One year, while buying bodycare items for my wife’s birthday, I had the idea of organising an art and crafts party for my daughter’s 12th birthday. So it was off to the art shop to buy glass paints to decorate glass tumblers, oil paints to decorate wooden picture frames, ceramic paints to decorate plates, and fabric paints to design t-shirts. We prayed for good weather so that we could have the whole thing in the garden – otherwise I think we’d be running the risk of having the house inadvertently decorated in the Jackson Pollock style. Not something my wife would readily appreciate. So as an insurance policy I invested in a large waterproof gazebo from Asda.
As it happens, the weather on the day stayed fine and we had 18 girls sitting around our covered garden tables – all concentrating very hard on their individual creations. It’s the only children’s party I’ve ever witnessed (and I’ve witnessed quite a few in my time) where you could have heard a pin drop. Of course, by tea time they made up for it. But as soon as they were back to their allotted places in the garden, the silence was restored. When mothers and fathers eventually came to pick up their offspring, each child had at least three items to show off. The party was an unmitigated success, and it really hadn’t cost us very much at all. T-shirts can be sourced very cheaply at markets and supermarkets, and wooden frames and glass tumblers from Ikea cost virtually nothing. The gazebo which wasn’t needed set me back around £15. Art materials were, admittedly fairly expensive, but in the great scheme of things, this was a cheap party, but certainly one the girls really enjoyed.
Boys’ parties are somewhat more challenging. We were less fortunate when attempting to host a cricket party for our son’s eleventh birthday. The day was grey and wet so cricket outdoors was out of the question, and our big problem was that we didn’t have a sensible contingency plan in place. At the last minute my wife arranged to get another older boy to come and demonstrate his magic tricks in the house. Now, I should add here that anyone contemplating having 14 eleven-year-old boys over for a civilized birthday party should seriously think again. In our case, the boys were extremely excitable and it wasn’t long before we had several of them arguing and nothing short of total chaos. Tea was horrendous. Food and fizzy drinks somehow managed to spread themselves everywhere including our freshly painted walls. In short, the house looked as if a herd of very clumsy elephants had passed through. The magician was a bad idea. His less than perfect skills were openly criticised by one of the boys and before long we had a major altercation on our hands.
So one piece of advice, if you’re planning a birthday party for boys, no matter how angelic they may seem, don’t, whatever you do, have your lovely party in the house.
Guest Post Author Brief Bio:
Alex Pearl is a freelance copywriter and author of Sleeping with the Blackbirds.