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Have kid’s parties gone too far?

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Getty Images

Growing up, the kids I knew didn’t have extravagant birthday parties. They had backyard parties with family, family friends, the family dog or chickens. The kids enjoyed running around, had cake, and the highlight was a piñata. The goodie bag concept didn’t exist. You just took home the goodies you grabbed from the piñata. At some point I noticed a subtle change; two parties, one for family and one for the school friends.  The party for friends could be as simple as a parent taking store bought cupcakes to the classroom and giving each child a book to celebrate.   A little more expensive was a local place with bad pizza, rigged games, and cheap prizes-a huge hit.  I’ve seen the politically correct have piñatas with strings so there was no hitting.  Some parents request no gifts or donations to a charity. All of these were still reasonable in cost. However, CNN wrote a piece on extreme kid parties. I thought, this surely isn’t ‘mi gente’ or is it?

I recently attended a party for a toddler held in the backyard. However, the backyard had a cowboy theme. The entire family dressed up, including the toddler. They had two bouncy houses, a petting zoo, catered buffet, open bar, and a piñata every hour.  Aside from rides to the moon, I didn’t think I could be shocked again, wrong. I received an invitation for a “Divalicious Rock Star” party. The all-girl attendance wasn’t a concern but the theme, karaoke, and nail polishing seemed inappropriate.

I can’t imagine dressing a seven year old as a “Divalicious Rock Star.”  Many of the female rock stars that come to mind are dressed half naked.  What message is sent when parents dress their children as adults?  Aside from the theme, I question the expense. Typically, an outside place will have a base price then charge for extra people, food not to mention the gifts. Kid parties can range from $200-$500 but easily exceed these amounts such as the two parties mentioned. Are these kid parties going too far? My father simply says ‘si te molesta, no vayas’, if it bothers you, don’t go. I didn’t attend but I was left wondering what is reasonable?


Julia Perez is an electrical engineer and contributing writer for Being Latino.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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