When it comes to kids’ birthday parties in the South, there is the old school kind and there is the new school kind.
The new school kind is 100 percent on-theme (which isn’t just “birthday,” by the way) and everything, from the banners to the napkins to the hand sanitizer, perfectly matches. The old school kind is decorated with whatever was on clearance in the party section at Dollar General — because kids don’t care if all the plates match as long as there’s cake on ’em.
The new school kind has an elaborate, 8-foot sundae bar that would put any frozen yogurt shop to shame, and the ice cream is served in custom-made bowls with personalized spoons. The old school kind has one of those big, 5-pound buckets of vanilla ice cream that you have to let thaw for seven hours just to get the tip of a spoon into it.
While both kinds of kids’ birthday parties in the South have their differences, there is one thing they have in common. Whether they’re new school or old school, there’s a good chance they’ve got a dad in attendance, parked in a lawn chair with a “beverage”in hand, offering plenty of unsolicited commentary.
In addition the Crones might kick it up a notch for the grand kids. Bouncy Houses, Stomp Rockets for outdoors only, water blowups and water slides for summer. I once took one of my 5 year olds drawing of a transformer and had it put on the sheet cake. Most impressive and it lets the child know you are proud of his/her art.
Neighborhood scavenger hunts with clues hidden in water proof zip lock bags and various friends/neighborhood parents scattered about and chaperoning to insure safety. The prize is a nice gift/treat bag for each child when they complete the hunt.
I once rented a stretch limo and had the child and seven guests/kids taken to the local hotel where we had rooms rented and a scavenger hunt in the public areas of the hotel (with the managers approval of course.)
The kids were told not to disturb any dirt or damage anything. Clues were openly displayed once you found them. One clue led to the gift shop where each child received a gift certificate for $5.00 to spend on any treat they wanted and the next clue, of course. After the hunt we had a formal dinner in the dining room where they were taught basic etiquette and behavior.
Again gift bags were given once they got to the X marks the spot. Fun but hard to keep 8 nine year olds contained while we searched.
Sometime I think I should have been an event planner I have so much fun with these things. It makes good memories for all concerned. It takes planning and time but love makes it all worth it.