• Local Parents Share Their Favorite Birthday Party They’ve Thrown For Their Kids

    Best. Birthday. Ever

    By Eric Messinger, Brooke Schuldt

    Photo by Lyla Gleason

    “When our son Dexter turned 10 we had a pie fight. He had a slumber party with six boys and we watched some famous pie fight scenes from movies. The next day, we trekked to Prospect Park, put down a drop cloth in an area between four trees, and roped it off. W e gave each boy four paper plates, a pail of banana pudding, a can of whip cream, and sprinkles. They made pies and then had a pie fight. We had brought a five gallon bottle of water so we could wash them all down before heading home. Dexter hopes to do that again someday.” –Scott Ambrose Reilly

    “For our daughter Tanys’ 9th birthday, we leaned in to our love of scatological humor. She is obsessed with the poop emoji, so I found a woman on Etsy to make folded invites that read ‘Join us for Tanys’ 9th birthday’ with a poop emoji on the front. Inside the card read: ‘It’s a chocolate party. What did you think we meant?’ We held it at Chocolate Works and Tanys’ awesome friends practically covered themselves in chocolate and the whole family wore emoji-themed clothing. It was so memorable because it was perfect for her, a snapshot of not just her interests but her personality at that moment in time.” –Lani Serota

    “The party was booked for 25 kids to celebrate our son Spencer’s 2nd birthday at The Art Farm. The day brought tons of excitement, out of state grandparents, and 26 inches of snow! The Art Farm was closed and party was rescheduled but it was too late to cancel and all of the food was ready for pick up. My husband and father trekked to pick it up along with all of the sleds they could find on the way. Our friends and neighbors bundled up the kids for an impromptu party in the lobby with all passersby invited to join in our fun in the snow, complete with hot chocolate afterwards. A year later when planning his 3rd birthday festivities, Spencer asked if he could have another blizzard party!” –Lori Levin

    “For my daughter’s birthday, I did a fantastic Harry Potter party. We made invitations on parchment in the style of Harry’s school letter, complete with sealing wax. The kids got a schedule of classes and were told if they attended all their classes, they’d get a visit to Honeyduke’s. We began with the sorting hat, which was a baby monitor stuffed inside a hat, and my husband was hidden in our house with the other baby monitor, assigning each child to a school house. They were blown away because they couldn’t figure out where the sound was coming from! We then started holding classes, like Divination, Care of Magical Creatures, and even a Quidditch match. Finally, we got to Honeyduke’s, a candy bar I’d set up, which included a flying snitch cake filled with jellybeans.” –Jennifer Nevins

    “My favorite party for my daughter Giselle was when she turned five and we had a Caribbean/dolphin party. It was really the first party where she was able to help me with the theme, menu, and decorations, and she was quite the little planner. We decked our place out with ocean decor, like cute fish lanterns, pool toys, and a gazillion balloons. I especially remember it because five was such a ‘big girl’ moment and she was so proud of all her planning.” –Lyla Gleason

    “For my son Marc’s 6th birthday, we had a movie party at Regal Cinemas in Union Square for the opening weekend of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.’ The kids had a blast because beforehand we had a short magic show, pizza, and cake, and then it was time for the movie, the kids walked into a packed theater where there were two rows of prime reserved seats just for them. Then the staff rolled in a cart filled with popcorn and drinks.” –Adam Cohen

    “My daughter Samantha’s 10th birthday was a memorable one. A dozen girls swam in our building’s pool, then headed off for lunch at Benihana. Fabulous knife skills, the chef catching an egg in his hat, an onion volcano, and food considered exotic by emerging tweens w ere a perfect match. That was followed by a sleepover at our house. My wife, who consistently grasps the truths of the world before I do, suggested I might prefer to spend the night out with friends, rather than hang around the house. When I came home to a swarm of girls, hyped-up on cake and popcorn, happily applying makeup to each other while blindfolded, I was reminded why I married her.” –James Streit

    “The most memorable birthday party I threw was for my 5-year-old son. I had the Reptile Guys come to my home and show our closest friends and family turtles, lizards, and snakes. The look of delight, fear, and squeamishness displayed by all ages was simply heartwarming. Plus, it was affordable and entertaining.” –Karen Haberberg

    “The most memorable party I’ve thrown was my son’s 4th birthday party. He has a late May birthday and the weather was perfect. We had a terrace at the time, so we decided to basically have an open house for kids and their parents with food and wine (and juice boxes) aplenty. It was packed elbow to elbow. W e hired an entertainer named Miss Christine, who did a combination of magic and balloon-folding. The kids were mesmerized, the adults were wine-fueled, it was the beginning of summer and I just remember that day as a capsule of happiness and innocence.” –Caroline Sommers

    “The party we threw for my youngest turning 12 stands out—we had an outdoor movie night on the back lawn [of our family home on Cape Cod]. We rented an enormous inflatable screen and an old fashioned red popcorn maker. The adults joined in because it was so much fun to be outside, and it reminded me of when I was a child and my parents took us to the drive-in!” -Caroleen Mackin

    “We threw my kid a storytelling-themed 4th birthday party, where an artist came and got the kids to collectively make up a story while he illustrated it on a huge piece of paper. It involved a dragon with a bellyache.” -Miriam Horn

    “We celebrated [one of our kids’ birthdays] in our building’s Kids Club and tried to keep it as low key as possible. W e let the kids play and also brought in Richard Younger, our music teacher at Church Street Music School. W e still talk about the moment our son leaned in to blow out the candles and came back with his crisp white shirt full of chocolate frosting.” –Matt Schneider

    “For our son’s 10th birthday, we invited his entire class of 34 and their parents. It was really rainy, so for about an hour, the kids ran around our two bedroom apartment until the lightening stopped, when we decided to take food, sodas, water, beer, ice, and cake to the roof. Everyone went up to the roof—the kids in swimsuits, the adults with umbrellas. The kids swam in the outdoor pool in the rain, which then cleared up and became a beautiful night.”–Hillary Chura Hohmann

    “I grew up in the city, with simple, low-rent birthday parties in Central Park. My favorite party for my kids was similarly low-key. My twins were turning 7 and we piled a bunch of junk in my old-lady shopping cart and wheeled it over the walkway into East River Park by Grand Street for a bunch of disorganized mayhem. They were pirate-obsessed, so I ordered a bunch of Jolly Roger bandanas from Oriental Trading for the kids to wear, bought cupcakes, and called it a party. A friend of my husband, a circus performer in training, came by and taught the kids to tumble. It was old-school easy, low-budget, and we never missed not having a lawn or a bouncy castle.” –Stephanie Dolgoff

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