Back in the 90s, any primary school kid who was anyone in the sandbox would get to live that glorious moment when he could smugly hand out invites to his birthday party at McDonald’s. Receiving one of those postcard invitations from McDonald’s was the equivalent of being asked to a debutante ball. Or maybe I just had a deprived childhood, whatever.
Fastforward to the year 2015 and a smorgasbord of companies are now giving overworked parents a chance to outsource their birthday party planning duties.
Unfortunately, some birthday party packages out there are as exorbitant as wedding dinners, with the difference that your party guests are going to repay you in Barbie Dolls instead of angbaos. To make things less painful for you, are some birthday party packages for under $500.
Back in the days when McDonald’s birthday parties were all the rage, they were one of the premium options for parents who didn’t mind splashing out on their kids. These days, with all these party planners charging top dollar for over-the-top themed events, the humble McDonald’s party looks economical in comparison. The best thing is that most kids really can’t tell the difference between McDonald’s and McQueen (and if they can, that’s probably your own fault).
At a starting price of $12 a kid (minimum of 15 kids), you get a birthday cake, a hostess with the mostess who’ll play games and keep the kids entertained so you can continue fiddling with your smartphone, and goodie bags for each attendee. From a parent’s point of view, the most attractive thing here is really the price, which are low enough to rival doing it yourself.
Cost: From $12 per kid
Suitable for: Parents on a budget, pretty much the same reason people dine at McDonald’s
2. EatPlayLove Craft Cafe
If you’re more concerned about keeping the parents at your party entertained than the kids, an afternoon hanging out at EatPlayLove Craft Cafe at the Aliwal Arts Centre will sound more enticing than trying to make small talk with the other parents while the kids go nuts at an indoor playground or water park.
EatPlayLove’s party packages range from $11.50 to $14 per child, and are double the price for adults, depending on whether you want to celebrate during tea, lunch or dinner. Kids will be treated to appetisers, mains, desserts and beverages. You can also top up $5 per kid on weekdays and $10 on weekends to give them unlimited access to the kids’ craft corner.
The tricky bit is that you need to have at least 25 people to book a party package, and kids only count as half a person. If you have friends, relatives or other parents who want to celebrate with you, get them to come down as reinforcements.
Cost: From $11.50 per kid
Suitable for: Parents who want to hang out with people their own age
To a kid, getting unleashed in a games arcade with a pocketful of tokens is equivalent to letting Sarah Jessica Parker loose in a Manolo Blahnik store. You won’t even have to spend a second thinking about how to entertain your young charges.
That’s where Timezone’s party packages come in. For $14 per person, kids get to have unlimited games on machines equipped with yellow and red swipers (for swiping prepaid cards, in case you’re wondering) and four games on blue swipers, plus 200 e-tickets. Also comes with invitation cards. Plus, the birthday child gets to play for free.
Some Timezones outlets such as the one at Vivocity also have their own party rooms and offer 2 hour packages that include even more free games at $300 for 10 kids.
Cost: From $14 per kid
Suitable for: Kids who are gamers
When I was a kid, I had a set of miniature golf clubs made of plastic that I used to ride around like they were hobby horses. But these days, there are kids who play actual golf as a CCA. These are the same kids who are likely to get enrolled in young investors’ seminars run by Adam Khoo or something.
Even if your kid isn’t one of those, an indoor mini-golf party is a decent party idea as it keeps the little ones occupied with little danger of their burning down the building. LilliPutt runs birthday parties priced at $300 on weekends and $420 on weekdays (max 15 kids). The package includes invites, goodie bags, mini golf games and use of the party area.
Cost: $20 per kid
Suitable for: Future CEOs
5. Kidz Amaze at Safra
The massive Kidz Amaze indoor playgrounds at SAFRA Toa Payoh and Jurong are multiple-storey caverns for spidermen-in-training. They remind me a bit of the monkey enclosures at the zoo, or those huge pet hamster enclosures with multiple slides and ladders.
The cheapest Kidz Amaze birthday package is $396.45 for Kidz Amaze members, $417.30 for SAFRA members and $449.90 for guests and admits up to 20 kids, who can then knock themselves out for 3 hours in the play maze and private party room. Also includes party deocaration and invitation cards.
Cost: Up to $22.50 per kid (non-SAFRA members)
Suitable for: Kids who’ve been accused of being hyperactive
Have you ever thrown a big birthday party for your child? Tell us about it in the comments!
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