This week I paid a storm trooper $250 to entertain 11 small boys. It may be the best $250 I have ever spent.
My youngest son turned 5 and to celebrate, he had his first ever birthday party. He’s my third child. Anyone with more than two will understand.
It’s not that we’ve IGNORED his other birthdays. I dimly recall some balloons when he turned one and a rug in the garden. And last year, he had three friends over after kindy and they all ran around the garden for an hour waving swords.
But this year, I had to step it up a bit. Poor kid. His older brother and sister had all manner of parties by the time they turned five. From those mobile zoos that come and set up in your garden to fairies and Disney characters.
I’ve always been a fan of out-sourcing the entertainment. Because I swear to God, time stands still during your child’s birthday party.
You look at your watch thinking, “OK, I reckon there’s only half an hour to go” and then you see the birthday party only started 25 minutes ago and you lose the will to live.
Hiring someone to come and entertain the kids for an hour or so is an idea that only started to become popular in the past decade. Before that, it was all DIY pass-the-parcel and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey followed by musical statues and a Mintie hunt.
Chances are you will be flooded with happy memories after reading that last sentence, instantly transported back to your own childhood and birthday parties you had or attended. But I bet your parents would not be flooded with similar memories recalling your parties. It’s a bit like how great Christmas was when you were a kid and you just had to turn up and open presents. As opposed to now when you have to oraganise the whole thing plus maintain civilised small-talk with other parents you barely know.
So. I knew I needed outside help. For my son’s birthday party, we did a Google search, found ourselves on the Kapow Parties website and had a blast scrolling through all the character options. Superman, Batman, Buzz Lightyear, Luke Skywalker, pirates, transformers, power rangers and mutant ninja turtles.
We chose a Storm Trooper – despite my cautionary warning that some of the kids might be scared. My son would not be swayed.
So I booked the Storm Trooper via email and at the appointed time, he turned up in full costume carrying a stereo playing the Star Wars theme song and a bag full of games. The next 90 minutes were a dream.
As anyone who has ever thrown a kids’ party will know, even when you specify “DROP OFF” which I may or may not have done in capital letters in the texts I sent to the parents the week before (3rd child, did I mention that?) you still end up hosting a parallel party for adults.