
Idk your schools rules, but here you have to either invite all the boys (or girls) or the whole class. You can't pick and choose. That may help you settle who to invite...
Our school's policy is that invites at school must go to all classmates or all of one gender. Invites given outside of school can go to whomever the inviter chooses.
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:00 PM   #7
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Re: Help me plan a birthday party

Ugh, had a nice long post typed and lost it.

1 - skip most of the decor. Get/make superhero themed invites. Do cupcakes and icecream cups. Put a big S or something on the tops of the cupcakes. You could do a small bouquet of red and blue balloons on a table. But, get red/blue (or whatever superhero color) plates and napkins if the bowling alley doesn't provide them. Don't spend the extra $$$ on themed plates/napkins/cups, etc. There are better places to spend the $$.

2 - check with the facility to see if they include favors in a party. Some places will have favors for parties. Our local bowling alley also has a pin for the guests to sign for the birthday child. You have to decide if that is important to you. If not, consider making t-shirts for the kids with some sort of superhero theme for favors. You can get them inexpensively at Michaels with coupons and make them slowly over time. They would also make for a cute picture. I would skip the whole party store overpriced party favors. Figure out what you would have spent per kid and think about doing something that won't be thrown away by next week. We have done yoyos (real ones), t-shirts, squirt guns (for a pool party), bakugans, legos, matchbox cars, small purses, a variety of things that kids will actually use and mom won't toss in a few days. You could find something superhero related that would be 1 nicer item for a favor.

3 - consider doing a Sunday party from 2-4 or 3-5 (a non-food time). Then you can skip the pizza cost and perhaps just get a couple of baskets of popcorn or other snack food. Speaking of food. There will likely be parents and maybe siblings there. You have no obligation to feed anything to anyone (and especially to siblings and parents). But, it is good to keep in mind that there may be extra people and 1 or 2 pizzas may not be enough regardless of what day you choose.

4 - lanes. I wouldn't worry much about the kids being sad they aren't on the birthday kid's lane. You should be able to get 2 next to each other. They will spend more time horsing around then actually bowling. On that note, make sure you have plenty of help with supervision.

5 - be sure to check to see if the alley has a small arcade. Our local alley does. You will need to consider whether you will allow the kids to get tokens. Remember that regardless some parents might send money for their kids and you want to be very clear about the expecations - if they can play the games, if so can they use their own money, etc.

My oldest is 12 and we have done quite a few birthday parties at various locals, including bowling alleys.

Ohhh, I did themed cupcakes once. They were meant to look like bowling pins. A regular cupcake with a mini-cupcake on top of it and a donut hole on top of that - then frost the whole thing. Be careful if you do it. They looked more like they belonged at a bachelorette party than at a 7 year old party. lol
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:15 PM   #8
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Thank you for putting so much thought into your response. I've replied in bold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by z2akids
Ugh, had a nice long post typed and lost it.

1 - skip most of the decor. Get/make superhero themed invites. Do cupcakes and icecream cups. Put a big S or something on the tops of the cupcakes. You could do a small bouquet of red and blue balloons on a table. But, get red/blue (or whatever superhero color) plates and napkins if the bowling alley doesn't provide them. Don't spend the extra $$$ on themed plates/napkins/cups, etc. There are better places to spend the $$.
I'm budgeting $40-50 for decor and favors. Favors will be felt superhero wear (masks, wrist things, capes, etc). I always make invites, cakes, etc myself. And decor is usually the solid color stuff from the dollar store.

2 - check with the facility to see if they include favors in a party. Some places will have favors for parties. Our local bowling alley also has a pin for the guests to sign for the birthday child. You have to decide if that is important to you. If not, consider making t-shirts for the kids with some sort of superhero theme for favors. You can get them inexpensively at Michaels with coupons and make them slowly over time. They would also make for a cute picture. I would skip the whole party store overpriced party favors. Figure out what you would have spent per kid and think about doing something that won't be thrown away by next week. We have done yoyos (real ones), t-shirts, squirt guns (for a pool party), bakugans, legos, matchbox cars, small purses, a variety of things that kids will actually use and mom won't toss in a few days. You could find something superhero related that would be 1 nicer item for a favor.
Favors are not included with the party, but are available for $5 per kid. They're pretty chintzy and not worth it to me.

3 - consider doing a Sunday party from 2-4 or 3-5 (a non-food time). Then you can skip the pizza cost and perhaps just get a couple of baskets of popcorn or other snack food. Speaking of food. There will likely be parents and maybe siblings there. You have no obligation to feed anything to anyone (and especially to siblings and parents). But, it is good to keep in mind that there may be extra people and 1 or 2 pizzas may not be enough regardless of what day you choose.
On Sundays, the only lane rentals they offer is 11-1. If we choose Sunday, there is no other time option. We will get one pizza per lane. Each pizza is 16 slices. That's 16 slices for 5 kids, or 32 slices for 10. My kids eat a lot, but I doubt they'll go through that much.

4 - lanes. I wouldn't worry much about the kids being sad they aren't on the birthday kid's lane. You should be able to get 2 next to each other. They will spend more time horsing around then actually bowling. On that note, make sure you have plenty of help with supervision.
Good reminder about the horsing around. I picture 2 hours of bowling, but with goofing around, eating and gifts. We'll be lucky if they bowl for an hour.

5 - be sure to check to see if the alley has a small arcade. Our local alley does. You will need to consider whether you will allow the kids to get tokens. Remember that regardless some parents might send money for their kids and you want to be very clear about the expecations - if they can play the games, if so can they use their own money, etc.

They do have an arcade, but it's pretty ancient and removed from the lanes. We probably won't allow them to go to the arcade.

My oldest is 12 and we have done quite a few birthday parties at various locals, including bowling alleys. Ohhh, I did themed cupcakes once. They were meant to look like bowling pins. A regular cupcake with a mini-cupcake on top of it and a donut hole on top of that - then frost the whole thing. Be careful if you do it. They looked more like they belonged at a bachelorette party than at a 7 year old party. lol
LOL! Note to self, no bowling pin cupcakes!
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