Planner For A Party At Home

Planning is the key to a really successful party. If possible, begin planning your party six to eight weeks in advance to allow plenty of time for booking a venue or entertainer, online shopping and ordering the cake. Choosing a date can be tricky but ideally try to pick a date that does not coincide with another child’s birthday or any other events that could interfere, e.g. Father’s Day, a rugby match etc.


Six to Eight Weeks In Advance 

  •  Discuss with your child the possibility of a themed party – would he/she like a theme? What would their preferred theme be? 

  • Choose a suitable date and time for the party that doesn’t clash with other important dates/events. 

  • Are you going to have an entertainer at the party? If so what kind (magician/clown/party planner etc.) Look around different websites (Family Fun have a list of suitable entertainers on our ?? page) or phone around different companies/entertainers to check out the details/their suitability to your party. 

  • How much does the entertainer cost per hour/per child etc. Is there a minimum/maximum amount of children? How long does their show/act etc. last? Do you need to provide them with anything? 

  • Confirm all details with the entertainer in writing. 

  • Are you hiring a bouncy castle? Again shop around for the best quote, check availability, costs, do they deliver, how long it takes to inflate etc. 

  • Again confirm all details in writing if you decide to hire a bouncy castle. 

  • If the idea is to host the party outside, do you have a plan B in the event of bad weather? 

  • Are you planning any party games/activities? Discuss with your child what games they would like to play. Consider what type of prizes should be awarded for the games/activities. 

  • Discuss the list of children to be invited with your child. (Remember to watch out for more than one child with the same first name especially with younger children who only know first names) 

  • It can be a good idea with younger children to check with the class teacher to ensure you are leaving no one out. 

  • Send out the party invitation with all the obvious details (your child’s name, date, time and duration of the party, your name and contact details. It is common for people to put R.S.V.P. (regrets only) on the invitations. 

  • Keep a list of contact information for the children you have invited (keep their parents contact details with you on the day) 

  • Decide how the children will get to and from your home – will you be collecting them/dropping them home?  

  • The Birthday Cake – Are you making one/ordering one? If you are ordering, shop around for the most suitable cake with regards to design, price, dietary specifications (avoid nuts in case of any nut allergies amongst the children) etc. Will they deliver the cake or do you need to collect it etc? 

  • Do you need other adults to help you with supervision/lifts/shopping/planning etc?

  • Write a to-do list for the week leading up to the party and for the party day itself.  

Four weeks in advance: 

  • Plan the menu with your child. If catering yourself check out party packs of food in supermarkets and plan how much you will realistically need, how long it will take to prepare, will you need somebody else to help you prepare the food? 

  • If you are hiring caterers phone around fro the best quote and the best deal with regards to delivery, the type of food, do they serve the food, provide dishes, clean up afterwards etc.

  • Purchase any materials/prizes you will need for games/activities at home. 

  • Discuss with your child the music (if any) that is to b e played on the day. 



Two weeks in advance: 

  • Check the guest list – follow up on anyone who hasn’t replied unless you specified regrets only.

  • Confirm with the entertainer and cake-makers and anyone else involved. 

  • Shop for any non-food items such as party bags, hats, balloons, wrapping paper for presents etc.


One week in advance: 

  • Shop for the non-perishable food you will need according to your party menu

  • Shop for the sweets and goodies etc. for the party bags if needed.

  • Confirm all details with the relevant people, especially times. 

  • Wrap presents and prizes. 

  • Have you got you camera ready? Has it got plenty of film/memory?

  • Have you got a basic first aid kit fully stocked with plasters, antiseptic wipes etc (Just in case!)  


Two days in advance: 

  • Shop for the remaining food for the party. 

  • Prepare the party bags for the children. 

  • Check the time for any helpers to arrive at your house. It is best for any other adult supervisors to arrive before the children as seeing plenty of supervision can put other parents mind at rest.  



One day in advance: 

  • Discuss with the birthday child what they would like to wear on the day (help avoid any rows on the day over wearing last years Halloween costume to the party.) 

  • Confirm the times for collecting the cake and collecting any children etc. 

  • Blow up balloons, put up any decorations etc. in the house (after the child has gone to bed if he/she isn’t taking part in the decorating themselves.) 

  • Prepare any food that can be prepared in advance.

  • Ensure you have a list of contact names for all the children’s parents handy to keep with you tomorrow (just in case!). 

  • Is your camera fully charged?  


On the day: 

  • Open presents and cards from the family.

  • Try to eat something yourself before the party.

  • Ensure all the younger guests know where the bathroom is, to avoid any accidents! 

  • Delegate the job of taking photos to a helper so you can enjoy the day with your child and his/her friends.


Two or Three Days After 

  • Now is the time to have your child write his/her thank you notes for the presents he/she received and for anyone who helped out on the day.

  • Don’t forget to develop the pictures of the special day.

  • Most importantly, send the pictures to relatives who couldn’t make it on the day, add them to a scrapbook for your own memories and maybe upload them to a website such as or which allow you to upload, print and share your photos with friends. (These sites are not like bebo or facebook. They are sites designed for personal use and you can only share photos by directly inviting certain people to do so.) 

To Find A Great ….. Party Entertainer