We just celebrated my youngest son’s 5th Birthday.
Traditionally we host a big themed party here in our backyard with probably 20+ children and sometimes up to 40 or more adults. Everyone usually ends up in our pool due to the oppressive August heat. Luckily, we have yet for any of his parties to be rained out.
My older son, who will be turning seven in November, has had both parties at home and parties at destinations. The ones at home have been sometimes chilly if outside in the backyard, and very crowded if inside in my house. In total, I have thrown 11 children’s birthday parties so far and have come up with a list of Pros and Cons to hosting parties at home vs at a destination.
Home Parties: Pro’s
- Everything is close-by and accessible if needed
- No need to pack up anything to take to the party, or pack-up gifts to bring home
- Can be more economical when buying your own supplies, decorations, and food (unless you’re me who usually spends just as much on themed parties at home as I do paying a rental fee)
- If enough space, no need to limit number of guests
- Can setup and decorate as early as you want
- No time restraints on when the party ends (though I guess this could also be a Con)
- May not be weather dependent, if enough space to host party indoors
Home Parties: Con’s
- A lot of work to clean and decorate the house beforehand
- A lot of work to clean-up afterward
- Need to supply all your own decorations, plates, utensils, food, etc. where some places provide that for you
- Need to provide entertainment or things for guests to do during the party (which I think is more of a Pro! I love coming up with ideas, but that might just be crazy Pinterest-obsessed me)
- You risk things getting broken, damaged, or very dirty at your house
Destination Parties: Pro’s
- Little or no prep needed, if they’re providing everything
- No clean-up
- Staff or facility usually provides entertainment or activities for guests to do
- Dependent on the destination, can provide unique and fun activities that children may not be able to do at a home party, such as visiting a new place, playing a new kind of game, etc.
Destination Parties: Con’s
- Can be expensive
- Usually has a limit on number of guests
- May not be convenient location with ample parking
- Might be weather-dependent, if outdoors
- If bringing own decorations, food, etc., can be a lot to pack-up
I see the appeal to both kinds of parties. I personally love having my kids’ parties at home because I can get creative with a party theme that is unique to what they like at that age. But yes, it is a LOT of work. It’s been a nice reprieve the times we’ve had parties elsewhere and paid someone to do all the work for me. And I suppose you could combine the best of both worlds by hosting a party at home, but bringing in outside entertainment such as magicians, bounce houses, or characters. But there are just some amazing things I can’t host at my house: Pirate Cruises, Pottery painting, Gymnastics, Trampoline Parks, Rock Wall Climbing, Teddy Bear-making, Movie theatres, Miniature Golf, Salon Makeovers, Go-Kart driving, Laser Tag shooting, Museum exploring, Arcade-game playing, Playgrounds, Bowling, Roller-skating, or Water Parks! The list goes on and on. But for me, I just do what we can with what we have, to make fun memories with our kids on their special day!
Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 5-year-old James and 3-year-old Luke.