Throwing a Party for Kids on Long Island

Long Island is a great place to raise a family. It’s just a short commute to New York City (if the Long Island Rail Road cooperates, anyway!) and you have tons of places to spend quality time with your kids: beaches, parks, and kid-friendly restaurants and party spots, to name just a few. No wonder, then, that Long Island was home to the first real American suburbs!

Today, Long Island is still pretty suburban, but at times, it can feel downright urban. The cost of living can be high, the traffic can be terrible, and simple chores can become stressful things. So when it comes time to plan a kid’s big birthday bash on Long Island, you’d be forgiven for feeling the frustration.

But hang in there, because it is possible to throw a great kids’ party on Long Island without losing your mind. Here are a few tips for doing just that.

Plan ahead — way ahead

This isn’t just some casual get-together. This is the big day, the one day out of the year when your kid absolutely needs to be the center of attention. So you had better get an early start on planning and send those invitations out — before some other, less wonderful kid swipes your party date and gets everyone to RSVP to their lame party.

It’s not just about being the first to tell everyone to save the date, of course. Planning ahead reduces stress, in birthday parties as much as all other things. You’d be hard-pressed to find a party planning pro who doesn’t include planning ahead on their must-do list for low-stress, high-success party planning.

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Your planning should include things like food, entertainment, invitations, and, of course, the guest list. Perhaps most important of all, your planning should include a budget! Kids parties can get out of hand fast, especially in pricey places like Long Island, so make sure that you have a budget to rein yourself in.

Outsource, outsource, outsource

A lot of frustrating tasks come with planning a party for kids, especially if you’re trying to make it a really top-notch bash. But you don’t have to handle all of those tasks yourself. Why not leave it to the pros?

We don’t necessarily mean that you should hire a party planner or outsource the whole party to some Chuck E. Cheese-type joint — though you certainly can go those routes if they’re within your budget. But rather than outsource absolutely everything, you can hire pros judiciously to handle the most annoying tasks that need to get done.

Try getting the party catered, for instance, or simply order lots of pizza and a cake (kids aren’t always that hard to please!). And consider hiring entertainment, too. A talented Long Island magician, a clown, or a performer dressed up as a beloved kids character can really make a party great — and can distract the kids long enough to give you a much-needed break!

Get out of the house

Even those of us who are lucky enough to have lots of space here on Long Island are not necessarily thrilled about filling that space up with screaming children. Fortunately, your home is not your only option for a birthday party locale.

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Consider a trip to the local park — weather permitting, of course — or head to a ball game, a museum, or one of the countless other attractions you’ll find in and around Long Island. Choosing to host your party elsewhere can really reduce your stress levels, though you should still be sure to do your planning ahead of time and outsource the tasks that will really drive you nuts.