Clear the house, check out those community halls – traditional children’s parties are making a comeback!

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We’ve heard some great news – traditional children’s parties are making a comeback! As the economic downturn tightens its grip on family finances, and the wave of popularity for home crafts rides on, more families are shunning expensive soulless party venues in favour of parent-styled children’s parties at home, or in local community facilities.

A recent survey commissioned by Buttons Children’s Parties found that nearly seven out of ten parents said they were returning to creating their own, more traditional, style of parties.  So we’ve put together some top tips for holding your child’s party at home, or in a community hall.

Speaking to the Telegraph, founder of Buttons Children’s Parties, Ellie Kelly, who commissioned the survey said:

“After years of ever more elaborate bids for entertainment, parents are finding that the best way to do something new and different is to give children a more traditional style of party.  We’ve come full circle.”

Unsurprisingly, parents listed ‘making sure everyone had fun’ as the most important consideration in planning a children’s party, with ‘doing something new and different’ also high on the agenda.

Choosing a pre-planned activity venue may seem like a stress-free option for entertaining, but parents can lack that feeling of engagement as they watch from the sidelines, and many parents are now opting to take a more hands on approach by creating a unique party for their children, from home.

So, here are some tips on what to consider if you’re holding your children’s party at home, or in a local community venue.

At Home

  • Do you have enough space? You may be able to accommodate all the children you want to invite, but don’t forget to plan for parents that may wish to stay, or friends and family that would like to join in the celebrations.
  • Plan to keep the party guests in one or two places You may be happy for children to explore your home, but it can mean you spend much of the party rounding up children, which can be tiring and could kill the party buzz.
  • Set up designated areas
    It’s a good idea to have the party activities in a separate place from where the children will be eating. This means you can set up the food in advance, or while the children are doing something else, and can stop little fingers testing the icing on the cake before the candles have been lit.  Don’t forget to create a quiet space – some children can find parties quite overwhelming and many enjoy a few minutes of downtime doing a craft, or quiet, activity.
  • If something is precious, put it away  
    Sticky fingers, spills, and food on the floor are all part of the package when entertaining at home, be prepared. If something is precious, put it out of the way. Sobbing over a chocolate handprint on your handmade cushion will not create the memorable experience you had hoped for.
  • Think about your pets  If you have pets at home then do mention this to parents, some children may have allergies to pets, or be frightened by them.  Ideally, keep pets safely out of the way – a room full of excitable children may not be best thing for a skittish cat, or lively dog.

At a Community Hall

If any of the above has caused a sharp intake of breath, then perhaps you should have a look at the community huts and church halls in your local area.  Many can be hired by the hour, at a very reasonable cost.

  • Check out what’s available Many community organisations who run community facilities have a calendar online so you can check availability of your chosen date.  If not ring, or email, the person in charge of bookings – this information can often be found online.
  • Go and see the venue in advance Most community huts and halls are very well kitted out for parties, some will even have kitchens that can be used, but do go along beforehand and check that you have everything you need.  The sinking feeling when you realise you have forgotten the matches to light the birthday candles, will not be not helped by the frantic opening of every cupboard and drawer at a hall where they do not keep matches for health and safety reasons!  Bin liners are another thing that should be part of your ‘away-from-home party kit’, but don’t forget to ask where you should put the rubbish at the end of your party.
  • Plan where you will put the key elements of the party If possible, take photos of the venue when you first visit – this will help you in planning where to put the table, various activities and where to store coats etc.
  • Set the theme  Some halls can be quite large and, if you’re planning a themed party, attempting to decorate the whole place can be expensive and very time consuming. Consider decorating one part of your hall.  If you’re creating party food to match your theme, think about choosing a wall where you can set up a backdrop to the food table, or decorate the table where the children will eat to match your theme.  Balloons can be an inexpensive way to elevate the blank canvas of a community hall into a party venue, and a few balloons can go a long way.
  • Plan time to set up before your party and clear down afterwards  Don’t forget to allow time before and after your party, when making your booking.  With a few willing hands from friends and family, clearing down can be done quite quickly, but do make sure you allow yourself enough time before the party to set things up.  You don’t want to be pinning up balloons as the first guests arrive!

Let us know if you have any other top tips for planning a party at home, or as a DIY event at a local hall.

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