The Road To Hell Is Paved With Birthday Parties

1 Jan 2011 by Dear Bad Dad, No Comments »

Dear Bad Dad,

Brand New Year, same old problem.

My wife is freaking out about our daughter’s fifth birthday party (just like how she freaked before the fourth, third, second and first).  I suggested “let’d just do something simple.” She nearly filed for divorce.

Any thoughts on how to approach this so that: 1) our kid has a nice time and 2) my wife doesn’t leave me.



New Haven, CT

Dear Tom,

Ah, birthday parties.

Times to rejoice.  Times to reflect.  Times to mark a child’s journey from infancy to adolescence to adulthood to moving back in with his parents.

Yet there is also a dark side to the celebrations.

Namely, the celebrations.

Think about it: parents WILLINGLY choose to celebrate their offspring with frenetic physical stimuli (bouncy houses, amusement park rides), sensory overload (shiny Mylar balloons, blasting children’s music), and obscene amounts of sugar (cupcakes and candy and birthday cake, oh my!), then are surprised and frustrated when these now-hyped-up little berserkers refuse to go to bed that night, much less climb down from off the ceiling.

If a Dad tells you he’s had a good time at his kid’s party, I guarantee you his eyes are brown.

Because he is full of shit.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  Remember: little Aubree and Karson aren’t the ones swiping the plastic to purchase the All-Inclusive Fiestapalooza Platinum Level Package at the Happytime Gymnauseum.  It’s time for Dads to reclaim birthday parties for the infantile creatures who would actually appreciate them.

Namely, Dads.


First order of business: serve food that YOU like.

If I go to one more birthday party where the “dining” choices are limited to carrot sticks, cold pizza or really cold pizza, I’m gonna cold-cock the face-painting fairy.

Go on, Dads: Order that side of beef with extra barbecue sauce.  Buckets of buffalo wings, extra spicy.  Remember: no brittle modern-day Mom will let that 12 foot-long peppers and sa-zeech hero touch her little Aurelius’s or Biafra’s lips.  In other words: more for you!

And to wash it all down, Extreme Bonzo Berry juice boxes for everyone!

Um, no.

I stopped being a four year-old when I was four.  After you’ve powered through a few brontosaurus burgers, it’s time to crack open the Famous Budweiser Beer.  Johnnie Walker Black.  Grain alcohol.  Anything to dull the pain of “The Comedic Stylyings of Perfesser WackyPants the Clown.”  Which brings us to the next item on the agenda …


Don’t hire a clown.

Hire a stripper.

Can we all agree that kids are terrified of clowns?  No?  OK, little reminder:

No matter what it is, kids will have the bejesus scared out of them by the birthday party entertainment, so you might as well let the scaring be done by someone named Melanie Mounds or Lacey Unmentionables or Dominatrix Brünhilde.  Yes, the kids will still be traumatized, but you will be a hero to every Dad forever.


If you think throwing one “le soccer ball” into a crowd of three-dozen butt-scratchers will suffice as the sole party activity, then you must also think that spending the day in the emergency room is a hoot. Because that’s where you and all the other parents will end up after you’ve disentangled all the kids’ bodies from the resulting Lord of the Flies-like scrum.

Dear Bad Dad doesn’t care if the 2010 World Cup was a huge success.  Any sport whose champion of the entire goddamn planet wins by a score of 1 – 0 is not even worthy of a kid’s birthday party.

Break out the football.  The basketball.  The lawn darts.  OK, yes, technically, all those toys are made in China.  But they own hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. debt, so it’s like we’re helping them help us.  Or they’re helping us by helping them.  Or … look, just shut up and eat your brontosaurus burger.


Keep.  It.  Simple.  Stupid.

Kids can be amazingly easy to please sometimes.  Here at Dear Bad Dad Command Headquarters, I once watched The Girl play for over 2 hours with some crayons and a tube from a roll of paper towels.  All you may need are some cake, some balloons and streamers, maybe a small goodie bag. Even better, give ’em each a book to take home.

Bottom line, Tom: Do your best to pick your battles and conserve your energy.  You’ll need it.  Because one night in the not-too-distant future, your precious little girl will come with her “new boyfriend” whose name is “Thor” and who “rides a Ducati Monster” because “that’s how he rolls, Dad – like an original gangsta — and you just don’t understand him or his music or us because we’re in love and I hate you and all your values! Mommmmmmmmmmmm!”

Happy Birthday!

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