As a mother, I will never give up on my child. As a mother of a child who has autism, I will never give up hope.
I look into his eyes and I see all the potential that he has to offer to this beautiful world and I just know that one day the world can see what I see.

Follow my blog as I share my life and my experiences as a person who loves someone with autism.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tips for a Successful Birthday Party at the Movies

Bryce’s 12th birthday party today at the movie theatre watching Monsters University was a complete success so I figured I’d share everything we did and give some tips for having a birthday party at the movies.

Invitations – Since we were going to the movies I made the invitations look like movie tickets. You can download and customize the template to go with any movie you are going to see.

Name tags – Name tags are a must for me at any event. In Monsters University they are going to school and have their own Monsters University Student Identification Cards, so I made student identification cards for all of our guests and used monsters from the movie as their photo identification. It’s perfect for name tags, table place cards, or labeling your party favour loot bags!

Birthday cake – We ended up ordering our cake at our local Safeway grocery store. Unfortunately Safeway didn’t carry any Monsters Inc. or Monsters University trademark cake designs and apparently you’re not allowed to just give them a design that is protected to print onto the cake due to copyright laws. Their is a loop around it though! If you create your own design using images that aren’t in the book of cake designs at your bakery, and they won’t let you just give them a design due to copyright laws, then you can get that design developed into a photo. When it’s developed into a photo it’s technically your property. Weird way to have to go about it, but it’s legal!

Decorations and Party favours – One big piece of advice: If you are having a party at the movies and the movie hasn’t been out for awhile, or it’s not a big named movie, you may have difficulty finding decorations or party favours to match it at your local retail stores. I called everywhere I could think of twice with no luck. I ended up finding a Canadian website called Open A Party that had everything I was looking for and more! The prices were perfect! The only problem was that we’d have to pay extra in shipping (almost the same cost as our purchase) to ensure it arrived in time for the party. After contacting Open A Party, they offered to help pay for the extra shipping fees, and we got our decorations on time and in our budget! If you are buying your decorations online, make sure you buy them 2-3 weeks in advance.

Thank you cards – We were thankful for all of our guests taking a day out of their summer break and Canada Day long weekend to celebrate Bryce’s birthday with us! Always remember your P’s and Q’s!

Ok, so all of that is done and it’s time for the party.

Tip #1: The movie theatre birthday party coordinator recommended that our guests arrive 30 minutes before the movie showtime to have time to order popcorn and drinks and decide where everyone was going to sit in our reserved section in the theatre to watch the movie.

Reality: We arrived 45 minutes early so we could meet our hostess, decorate the party room, and get settled in. Then we waited for our guests to arrive, and waited, and waited some more. After everyone was accounted for, we placed our order for popcorn and drinks and headed to the theatre and didn’t have time to arrange who was sitting where. Turns out somehow we were 5 minutes late and the movie pre-shows had already started which meant we were walking into a dark theatre and couldn’t really talk to set up seating. It ended up working out, but it just would of been nice to go in earlier and feel a little less rushed and a lot more organized.

Suggestion: Make sure you are in the theatre 5-10 minutes before showtime so you can get organized. If possible, ask your host to direct any late guests to the theatre, and make sure you make room for them too!

Tip #2: Make sure you and your movie theatre birthday party coordinator are on the same page. They may be hosting the party, but you’re paying for it to go the way you want it to go. I must of called them a dozen times with questions and confirming things. I made sure we could tape up decorations. I confirmed what they provided as far as food and utensils went. I even asked at one point if they provided a knife to cut the birthday cake and what size their tables were for table covers. I was thorough. They probably thought I was nuts. Anyways, when I started to order the decorations and party favours I wanted to order these cute Monsters University keepsake cups but Daniel insisted that the Kids Tray Combos came with a collectors cup and topper themed from major movies that were playing. I called and asked if the Popcorn Parties Kids Tray Combo came with collectors cups and it was confirmed that they did. You could only imagine how thrilled I was when she told me what kind: Monsters University Collectors Cups! It was going to save us money and it went with our theme!

Reality: Each guest got a Kids Tray Combo which included a popcorn, a drink, and a treat. What they didn’t get, which I was so very disappointed and angry about since I did call and ask about it... yup, you guessed it, there was no Monsters University collectors cup and topper that I was assured came with the Popcorn Parties Kids Tray Combo order. Next time I’m getting these minor, yet meaningful things in writing.

Tip #3: Your party package comes with a host. Take advantage of this so you can enjoy the party too!

Reality: I cut the cake and my friend handed it out to our guests. Our hostess helped serve it too. I started picking up empty cups and plates to throw into the garbage. Our hostess helped clean too. She was doing a great job. It was me that didn’t let her do it. I just kept playing the mom role.

Suggestion: You really have to sit back and enjoy the party and assume this ain’t your hostess’s first rodeo!

The only thing I didn’t like about having a birthday party at the movies is that you didn’t know what the exact time of your party starts until the Tuesday before the weekend of your party. This made it very difficult to give your guests a time. Instead, you had to give them a time frame, give or take an hour. So you’d have to contact all your guests who were coming and let them know the exact time. If that doesn’t bother you, then you should start planning your next birthday party at the movies now because it’s great!

After all said and done, Bryce had a great time, and that’s all that matters.

Thanks for reading,

P.S. Monsters University was pretty good for a prequel. :)

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