Survived the Sleepover
Okay, it’s not for the faint of heart, but the sleepover birthday party is a very affordable kids’ party option with significant green potential.
But man, am I tired.
So, to break it down into pros and cons (note: this was a boy’s party, so I’m using that batch of generalizations, but many/most will probably apply to girls too):
Advantages to a sleepover over a General Ordinary Birthday Party
- you can reasonably explain to your kid that since you’re being such a fabulous parent as to let him have a sleepover, he won’t be able to invite as many children as he would for a Regular Party, thus cutting down on numbers of crazed children destroying your house.
- with lesser number of kids, you can use Real Dishes And Cups And Flatware instead of the plastic and paper stuff. (You can do that with a larger number of kids too, if you have enough dishes.) (Or you can go to the thrift store and buy more for really cheap–either to save for the next party or to just re-donate to the thrift store.)
- If you are feeding them dinner, while takeout pizza or something is always an option, a “make your own pita pizza” bar can also be fun, with different toppings and cheese and sauce as each kid wishes. Takes some creativity to make sure every kid gets the pizza he actually made, but it’s a bit of a novelty, and they are honestly really really delicious. (Makes a good plain-old family dinner kind of thing too.)
- you don’t have to plan as many activities, with the built-in cool-factor of “sleepover”–you can plop them in front of a movie with popcorn and kill a lot of time that way. (but see caution below in “disadvantages” section)
- in lieu of junk-filled “goody-bags,” you can invest in a nice solid grownup-type flashlight for each kid. After cautions about not shining them in each others’ eyes, which they will mostly ignore, these are fun to play with, freak each other out with while telling ghost stories, make menacing shadow figures on the walls with, and are also handy in the night if anyone gets scared. Very affordable, and something eminently usable in the future. And very inexpensive. (This is a theme for me, you might have noticed.)
- Expanded time period means everything is a good bit less intense; heightened hyper-party-excitement not only cannot be, but should not be sustained over such a long period of time.
- Pancakes for breakfast are easy, and everyone likes them.
- We didn’t pay $200+ to have a party at one of the same Party Places everyone else has their party at, and the food at our party was better
Disadvantages to the home sleepover:
- you have to clean your house beforehand, and can be pretty sure it’ll need cleaning again by the next day.
- you have to wash all those dishes and cups and flatware (honestly, not that hard.)
- it usually takes an hour or so to convince guests–and guest of honor, who is probably your own kid and whom you have a right to holler at a bit and threaten with No Sleepover Ever Again Unless You Dial It Back A Whole Bunch Of Notches–that the –of that whole “heightened party excitement cannot be sustained” thing
- A family room with couches around the perimeter, a futon on the floor, and lots of cushions might as well be a neon sign saying “PILLOW FIGHT!!!!” It’s like Pavlov’s dog.
- you might have invited this one kid for whom “watch a movie” means “act out the entire thing because he’s seen it 600 times,” and if the movie is Kung Fu Panda, the whole concept of using the movie to calm everyone down might not work as planned.
- the other kids might also enjoy acting out Kung Fu Panda, while holding their cups of popcorn. In the part of the family room where they are going to sleep. On the couches and futons.
- Plans to have nice organized play will be foiled by overstimulated kids past their bedtimes–forget scary stories or anything like that.
- What is it with boys and fart jokes, anyway?
- The adult who sleeps in the family room with the kids (these are fairly small kids; older ones would probably just want/need an adult in earshot) won’t get much sleep. The other adult who sleeps in the bedroom with the younger sibling who is crushed to not be able to “sleep with the boys” (how does one explain?) will also not get much sleep.
- Unlike the expensive party places–we had to cook, clean, serve, etc.–That’s why we pay someone else to do the parties at the Big Party Places.
- Whenever the doorbell rings in the morning with parents coming to pick them up–it won’t be as early as you hoped.
So, in a nutshell: a good thing. We generated very little garbage, everyone had fun, homemade and whole-ish food was eaten, pillows were tossed, and General Grievous had his butt kicked by Anakin on the Wii. My kid got to be the first one in his age group to be allowed to have a sleepover (for which I’m sure the rest of the moms will be irritated with me–I blame the friend-of-ours-parents who let THEIR kid have a sleepover 3 years ago that mine went to, and he’s been begging every year since then to do it, and none of his friends’ parents thought their kids were ready yet…)
But man…that scraping sound you hear in the distance is my tired mom butt dragging on the floor.