This Mumsnet Thread On The Cost Of Kids' Parties Is Truly Eye-Opening

One parent shared how their kid's party was going to cost them at least £500.
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When it comes to organising children’s parties, quite often it can feel like you need a degree in event management to pull it off – especially when you compare your attempts to those of other parents in your child’s class.

And of course there’s always one person who goes above and beyond for their child, with no expense spared, setting unreal expectations for the rest of us – thanks a lot Sandra.

One parent has taken to Mumsnet to have a moan about the expense of children’s parties, and to ask whether they’re being unreasonable to think of such parties as “a joke”.

“I actually love kids parties but I think the cost is a joke,” wrote user Feelslikespring2, who then proceeded to break down exactly how much they can cost – and it’s not pretty.

The parent, who was organising a party for their five-year-old and wanted to make it special because of past parties being ruined by Covid-19, said they’d been quoted £75 (the cheapest by far) for a cake that served 20 and £190 for a balloon arch and number stand.

“That’s nearly £300 already before the presents, food, party bags, drink for adults,” the exasperated parent wrote.

They specified the party is being hosted at home and they “dread to think” how much it would cost if they hired out a venue, such as soft play.

“I know we are in a cost of living crisis etc. Am I being stingy?” they asked.

The parent added that as it stands, they were looking at paying at least £500 for their child’s party. Ouch.

Other parents chimed in about how ridiculous the costs can be. One revealed they were planning a party in the summer and it was “easily” going to cost about £700-£1,000.

Another said they paid £285 to hire soft play for their child’s party, and they paid
£145 for a cake and £60 for balloons.

But most of the parents in the forum agreed that parties can definitely be thrown for a lot cheaper.

One parent warned against a balloon arch as it will get dismantled by the kids anyway (after all, what five-year-old is going to admire it from afar?). They said they attended a party where there were two Colin the Caterpillar cakes, which were promptly devoured, so no need for an expensive cake either.

“To be honest I’d spend the money on soft play instead and save your house – and you won’t need drink for adults,” they advised.

Another parent said they did their child’s birthday party on the cheap by getting a plain iced cake from M&S and decorating it themselves. They added some handmade icing figures they got from Etsy – the total cost was £35.

They said instead of buying a balloon arch they blew up balloons, stuck them around the house and made decorations out of crepe paper.

One parent added that balloon arches don’t even need to be expensive if you shop around.

“Buy two supermarket cakes, one to carry out with candles and a second to make sure there’s enough for 20+ family, and buy a balloon arch kit from Amazon,” they suggested.

“Then go down to Morrisons that morning for a couple of stand alone helium ones. That’s £265 down to about £60 tops, and the kids won’t notice the difference.”

One mum added: “There’s nothing wrong with a Collin the Caterpillar, and bouncy castle in a village hall. You could probably do it for less than £100.”

Other advice on how to save money on children’s birthday parties included:

  • Consider a tray cake from Costco (if you know someone with membership) as “they look good and taste amazing, are huge and only £16.50!”
  • Adults will only expect tea or coffee at a child’s party. Don’t worry about booze.
  • Hiring out a town/village hall can be a great way to cut costs.
  • Get party food from Aldi to keep costs down.
  • Buy party bags from supermarkets and get toys to fill them from Amazon.