And we’re back! If you’re just dropping by to learn how to plan a super-awesome party, I suggest taking a look back at Part 1 of this two-part post on developing your own party plan. Feel free to comment if you have additional ideas you’d like to pass on to your fellow party planners!
Step 5 of Your Party Plan: Goody Bags
This only applies IF you are having a party and want to put together something for the guests to take home. This is usually offered as a “thank you” to the guests for attending (and bringing presents). Sometimes you do, and sometimes you don’t. It depends on the party theme and venue.
For instance, my daughter attended a party at a trampoline park. Her admission was paid by the birthday girl’s parents, and the kids all had cake and ice cream. No goody bags were provided. Seems reasonable to me…those tickets were $15 each!
Another example…for my daughter’s upcoming art party, the guests will be making three different art projects to take home. We won’t be providing goody bags…the art is the “goody.”
If you choose to provide goody bags, go with custom-made. You can make them yourself or purchase them from a crafter in either completed form or digital template form. Presenting a handcrafted goody bag to your party guests really makes all the difference and serves to wrap things up on a positive (and themed) note.
Step 6 of Your Party Plan: Activities and Games
Here’s another area where I go overboard…sometimes. Thinking back on that first Halloween party, I distinctly remember one of the younger guests telling me he had the best time and wanting to know if we could do it again the next weekend. What an awesome compliment! I’m pretty sure he was most impressed with the Fellowship Scavenger Hunt I put together for the kids. They had a blast. It was a lot of work, but it served to entertain them and keep them busy so the adults could converse and have a good time as well.
There are tons of great ideas for themed games and activities on Pinterest and the internet. I usually look online for inspiration but often end up creating my own games. Here are a few examples:
Scavenger Hunts: I’ve created a Lord of the Rings scavenger hunt and a pirate scavenger hunt.
Bingo: I designed an ocean-themed Bingo game that involved the kids finding various small plastic ocean critters (we hid them around the house) to make a B-I-N-G-O on their cards.
Custom-Designed Comic Book Adventure: I used a comic book software program (you can get a free trial here) to create a comic book for my daughter for her superhero party. The kids had to follow clues in the comic book to find stolen objects. My husband posed as the villain; it was hilarious. My daughter still reads that comic!
Real Life Adventure: My favorite example is the Minecraft adventure I designed for my daughter’s 8th birthday party. The kids had to mine for diamonds, fish, traverse lava, avoid Creepers, and race down a river (slip n slide) to survive! I’m also working on a life-size depiction of the Plants vs. Zombies game for this year’s Halloween party.
Step 7 of Your Party Plan: Party Timeline
I’ll speak more on this topic in a future post, but it’s always a good idea to have some thoughts on when/where you want certain things to happen during your party. And it’s really a good idea to work all that out before the day of the party.
My advice: put it on paper! If you have parents helping you with the party, be sure to give them a copy. I’ve made the mistake of not filling in my parent helpers in the past. That mistake can cause a serious glitch if you have to explain the plan several different times to parents scattered throughout your kid-crazy house.
Step 8 of Your Party Plan: Party Prep
If you can (meaning you’re not throwing a surprise party), I suggest putting up decorations 1-2 days in advance of the party. Try not to leave that heavy task for the day of the party. Trust me, your back will thank you later!
This isn’t always an option, especially if you have young children in your home who will disassemble anything you pre-assemble. If that’s the case, put up decorations that are out of reach of little hands and leave the others for the day of the party.
Regardless of when you set up your decorations, it’s very important to have a plan of attack. A week or so before the party, I go through my printout of completed party decorations (see Step 3 in the previous post) and decide where I’m going to place everything. I then create yet another document that describes the locations of all decorations by room (if I’m hosting the party in my own home). I try to make the list as descriptive as possible so helpers can decipher it if needed. That way, I can easily ask for assistance, especially if I’m working on food or other party prep.
I also include a final list of the food that will go out on the snack table, any components of a party game or activity that need to be set up (along with when and where), and what goes into the goody bags. Typically, the birthday boy or girl puts those together, but it’s always a good idea to double-check the bags before the party begins.
My prep list even contains things as mundane as:
- Sweep and vacuum the floors
- Clear the tables (snack table, craft table, etc.)
- Clean the main bathroom
- Make sure the yard is mowed (especially if there are any outside activities)
Obviously these types of to-do’s are not necessary if you aren’t hosting a party in your home, but for me, these things are often forgotten until the day before or the day of the party. Vacuuming the house is not really something I want to do in the midst of all the other party prep!
There’s one last thing you need to remember for your next party: