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Planning Guides

How to Throw the Perfect End of Summer Party

Kids might be groaning at the end of summer, but they’ll perk right up when you tell them about the amazing end of summer party you’re throwing. After a summer of planning vacations and keeping the kids entertained, it can be daunting to think of planning one more thing.

Not to worry! With the whole party broken down step-by-step for you, you don’t have to worry about remembering every detail. Expert party planners have already figured out what you need and are here to help. Just follow the list and you’ll have the perfect party set up in no time.

Part 1: Planning

Pick a theme

Choosing a theme will help guide your choices for rentals, decorations, even snacks. It allows you to narrow down each decision and make it easier on yourself. With fewer options, it becomes less overwhelming. Don’t stress about making EVERYTHING fit the theme, but it can influence a few of the party’s main features.

Younger kids may enjoy a character, superhero, or fairy theme. Kids a little bit older will enjoy different characters, pirates, the beach, or Western. You can easily incorporate your theme into decorations, paper plates, and bounce house rentals. Whatever theme you choose, let your child help pick it out. After all, it’s their party too!

Create a guest list

Time to decide who you’re inviting! Is it your child’s friends from the last school year? Maybe the neighborhood kids are invited? Will parents be sticking around to chat and watch their kids play, or will they simply drop off and pick up their children? You want everyone involved to have fun together and introducing new groups to each other might strike up some friendships.

As this party is probably going to be held at your home, keep in mind the size limitations. You don’t want guests to feel like they’re being crowded or crammed and there needs to be some room left over for kids to run around.

Budget

How much are you willing to spend on this party? Keep in mind, you likely still have back-to-school supplies to shop for.

  • Food and drink: Food will be an important feature of this party. Kids will be running around and playing, and they’ll need energy. With the weather still hot, they’ll also need plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Entertainment: Whether it’s inflatable rentals, magicians, or a funny balloon artist, there are plenty of ways to keep kids entertained. But make sure you keep track of costs and only get as many as you can afford.
  • Decorations: You want your party to pop! Decorations are a great way to get people excited and match your theme.

Remember to set aside some extra funds in case of emergency. You don’t want to run out of pizza halfway through or need to send out for more water and not be prepared.

Part 2: Preparation

  1. Invites: Kids love getting mail and paper invitations mean that parents can easily see the information as well. But email or social media invites work just as well, and can allow you to answer more questions about logistics quickly.
  2. Food and drink: What are you serving? If you want to defray some costs, you can ask other parents to provide snacks, juice, and water for kids while you provide a main meal or a special treat. Try a cotton candy or snow cone machine to get kids excited.
  3. Venue: You’re going to be hosting kids and parents in your home and backyard! Start cleaning up the spaces now and decide what will need to be moved on the day of the party, including breakable items and large furniture that might get in the way. Stock up on bathroom necessities, like soap and toilet paper.
  4. Decorations: Start shopping! Decorations are one thing you don’t want to have to worry about last minute. Colorful balloon columns can help mark your party space or draw attention to your driveway. Search a local party store for decor to match your theme.
  5. Activities: Kids need something to do! Whether that’s jumping in a bounce house, getting a cool face painting, or singing karaoke with their friends, you should provide a couple of ways for kids to have fun.
  6. Music: Give kids something to dance to! Music makes the whole party upbeat and ready to celebrate. Hire a DJ or start building your own playlist now. Keep it light and fun, with plenty of current hits. Your older children can help you by adding their favorite songs.
  7. Party rentals: You’re going to need a lot of places to sit! Get event rentals like tables, chairs, and tents to make guests comfortable and give you somewhere to put out food and drinks. If you’re renting an inflatable, a generator is a must-have.

Part 3: Buildup

  1. Group chat: Get a group chat going with other parents! You can coordinate if other people are bringing food or supplies. Ask parents for their favorite summer photos featuring their kids so you can show them off in a slideshow. This also gives parents an easy way to ask questions and everyone will receive the answer.
  2. Prep the venue: Make sure everything is clean and that anything you want removed from the party space is gone. This is a great time to double-check that you have everything you need to host a party, including soap, toilet paper, paper towels or napkins for spills, serving dishes, and anything else you can think of.
  3. Gather supplies: Whatever you find you don’t have on your house walkthrough, now’s the time to get it! You’ll also need paper plates, plastic utensils, and any decoration pieces you may have missed. If any of your activities require crafting supplies, make sure you have them on hand.

Part 4: On the day

  1. Pickups and deliveries: Make sure you or someone else is available to pick up anything you’ve ordered or at the venue to receive deliveries. For orders of food, ensure that you have the proper storage for them until they’re put out at the party.
  2. Neaten the space: Remove any last-minute clutter and rearrange any furniture that needs to be moved. If any decorations are torn or out of place, take some time to fix them before guests arrive.
  3. Arrange rentals: When your rentals arrive, you may need to do some rearranging to make everything fit together properly. Make sure tents cover tables and chairs, bounce houses have enough overhead, and sound equipment has all the required outlets available.
  4. Welcome guests: Greet your guests and make sure they know where the party’s happening. Decide whether you’re funneling them straight to the backyard or if they’ll go through the house. Take any belongings they want to set down to a designated area.
  5. Offer food and water: Water should be on offer throughout the event, but food can all be served at once as part of the schedule or out on a table for people to take whenever. If you’re ordering in something like pizza, make sure you give it plenty of time to be delivered, so order before people are hungry!
  6. Keep things moving: Remind kids that there’s more than one activity or attraction. You don’t want to leave a performer waiting in the wings because the kids are too taken with arts and crafts. Leave some flexibility in your schedule, but keep a little bit of structure as well.
  7. Show off pictures: A slideshow of summer pictures is a great way to end the party, or something to have running throughout. Kids can tell a short story of where the picture was taken or share a favorite summer memory.

Part 5: Once it’s over

  1. Clean up: Kids can leave a lot of mess, and you want to make sure everything is neatened up after they leave. Collect any garbage in the party area and supervise as rentals are dismantled and taken away. This is a great time to get your child involved with some of the easier tasks and teach some responsibility. Handle any dangerous messes yourself, however.
  2. Distribute photos: Whether you were taking photos yourself or had a photo booth set up to capture memories, now is the time to send them out to parents. Sort through and delete any of your pictures that didn’t turn out or compile a highlights reel that will delight guests. You might even post you photo album to social media, with permission of course.
  3. Send thank you’s: Send out thank you notes, especially to any parents who brought food or helped plan. A little gratitude goes a long way and they’ll remember the gesture later. Have your child write some simple thank you notes to their friends to thank them for coming and celebrating together. You can also include a thank you when you post photos to social media or in a separate shoutout post to all your party collaborators.
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