Sunday, May 31, 2009

Zap Zap

I've produced a long string of fabulous birthday parties for my kids. The fairy party, the mermaid party, the knights and princesses party - all took weeks and weeks of planning. I went all out in designing craft projects and scavenger hunts. I made costumes for all the attendees, created exotic treats, and created favor bags worthy of Academy Award attendees. It's one of the joys of parenting small children.

And in payment, every year after all the guests had gone home Jungle Boy would turn to me and say "Mom, this was the best birthday ever!"

But age 11 is a bit old for cute co-ed themes. All the little knights and princesses are growing up now. This year the birthday party for my twins had to be different. And it had to be simple - for me, since I can't walk well yet.

Enter the great idea. Laser tag. No house to clean before or after.

"How many will be attending?"
"I don't know, maybe 20?"
"OK, that will be $$$."

Ditto the pizza parlor that would deliver to the laser place. Also the ice cream cake company that would deliver the cake. I have an urge to buy stock in each of these companies now. Obviously they do a great business with the laser tag birthday crowd. But it was worth it because I wouldn't have to clean my house.

For a typical birthday, I get 25-30% of people responding that they can't make it. So I always over-invite, you know, to make sure the kids have a nice group of friends there. Guess what? When you host a laser-tag party, everyone can make it. My list of attendees grew and grew. But it was worth it, I think.

The day arrived, the kids went nuts counting down the hours. Those guests who arrived early found themselves in the midst of the lobby arcade (clever how they arrange the traffic flow in those places). So my husband became the guy with all the quarters. I was starting to wonder if it was worth it.

Two sessions of laser tag later, we learned who had been there before (because they had crazy high scores), which girl went renegade on the girl team and shot them all in the back (I see a future in the business world for her), and who seemed to be a better target than a marksman.

Off they went to the party room, hot and sweaty and loving the pizza and ice cream cake. The boys yelled, the girls got silly, the parents all arrived on time and whisked them home.

We came home to my nice clean, unsullied house and I felt a wee bit of a letdown for not having that after-party feel. But it had all been so easy and everyone had a great time.

"Mom," said Jungle Boy, "this was the best party EVER!"

That's all I needed to hear. It was all worth it.

10 people stopped folding laundry to write:

Laura said...

From an 11 year old?
That is a RAVE review.
Excellent.

What A Card said...

Oh good! And not just from a "I'm glad your kids had a great time" standpoint, but from a "I'm totally making this about me" standpoint :) I'm doing a somewhere-else party like this for my kids (don't even know where, since the place I was going to do is closing). Just couldn't bear the thought of hosting an elaborate party 8 months pregnant :) Hope ours turns out as well as yours. And I wish my boys were old enough for laser tag. Laser tag rocks!

Monkey Memories said...

How fun! Wanna come do Monkey's party in August? I think we're doing a train theme...

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

It sounds like a win-win to me!

Good job, Mom.

Bea said...

Sounds like a fun time was had by all. Glad you didn't have to clean the house before and after. That's a big plus in my eyes.

Happy belated birthday to the twins!

Lisa said...

This sounds like a FUN (but not cheap!) party!!

Your kids will remember this forever, I bet. And it must have upped their CQ (Cool Quotient) a bit with the other kiddos! LOL!

WIDNEY WOMAN said...

You have set the bar and while parents are glad their kids had a great time, they are secretly really upset with you! Now they have to do something amazing so their kids don't think they are losers. LOL!! Sounds like perfect day!!

The Mother said...

Been there, done that.

You will have to commit me if I EVER do a laser tag birthday party again.

They don't make that much Advil.

Cheryl Lage said...

LOVE the appreciation....PRICELESS!
(and a sign of superlative parenting. :) )

Happy Belated Birthday!

Eileen said...

great idea! We used to do the skating rink. But that was before laser tag was invented. :-D

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