What do you think is a reasonable amount to fork out for your child’s birthday? The kids’ party industry seems to have exploded since I was a kid. You’ll find a party supply shop in most suburbs and publications like Sydney’s Child publish pages and pages of classified listings for party entertainers.
I know because I’ve paid a fortune for some of them. When my kids were younger I used to worry (needlessly) about making sure my kids’ parties were as good as the next kid’s. And I’ve been to some kids’ parties that possibly cost more than my wedding, run with military precision by experts with props, costumes and goody bags galore.
I used to subscribe to the idea that kids’ parties were best managed by experts. Quite frankly the idea of herding 20 preschool kids through a succession of party games and not losing them, injuring them or even losing their interest over a two hour period scared the hell out of me anyway.
So I forked out over $300 for a fairy or a cowboy or a princess to come and do all of that for me. Then I forked out more for cakes, chips, lollies, party pies, sausage rolls and additional lolly bags (in case the fairy’s lolly bags weren’t quite up to the standard expected by Northern Beaches children).
Do the kids notice? Do they know the fairy charges $200 an hour? And is it absolutely necessary to invite 20 kids? Of course not. So I’ve given up keeping up with the Jones’s and simplified things a bit. My daughter turned 10 recently and actually requested a party (for only 10 friends) at our favourite local park.
I forked out for sausages, buns, watermelon and apples. My elder daughter baked a cake. Total expense: approximately $50. I didn’t even have to organise games - they were perfectly happy going for a bushwalk and playing 44 Home.
So there it is. Life – made simpler. And the verdict from my 10-year-old? “Best party ever.” (And no – I’m not making that up – you can ask her yourself).