By Rob Grigor
"It will all be such
fun" said Amelia,
"And there's no need to worry you'll see,
Even though from my list of twenty best friends
I've had to invite forty three".
Aah yes Invitations, how innocent
they are. Available in a whole host of pretty colours, some bearing
pictures of current children's heros such as Thunderbirds and Batman
(that's strange, I'm sure they had those when I was a lad). Yes
the writing of invitations is at least one part of the party where
nothing can go wrong, am I right? Those of you who answered "yes" read
on and those who answered "no" take a two week holiday
in Barbados, at your own expense of course.
Unfortunately even at this seemingly stress
free stage of party planning it is possible to sow a couple of those
legendary seeds of disaster. To avoid this unnecessary manual labour,
here's what you do.
1) Before inviting the whole
a look at the room in which you are proposing to entertain the little
dears. If you genuinely feel that it is going to be a bit of a squeeze
then don't do it. Much better to ask the soon to be party host or hostess,
to select a group of special friends for the day. This will give everyone
(including you) room to breath and move around without continually bumping
into and damaging things. You will with this one simple action be minimising
the possibility of injury to both, little bodies and already depleted
If you really must invite Uncle
Tom Cobbly and all, then it would be much wiser to move the party
lock stock and birthday cake to a local hall. Parties in halls however
are a whole different ball game, Rugby being the one that springs
to mind, and I will be dealing with these later on in my special "NOT
FOR THE FAINT HEARTED" section.
"But they're all well
behaved" she continued,
"There'll be no one whose naughty, it's true!
Except perhaps Tommy or Mary or John
Or the one they call "Kid Super Glue"!!
Let's be honest here, not all
children can be accurately described by the phrase "little
Indeed some of them would more suitably fit the description "little
*******". Yes of course
the missing word is "problem", unless of course you know
better. As the organiser of a "successful" children's party
it is in your own interests and those of the other guests NOT to invite
trouble-makers. Make no mistake about this, children are great judges
of character and if they refer to someone as a "naughty" boy
or girl, do not even entertain the idea of sending them an invitation.
This single piece of advice will increase the odds of surviving the
big day dramatically and is undoubtedly worth the price of this book
on its own (if we were charging you for it). Remember the proverb "One
bad apple etc. etc. (actually I don't think it ends with etc. etc.
but I couldn't remember the rest).
3) And finally (let me hear
you all say "it's about time").......correct, it is indeed about time,
the time of the party to be precise. Here again, as you sit poised
to write the invitation, you are holding potential success or failure
in the palm of your hand, it may look like a pen to you but believe
me.... For your eyes only I will now reveal the optimum time for
a successful children's party (imagine a drum roll here). It is TWO
HOURS. Yes just two, not three or two and a half but TWO HOURS. Trying
to impress everyone by having a longer party, may look good on the
invitations. On the day however as you frantically try to come up
with another twenty seven games to fill that final hour, while the
children cheerfully show off their expertise in the field of demolition,
you will realise, all too late, the hidden truth in that wise old
saying, "size isn't everything"
(titter ye not).
Children are far more impressed
with the content of a party than the duration of it so pick out your
TWO HOURS and write them clearly on the invitation. A word of caution
here, don't be tempted to add half an hour or even fifteen minutes
either side for taking coats off or putting coats on etc. In practise
this is pure fantasy and most of the guests will be ready for action
within a couple of minutes of arriving. Similarly it will take far
less time than you imagine for coats, party bags and parents to be
assigned to the relevant individuals at the end of the proceedings.
Before the invitations are
sent out do remember to make a separate note of all the details, i.e.
names of the guests, date of the party, time of the party and keep
it in a safe place for reference. This done you can sit back, put
your feet up, have a drink, (lemonade or orange juice) safe in the
knowledge that you, yes you, have single-handedly (well almost),
put the wheels in motion for your darling son or daughter's first,
problem free (you can always hope), birthday party. And incidentally
while you are laying there, why not reflect for a moment on what
a wonderful guide this is and wouldn't it be a great idea to
phone everyone you know and urge them to go on-line immediately and
read it and then phone their friends and... (that's enough