For Jayce's first birthday after we moved to London we had his party at Snakes and Ladders, with a small variety of handmade "superhero" favors and details. Last year, we had his party at home. I wanted to do something relatively inexpensive but fun, and I DIYed it to the max with a Lego theme throughout and he loved it. I'm sure that there are plenty of kids who don't care one way or the other about details, but he got excited about each of the details so that made it fun for me too. It was just right but it was a LOT of work. Lots. This year, well before his birthday, I asked what he wanted to do for his party and started subtly planting seeds for him to have it at Snakes and Ladders again. I found out I was pregnant in late March (I think?) and my lack of any energy whatsoever further confirmed that we would not be throwing a party at home.
Luckily Snakes and Ladders had a 2 million pound renovation last summer, so it is pretty legit, and he was excited to have a party there this year.
Chris and I were delighted to pay for it and leave absolutely all of the work to someone else. At that time of the party we knew that we would be moving to the US in about a month and we were so happy to be able to give Jayce a good party with a group of his favorite friends and not have to add anything extra to our enormous to do lists. We showed up, he had a blast with his friends, and then we went home. :)
Hannah obviously attended the party and was as involved as she always is. It has never occurred to her that Jayce's friends aren't there to play with her just as much as they are there to play with Jayce. They all talk to her and often include her at school as well, so she fit right in and played happily among a mostly 7 year old crowd.
We lucked out that it was a really warm and nice day outside so Snakes and Ladders was the least crowded that I have ever seen it. I think most everyone was outside enjoying the rare sunny day which meant that the kids that were a part of the party were able to move around the place in a little pack. They would stay together for a bit and then break up to do different activities and then join up again a little later. It was genuinely perfect.
When the kids finished playing we went the "Submarine Party Room" for lunch and cake.
They sang, they ate, we left with tired kids and a bag of presents to open. Perfect.