It is said that a"home based" party can be the most memorable in a child's life. If you think back to your birthday parties, I am sure that the ones that come to mind right away are those that you had in your loving room, backyard or basement. Mom's homemade cake, playing pin the tail on the donkey (which has come a loooong way now) or hot potato. Believe it or not these simple and basic activities are the best and probably the reason that you remember them so fondly. Your mother probably made your favourite food, had things decorated the way you liked with your favourite colours, and yippee, BALLOONS. It was out of the ordinary and full of your favourites or "FLAVOURITES" in the case of food. What could be better. Time moves forward and now the tendency is to blow the roof off of these parties. To "out do" the Joneses and make it bigger and better than last year. Some people spend upwards of $20 000 on this one day or a couple of hour events. Who is this party for? The parents or the child. It is important to keep this in mind when planning. We can want to bring in the whole petting farm, but is it really necessary. What if we just put some stuffed animals behind a small garden boarder fence. Would your 3 year old mind?? No probably not, but it would add to that farm theme without taking it overboard.
It time to get back to basics. It can be hard to hold back. I know for a fact that it's a challenge. I do have a tendency to go over board, but when it comes down to it the visit from the professional actor/pirate was not really necessary when my husband's free version was even more entertaining. Don't hesitate to go back to those good old games either. Chances are that your kids have probably never even heard of "HOT POTATO" and I have yet to meet a child who didn't cheer when we announced it was time to play musical chairs!!
Go back to your roots, think simple and see how it turns out. If your child was not happy with the results, there is always next year.