The party planning tips below will come in very handy when you’re planning your next party. Often, with all the stress involved in throwing a party, little – yet very important – things can make the difference between an awesome party and a not-so-great party. Regardless, the most important tip is to remember to have FUN!

When having a pinata, always keep extra candy in a bag to scatter on the ground when the pinata bursts. This is a way to make sure that everyone has candy (by throwing candy to those you see are less fortunate). Throw it on the outer edge of the group of kids to help everyone find candy without stepping on each other!

Another one of those important party planning tips is to always have something up your sleeve to fill the time, just in case what you’ve planned doesn’t work out or is much faster than what you thought it would be.

Do as much ahead of time as possible as preparing all the party favors and games/activities a couple weeks ahead. Then you can spend the days before the party focusing on the things that really must wait until the last minute (preparing the food and putting up the decorations). This enables you to focus on the kids when the party begins.

Try asking a good friend, family member or neighbor to help with the party. It’s even likely to have a neighborhood teenager who would love to help, when offered a few dollars for their time, and will help relieve some of the stress.

It isn’t recommended to send invitations to school unless the whole class is coming. It’s also nice to share ice cream and cake with the class on this special day of your kid’s birthday.

Another one of those important party planning tips is to tray and keep an index card of the party’s schedule and activities in your pocket. Create a schedule of events for the party that lists everything that will happen from the activities you’ve planned to the present opening. Include times to ensure that the party stays within a reasonable time limit.

Check and see that your camera is working and takes good pictures (it’s not fun to find out that the pictures didn’t come out or came out poorly after the party). Also try to have spare or fully charged batteries, and if you’re using film – have enough on hand.

Involve your kids!! Planning a party is a great opportunity to share a fun time with your child. Plus, involving your child in the party planning process will ensure that the party reflects his/her interests. Let them plan the theme, location, guest list, menu, games, etc. They can also write invitations or create them on the computer, fill loot bags, blow up balloons, decorate, even help straighten up the house after the party is over.

Have back-up plans in case of rain, a no-show entertainer, etc.

Try being realistic – don’t think everything has to be perfect… it won’t be. So just relax, be flexible and know that anything can happen—and it’s okay if it doesn’t go exactly by plan.

There will always be something you would have done differently if you had the chance to do it over again. Some game you thought would be a big hit will be too easy, too difficult, or too slow or a certain food you thought the kids will love and wasn’t touched. The key is not to dwell on it, but to just remember it for next time!!

It’s best to give out your goody bags as the children actually leave the party, not before (unless you are using the Goody Bag stuff as part of the party). Why should this be done? If you get different things in the goody bags for different children, they won’t see what others got and want to have it. Also, for kids, leaving a party is sometimes hard, so this makes it a bit easier for them.

For unique invitations, buy a bag of colored balloons, blow each one up, and on each balloon write out all of the party information. Then seal them in envelopes with some confetti and give them out as invitations.

Another one of those important party planning tips is when you send out your invitations, make sure to include accurate directions to your house or party place. This way guests will not have to call you for them. This will keep those day-of-the-party interruptions to a minimum.

Here’s a great idea to keep the early birds busy until all the other kids arrive. Instead of buying tablecloths, use butcher paper (or blank newsprint) to cover the tables. Then give each child a few crayons and let them color right on the tables!

“Thank you for the gift… for coming to my party” – thank you notes are important social skill builders. Children actually enjoy writing thank you cards when they have fun note cards or when they’re producing thank yous on the computer and printing on decorative paper. A very special addition to thank yous is to include a photo of the child being thanked having a great time during the event. Mail thank-you notes no later than a month after the party.

When planning a party, you can consider choosing a party location that is related to the chosen theme. For example, a firehouse for a fireman’s theme or a zoo for a safari theme. Don’t assume that a unique location will be expensive – some are free and others offer discount party prices.

Another one of those important party planning tips is to mail the invitations four to six weeks before the party. Call any guests who haven’t responded two-three days before the party to get the final count.

Go over your checklist and make sure you have everything you need a few days before the party.

Be flexible with the schedule to fit the mood of the children and the flow of the party. If you see that the kids like playing a certain game and want to play it again and again- then all the best!

Make sure you and your kid have slept sufficiently before the day of the party.

Give a sibling special tasks to perform at the party so that they don’t feel left out during the festivities. For example, have an older sibling demonstrate and/or start a game.

For a quick ice cream fix, scoop ice cream into paper muffin liners the night before the party and put them in the freezer. During the party, you can simply put a muffin liner ice cream cup on the plate with the piece of cake – much less mess and time involved.

It’s a nice idea to hand out disposable cameras as party favors and let the guests do their own picture taking. It’s always nice to see the kid’s point of view. In any case, ask a couple of people to help take photographs, it is definitely an event to remember!

Before the party – do a pre-party sweep around the party area to make sure it’s kid proof (to get rid of potential hazards). If you have any precious and breakable objects, put them in a safe place for the duration of the party. If very small children will be attending the party, make sure you have outlet covers and that loose change and other items that can be swallowed are out of sight.