CHILDRENS birthday parties have become some of the most outrageous events on the social calendar.

From petting zoos to live entertainers and five-tier cakes, they're actually getting ridiculous.

But for those who don't have the time (or budget) for a party to rival Carnivale, here is a simple checklist... How to plan your child's birthday party in 15 minutes:

Guest list: Write down everyone you plan to invite and their address (or how you will send them the invitation)

Theme it: Work out the theme and make a list of everything you need to buy, plus all shops you will need to go to to get it.  

Invitations: Will you make them yourself, buy them from the $2 shop or get them printed? Give yourself a deadline of when these need to be sent.

Venue and menu: Plan for rain, hail and shine. Also remember who you're feeding. If it's three-year-olds they probably won't be so keen on salmon gravlax. But stuffing their faces with lollies and chocolate may also cause some issues - more so for the parents.

You don't need to go overboard to do a child's birthday the right way.
You don't need to go overboard to do a child's birthday the right way. SerrNovik

Get your list of games together: Even putting together somewhat of a games schedule may make for less to think about on the day of the party.

Having a cake? Work out if you're buying, making or having made to order. Top tip for the non-bakers among us - buy a pre-made one from the supermarket, chuck a bit of extra icing on it and a few M&Ms and Maltesers and you have yourself a masterpiece.

Helpers: Yes, yes and yes. Get your mates on board to help herd the children on the day. Don't even try and do it all on your own. Lock them in now before they make plans!

There you go - a birthday planning checklist that will take you 15 minutes to complete and save you stacks of time. 



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