Don’t make it entirely about the kids.
You want your kid’s birthday party to be a blast for them and their friends, but don’t forget about all the adults on the guest list.You might delight in watching your child open gift after gift, but odds are your neighbor, your childless buddy, and the other kids’ parents will be counting down the minutes till it’s over.
Since you’re gathering people who don’t all know one another, expect at least some awkward small talk. And, despite your best efforts as a host, you can’t ensure all adults will be entertained at all times. But if you structure the party right, you can grease the mingling, help the time fly faster, and actually make this shindig fun for the grownups too. Here’s how.
1. Carve out a grownup space.
Your house or yard will be packed, so don’t make the adults jockey for seats between squirrely kids or cling to a tiny slice of countertop just to set their cake plate down. Give the grownups their own section removed from the children but still within sight. That way, they can peek in at the kiddos playing charades or bolt into the herd to break up a fight. An adults-only space will also give everyone a break from kid-speak and spark adult conversations between people who’ve just met.
2. Provide adult food.
Most parents already eat mac ’n’ cheese and chicken fingers more than they’d like. So if you’re serving food at this party, offer the adults something more adult-like than what you give the kids. It doesn’t need to be extravagant. Supply a smattering of apps like bruschetta, charcuterie, antipasto skewers, and spinach-artichoke dip — bonus if you place them in your adults-only area. Or go buffet-style with slow-cooker pulled pork for sandwiches, a crock of chili, or a few flatbread pizzas with toppings kids may not like but adults sure do.
3. Don’t forget the beer.
Give the grownups something other than a juice box to quench their thirst. Beer, wine, and sangria are always a hit, but if you’re serving alcohol, keep the supply limited. You do not want a drunk uncle on your hands. If you’d rather skip the booze, offer cucumber- and mint-infused water, blood orange lemonade, or a virgin sangria made with sparkling water, passionfruit juice, cranberries, and sliced oranges and kiwis. Provide coffee, tea, or another caffeinated option too, even for an evening party….