General Birthday Party Checklist

birthday party balloonsNeed a birthday party checklist of all the things you need to prepare for your child’s birthday party? If so, you have come to the right place.

Planning a birthday party is lots of fun, but it can be horrible to forget some of the important things that you need for your birthday party planning. With this checklist  you can be sure that your child’s birthday party plans go off without a hitch.

With no further ado, here are the things you need to do:

The Party Checklist Weeks Before the Party

  • Figure out the theme of the party. You know what your child care about right now, be it a TV-show, a film, pirates, soccer, or princesses.
  • Determine what the guest list is going to look like.
    For the toddlers birthday: Think of 3 to 5 children to invite to the party, as well as the adult guests that will be attending.
  • Book your entertainment, if that is what you want. Clowns, magicians, and other party entertainers may be hard to find at the last minute, so make sure to book one well ahead of time.
  • Check with the guests to be certain that they can all attend the party when it is being thrown. If any are going to be out of town, see if you can reschedule the party or just throw it without them.
  • Create your birthday invitations and get them all sent out. It takes the mail service at least a few days to send the invitations out, so make sure to do this well in advance if you are going the snail mail route.
  • When your child is 4 years old and more, he or she will most likely have an idea about what clothes would be perfect for the birthday, so take your time to find and buy these clothes.
  • birthday party checklist clownBuy party favors and decorations for the theme of your party. Don’t forget to buy:
    • Decorations
    • Game items
    • Party music
    • Party toys
    • Portable tables
    • Plastic utensils
    • Paper plates
    • Paper cups
    • Tablecloths
    • Coolers
    • Prizes for the games
    • Plan your child’s party menu. Seeing as the party is going to be for kids, consider finger food items like mini sandwiches, mini hamburgers, mini pizzas, and other miniature versions of regular food.
    • Make a shopping list for all the things you will need to buy immediately before the party, including stuff to use for preparing the foods, drinks, cake items, etc.
    • Contract help that you may need for the party well in advance. Hiring a babysitter or asking a friend for help last minute will usually make things more difficult, so reserve the date to be sure you have the help you need.

The Birthday Party Checklist Days Before the Party


  • Plan the schedule for the party, including the activities, the cake, the games, and nap time. Allow time for unscheduled fussiness, fits, and general misbehavior on the part of the birthday child or the other children.
  • Give your house a thorough once-over to be certain that it is clean. If your party is to be outside, make sure to rake leaves and trim trees a day or two in advance.
  • For the 1st birthday party: Use baby proofing materials to make your party room as safe as possible for the little ones that will be crawling and walking around. Your house should already be fairly baby proof, but you can make sure it is doubly so in order to prepare for a lot of babies in your house.
  • Make sure that anyone who has not yet responded to your invitation does so, as you will need the final guest list.
  • Plan when you will do all the cooking. If you can do all the cooking on the day of the party, you don’t have to do too much preparing. However, if you need a day or two in advance to prepare the food, make sure you give yourself that time.
  • Order your child’s birthday cake (if you are getting it from a bakery). Most bakeries want a few days’ advanced warning before baking up your cake, so make sure to order it at least 3 days ahead of time.
  • Go out and make a shopping trip with the grocery list that you drew up, as well as the list of party items. Make sure that you have everything you need, and make sure to shop at least 4 days before the party to be certain that you have time to rush around finding any missing items.
  • Create a space where people can store all of their bags, coats, hats, and other items. Prepare a guest room where parents can put fussy ones down to nap, preferably someplace far away from the festivities.
  • Have the goodie bags prepared a few days in advance, as that will reduce the amount of work that you have to do on the day of the party. It can be quite tedious to fill bags with candies and other treats, so get your husband to do it with you (he should share in the work with you).
  • Set the cameras and the camera batteries to charge the night before. You don’t want to miss even a single moment of this special day, so make sure you have fully charged batteries in camera and camcorders. Empty memory cards to be certain you have plenty of space for pictures and videos.
  • Organize your home’s furniture in the way that you want it. Make sure that all tables, chairs, and game items are in place for the next day.
  • Hang up all of the decorations the night before the party, except for any balloons that are to be filled with helium. The less you have to do on the day of the party, the more relaxed you will be.
  • Get as much of the cooking out of the way as you can. If you are going to make the cake, it is best to do it the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight (with a very specific sign letting your husband know not to snitch). Prepare all the ingredients for the food that you are preparing the next day, and leave everything as ready as possible.

The Checklist Hours Before the Party

  • birthday food pizza miniDo a final check of your house to be certain that it is absolutely safe and as children proof as possible. If your little one can get hurt with anything, you can rest assured that other children can get hurt as well.
  • Make sure that the birthday child is dressed up in the clothes you bought, but remember – if the birthday child suddenly wants to wear something completely different, don’t make a fuss about that – there is no need to ruin the birthday because of that, and the child is not mean or anything like that. It’s just the pressure of the birthday.
  • Put all of the food items to cook a few hours before the party is to start, and time each item so that it will be ready on time. If you have a number of things to put in the oven, put the most important items in to cook first.
  • If you have ordered a cake from the bakery, pick up the cake. If you have made the cake the night before, check it to be certain that it is properly decorated (and that there are no finger prints in the icing where your man just had to taste it).
  • Set out the food for your guests. Make sure to set out the items that can be eaten cold first, as the hot items will come out of the oven or off the stove immediately before the party starts.

The Checklist During the Party

  • The party has gotten well underway, but don’t forget to check the food that you have left in the oven.
  • Make sure that each of the parents attending the party have some sort of responsibility if needed, as that will help to take the load off your shoulders.
  • Have a clean set of clothes handy for your little one should any accidents occur.
  • Keep track of the gifts that are given to your little one as well as who gave them, as that will allow you to send thank you cards within the next few days.
  • Place the party favors and goodie bags near the door where you can hand them out to the guests that are leaving.

The Checklist After the Party

  • Thank your lucky stars that things didn’t go as badly as they could have.
  • Exhale deeply and slump into bed beside your napping angel to sleep off the stress of the party.

See, planning a party is not so hard after all!

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