Some dos and don’ts are more obvious than others. If you’ve seen The Bear on Hulu, you know ketchup is a must, and Xanax in the homemade Ecto Cooler is a must not. But what about a seemingly selfless “No gifts, please” on the invite? Word to the wise: do not fall for it.
Do RSVP. (And don’t flake.) Letting the hosts know if you’re coming is not in any way optional. It takes 10 seconds, saves the hosts time and money, and ensures that there is enough pizza for everyone.
Don’t solicit gifts. Implying that gifts are expected is rude. Casually mentioning that your kid is into art or cars is fine. An Amazon wish list in the invite? Too far.
Don’t come empty handed. “No gifts” is a trap. “In lieu of gifts, please consider making a donation to the charity of your choice” is a trap. Everyone else will bring a gift.
Do eat ahead of time. If the party is scheduled for midmorning or midafternoon, the hosts specifically do not want to feed anyone. The most your kid should expect is a cupcake and a Capri-Sun, and parents won’t even get that.
Don’t tempt fate. Gifts that involve glitter or slime are against the parent code. Should you choose to violate it, karma will return them to your sofa tenfold.
Do use blindfolds. If your kid wants a piñata, make them work for it. Too many people are letting unblindfolded, unspun kids attack completely stationary piñatas. This is how you raise a generation of softies.
Don’t give party favors. We all know that we will sneakily dispose of the plastic whistles, sticky hands, and emoji keychains as soon as our kids aren’t looking. Why bother with the pretense?
Do give thanks. No one mails thank-you cards anymore, but a quick text of gratitude is appropriate. Bonus points for a photo of your kid holding the present, looking really happy. Note: if your child was gifted something involving glitter or slime, no thank-you text is required. They know what they did.
Outsource to Stay Sane
Dallas has plenty of creative options for a hassle-free celebration.
Bubble Stop: Get those rugrats out on the lawn, and let the Bubble Truck come to you for a foam-filled (molly-free) rave.
Nerfies: You spent your whole life waiting for an obstacle-filled glow-in-the-dark Nerf gun war zone. That’s just the beginning. 3045 W. 15th St., Plano. 972-599-3333.
OontzKids: The DJ- themed party will start with a mixing lesson and end on the dance floor.
P. Nut Parties: If there’s no place like home, Kristen Cobb will transform it into the circus, ship, castle, or Double Dare slimefest of your child’s dreams.
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary: The “dino” option includes a couple of live animal guests and a guided hike to see the life-size animatronic T. rex and his friends. 1 Nature Pl., McKinney. 972-562-5566.