That being said, here are a few things I learned throwing a (fairly) large party in our (fairly) small house:
- No matter how organized you feel, you are never adequately prepared for a kids party! We had all the food ready, the loot bags done, and the crafty area prepared well before kids started to arrive. As the kids were arriving I was thinking "Ya, this is totally do-able." Then more kids came, and then more, and more, until there was no floor space left for anyone else to squeeze in and colour. At that point I started thinking "Man, we're doomed!" Plus they all had costumes on which flowed out beautifully and were ridiculous tripping hazards!
- If you have watched all these lovely children eat hot dogs in the past, it does not mean they will eat hot dogs at your house/party. Of course no one went home hungry, but we did have a few bits of resistance to the hot dogs we served (both Pillsbury wrapped "mummy dogs" and regular hot dogs with or without buns) Luckily most kids like carrots, and there were cookies, crackers and cheese.
- 7 and 8 year olds have more energy than 4 year olds when collected together at parties. I always thought as kids get older they mellow out a bit. Toddler energy is boundless (unless they miss the recharge of nap times) but these kids were wild and crazy in a way toddlers and younger kids can't be. Maybe my 7 year old is abnormal, but when these kids get together they must feed off each other's energy and it's somewhat disturbing. I had to play "teacher" and clap my hands and holler for quiet more than once. I was glad to see them go outside!
- If you were hoping the kids could play outside, it will rain. The weather was not great, but that actually did not really stop the kids from going outside. We have a play structure with swings (only 2) and most of the kids ran outside in the spitty rain to play for a bit. I think hubby was concerned all those kids may collapse our second hand wooden structure, but it's still standing this morning! There was easily 30 minutes of outside play (for most of the kids) so it did work out this time.
- If there's a toy collection you were hoping to keep out of your house, every child will buy that as a gift for your kid. We are desperately trying to keep Shopkins to a minimum. Emma wants them desperately. What are they even? Tiny choking hazards that we will lose, that's what. So now we have 3 "collections" from different "seasons" whatever that means.
- I will refrain from drinking alcohol when hosting a children's party - no matter how much I need that glass of wine! It was only 3 hours, and they weren't that uncontrollable.
- Kids are cute. I mean they were all dressed up in costumes, most were using their best manners, and they were actually policing each other without anyone getting too upset. ("Can you please be quiet so so-and-so can finish telling their story? We were all quiet for you!") I love watching the interactions and the different personalities of all these kids and how similar or different they are from my kids. Parties can be such a social experiment!
I'd say it was successful and I've had a few moms message me that their kid had a great time. It's nice to get that feedback.
Next year we will have fewer kids. And maybe not do a Halloween theme, although the kids were quiet entertained with each other and their costumes. I'm already planning and scheming ideas for the 8th birthday next year!