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Is it possible to have a birthday party for a 5 yo nowadays without spending hundreds?

stigdu

Well-known Member
The wife and I had an argument about it and both pissed each other off. I told her when I was 5 my parents invited 7 or 8 friends round, and we played in the garden and ate lots of sandwiches, fruit, crisps etc. all made by my mum and maybe a friend or two.

My missus says it's not like that nowadays and you have to pay to hire venues, entertainers and the like. I said I could throw a party at home for £100 including food and little gift bags for all the kids.

She said we're looking at least at £200.

Anyone here want to chip in on the argument?
 

Inked

Distinguished Member
It’s worth the extra £100 to not have 7 or 8 kids round my house, to have to make sandwiches etc.

Local bowling alley / soft play and let them worry about catering and cleaning the place up afterwards.
 

rustybin

Distinguished Member
We're lucky that our best friends on the estate have their daughter in my 5 year old's class so we do a shared party and split everything down the middle.

My wife / friend are both very arty so do lots themselves.

We use Morrisons to cater, supplemented by a load of bits from Aldi.

Hire a hall, bouncy castle and entertainer - 2 hour party for 35 kids comes in at about £200-£250 all in - split down the middle.

I'd rather pay that than have a class of 5 year olds destroying my house and garden.
 

Desmo

Member
We've got our 4 year old's party in a couple of weeks and it's just a few kids and family coming over. Cost us next to nothing... I don't see the point in needlessly splashing out.
 

rustybin

Distinguished Member
We've got our 4 year old's party in a couple of weeks and it's just a few kids and family coming over. Cost us next to nothing... I don't see the point in needlessly splashing out.
It gets a bit more difficult when they're in school and being invited to whole class parties.

In my experience, Nursery, Reception, Yr1 tend to be whole class affairs, then from Yr2 children tend to just invite smaller groups.
 

lee1980

Active Member
Same here since 2 our daughter has had parties with nursery now preschool friends, but the whole 20 odd are not like all close friends but its like all invite each other which seems silly to me.
Then all others feel got to do same its like a vicious circle, in coming week we have something every weekend and some there are 3 parties at same place!
I never had more then a few friends around at home, when young, the more well off took us bowling or laser quest but then that was when 10 or so, I think it all starts to early to young now!
 

JimmyMac

Distinguished Member
We've done whole class since reception year, shes in year 3 now and had her last one at the trampoline place nearby. Previously its been play centres and usually looking at around £300 cost at least.

However it looks like things may have settled, more and more of the girls in her class are having sleep overs with just a few friends, or doing cinema and such, smaller groups and hopefully more manageable. Hopefully this year will be a little less cost!!
 

Desmo

Member
It gets a bit more difficult when they're in school and being invited to whole class parties.
Yeah, I get it will be more difficult the older they get, but we're still the adults in charge and get to make the decisions :)
 

rustybin

Distinguished Member
Yeah, I get it will be more difficult the older they get, but we're still the adults in charge and get to make the decisions :)
Absolutely. If I wasn't splitting it I wouldn't be paying what I described. I've got three boys 5 and under!
 

IronGiant

Moderator
We were extremely lucky in that our children were the eldest in their classes, so each year we got to set the precedent, thereby avoiding the vicious circle effect.
 

babs001

Novice Member
The wife and I had an argument about it and both pissed each other off. I told her when I was 5 my parents invited 7 or 8 friends round, and we played in the garden and ate lots of sandwiches, fruit, crisps etc. all made by my mum and maybe a friend or two.

My missus says it's not like that nowadays and you have to pay to hire venues, entertainers and the like. I said I could throw a party at home for £100 including food and little gift bags for all the kids.

She said we're looking at least at £200.

Anyone here want to chip in on the argument?
It can get tricky, but I just look at the budget and work backwards. In the past I have spent hundereds on parties, but it can get out of hand. Also the more you do, the more the kids and parents sometimes expect. I have done a party for my 4 year old at a soft play for 8 friends, without the trouble of mess in the house for around £100. Baked our own cake, took a present for each child from poundland, and that was it. My 4 year old loved it as much as other parties which were nearly 3 or 4 times as much?!
In the summer options are easier, as you can cut costs even more by going to the park, or have it in the garden, arranging games and doing your own food etc.
 

Lancia34

Distinguished Member
Quite lucky here with my 5yr old. The wife the past few years always says she will sort something out for his birthday but never gets round to it so we just end up having family over for lunch or go to the pub for lunch - much simpler :)
I know there will come a day when she actually gets round to organising something or that he insists on having a party but we'll see.

On the negative side we still have to endure several horrible class parties which might be some of the worst experiences of my life... village hall with a deathtrap bouncy castle and some [email protected] toys around...why? Bowling, even soft play place is infinitely better than that.
 

rustybin

Distinguished Member
Quite lucky here with my 5yr old. The wife the past few years always says she will sort something out for his birthday but never gets round to it so we just end up having family over for lunch or go to the pub for lunch - much simpler :)
I know there will come a day when she actually gets round to organising something or that he insists on having a party but we'll see.

On the negative side we still have to endure several horrible class parties which might be some of the worst experiences of my life... village hall with a deathtrap bouncy castle and some [email protected] toys around...why? Bowling, even soft play place is infinitely better than that.
Bowling and food for 30 kids would be £300 minimum. Softplays are great, but to get exclusivity costs a lot more, and they you've got the 'general public' to worry about.
 

Lancia34

Distinguished Member
Bowling and food for 30 kids would be £300 minimum. Softplays are great, but to get exclusivity costs a lot more, and they you've got the 'general public' to worry about.
Yeh it's a great money spinner. I just can't stand the village halls ones but if and when it comes to it might just do it at home and I doubt he'd invite all his class anyway ;)
 

richardb70

Distinguished Member
We went cheap for ours (apart from the odd splurge on a soft play area every now and then). Hire a local village hall from the council for a couple of hours, it's cheap as chips normally. Then all you need is food (which isn't much), music, the usual party games like pass the parcel and some arts and crafts stuff. Simple. Don't need to get an entertainer, and the ones I've been to with organised music are waaay too loud.

Food-wise, don't bother with sandwiches, just go with cold pizza, crisps, chopped-up raw carrots / cucumber, grapes, chocolate fingers, cupcakes, that kind of thing.

You would need to leave the place clean when you're done so grab some grandparents to help out.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
It depends whether Toby and Persephone and their yummy mummy is invited...

All too often it's more about impressing the parents than the kids having fun. We never did a party for more than about 10 kids at any stage but ours did get invited to some totally OTT things including a soft play bus that comes to your house, a "plastic toy free" household where their kids played with nothing but Scandinavian non gender toys and ate Tofu for every meal and a horse riding party, where every child got about 30 seconds each on a grumpy riding school pony while the birthday child trotted around proudly on her new birthday present....

A venue is a great idea if space is at a premium at home - or you don't want to be scrubbing jelly shots off the ceiling (Although to be fair, that was at our eldest's 18th). A local village, church or social club hall will have easy to clean surfaces and plenty of room for a disco, party games and food table.

We've also used Morrisons party food service and it's very good. Platters of sandwiches, bulk packs of sausage rolls etc. It always seems to go down well with the kids. We also used to lay on a "grown ups" table in the kitchen with some wine and nibbles. This means it's more likely they will stay and hopefully control their sugar crazed offspring and not just clear off and arrive 30 minutes after the party has finished to collect their highly strung child who is currently polishing off the leftovers and preparing to puke all over their car on the way home.

We did have a kid's entertainer once. He was very good and worked hard. It was great to be able to sit back as he did magic tricks, ran the party games and supervised the bouncy castle. We did find out afterwards that he also does strippergrams and hen parties, so you had to be quite specific with the bookings.

Now ours are teenagers, it's much easier, if slightly messier the following morning, turfing semi-conscious teens out to meet their parents who naively assumed the sleepover would be single sex and alcohol free...
 

mole

Standard Member
Use the local sports centre, they have bouncy castles, provide sound system etc..... we provide food and party bags. think was only about £85 for 2 hours.

Cant be doing with big parties now, max 3 friends, cinema, burgers. done. still expensive i reckon though.
 

Ruperts slippers

Distinguished Member
I've done everything from bouncy castles to barbecues, play gyms etc.
For my middle girl we're going to centre parcs as a family this time. Bit different when the parents are divorced.
It's funny how women put ridiculous financial demands on partners for social occasions.
 
No need to keep up with everyone else, do the party that you want to do, can afford, and make it fun.

We've had parties, just in our garden, playing games, lighting the BBQ. We've also had parties where we had a big red London double-decker bus parking on our driveway with an entertainer (but our own catering), We've also had parties where the parents all hung around and I ended up lighting the BBQ for them as well. We had parties that went to the cinema, or in a village hall, or bowling, or karting, or on our power boat.

Nowadays it is mainly just a sleepover with a few select friends.

You can make it as cheap or expensive as you want. No fixed formula for it, and don't forget it is about the birthday boy/girl, as long as they are happy with it all is good.

But if you can't afford the extra £100 it would be silly to spend it.
 

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