The 5 very distinct phases of planning a child's birthday party.

Chupa Chups
Thanks to our brand partner, Chupa Chups

Once (or in my case, three times) a year, a child’s birthday comes around. And before I can even begin to think about buying invitations, I am met with a list of demands from each child that would even have Kim Kardashian's assistant shocked, saying, "Whoa! You want all of this?!" 

The thought of organising a child's party with a themed cake, the decorations, having to scrub every corner of your house to host. Or finding a venue that can cater for gluten-free, dairy-free, hazard-free and actually still... fun, can completely have me waving up a white flag screaming "I surrender!" 

But although planning a child's party – whether it be birthday, Halloween, Christmas, or something in between – can have WAY too many components for a solo parent to juggle, and makes us feel utterly overwhelmed... it can be done. In some version. And you can't deny it can be a lot of fun too. 

These are my 5 very distinct phases of planning a child's birthday party.

The determining-the-budget phase.

Okay, so don't be like me and seriously consider entering your bank asking for a small loan because you have no self-control. Seriously, you don't need to have the cast from Cirque du Soleil performing for your child for them to have a good time. 

A party just needs a cake, some party food and a banger of a lolly bag to succeed. And lolly bags to take home don't have to be extreme, despite them being the highlight of the party (more on that next).

But just remember: a good party can follow a tight budget and still leave you with your sanity and bank account intact. And with one very happy child. 


The what-am-I-going-to-feed-them phase.

First of all: outsource, outsource, outsource. That's all I've got for you on that front.

Now, the lolly bags. The most crucial part of a party, IMO. I don't care what anyone says. Sure, it's early in the planning to be thinking about these, and sure, there's the birthday cake still needing to be organised (outsourced), but the lolly bag is the gift for all. Even the parents. Because you'd be lying if you said you didn't scrounge around that bag trying to see what you can knick for yourself when one of those beauties comes through your front door.

The lolly bag must be the perfect balance of entertainment and treats. Because even though they're really loved, they're all highly critiqued if the balance is off. They are the host's perfect send-off, ending that party on a sugar high.

Stick with the theme (if you can). For example, my daughter recently had a Peppa Pig themed party, so everyone got a Strawberry and Cream Chupa Chups in their bag – because Chupa Chups are super nostalgic for me, and excitingly new to her. And they come individually wrapped, so they're easy, peasy. Also, pigs are pink so we're on theme (genius, I know).

Chupa Chups also have the best mega mix for parties, aptly named The Best Of, which you can get in bags of 25 with all the flavours I grew up with: Cola, Strawberry, Grape, Watermelon, Choco-vanilla and Strawberry & Cream. Takes me right back to my crazy-wild partying days, where mum would go to lengths using Chupa Chups to create little flower pops for our birthday parties, or lollipop spiders for our street Halloween parties. What a queen.


Now I just buy all the bits and pieces for the lolly bags, which gets me a perfect score with the kids (and parents). I'm talkin' Chupa Chups' 3D Fizzy Drinks, Minis, XXL, Sour Bites Jellies, Mix of Minis, Incredible Chews... Those Melody Pops are a personal favourite too for the music lovers. Ear plugs optional!

It doesn’t matter how badly or messily a party goes, with the right lolly bag, those little munchkins will be trading stories about how great it was for DECADES. Because kids only remember the last 10 minutes of anything, am I right?

The overcoming-a-theme phase.

The negotiation 101 technique is working with people who are strongly resistant to any compromise, but as the famous Margaret Thatcher once said, "We don't negotiate with terrorists." 

Okay, quite extreme. But if your child wants a Batman/Hulk/Spiderman-themed party, which my son demanded for his last birthday, then best you find a creative cake maker, because there is no compromising here. So, pick a theme that a party shop has an abundance of supplies, and convince that child that theme is the best. 

Show them photos of all the fantastic decorations that Spiderman has, and they will eventually be swayed to pick one. Persuade like you've never persuaded before.


The how-on-earth-are-they-all-going-to-fit phase.

I once had a dinosaur-themed party for my child at my house in the middle of winter. I tarped up my whole front yard, made dinosaur fossils by mixing flour and water, had activity tables, where some included jelly, giant dinosaur cutouts... the works! And you know what I was left with? A massive mess within the first 10 minutes they all arrived. Oh, and only to go inside and play hide-and-seek with each other. 

So, don't be like me. Don't go *all out* at home. Don't. Because that mess took me 3 months to clean up, I found faux plaster everywhere in places I cannot even mention. 

If you do it at home, don't rage clean beforehand because it's truly pointless. Children don't notice skirting board dust; they'll only make it full of scuff marks.

Think about your own child, and where they had the best fun at a party. Maybe it's a bowling alley or a play centre, or even in the backyard of their friend's place with a sprinkler. Choose your venue based on the weather and keep it simple, simple, simple. If it's in your budget to hire an entertainer at home, do that, so you can watch on without having to dress up as a clown yourself. Think about what will make it simple and streamlined for you. 

The I-wonder-what-time-can-we-wrap-this-up phase.

Yeah, you'd think this would be the easiest part of planning a birthday, when to time it (and when to let parents know upfront when it's wrapping up!), but it's just... not. Why? Because kids have better social lives than us. They have soccer, football, dance, creative writing, and plain pasta appreciation classes – they have it all. And it all falls on Saturdays and Sunday mornings, mostly. 


So, it's best to not pick a party time that it's in the morning when your child has to rush from a class to their own party. Also, I don't know who those parents are that have parties at 9.30am on a Sunday, but whatever kind of coffee you drink to survive that time, please, give me some. 

Also, if you pick the time of 12pm you are essentially saying that you will provide lunch. So, if you're only interested in slapping up some (delicious) fairy bread, pick a before lunchtime or after lunchtime, but not dinnertime, otherwise you'll be feeding them for dinner. See what I mean? Not so simple. 

Also, the number of hours you will be able to tolerate. Is it two hours? Three? One? Some venues offer two hours of jam-packed fun, and you see the children cutting the cake for 30 minutes of that time. Consider what and your child can handle in terms of party times. Man, they really do take stamina. 

I don't think I've ever gone to a child's party for over 4 hours, except my own son's dinosaur party, and that's because I was a novice. 

Check out the iconic and much-loved flavours of Chupa Chups The Best Of this Halloween, Christmas and birthday season.

Feature Image: Instagram/@itslauramazza

Chupa Chups
Chupa Chups believe in Forever Fun and that fun is for life, not just for kids! That is why we keep the fun of childhood going forever by making the most playful sweets, and have been doing so since 1958. These lollies have been passed on from generation to generation for many years. We want to continue the love of this iconic brand going amongst young & old, and bring the family together this Halloween. Chupa Chups: Forever Fun!