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.