We all want to throw great parties for our kids, but there are limits. Cake and ice cream are must-haves, but for every typical birthday decision, there are plenty of over-the-top and unnecessary alternatives. Sure, you want your kid and all his little buddies to be entertained, but don’t blow his or her college fund on catered food or let the kids break bones in a colorful bounce house. To help keep your party safe and in budget, we’ve provided a list of things your kid’s birthday can do without.

6 Things Your Children Don’t Need at Their Birthday Party

  1. An Event Planner: Do you really want to drop half a grand or more just to have someone else plan your kid’s birthday party? It’s not that difficult to plan a birthday party. Do yourself (and your wallet) a favor, and plan the event yourself.
  2. Expensive Party Favors: Personalized take-home gifts like picture frames and toys can drive up the cost of your kid’s celebration, and they’re not really necessary. Party hats, plastic whistles and a few pieces of candy work just as well as monogrammed keepsakes.
  3. Inflatable Bounce House: Inflatable bounce houses may be fun, but they’re pretty expensive and require a lot of room. Plus, they’re not exactly the safest option out there. Many kids have bounced their way to broken arms and legs or sustained other injuries. To make matters worse, many bounce house rental companies are uninsured. There are even cases in which a bounce house wasn’t tied down properly and blew away with children inside!
  4. Catered Food: Sure, your neighbors might be impressed when the catering van pulls up in the driveway, but the party goers won’t notice at all – they are happy with pizza, most likely. If your kid’s party is so big it simply has to be catered, you can always order numerous cheese and pepperoni pizzas. Chances are your child would rather have chicken in the form of nuggets than cordon bleu any day.
  5. A Special Location: Why bother renting out an expensive venue when your yard is open, available and free? As long as you have a sizable enough space for kids and their parents to get together, it’s just as good a place as any to hold a birthday party. If something gets damaged, no one’s keeping your security deposit, and though you might have to take on a juice stain or replace a lamp, that’s nothing compared to the amount a venue might cost.
  6. Live Animals: Your child may love animals, but paying to bring creatures to your home can be a real pain. Portable pony rides and petting zoos are gross, smelly and outrageously expensive – it may even be cheaper to just take all the little ones to the zoo. This will also save you from an unpleasant after-party cleanup, which is the best present you could give to yourself on your child’s birthday.
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