Let's be honest: children's birthday parties suck. Especially the ones for really young kids, who are basically just a bunch of bald, mini-people who lack all self-awareness running into each other at a Chuck E. Cheese while a few pedophiles watch from the sidelines and parents are forced to eat crappy pizza. Some kid barfs, another one starts crying. And then when you finally get to leave, you have to chase eight Ibuprofen with a shot of vodka just to make it through the rest of the day. You and your friends deserve better.
So, might I proffer these wildly inappropriate (but totally fun) themes in case you have to throw the next birthday bash.
See also: - Five offbeat things to do this summer with kids under the age of five - Celebrate Mother's Day Eve with Shayna Ferm and Pump and Dump - Hats Off to Dr. Seuss! curator Bill Dreyer on the hat closet, the art and the exhibition
Virginia Woolf Book Party Who's afraid of broaching the dark theme of Virginia Woolf's suicide at a children's party? Not this mom. This is a party I'll be throwing in a few weeks when my youngest turns one. I was originally planning to put a kiddie pool in the backyard and hand out cute ribbon-tied bags of rocks as party favors that would honor Virginia Woolf's demise, but my husband says this is "too dark for a children's birthday party or any event where other human beings are present." Another advantage to this theme: most of the really great writers also had moderate drinking problems, so serving massive amounts of liquor is totally acceptable, if not called for.
Eyes Wide Shut Swingers Soiree Sex and children is (rightfully) uncomfortable. Which is why you may be feeling uncomfortable by my suggestion that you craft your kid's first birthday around a Tocole (that's Branjelina speak for Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman) flick about wild sex parties of the elite and twisted. But don't blame me for bringing sexuality to a children's forum. I'm not the one who produces Toddler & Tiaras. Have you even seen the whorey new Merida Disney princess? And, I mean, come on: it's practically common knowledge that 1 in 6 clowns is a registered sex offender. (Writer's note: This last statistic has no basis in "reality" whatsoever, and Westword is certainly not willing to corroborate it.) The beauty of this theme is it's simplicity: weird masks and booze (for the adults). Bonus: If somebody gets really offended, play it off like you're referencing the fact that you haven't slept for a year and are walking around with your eyes wide shut like a zombie.
End of the World Party Speaking of zombies -- why wouldn't post-apocalyptic zombies be the perfect theme for a first birthday? How often do you have the opportunity to reference a bad '90s song AND teach your friends' kids about the living dead? Literally once in a lifetime, people. Which is why my oldest son (whose birthday fell on the last day of the Mayan calendar) ushered in toddlerhood this way. In lieu of presents, we asked guests to bring weapons for fighting zombies. For decorations we went (very) low key: bottled waters and pretend oxygen masks. I wanted to dig a bomb shelter out back, but once again, my husband claimed it would "ruin our grass and creep people out even more than what you're already planning."
The Arrested Development Costume Ball This show, which just made a comeback on Netflix, was never kid-appropriate, but the little ones will never know that when they're dressed up: imagine a baby never-nude clad in cutoff jeans, twins dressed as Lucille 1 and Lucille 2, a tiny frozen banana. There's even an opportunity for a mother-son theme al la the Balboa Bay magazine covers. Serve blue man cupcakes (above), hot ham water, and juice -- lots of effing juice. Bonus: you can have vintage episodes of Arrested Development streaming on Netflix in the background. If your friends wouldn't get all the hilarious AD jokes, then you should stop wasting your time and make new friends. Don't forget to make sure guests drink all their vodka before it goes bad.
Taxidermy Art Party You bring the dead rodents or house pets, and we'll provide the embalming liquids and preservation tools. This one's win-win: the kids will have fun making Fido or that dead squirrel on Evans into a unique stuffed animal for the mantel, and they'll also be learning about science in the process. After the taxidermy fun has ended, switch gears and host a "tea party" for the kiddos and their new "friends." Trick of the trade: this one gets messy, so do it outside during warm weather months.
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Berenstain Bears Book Bash This one's probably better for a baby shower because it's pretty hands-on for the adults. Do you have any idea what happens when you Google Image "funny Berenstain Bears book covers"? The Berenstain Bears and the Mean Drunk. The Berenstain Bears Get Kicked in the Dick. The Berenstain Bears Come Down from Meth. The Berenstain Bears: No Bears in Heaven (Especially Jewish Bears). The list of online parodies of the children's classic is long, so you'll just have to do your own Google search. Get some art supplies and print or photocopy some Bears covers, then ask the adults to make their own creative covers. Build your own book collection by asking friends to bring their favorite Bears books.