Five tips for planning a fun, safe birthday party

9 September 2020
Party hats, balloons and ribbons

The perfect birthday party? It DOES exist! Here are some quick, easy considerations to remember when planning your (or your loved one’s) celebration, including health and safety considerations in light of COVID-19:

  • Location, location, location! Should you have your party at home, or somewhere offsite? Depending on if you are the host with the most or if you prefer to relax and enjoy your time knowing someone else gets to clean up, think about where the perfect spot is. Also think about the person you are having the party for, and choose the place that suits that person’s interests—will they want to show off their toys and games at home, or do they want a little more adventure for their party?

    For example, at YMCA JT’s Camp Grom, kids can choose from taking part in the climbing tower, fishing, sports, and with acres to play, pretty much anything else you can imagine. With careful consideration to COVID-19 related concerns, wherever you choose, make sure it is a spot that makes social distancing possible and follows all required and suggested health guidelines. Outside venues are the perfect solution to support the current health and safety concerns.
  • Deciding If you are having a few people come together to celebrate, or a larger number? We will make it easy for you—have just a few. Larger gatherings are discouraged currently due to the threats of spreading illness, so keeping it small, and with people you may already be around frequently (in a socially distanced spot), may be the safest best right now. However, when things get “back” to “normal”, make sure to think about your budget. With a home party, you can typically control how much you spend on food and other must-haves, where as a venue you may be subject to a package. However, weigh your options as some packages may end up putting you ahead in the long run if they can consolidate expenses like food/beverage/decor (because I don't know about you, but when I shop for a party, I need ALL the things!).
  • Theme! Pick a theme. And for a kid’s party, make sure to pick something that is relevant to the interests of your child, not just something that may look cool. Themes make it easier to plan food, games, favors, and decor, and can actually help you plan things out in a more organized way. Oh, and they are FUN!!
  • Pick your menu! The best rule here is to keep it basic and classic here, especially for kids. For adult parties it is fun to get a little bit fancier and maybe have food with a flair, but it is best to stick to things you know kids like for youth parties. If not, you can be throwing money down the drain and have a hungry group of youngsters running around searching for the hot dogs and hamburgers! Of course, even with a basic menu, tie your theme in!

    During the ongoing COVID health concerns, make sure the food you pick steers away from dips and foods that encourage too much sharing or hand-to-mouth contact. Single serve and items that stay away from the “finger” food category will help with keeping hands away from mouths. Sticking to foods that require utensils will help with this!
  • Have a back-up plan. If your party is outside, have a rain plan. If your party is at a venue, check your agreement in the event a reschedule is needed. So much money and time can be wasted if these simple up-front plans and conversations are not had. Imagine having a party planned for your backyard, with out of towners coming in and handful of local guests coming, then a hurricane suddenly changes courses and you have two days before your party, with no rain plan. You might end up begging your work to allow you to host a party in a giant conference room… (true story!).

    And of course, with COVID a regular concern, make sure to check with your venue on gathering sizes, state mandates etc. Ask them what happens to your deposit or to your plan with them if something occurs that makes your event not possible or requires you to make changes to your event.