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<p>So, I'm starting to plan out DS's third birthday party. He's super excited about it, as he recently started going to preschool and he's been to a few of his friends' birthday parties, which he's loved. Seriously, the kid is turning three at the end of December and he's been talking about his birthday party since August.  <span><img alt="orngtongue.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif"></span></p>
<p><span>Anyway, since his birthday falls so close to Christmas, the last couple of years we've celebrated his half birthday</span> and just had a simple pool party at a friend's house. This year, I want to have his party right around his birthday, since I don't think he'll get the concept of waiting. I'll have it in early January. This is Texas, so the weather could be in the upper 70s, or it could be in the 30s, so it needs to be indoors.</p>
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<p>--Location. I'm a single grad student mom, so I can't drop a couple hundred dollars on an indoor play space. If the weather was warmer, I'd totally just have the party at a local park, but that's not an option. Is it crazy to have the kids in my two-bedroom apartment? It's on the bottom floor and opens onto a really nice grassy enclosed courtyard.</p>
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<p>--Number of kids. He goes to this great little close-knit preschool. At previous parties, there's been about 7 kids showing up. There would also be a couple of family friends there. If up to 10 kids and their families come to the party, will that be too crazy? We're both super social and love large groups, and I really like the parents at the school. </p>
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<p>--Theme. I grew up in New Orleans, and DS's absolute favorite thing right now is his costume box (he's getting new costume box additions for his birthday), so I was thinking about having a Mardi Gras themed costume party, and asking the kids to come in costume and bring their costume boxes, and also doing face paint. I was thinking about setting that up in my bedroom (which is very kid safe) in front of the wall-mounted mirror. I figure that might also help spread out the crowd. We'll be in New Orleans right before the party, so I could pick up some cheap mardi gras decorations and beads, and maybe also bring back a king cake to serve guests.</p>
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<p>--Speaking of food. I am genetically incapable of throwing a party without serving plenty of food to the guests. I was going to make purple, green and gold cupcakes (that's mardi gras colors) and possibly have king cake. Then the rest of the food depends on the time of the party. I'm really split between having a morning party (10 - 12:30) or an afternoon party (4 - 6:30). The kids nap until 3 at preschool, and sometimes DS naps until 3:30, so I wouldn't want to have it before 4. With the afternoon party, I could feed the entire crowd on a huge pot of New Orleans red beans and rice for about $3 (with backup PB&J for the picky kids). However, it would be dark by 5:30.</p>
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<p>So overall, how is the plan? For a mom and a kid who are social and like crowds, is it reasonable to have a 10-kid costume party in a reasonably sized apartment that opens onto a large enclosed courtyard? I'm leaning towards the afternoon party, but is the morning better?</p>
 

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<p>One thought on the costume thing -- the holidays are so busy, having parents put together a costume might be tricky. I went to a party where the Mom got a bunch of cheap face masks from Michaels and the kids decorated them with paints and feathers and stuff and that went over really well. She then had a box of dress-up stuff for kids to play with if they'd like. At age 4, the kids weren't too into the costume thing for too long. The group dynamic is too exciting.</p>
<p>OTOH, recycling the Halloween costume could be fun for kids, too.</p>
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<p>I think the house and the amount of people sound totally fine. If you are allowing kids to play in ds's room, then I think they will not always be in the same place.</p>
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<p>I would go for the morning party, personally, but that's just me. I did a morning party with large pans of frittatas, and it wasn't too expensive. I think it's too hard to meet everyone's needs for dinner. </p>
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<p>Whatever you decide, it will be a blast  -- have a great time! </p>
 

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<p>I think it sounds like it'll be a fun party!  I wouldn't have the other kids bring their costume boxes though, it might be too easy for items to get lost or forgotten and you won't know if they're hiding at your place or accidentally when home with someone else.  I think the afternoon time would be good since some kids just don't get going all that early in the morning (I personally don't know who these mythical kids are since both of mine are up at the crack of dawn)</p>
 

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<p>I've always done a little party in our house.  I've only had about 5-7 kids at a time (including mine) but I don't tend to like crowds and the kids get overwhelmed by too much chaos.  I vote morning (I think at that age kids are much fresher in the morning.  In my experience kids are too busy and excited to eat much.  And the costume idea is really cute but I agree with the pp that I wouldn't have them bring a box of costumes, just give the choice of wearing one or dressing up if they want once they get there.   Have fun! </p>
 

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<p>Yeah my DS doesn't even HAVE a costume box & I'm sure he's not the only one so I wouldn't ask everyone to bring theirs. But everyone wearing costumes would be great, I'd word it as "costumes or masks or funny outfit" or something so no one gets stressed out by trying to come up with a costume around the holidays if they don't have one.</p>
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<p>Morning party makes more sense (assuming you know that none of the kids are late sleepers which I guess shouldn't be a problem if they all go to the same preschool)... I think with a party that's over by 12:30 you don't really *need* to provide lunch, but I don't see why you couldn't do the rice & beans thing!</p>
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<p>Oh and as far as the number of guests, it depends how big your living area is. I'm nervous about DS's party in a couple months because our house is so small but we'd want to invite about 10 kids as well. So I'm thinking I could temporarily turn our bedroom into a playroom. If 10 kids means 10 parents, then I'd just make sure you can comfortably seat that many between couches/dining room table/etc. It might be a little nuts but hopefully it will be nice weather for you & everyone can overflow to the outside.</p>
 

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<p>Thanks for all the feedback! I'm feeling pretty good about the plans. I think doing a morning party would be best, and we'll do costumes but not ask other people to bring their costume boxes (though I may casually mention it as an option to a couple of parents I'm friendly with. I LOVE the idea of doing the mask decorating. That'll be a fun activity.</p>
<p>I'll probably serve breakfast food and do a pot of red beans and rice just for fun, seeing as it's easy and dirt cheap.</p>
 
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