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Ellen's Top Ten Party Tips to Save Money and Effort:

1) If you have less than 8 guests, you do not need professional entertainment. Have a big “play date”, give each guest a new little ‘something’ to play with and put on a movie.

2) No need to rent tables and chairs…the average time it takes for kids to eat is less than 10 minutes. Children love to sit picnic style on the floor. Just lay down a plastic  table cloth and roll it up for easy clean up.

3) ‘Small’ food is easier for little ones to eat (cheese cubes, quartered sandwiches (cookie cutter make cute shapes). Have the pizza place cut the pies into 16th's… much easier to pick up.

4) No loose balloons on strings on strings in the house. Tie them onto chairs as decorations and give out at the end of party. They encourage fights, running, popping, etc.

5) Save yourself (and the other parents) a headache: Don’t pass out those party ‘blowers’ at cake time. Children blow them into each others eyes and they break easily, both which I’ve consistently seen cause tears. If your child wants them, put them in the loot bags.

6) To reduce chaos during the first 15 minutes of ‘gathering’ time at the party, have on hand a roll of white easel paper with markers and stickers. Lay it on the floor and let the guests as they come in make the ‘world’s biggest birthday card’. (Works best with 4 and 5 year olds)

7) I heard on the news that a study was done by some official pediatric association which revealed that 98% of children under 5 were afraid of clowns. I’ve observed that many 3’s and under are frightened of anyone in any kind of costume (even Big Bird or Barney).

8) No need to ‘over produce’ the party. Once you have an entertainer, you don’t need a jumping castle, a piñata, a petting zoo or a costumed character. When it comes to young children, less is more…After 45 minutes, they’ve had it!!

9) For a smooth ‘cake time’: Cupcakes are easiest to hand out (I once saw a cute idea: a chocolate lollipop, or a regular one, can be placed into each cupcake). If you have a cake decorated with ‘roses’, try to have one for each guest (they all start requesting them). If you hand out small juice boxes, put the straws in them before the party starts.

10) After 17 years of doing birthday parties, I can say with confidence that the number one thing a very young child wants for their party is their mother’s undivided attention!

Come to the Party with Ellen Watermelon