By Molly Freeman
Photo by Kelly DeLay.
A few years ago while on summer break from college, I was able to attend what my best friend and I dubbed a “Moon Bounce BBQ Party.” Full disclosure, this party was exactly what it sounds like. It was a backyard shindig full of early and mid-twenty-something people barbecuing, drinking some beer, and playing beer pong, with the added entertainment of a moon bounce (also known as a bounce house or inflatable bouncer.) And it was awesome.
So maybe it wasn’t entirely “mature” or “responsible” to mix alcohol with a giant inflatable bounce house, but no one got hurt and it was easily one of the best parties I’ve ever attended. Maybe everyone needs to let off a little steam and act like a kid again. British film director Nigel Cole said that one’s twenties are the toughest part of life “because you’re expected to be a grownup and expected to earn your own living and be successful and I think you feel like a kid still.” Sometimes, we all need a break from that.
Let’s say you want to host a “kidult” party in honor of those awesome birthday parties from your ’90s childhood, or maybe you didn’t get the party you always wanted. Well, the independence of adulthood is the perfect time to make up for that. First off, what made those childhood parties so great? Some pretty obvious things come to mind: a moon bounce, maybe laser tag, mini golf, piñatas, and all those cool toys from when we were growing up.
The best—or worst—thing about being an adult is that you can plan your own party. This means you’ll have to figure out a budget and make all the arrangements, but at least you have the freedom to do whatever you want. If you want a Batman and a Superman bounce house, your parents don’t have any say in the matter—although your bank account might.
To help you out a bit, here are some helpful tips, links, and ideas on how to plan the best “kidult” birthday party.
Although you might think (like I initially did) renting a bounce house for a day would be very expensive, it’s actually not too pricey. Also, according to the guy who threw the party I attended, the amount of energy to keep the bounce house inflated all day is about the same as a house fan.
If you’re in the NYC area, New York Inflatables has a wide range of products for the cheapest prices. For Long Island, there’s Jump and Jam LI with prices ranging between $200-$300 for a full day. NY Party Works has the widest selection of rentals between bounce houses and inflatable water slides. However, they don’t list their prices on the website. If you’re out in L.A., Boomer Events have a lengthy list of bounce house options including castles, superheroes, princesses, dinosaurs, and many others for prices between $100-$150.
If the sites don’t list prices you’ll have to contact them, but you’ll be able to get a more accurate idea of what you’ll be spending. Many rental places don’t list prices on their website because a few things factor into the quote like delivery fee, distance to your house, set up, whether you hire an attendant to keep your party guests safe, etc.
Maybe you’re not so much a fan of jumping around with wild abandon, in which case laser tag is another option. Laser Tag Source is located in Virginia but delivers everywhere in the U.S., though shipping prices vary depending on where you’re located. They have a range of party packages that range in price from $120-$590, these can include just the laser tag guns or bunkers that can be set up for cover for the players.
Another alternative is for an amazing kidult party is mini golf. The Mini Golf Party serves Rhode Island, Connecticut, and parts of New York and Massachusetts. They offer either 9 or 18 holes that can be set up in your yard, inside your house, or a combination of both. WOW Entertainment is located in Somerset, NJ, but will ship anywhere in the U.S. They can provide a 9-hole mini golf course and have descriptions of all the obstacles on their site. Neither site lists prices so you’ll need to contact the company in order to find out how much it will cost.
An easier, but still fun option for a kidult party is a piñata. Beating a paper mache animal with a stick until you were rewarded with candy is a staple of childhood. Piñatas are much cheaper and easier to find. You can go to your local Target or Party City, or order one online from either of their websites. Amazon also sells cheap piñatas. Prices range from $10-$20 or up to $30 for full kits which include candy and a stick.
If you’re looking to throw a party more reminiscent of our generation’s childhood growing up in the 1990s, there are plenty of ways to throw the perfect ’90s kid birthday blast. To throw an action-packed party, you could plan it around the theme of classic Nickelodeon shows like Legends of the Hidden Temple or Global Guts.
Odd Costume and My Party Shirt sell shirts for each television show, as well as accessories like part of the Global Guts crag, a Pendant of Life from the Hidden Temple, elbow pads, kneepads, and helmets. The best part is nothing exceeds $20.
For a more general ’90s kid party, you can find most toys from the decade on Amazon. For example, Sock ‘em Boppers are only $12.99. Super Soakers, another staple of childhood and the perfect addition to a summer bash, are still sold in most toy stores and on the Hasbro website. Plus, Super Soakers have gotten a lot more advanced since we were kids and, of course, you should test it out.
There are plenty of other ways to throw a kidult party—arts and crafts projects, cupcake decorating, board games, etc.—but these were just some ideas to get you started. The most important thing to remember is to take some time off from your grown up responsibilities and have some fun.