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Six Steps To A Last Minute Birthday Party


Sometimes, projects appear out of the blue when you least expect them. In this case, a mother’s panicked phone call launched a colleague’s delightful recent contract. It became a chance to reconnect with the magic of childhood.

Yes, we all love the highly profitable huge scale projects, the big, money spinning weddings, the detailed corporate events that eat up time, energy and massive resources. This contract was not like that.

The Back Story

In her flustered phone call, a mother outlined the situation. She had been away on a business trip and had instructed her husband and young daughter to do a little advance planning for the daughter’s ten year old birthday party.

And so, they did!

Together, the dad and his daughter outlined their mutual plans for a dream birthday party. And then, without further consultation…… THEY SENT THE INVITATION. In the form of an Evite. And you know what they say about the internet. Once you have sent something you cannot take it back. Right? Oh, so right!

On the mother’s return, she found that she was to host a swimming party for a mere twenty seven ten year old girls, that there would be arts and crafts, that great food, decorations, swimming in the backyard pool, a water balloon and water sponge fight had been promised, an elaborate haunted house would be part of the fun, and that, and here are the straws that broke the mother’s back, – the party would last a mere FOUR hours, and, “Oh yes,” that her husband would be away on a business trip in Calgary. She was on her own!

Who You Gonna Call?

“Would you take on a small job?” she asked our colleague. “I thought the rule was to invite the same number of children as the child’s age, plus one,” she said, “We ‘ve had 30 acceptances. And they said they only invited twenty seven!?”

Smoothly, our colleague sashayed into action. The panic subsided and the planning began.

Step One

There was a backyard pool at the house. Preferably, it’s a good idea to give the same number of children back to their parents as arrived at the beginning of the party. The event planner hired a truly competent lifeguard, and told her to bring another well qualified friend. You need two lifeguards for thirty wild, over-excited children.

Sponge FightStep Two

She planned a timetable and prepared a large scale printed version of it to be tacked up on a wall for consultation throughout the entire four hours.

  1. Forty minutes for swimming,
  2. Thirty minutes for the sponge and balloon fight.
  3. Twenty minutes for thirty over excited girls to change out of wet bathing suits.
  4. Forty minutes for the first craft.
  5. Thirty minutes to consume vast quantities of chips, pizza, cake and fruit platters while chatting nineteen to the dozen.
  6. Forty minutes to make the elaborate dream catchers.
  7. Finally, down to the basement for the haunted house which would morph into a dance party in time for pick up!

The timetable worked beautifully.

Step Three

Party TableIn a delightful visit to the local dollar store, the planner and her ten year old birthday girl, purchased sufficient arts and crafts projects to keep the children occupied for the two forty minute sessions. Together, they decided on a tote bag for each child that required painstaking coloring with luminescent markers (provided as part of each kit.) The second project they decided on was a dream catcher kit. Extra beads and feathers were added to the standard package mix so that each invitee could create something really original and beautiful.

In the same visit, the planner and her young charge had lots of fun determining decorations for the party. Together, they decided on,”ice cream colors,” pink and yellow table cloths, sparkly foam 3D stick ons all over the tables, cheerful flower stick-ups, pink flower balls, and the real star of the show, a mysterious “crystal” ball that changed colors as you gazed at it. The girls loved them all!

Step Four

Water Sponge Fight! Well, while the kids are wet from swimming, why not?
Four zinc buckets that could be used as planters after the party were purchased for $3.00 apiece, filled with water and sponges – and what would become the favorite activity of the party was ready for action!

Step Five

Birthday CakeFood. Keep It Simple Stupid. Ten year olds by and large are not that into gourmet food. And the mom was not that into elaborate cooking. Sooooo. Six huge cheese pizzas (they were all consumed!) bags of chips, fresh fruit platters and cake, glorious cake. A large slab cake was purchased. The message on it welcomed the girl of the hour to the glamorous double digits!

Step Six

And, finally, down to the dark basement for the haunted house, complete with spooky sound effects, courtesy of a Hallowe’en CD, jello “eyeballs,” tubs of gummy worm “intestines” and slime, glorious slime. Ten year olds LOVE goop. They got it!

A fabulous time was had by all, including the mom and the planner, everyone survived, thirty exhausted girls got to take home their loot bag projects! Success!

Are you looking to become a fabulous event planner? QC’s Event Planning Course might be just the ticket to make your dream come true!