You're Invited: How To Throw A Birthday Party In 1989 Kate Hart

All kids love their birthday. We anticipate them for a whole year. We create mental wish lists. That’s why ‘half-birthdays’ were discovered. Birthdays are the best because you get to have a birthday party! All your friends come and they bring you presents and you basically get away with being a cranky brat because you get overwhelmed by all the attention that you secretly love. You could have your party at McDonald’s or the bowling alley, but nothing compares to a home birthday party. They are a dying breed that should never be forgotten. Having the best birthday party is like a science.

Guests: Duh. So, your first few birthday parties usually involve your whole class list. It’s co-ed and parents are encouraged to hang out and linger. This means that there are some kids invited that under any other circumstance, you would never been seen with. But you invite them because those are the rules and you are too young to do anything about it. Then you get a little older and something cool happens. You have your first of many ‘girls only’ party because everyone knows that girls rule and boys drool. And then a couple years later, the guest list gets drastically reduced again to an exclusive group called a slumber party.

Invite: In the ’80s and ’90s, birthday invitations were sent through the mail. I know, right? Super fancy. You always made sure the invitation was shiny and sparkly and had a picture of a balloon on it. When you get a little older, you really really really want to make your own invitations to send. Your mom says okay and you make them and they look like crap. You should just stick to the store bought kind.

Theme: In order to have the best birthday party, you need some sort of a loose theme. Although these usually turn out terrible, you just need to do it – trust me. You go to a party store and pick out something that catches your eye like Popples or Pound Puppies. You get some unflattering party hats and a couple of blowers. You NEED the blowers – they are the ultimate party icebreaker. Party blowers are basically a kids version of a signature cocktail. You just have to have them.

Decorations: This is very simple. You blow up a couple balloons and tape them to the wall where they sadly dangle. Twist some crepe paper streamers that will hang heavily above a rainbow metallic Happy Birthday sign. You know the one, right? We all had it.

Food: Even kids know that a party is nothing without good food. This is like the one time you can get away with eating tons of crap without your parents hovering over you, so make sure you have various bowls of the following appetizers scattered around: popcorn, potato chips, pretzels, cheese doodles and M&M’s. The main course is as it should be – pizza.  All this yummy rainbow colored food is followed by the final curtain, the cake!! The cake really should get its own category because so many people do it wrong. The answer is ice cream cake. You get it at Haagen Dazs or Carvel  and it must have all the candles equaling your age, plus one for good luck. It should have sprinkles on it, tons of frosting and fluff. There will always be a kid who doesn’t like the flavor or ice cream or frosting and you make a mental note not to invite them to your next birthday party. This is your day!

Games: All good parties need games. The classics, Pin The Tail On The Donkey and Limbo, stand true. If you were really lucky, you had a pinata! That was scary. Once your parties turned into all girl parties (the best), you did one thing only. CRAFTS!! All girls loved crafts! You paint small wooden boxes, made sun-catchers, decorate t-shirts or bags with puff paint and fabric markers! But everyone knows that the best game of any party is not planned and happens at every party. It’s called ‘Who’s here?’ This ‘game’ involves the doorbell ringing and all your friends stopping whatever they are doing to run and see which guest has arrived, then you yell the persons name and repeat until everyone is there. So fun!

Opening Presents: Opening presents at the party should be done. We all want to see what’s inside those boxes and bags. We want to leave sad and jealous and make it impossible for our parents on the car ride home. Just let us see.

Goodie Bags: Okay, this is your selling point. This is handed out right when your guests are picked up, so you really need to leave a lasting mark. The goodie bag is a competitive piece of any party. You need to be remembered for your fantastic loot, NOT for being the kid who gave out raisins. The night before your party you set up a factory line and drop one piece of candy in each bag, then continue on to add a sparkly pencil, an eraser in the shape of a rainbow and more candy. You know what your best friends favorite color is, so you give her everything in that color. There is always someone who gets the crappy colored stuff and it is NOT you.

The Slumber Party Years: Things start to get real serious when you are old enough to have an official slumber party. With a reduced guest list of your closest friends, you huddle up in a massive quilt of pilly fleece sleeping bags, watch scary movies and eat tons of candy. You learn a lot during those sleepover parties, like what kind of weird outfits your friends sleep in and any disturbing sleep habits they may have. When you wake up exhausted, your mom makes pancakes, your friends get picked up and you’re a cranky brat for the next 24 hours.

Warnings and Mishaps: Every once in a while, your guests start having too much fun. You realize that you have orchestrated such a happening affair that you suddenly feel ignored. This is when you make your exit. You carefully slip away and see how long it takes your ‘friends’ to notice that you’re gone. Whoever realizes you are gone first is truly your best friend.

comments

Please help us maintain positive conversations by refraining from posting spam, advertisements, and links to other websites or blogs. we reserve the right to remove your comment if it does not adhere to these guidelines. thanks! post a comment.

  1. I totally remember doing this! Themes and pizza. I also always did the “Who’s here” game. Everyone would always come running from the other parts of the house to greet the new guest. Slumber parties were the best!

  2. I totally remember the slip out and see who your best friend really is tactic. I probably utilized that WAY too many times.

  3. OMG I totally remember choosing who got what colors in my goodie bags! I always got the best ones!

    Sarah Heyward | 9/18/2012 02:09 pm
  4. hilarious! I love how matter-of-fact everything is. Ah, to be young again. My favorite cake when I was really young was the “pizza cake,” a sweet chocolatey pizza with frosting and candy all over it. YUM. “There is always someone who gets the crappy colored stuff and it is NOT you.” Bahaha!!

  5. awesome! Being a kid that grew up in the 80′s and 90′s I was a guest at many parties like that. I actually never had birthday parties like that. My parties were thrown at McDonalds or Chuck E. Cheese. But I have a 15 year old stepdaughter that I have been helping my hubby raise since she was 4. And we have thrown some parties like this for her quite a few times. I have a great time doing it, and I am looking forward to throwing parties like this for our 2 year old daughter. They are very inexpensive. Most of the party supplies for a 1989 birthday party can be found at the dollar store. Then hit little cesars for some 5 dollar pizzas and BAM! It is an awesome party. :)

  6. So funny! Memories… :) “Weird outfits your friends sleep in and disturbing sleep habits…” True true true!

HelloGiggles Podcast