I’m calling this series: Don’t throw a “grocery store” party.
Walk past the piñatas. I know you want to stop, but just keep going. Aha. I have your attention now. I don’t really have anything against piñatas. Okay I do. Here’s why. Every party has one little league champ that smashes the piñata before everyone gets a chance to take a swing. And once the piñata is broken candy goes flying everywhere and the fast kids scramble and the slow kids are left empty handed. Do you really want to spend your time re-dividing up the loot? And do kids really need more candy? Piñatas also set up a bit of a competitive spirit (both in the smashing and the candy collecting) that is best avoided at kids’ parties. But most of all I hate piñatas because they lack imagination. Your child has an awesome imagination and so do YOU. Maybe that’s one of the reasons you’ve been so successful in life so far. You can think up creative outfits, creative ways to use up leftovers or maybe just creative ways to get your spouse to clean. You can think of something better than a store bought, over-priced, over-commercialized piñata.
Your excuses: “I’m out of time”—that’s lack of planning not lack of imagination. It’s just as easy to organize a treasure hunt that gets kids thinking and moving as it is to fill a piñata. “I’m out of ideas”—that’s lack of researching. The internet is full of party ideas. Google it. “I’m out of money”—all the more reason to get creative. Piñatas aren’t cheap to buy or fill, but old-fashioned games like red rover are free. “But I honestly can’t think of a better party activity”—then you have a theme issue. Some commercialized themes can paint you into a corner. Maybe you need to switch your party theme. “My child has their heart set on a piñata”– then by all means, have one. But integrate it into the party as a way to start a scavenger hunt, where the individual list items fall out attached to a tiny piece of candy (make sure you have enough for everyone, of course). Or smash open the piñata at the end of the party and have the take home favor fall out. Like eco-friendly nail polish. Or a racecar.
While planning your party, nurture your child’s imagination and your creative spirit and I know that you’ll come up with an awesome alternative to a piñata. And as a bonus, you’ll be one step closer to avoiding a grocery store party.