New Year’s Eve celebrations don’t have to be an early boring night just because the kids are present. In order to prove it, I put together a list of six easy to accomplish party planning tips that are sure to get the party started and keep it going until the last ball drops.
1. Celebrate early and often
Most kids have no concept of when the ball actually drops in their time zone. Use this to your advantage by creating a series of clocks (drawn or taken from rooms throughout the house) to highlight when the ball is dropping around the world. Celebrate as early and as often as desired. For a real educational experience, do some research on customs for particular cultures and incorporate that learning into the celebration. Once the celebration is complete, put the kiddos to bed (see below on how to make slumber zones) and let the adulting begin.
2. Drop it!
If you want to make it an authentic New Year’s Eve experience for the kids, then don’t forget the balloon drop at “midnight.” The simplest way to make it happen is to purchase a net or a plastic tablecloth from a local bargain store, fill it with hundreds of even cheaper balloons (a perfect chore for the older kids to do as the appetizers are being prepped), use tape to attach a string and tape the balloon-stuffed tablecloth to a fan or the ceiling. When the countdown hits one, pull the string and enjoy the mayhem!
3. Create kid-friendly zones
Every kid-friendly bash needs designated zones for the kids to be kids. Designate a table that can be decorated in the theme of the party. Avoid seat battles by providing nametags or opportunities for the kids to create personalized placemats. Keep the party going by setting up a game and/or craft room where everyone can design their own hats and party favors. Encourage your guests to get some fresh air by setting up yard games in the snow. Lastly, designate a slumber room (or two depending on age groups present) where parents can comfortably lay the little ones down to sleep or a place for the big kids to grab a sleeping bag and crash.
4. Create a mocktail and cocktail
Cover the expecting mothers (because they need to have fun too) and the kids by consulting a nonalcoholic beverage recipe book designated for making kid-friendly cocktails, such as Kiddie Cocktails written by Eau Claire native Stuart Sandler. From there, figure out how to put booze in the same concoction for everyone else to enjoy. For the champagne at “midnight,” grab a couple bottles of sparking grape juice and place it at the kid’s table for them to sip and enjoy.
5. Dance it up
Create a party mix filled with old and new pop music set to delight all or ask some musically-inclined friends to play, sing, or mix at the party. The important thing is to create an atmosphere where the kids and adults can dance and laugh to their heart’s content.
6. Make it glow
I am too much of a neat freak to allow glitter on the dance floor (or in any other part of my house). My daughter, on the other hand, would love for the world to sparkle with lots and lots of glitter. A good compromise is a themed party centered on letting love glow in the New Year. The crops and props for this theme are cheap because almost everything needed, like glow sticks and black light paint, can be found at the dollar store or online. The other benefits, it will be easy to see the young’uns in the yard at night because they will be all decked out in multicolored glow sticks. The glow sticks, necklaces, and wands are easy party favors that will last for days provided the parents remember to put them in the freezer.