Here's how to throw a really fun birthday party for an 8-year-old boy for under 100 bucks.
1. Have your son make his list of friends he wants to come party with him - no more than 8 boys or the mom might die.
2. Make an evite. If you are especially skilled and crafty, include a photo of the birthday boy on the actual evite!
2. Get your In-N-Out and donut orders ahead of time so that you are not overwhelmed on the day of the party when you are decorating the house. And by decorating the house I mean strategically placing the two bouquets of birthday balloons that you bought at the party store. Stressful. If you are stumped with balloon placement, here's are some ideas: put one set on the front porch so people know that your house is the place to be and tie the other set on birthday boy's chair at the kitchen table so he know's exactly where to sit. If that is too overwhelming for you, just let them float around the house. I call this "freestyle ballooning" and children of all ages enjoy this because it gives them a really good chance to fight over who gets to punch and drag the balloons around the house.
3 . Be sure that your party favors do not exceed the price of the gift your birthday boy will receive, which is quite common in my neck of the suburbs.
Go here for a tutorial to learn how to make these complicated party favors.
4. As soon as a party guest arrives, hand present to birthday boy so he can open it immediately. Then party guest's mom, who actually paid for and picked out the present, can enjoy the look on birthday boy's face when he opens the gift and says "This is awesome!" or "I already have this."
5. Hand incredible party favor over to the mom of party guest so you won't forget to give it to the kid at the end of the party. And as an added bonus, the mom will be thoroughly impressed with your PFS (party favor skills) and will feel that much more confident entrusting her child with you overnight.
6. Party guest then decides what he wants do do and does it . . .
Wii, DS, Sega Dreamcast, Foos Ball, ping pong, Beyblades, or chess.
7. Have someone go out and pick up the In-N-Out Burger and bring it back to the house.
8. Interrupt boys from their gaming session and have them wash their hands before they come eat in the kitchen. Note: This may be the most difficult part of the party. As little boys are not known for their hand washing abilities.
9. Get the boys going on introductions and have them each talk about their favorite video game. This is where you learn which parents allow their kids to play Call of Duty.
10. After dinner, boys go back to the various activities.
11. At 8:15 PM boys watch a movie. Elijah's choice was Kung Fu Panda 2 when he learned that Steeling Magnolias was off the table. Dad makes popcorn on the Whirly Pop and Elijah passes out a small handful of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Jelly Beans to the boys. No cake because Elijah chose donuts for breakfast over cake after dinner.
12. After movie, boys get ready for bed and cram into the living room. Then the dad comes in to tell some awesome bedtime stories.
13. No more talking by 10:30pm or talker(s) have to sleep in the other room.
14. One boy wakes up way too early and wakes everyone else up. Tell the boys they have to be quiet until 7am. Talkers will be sent to Elijah's room. (Yes, I had to enforce - 2 talking instigators were sent to Elijah's room until 7am and then all was quiet.) 7am - donuts and more gaming for all.
15. Send overtired, oversugared, overscreened boys home at 10am to be crabby all day long for their parents.
Elijah and his friends had a great time and we did this all for under $100! Approx. $15 for balloons, $47 for In-in-Out Burger, $27 for donuts, $8 for the party favors. (We already had the popcorn and Bertie Bots and those were last minute throw ins.) The only thing I would do different is leave town (just me) the next day so I don't have to deal with crabby son.
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