I can hear your sharp intake of breath from here.
A party? At home? Are you MAD?
With all the fancy, money-draining parties you can pay for these days, my kids will still choose a house party in a heart beat every time.
And there is something about them. Sure they’re hard work and your house gets trashed, but it’s a bit of a rite of passage, posting DO NOT ENTER signs at the top of the stairs and picking bits of debris out of your cushions for the next few hours after they’ve gone.
We’ve had a Haunted House party, and Under the Sea party and even a Scooby Doo party and every time I flop onto the bed utterly exhausted with cake smeared over my clothes and swear I’ll reconsider next year.
Well, this year Mia wanted a Cinema Party for her 6th.
She said the magic ‘movie’ word and tapped into her mother’s movie geekdom and I couldn’t say no.
So I coped as I always do, with military planning . . . Here’s how.
1. Get props.
Old fashioned popcorn bags from eBay for snacks and party bags. £2 for 10.
Clapperboard to advertise party at the front door for all guests. £2.50 from Amazon.
Chocolate money to give to guests to spend at the ‘cinema shop’. £2 for 3 bags from Tesco.
2. Get big brother involved.
He doesn’t actually mind being around the house with a bunch of excitable 6 year olds, but Dan would much rather roll his sleeves up and be useful. So Mia made him his own cinema shop. Complete with sign, price board, till and bags of popcorn, pick n mix and juice boxes.
He was utterly brilliant.
4. Employ dad as the film producer
So that if anything goes wrong with the film you’ve got someone to blame. Ahem.
We actually tried something new – gulp – and downloaded a movie from iTunes to watch.
We were ‘gifted’ the movie Hop by Think Parents. All we had to do was download to my phone, buy a cable to connect it to the TV, and bob’s your uncle. Ridiculously easy.
Of course I now have the movie permanently on my phone so I have bribable material for when we’re out and about . . .
5. Find snazzy ways of getting the kids to help with the clearing up.
Anyone who returned their empty popcorn/drinks packaging to the ‘shopkeeper’ got their chocolate money back.
It only bloody worked.
6. Include at least one fun game.
We play this most years and it never ever fails to make them squeal with laughter, whether they’re 6 or 16.
Put clues in a blown-up balloon. Each child picks a balloon, bursts it, finds the clue, follows it, finds a prize.
As Mia was only having 8 friends to her party, I set myself the task of finding prizes worth no more than £1. Thank heavens for Poundland and Primark.
This is also a MASSIVE concession on my part as I hate balloons with the heat of a thousand suns. THAT is how much I love you Mia.
7. Open the back door and let them run off the e numbers
8. Give killer party bags.
You cannot go far wrong with Lego MiniFigures. Fact.
9. When all your friends have gone watch the movie all over again. Because it’s your birthday and you can.