Can We All Just Agree That Kids’ Birthday Parties Are The Worst?

Bouncy houses, fondant ... seriously, whose idea was this?

by Kirk Pynchon
Originally Published: 

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In the history of kids’ birthday parties, there has never been one where any adult left exclaiming, “Hot damn! That was a good time!”

Standing around, making small talk with parents you barely know while sipping on a tiny bottle of lukewarm water as you continually check your phone to realize that you are only into hour one of a 3-hour party on a Saturday, is pretty much misery, topped with boredom, dipped in inconvenience.

Yes, I know kids’ parties are not about the adults. I get that. It’s not supposed to be about me. Still, do they have to suck that bad? And does it have to be the exact same kind of suckiness? Can’t the suckitude have a different type of suckage?


Here are a few of the things you will find at 99.8 percent of all kids’ birthday parties; all of them an exercise of emotional and mental torture, at least for the parents.

Midday Parties

A morning party? Yes, awesome. A late afternoon party? Boom, bring it on. A party that takes place smack dab in the middle of the day? You already know that party is destined for failure.

A birthday party that starts at 1 or 2 PM is going to be awful, simply for the fact that you now have to plan your entire day around it. Whatever you are doing beforehand has to be immediately dropped so you can get to that damn party. And you know all too well that dinner is screwed as well, because no kid wants to eat dinner after filling up on anything and everything at a kid’s party.

It’s not supposed to be about me. Still, do they have to suck that bad? And does it have to be the exact same kind of suckiness?

It doesn’t matter how cool or swanky the party is going to be. It could take place on a 30-foot yacht, with passed sushi appetizers, have Louis C.K. as the entertainment, and everyone could get new iPads for goody bags, and it will still be bad, simply because it took place in the middle of the day. Timing is everything, and when you don’t time a birthday party right, it will suck no matter how many ducats were spent on it.

Bounce Houses

Bounce houses are great in theory. In reality it is a Lord of the Flies situation where one, if not multiple kids end up in tears. Never in the history of bounce houses has there been a time where there hasn’t been some sort of pushing situation between 2 kids. It’s not the host’s fault. It’s the evil spirit that lives within every bounce house rented out for a kid’s party’s fault.

Flickr (Neeta Lind)

Papa John’s Pizza

Oh, Lordy, how awful this pizza is. And it is the only pizza served at a kid’s birthday party. Unless it is some sort of fancy pants party with fancy pants pizza, it’s gonna be the pizza of Papa John, and I am using the word “pizza” in the loosest of terms.

I get that it is the pizza of choice because it is cheap, plentiful, and kids do not care what type of pizza it is, as long as it’s called pizza. That being said, having to suffer through the same type of pizza for every birthday party you attend is the definition of insanity. And the definition of tastelessness.

But even craptastic pizza can be forgiven. What can’t be forgiven is this inexcusable travesty that the majority of kids’ parties have …


Fondant is just the worst. You know who puts fondant on a cake? Satan, that’s who.

Fondant is just the worst. You know who puts fondant on a cake? Satan, that’s who.

Yes, little Riley loves trains and is ecstatic that he got a realistic Thomas the Train cake for his party. (Unless you got him a Percy cake. Then expect a full metal meltdown. No one likes Percy.) But because of all that fondant, that cake is gonna blow chunks. You know it. I know it. Riley doesn’t know it, but that doesn’t matter because he only ate one bite of his cake and then ran off to the playground. That whole fondant cake is a big waste, so why not make the adults happy (and by adults, I mean just me) and get a cake that tastes like something other than sweetened clay?

And cake is usually the one thing that makes a birthday party worthwhile. As lame and as un-fun as they can be to an adult, at least you can say, “Well, at least there will be cake eventually.” So you white knuckle it until the very end, where you know there will be a little glimmer of hope in edible form, only to discover that the cake has been soiled — yeah, soiled — with the insidious monster known as fondant. When you are forced to eat cake with fondant, the terrorists win.

Flickr (Ken’s Oven)

Unfortunately, kids’ birthday parties are just something you must accept as a parent. There really is no way to avoid them (well, I guess the way to avoid them is to literally avoid them, but that’s just crazy talk).

And as bad as they can be, really, when you think about it, the only thing less fun than attending a kid’s birthday party is throwing a kid’s birthday party.

Kirk is a writer and editor for the website Guff.com. He is also the author of the popular comedy food blog, I Wish I Liked Flan. Read more from Babble here:

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