Help! Can I have a "no kids" birthday party?

Some quick background. I’ll be turning 41 soon. Left a cult that was all I ever knew about three years ago. Was never allowed to celebrate birthdays, neither was my wife. When we got out we threw a big party for my wife’s first birthday and I’m pretty sure I got some great advice here. We rented a place and had people out and it was a great time.

Now, a couple of years later, it’s my turn I guess. Last year I did a pretty big trip for my 40th birthday, but that was just my wife and I taking a tour of New York state and doing everything from hiking the Adirondacks to seeing my brother in Manhattan. She’d like to see me put myself out there and have a party for myself in my own style. It is something I should probably do for myself. It’s not easy coming from where I came from.

Oh, I should also say that we’re shunned completely by everyone we knew prior to leaving, so our friends are mostly people that we clean houses for and people that we’ve met through those people over the past few years, plus people I reconnected with from my past that were shunned now that I’m in their club. So I have friends, but I’m not super close individually with anyone.

Alright, enough about that, though you’re free to ask questions. On to the party.

Something I’m realizing is that for most of my life I’ve never let people see me. Couldn’t do it in the cult because everyone kept up appearances, wasn’t allowed to be friends with the “world” at large because they were evil and would lead me down a bad path. So, knowing myself, caring for myself, and showing who I am to others is very vulnerable and strange on levels.

I’m thinking of just kind of having an open house for my birthday and inviting everyone I know and seeing who comes. No set time, just stop by that day and say hi anytime you like. I’ll provide some barbecue from a local restaurant, some cake for those that want a piece, and when people have time that day they can stop by for something to eat and to say hi. I’d just do a Facebook event and try to get commitments so that I know how much food to buy. I figure that showing people our house is a great way to show people who I am. I’m the one that decorated most of it, and the things that matter to me are there. My wife and I go into other people’s homes and see how they live and it is a vulnerable thing for those people, so I figure I’m flipping the script a bit and letting them see our place.

I’ll also have games out that people can play if they want. It would feel good to me to have people come to my house and have fun, even if they aren’t playing a game with me at the time. We have a pool table, air hockey, lots of games that can be played on any table. People can watch a movie if they want in the basement or watch something in the living room.

If you see obvious flaws above, feel free to let me know.

The place where I don’t know what’s normal is this…people with kids. We usually hang out with people at their houses. Some have chill kids, others have kids that are just a mess. Our house is just my wife and I. No pets, no kids. The sectional in our living room is just a few months old, as is the carpet in our basement. We don’t have a large house, no room to run. We live on a corner lot and we don’t even have a back yard to let kids play in. You can literally stretch out your arms side to side and that’s the width of our back yard. We have two side yards, but one is a garden and the other is kind of a slope by the street. So, we’d like to not have kids over, which is kind of a shame because some of them are so well behaved, but others are just the jumping on furniture and going through your dresser drawers and medicine cabinet types or are so hyper that they’re just uncontrollable at their own houses. Our house isn’t built for that. I do a podcast and I have audio and video equipment set up with wires and things down in the basement and I can’t have kids messing it up. We have lots of little glass knick knacks. It’s a place where a kid would be able to get bored and do some damage.

So, do I just invite people that don’t have kids? Do I invite everyone and specify “no kids” under 16 or something? I don’t want to hurt feelings. Again, our house isn’t huge, so it would also help limit the number of people that come to just have a couple at most show up, not a whole big family. Or maybe I should just do something small and pick a few people and have them over, but the open house concept feels cool.

Any thoughts? Maybe I just need to do something else entirely, but we dropped a lot of money renting a place and doing my wife’s first birthday party. I’m not a guy that wants to be the focal point. My wife was wanting something more like that for once in her life. To me this is just a party that happens to be on my birthday and let’s people a little more into my life. My wife has since done a birthday brunch and she invites all of her girl friends and sees who can make it and they go to a restaurant. I could do something like that, but it limits things more and I’m trying to put myself out there some. This isn’t something I have any real experience with.

Speaking as a kid-having person - sure you can say “no kids”. People have no-kids events all the time, it’s perfectly normal.

I’d advise **not **saying explicitly “because some of your spawn are little hellions” though. You can just think it quietly ;). “Because our house has lots of delicate stuff in it” is a completely acceptable reason in itself.

For a no-kids event though, I’d advise trying to skew the time away from kid-friendly hours. Though no-kid events are common, drop-in-style + no-kids is an unusual combination - usually people hold afternoon drop-ins precisely so that their kid-having friends can easily attend without having to bother with baby-sitters. Maybe late afternoon till late evening, something like that?

Good luck with your party. It sounds like fun

That sounds like a great time, OP. You definitely seem excited about the concept; go for it.

As far as kids go, invite everybody and just make it tactfully clear that your house will not be prepared for children and this is an adult event.

Some people won’t come, but if it’s an all day event that leaves a lot of flexibility for those who have kids to arrange something for a hour or two so they can manage to stop by.

If the “no kids” thing turns out to be impractical, could you have it at a park pavilion, or some other public meeting room?

“While we love children, this particular party is adults only. Thanks for understanding.”

This is what my apartment building uses when they’re hosting an event with alcohol. But, I think the same can apply for a party where you simply don’t want children there.

Why don’t you hold it in a venue that already doesn’t allow kids? Say, in a private room in a tavern. I’ve hosted parties in hotel bars several times, and they are cool with you just sitting there and having people drop in, buy a drink, maybe stay, maybe leave. And out of towners can easily get a room if they want. Just avoid the times of the week they are likely to be packed.

Of your delicate/breakable/dangerous items. Even adults can break things. Maybe they touch things to look and examine them then accidentally drop them, maybe an errant elbow (often happens in a crowded room). Sometimes items walk away. Whatever I’d suggest putting away as many things as possible that could be broken even if no kids.

Next, as a parent, I rarely brought my kids to someones house if I knew it wasnt child friendly. If it wasnt I basically had to hold them down or one of us stayed with the kid in the car.

Hopefully your “friends” already can figure this out but we had people bring their kids over when our house wasnt set up for it and it made me pretty mad.

I really like this idea.

It works it out gently because sometimes those with children get offended by the notion.

OP, Remember even if it was explicitly “NO KIDS ALLOWED”, someone will still ignore it and bring their kid(s).

Some great feedback already! I love having a place like this with so many people that can pull from their experiences. I can’t exactly ask on Facebook where all of my friends are, lol.

While it is true that I could have it at another location, part of the whole deal was to try to push myself to have people over and to show that side of my life. It may be an option, but it’s not my first choice. I wouldn’t know where to go for a tavern room or anything. I don’t even drink.

I am glad to know that a “no kids allowed” idea is doable, though clearly it needs to be stated more tactfully. I’m guessing that a “kids allowed, just not yours” is out of the question. :wink:

I did originally like the drop in and one person seems to like it but another seems to indicate that possibly I should restrict the hours to more of a later time in the day when it’s more likely that people aren’t doing kid things. I can see both sides of that. My birthday falls on a Sunday, so that may impact it too.

Thanks for the input already. It makes me feel better about the idea when I have very limited experience with something to bounce it off others. :slight_smile:

I think everybody who is saying “go to a tavern” or “do it at a park” are missing the point. The centerpiece of the party is OP showing his guests something about himself by inviting them to view how he lives and entertains at home.

I think this a perfectly appropriate way of stating it.

Don’t have it in a tavern in Wisconsin. Taverns are the center of family life here.

No, really. Parents/legal guardians can purchase alcohol for their underage children to consume in WI. Legal age spouses can purchase it for their underage spouse too.

Put your bric-a-brac up. Put your electronics in a closet. Lock up your meds and poisons. Someone will still bring their kids, they always do. And a BBQ stain on the new sofa or a spill on the new carpet is inevitably gonna happen. Things can be cleaned, don’t sweat it. Have fun.

Be different. Got it. Thanks. That’s EXACTLY what I was looking for.

I hope it works, but I gotta be honest, if an acquaintance/casual friend group-invited me to an all-day open house, I’d be a little :dubious:. I wouldn’t know whether I’d show up for a big group of folks drinking all the beer, or show up for a quiet tete-a-tete. Either option is okay, but I’d kinda want to know ahead of time.

I think you’d be better off either having a series of dinner parties for folks, or hosting one big party, with more bounded times.

But I may be totally wrong, and hope I am!

I can see wanting to be a bit more prepared for what’s ahead. Good point. That might go a little more hand in hand with the earlier comment about maybe making it later in the day and not quite so open. I might be leaving it more open because I’m just uncomfortable myself defining it in case I get it wrong or nobody wants to show up. I think nobody showing up is probably my biggest fear, and I might actually manifest that by being too vague. Point taken.

Another possibility is to provide something for the kids elsewhere. I’ve seen this done, albeit primarily at stuff related to church where there’s an obvious place for the kiddos. And it seems more popular within groups that all have kids. Basically, it just makes it more convenient since nobody has to worry about getting a sitter or anything.

Do put away your recording equipment and your most fragile knick knacks. Adults can be rough, too. Where do you think the kids get it from. :wink:

Whether “all day” works may depend on how many total people you are inviting. I have a friend who does an all-day (10AM - 10PM) party every year, and it’s a lot of fun. I usually show up for a couple of hours in the afternoon. She invites kids, but warns that the house isn’t child-proof and parents need to supervise their children. But her house doesn’t have anything as fragile as what you describe. She also has a lot of stuff for people to do – she lives on a lake, people swim and boat during the day – she sets out jigsaw puzzles and there are often other semi-organized activities.

I have a new years eve party that people drop in and out of, and that works for me. We also set out some games and jigsaw puzzles, but mostly people just sit around and talk. (and eat)

Best wishes!

Yeah, when we had the party for my wife at the place we rented we had activities for the kids and I made sure to pick a place that even had an attached playground where they could play (it was even fenced in). I bought games for the kids. Heck, I even bought little toys and made gift baskets for the kids so they would have something too. So I had it taken care of there.

I think in this instance I probably would just not invite people with kids if a no-kiddos option wasn’t a possibility. We love many of these kids and hang out with them at their houses, but not all kids are the same. Some that we know have some serious behavioral issues too, which makes it harder. In a large rented facility it would be okay, but I’m not interested in paying the money again plus I’d like to have it at the house for previously mentioned reasons. I like the idea of a more low key party and this thread is helping me narrow things down a lot.