Gone are the simple days of birthday parties in your basement, in a park for a BBQ or at the local McDonalds (the 80’s equivalent of Kobi beef sliders).
Here to stay are parties that are increasingly extravagant and expensive. And even those parents who truly do not want throw a lavish bash are joining the masses, in an effort to keep up with their friends and family. I have a lot of friends with kids of various ages. They have attended Carnival themed parties, fully outfitted with pony rides and a dunk tank (what the what ?!!), parties with food and ice cream trucks, a spa theme, a “make your own action movie” theme and the list goes on.
My nephew recently had a 7th birthday party at a entertainment complex where kids could enjoy laser tag, bowling, basketball and roller skating. I couldn’t help but ask my sister in law, however crass it might sound, how much it all cost (we are cool like that). She paid $45 per person and there were 15 kids invited. I would be remiss to not include the loot bags, although the title hardly applies anymore. They were cellophane wrapped kiddie swag bags filled with candy, toys, and books. Add another $20 per kid and you have a birthday party that cost about $1000. This is the average.
Being first generation Canadian, our social circle included families who had immigrated to Canada and whose children were also first generation. My sister and I attended a birthday party when I was 6. When it was time to go, I was so excited to get my loot bag. As the birthday girl was hanging them out, I realized she had made a terrible mistake, she had given me an empty bag. Looking up and seeing the look of horror on my sisters face it dawned on me it wasn’t a mistake. Years later I realized that her parents didn’t know any better (at least that’s what I tell myself). Oh how times have changed…
A friend of mine is a Toronto based Event Planner. I asked Mel about the largest budget she has a ever worked it. “15,000. And that doesn’t include the $20,000 of extensive renovations and landscaping completed in the backyard to accommodate swans and the $8000 kids play area specially constructed for the event. There was also a valet and two nannies on hand.”
I am flabbergasted. And scared. We don’t have children, but are planning to start a family. Will I need to start a BPF (birthday party fund) along with an RESP? Will I also succumb to the pressure and have a huge carnival themed party at an entertainment complex filled with laser tag, pony rides, ice cream trucks and swans?
What is the craziest kids party you have ever attended? I am so curious to know!