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Are Backyard Birthdays Losing Ground?

Organizing your child's birthday party is becoming more complex. Read about the advantages and disadvantages to both.

Not so long  ago kids' birthday parties were simple: A cake, a few friends, pin the tail on the donkey and some balloons were all that was needed. Now, birthday parties have become complicated balancing acts filled with menus, party favors, cake themes, and venue choices; complicated enough to spawn TLC's television show "Outrageous Kids' Parties." The art of the backyard birthday is losing ground.

Today, kids parties are held in special party themed arenas like Bounce U or Pump it Up. In University City, and e supply the artistic birthday kids in our midst with a place to celebrate. Also available for rent, is the , University City's recreational building. There are many other places in St. Louis to choose from: St. Louis Science Center, Build-a-Bear, Incredible Pizza Company and more.

The positive side of places that offer party services is not having to worry about entertaining the kids or cleaning up. Some of them even supply goodie bags, thank you cards and a souvenir for the birthday boy or girl. When you add all of the costs together for both, the cost is comparable, depending on how conservative you are for each option.

Your Pot’s Desire is offering a new birthday party package. The minimum cost is $10 per guest with a 10 person minimum, which includes pottery items to be painted (your selection from special order catalogue), 2 1/2 hours of paint time and a commemorative tile for host. The food, drink, cake and decorations are the responsibility of host, but welcome at Your Pot's Desire.

offers a variety of party theme options: Basketball, volleyball, Heman pool party, soccer and basic and general packages as well. They range in price from $110 to $210 with a variety of inclusions for each choice. See the Centennial Commons website for details.

The Craft Alliance hosts parties for children, 'tweens and teens. All parties are $20 per person, activities usually last 45 to 60 minutes, but the studio is available for two hours.  Some of the activity choices are pottery, metal working, tie dye and art to wear.  Check the Craft Alliance website for details.

The cake is a project onto itself. The sad thing is that now, it is not so much about what it tastes like, but the computer generated food coloring pictures of Belle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Dora, Shrek or Transformers topped with plastic figurines. Forget grandma's homemade cake made with real butter, sugar and vanilla.

With a little planning and some great adult friends, you can keep the kids occupied for the mandatory two hour party in your home or backyard. Making your own cake, dollar store paper goods and a little elbow grease can save you some money.  The choice you make depends on your priorities: simplifying, saving money, etc. As long as the party is organized with love, chances are good your child will love it.

Candace Jarrett March 12, 2011 at 03:23 PM
I love outdoor parties. My son turned one last October and it was still warm so we had a party in the back yard with bbq, kickball for the older kids, small games for the toddlers and lots of fun. I just thinks it's a more relaxing environment for friends and family and you can spend money on a good party instead of a venue. But that's just my thought.
Myra Lopez March 12, 2011 at 08:00 PM
I have fond memories of backyard birthday parties. Cake, candy and a pinata.

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