Trend for Super Laser Adventure Land parties seems to be over

68%, or more than two thirds, of parents are not choosing to have their children’s birthday parties in the home or in a local hall. The novelty of holding parties in the likes of Super Laser Adventure Land seems to be well and truly over.

It would seem that mums and dads are now sick of spending afternoons in large and draughty warehouses with refreshments being bad coffee and soggy Hobnobs. They will take heart from the latest survey that reveals we no longer want to sit in these conditions while the kids zap each other with dodgy laser and then plunge, screaming at the top of their voice, into a ball pit.

It would seem that traditional children’s parties are making a big comeback and either the family home or a local village hall are now the venues of choice for unforgettable parties and adventurous play.

This news comes courtesy of a poll amongst parents which was commissioned by  Buttons Parties, and conducted by Bertie Brown & Co. The survey discovered that two-thirds, or 68%, of parents now opt to hold their children’s parties in the home or village hall or similar building. A mere 26% are taking the lazy option and still going to the high energy, high tech venues. Health conscious parents, which is very much the minority are still going to the swimming pool or a park
Asked about the most important considerations in planning a party for children, the top answers were making sure everyone had fun (99%) and “doing something new and different” (80%).
Ellie Kelly, founder of children’s party company Buttons, said: “After years of ever more elaborate bids for entertainment, parents are finding that the best way to do something new and different is to give children a more traditional style of party. We’ve come full circle.”
The cost of entertainment venues may be a factor, with 51% of respondents inviting 11 or more and 23% playing host to upwards of 20 children. 

Asked about the critical success factors for parties, altruistic parents were unanimous that the most important thing is that children have fun, but the second most common answer was “getting it over as painlessly as possible”.

The hardest part of organising the party are keeping children entertained (51%) and organising games (36%), which helps explain why most (56%) turn to a hired entertainer to take some of the strain.

More evidence of a return to tradition appears in the questions about food. Whatever the venue, parents are keen to have a hand in one essential area of party cuisine with 53% choosing to bake their own cake or calling on the baking skills of a family member or friend opposed to buying one of the shelf.

The best news for children is that whatever dietary regime their parents impose for the other 364 days of the year, the rules are suspended for birthday parties. The theme for most party menus (56%) is “a bit healthy” – defined by the survey as “sparing use of carrot batons” – while a conscience stricken 26% ticked “mainly healthy” (“sparing use of sugary treats”). None of the respondents were brave enough to risk a “100% healthy” menu on a gang of hungry children.

Ellie Kelly says: “Thankfully, having fun is still firmly at the top of the agenda, and the survey shows traditional party games are also high on the agenda. Increasingly we find parents also want to engage the children in more thoughtful activities. Three quarters of parents told us they wanted to include learning activities and experiences.  Nostalgia plays a part too. It’s only natural that parents want their children to experience the simple fun of the parties they went to when they were young.”

Not all parental motives are honourable, though. The survey also shows that while parents mainly have the kids’ interests at heart, they still have one eye on the competition. Nearly a third (29%) admit that “impressing other parents” plays a part in their plans.