We had LittleOrhanAnnie's(7) birthday party on Saturday. I let her invite way too many kids. I really shouldn't say it that way because I made her invite some of them because I didn't want anyone to feel "left out". I think it turned out okay but it was a little stressful and Hubby about lost it a couple of times. He said, "Next time, no more than 5 friends!" through gritted teeth as he was dishing out the 14th serving of ice cream to the last of the screaming kids. I have to agree. What was I thinking?
When I was growing up I had just a few birthday parties through the years. Birthdays were really not that big of a deal for us. Hubby, on the other hand, had a birthday party every year and usually with a cake shaped like a dog, or baseball mitt, or the Statue of Liberty. ;) You know you spoiled him right, Mom?! We've compromised by having a birthday party with friends one year and the next they are allowed to have one friend come with the family to something fun like Chuck E. Cheese, or the movie, or even a water park (I don't know if we'll do that again but we did it once). Besides the hullabaloo of a party that stresses me out, the kids get so much stuff when they have a big friend party. This is, of course, really fun for them but they don't really need it. I guess that problem could easily be fixed by just inviting a handful of friends instead of a dozen.
LittleOrphanAnnie's(7) party did turn out fun and one thing I'd recommend is having a simple magic show. We had just had a magic themed Cub Scout Pack Meeting so it was on my mind and I used a few tricks from that to put on a little magic show. They were really easy tricks but the kids really liked them. The treasure hunt was a pretty big success too. I think the favorite part of any party we've ever had is always the pinata. I think it's always a good idea to have a little candy held aside in reserve to give to those kids that aren't aggressive enough to get very much from the resulting dog pile that happens when the candy falls.