When I think of the parties I attended when I was a kid in the '90s, it’s a blur of doughnuts hanging from clotheslines, pass the parcel, fairy bread and a game of musical chairs. I’m not even sure that I had a birthday party every year and I certainly wasn’t inviting the entire class.
A few of the fancier parties had treasure hunts, and I have distant memories of going to a ‘fairy cave’ dressed in a tutu and having mini sandwiches and cupcakes.
Or, if you were REALLY lucky, your parents threw you a Maccas party with the iconic ice cream cake and party hats that feature Ronald McDonald himself.
There was always a homemade cake; dutiful parents had blown up balloons and strung them up haphazardly through the backyard, not forgetting one on the letterbox to indicate, “yes, the party is here!”
Watch: Things People Never Say At Kids' Parties. Post continues below.
Since entering my third decade, I have started attending more children's events than adult ones. My weekends (thanks to COVID and just because there is no one in my friendship group left) are no longer filled with messy hens weekends and elegant wedding receptions.
In their place are a whole lot of children's birthday parties.
When planning my son’s first birthday late last year, I knew that I wanted a theme, personalised cookies and a cake, bunches of balloons, a ‘1’ foil balloon, a personalised board with all of his milestones as a nice keepsake, an invitation designed on Canva, matching plates, tablecloths, utensils, and a good lolly bag.
I had created this mental list of birthday party ‘rules’ I'd subconsciously developed after years of watching my feed fill up with perfectly curated and coordinated children’s birthday parties. Pinterest has a lot to answer for.
I had two parties due to COVID restrictions, so it definitely skewed the cost, but it wasn’t until I had dished out well over $800 (which I’ve since learnt is small change compared to some) for the first party on its own, that I realised I may have gone too far.