Lara Shriftman: It's never too late to have a party! When you're looking to throw an easy, last- minute afternoon playdate so your kids can get together and play with their friends, a venue that has everything set up ahead of time is the perfect solution!
Tips for throwing a last-minute party:
- Choose a venue that provides all of the entertainment and has everything already built. This way, you won't have to spend any time or money searching for outside entertainers, and it's an easy way to provide your guests with a variety of fun, creative activities to engage in! However, if you have a personal favorite entertainer (such as a face painter), don't hesitate to bring him or her along!
- Since whatever venue you decide on isn't your own house, the party can be big! Invite five to ten of your child's closest friends, and then have them invite several of their own friends as well. This is a great way for your kids to make new friends and socialize with other kids in a fun, dynamic setting.
CHIC TIP: Regardless of whether or not the guests your kid's friends invite can come, compile all their names into a file so that you can invite them to your next party!
- For invitations, a simple phone call or Evite will suffice. Your guests will understand that this is a last-minute party, so formal invitations in the mail will not be expected. For my last-minute party, I also created a Facebook event so my Facebook friends could see all of the event information when they logged on. (Remember: Always make your Facebook events hidden so that people who aren't invited don't feel left out.)
- As with all parties, it's imperative to send a reminder e-mail to your guests a few days before the big event. This will ensure that you get a more accurate head count and won't be surprised by the amount of guests who show up.
- If your party's just a playdate, arrange to have your guests stay for just a couple of hours. If you want to make it a more organized, official party, call the venue ahead of time and reserve space for you and your guests.
- Check ahead to see if the venue requires guests to bring anything. For example, some indoor playgrounds require that all guests bring socks to wear throughout the venue. To make sure that all guests can enjoy the festivities, bring extra pairs of socks for kids who might have left theirs at home.
- Even though the main decorations for your party will be covered by the venue, add your own personal touch by bringing additional, inexpensive decorations. Blow up colorful balloons and decorate the food table with a fun, bright tablecloth.
- Have fun music playing in the background throughout your party. Download children's music online, then made a custom kids' CD to play during the party. The CD I made was an instant hit with guests and got the kids dancing around in no time!
- If you decide to provide refreshments for your guests, keep it simple by serving already-prepared food. Enlisting the help of other parents is always a great way to split up the work and expense as well.
- Don't feel that you have to provide your guests with a gift bag. Last-minute parties can involve anywhere from 10 to 50 kids -- some of whom you've never met -- so going to the expense of supplying gift bags for each child isn't expected. If you want to give a little party favor to your guests as a fun souvenir of your party, make it something simple and cheap, such as stickers.
- Always remember to create a list of everything that needs to be done for the party, so you can check off each task as it's completed. Having a checklist will ensure that you don't forget anything on the actual day of the party!