Kids Birthday Party Madness…Please Make It Stop!


I’m in the middle of  birthday party madness. Going to parties. Having parties. Oh my word, it doesn’t stop. When it’s winter in Vermont, there are not many birthday party options other than the dreaded arcade/pizza place. Sure there is bowling and rock climbing and such, but it seems like alllll the kids want to go to the dreaded germ factory arcade place. I despise this place. The last time I was there I swear I saw the plague dripping from the walls.

I brought my son to a birthday party recently and it was a nightmare.

Want to know why I hate these kinds of parties? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Everyone drops their kids off. So here we are with 20 sweaty kids running around a crowded, loud room full of strangers. Um, no thanks. I think I will stay and keep an eye on my child. Lucky me, I have trust issues and get to stay in the middle of this madness. And if you’re the one throwing the party? You are responsible for all those kids! No pressure!

Each of the kids brings a gift. This is part of the birthday party madness that I don’t get. Does your child really need 22 kids bringing them a gift? Isn’t that overkill? I always say “no gifts are necessary” on party invitations. I understand that kids love getting gifts, but at a party of that size, I’m sorry. I think it’s too much! Where will I put that many Bey Blades, anyway?!

We do the arcade, the bumper cars, the putt putt, the lazer tag and we eat enough pizza to feed a small country. Do you know what throwing a party of this magnitude costs?! I can’t handle spending this much on a bunch of kids I barely know who just want to run around like wild maniacs! Does that make me a mean mom? Does that make me cheap? Let’s call it frugal. That sounds better, right?



Then there’s the tickets. Oh God help me. The tickets. We spend token after token after token trying to win tickets. For what? For a twenty-five cent toy that will break on the car ride home.

So I just spent $20 on a gift to come to this party and I will bring home a tired, over-sugared, upset-because-his-new-ticket-toy-broke, child. 

Sounds like a whole lotta fun. Right?

And yet. We do it. We do it over and over again. We clap and cheer when they win the big ticket winning games. We eat that nasty pizza while discussing it’s cheesy deliciousness. We stand at that glass case full of garbage and smile when our child holds up their prize.



Then we go home and bathe them in Lysol. Wow, we must really love our kids.

This weekend is my son’s birthday party. We are having ten 7 and 8 year old boys come to our house. We are having a good old fashioned at home, no fuss party. They will play games and eat cake while I attempt to keep my house from burning down.

Who’s the crazy parent, now?

Do you have any fun birthday party ideas? Because this mom could certainly use some! These kids keep deciding to go ahead and get older so I have to do this party thing every year!


  1. It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I’m sure you had fun writing this article.Excellent entry! I’m been looking for topics as interesting as this. Looking forward to your next post.

  2. We really try to escape the madness. We don’t accept every invite… and when we do we often do simple art supplies or a small gift certificate to our local book or art store.

    For our own kids we manage the madness of parties by alternating every other year. Friend party one year, family outing the next. This year was a family outing… Jay Peak water park for one and a Red Sox game for the other. These outings were less than many parties, but much more memorable. We do simple parties at home.

    We did a green recycled party one year where if people did feel that they wanted to bring a gift it should be something that the guest has and doesn’t play with or found at a thrift store. We don’t need new. (I’ll admit some of our friends thought this really odd and only about 1/2 did the recycled item gift.

    We’ve also done themed parties, but on a budget. My daughter’s last was a teaparty where we went to the restore and purchased really inexpensive tea cups. Each girl when home with a special momento that they could use.

    Just a few thoughts.

  3. The last 2 years we’ve shared the birthday party with my son’s good friend. Their birthdays are 2 weeks apart. It has worked well because it’s the same group of friends. This year we did it at a gymnastics place. Was nice they could get all their energy out and we had the place to ourselves for an hour. The parents liked it too. (One less party to go to!)

  4. We started doing that birthday madness when we lived in places too small to house even one additional person. Now that we have a bigger place, it’s at-home, small parties. The kids still run around like maniacs but it didn’t cost me any extra! We have told them they get to have an out of the house birthday party for their 10th birthday, they are so looking forward to it. Both boys are already planning on where they are going to go. It gives them something to look forward to and makes it more special.

  5. I think the way to make a birthday party perfect for children is to cater to their specific likes and dreams with the games and decor! So a fairy theme or princess theme is great for the little girl that loves those things, and so on. Once you find the right theme, the next step is decor and games! I have found some great, fun games and have loved the response from the kids!

  6. The things we do for our children because we love them 🙂 I love Meaghan’s idea about trying to find ways to incorporate giving and serving into their birthday celebrations!

  7. Why not make the birthday party into a chance to give back to the community? See if the local shelter needs donations of old blankets or canned pet food and ask everyone to bring that instead of a gift. Make the birthday party into a field trip to go deliver the goods to the shelter. Or think of other organizations that young kids might appreciate. Collect story books for SMART, care package ‘goods’ to ship overseas and have the kids write letters to include, Teddy bears for the children’s hospital. It can be a reminder to the birthday kid how much he is blessed.

  8. Great blog post.

    I agree on the gift giving. We have made it clear to my son that the birthday party with his friends IS his gift and we ask friends to not bring gifts. A fun day is WAY more special than more stuff.

    Enjoy your party season!


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