At the preschool/early elementary school age, it seems that in USA most birthday parties are held at some sort of party venue (e.g. bowling, minigolf, bounce castles, build-a-bears).

Obviously, at certain age, that stops being the trend and birthday parties at home become acceptable.

Is there information on what age the at-home parties become the norm in USA instead of party venues? I'm assuming it's based on an age when kids can entertain themselves, but that's just a random guess.

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    The main reason they are held at venues during the preschool years is that it is easier to have all the activity and mess NOT in your house! It is acceptable to hold them wherever you like at whatever age, though eventually the children become to mature for Chuck E Cheese.
    – MJ6
    Commented May 18, 2014 at 21:22
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    I feel like it goes the other way around if anything. At 1 or 2 you're going to do it at home. At 8 or 9 you're going to do it out. It's more that birthday parties sort of go away eventually.
    – Joe
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 1:20
  • @joe I meant around 11 or 13.
    – user3143
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 1:26
  • My own kids aren't this old yet, but I don't remember anyone having birthday parties really at all by 13. Maybe we hung out at the mall or something, but there weren't actual parties anymore for the most part.
    – Joe
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 1:52
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    This question is the first I've heard of most birthday parties being held at a special venue. In my experience, in the US, birthday parties are almost universally held in homes.
    – Joe
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 5:11

3 Answers 3


Well, the definition of "OK" will vary, but I have never held my daughter's birthday parties at a venue. She wasn't interested in it and I don't like them anyway. Doing something at home gave us the freedom to do her party however we wanted and allowed for great creativity.

There aren't any laws, of course. And I've never heard of any "rules" about home vs venue.

Do what feels right for your family. That would be the only rule I would care about if I were you.

  • My definition of OK is "at least 30%-60% of his peers stop having them at such venues"
    – user3143
    Commented May 18, 2014 at 22:14
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    Seems like your son is the person to ask for that statistic.
    – Joe
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 1:53
  • @Joe - my son only knows the data points for whoever invites him to parties from his exact age. Which in his case 100% are at party venues, so that'd be singularly unhelpful to figuring out when the party venues are out of fashion.
    – user3143
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 10:40
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    @DVK I'm just imagining a group of families who always hold parties at venues because all the other families hold them at venues, none of them wanting to be the first one to not... As Jeremy said, go for what's best for your family and to hell with what the others do (obviously, this means take your kid's feelings into account as well, if possible)
    – Doc
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 20:05

There are absolutely no USA laws or regulations about this - and expectations vary. Many people have young child birthday parties at home. I think you're mainly locked in to "the practices of upper middle class whitebread helicopter parents," and for that set it's definitely super common to have the parties at a Chuck-E-Cheese or other venue where the little varmints can run loose without destroying someone's living room. If you are super concerned about little Timmy fitting in, then "do exactly like the invitations he gets," but these things end up being driven much more by what the kid wants than the parent. They want Chuck-E-Cheese, fine, they want a bounce house at the park, fine... The kids don't care, they get jacked up on sugar and have fun whether it's in your kid's room or at Jumbo Bounce House Indoor Playland. I might recommend considering encouraging them to do what they want instead of what everyone else does so that they're not a slave to peer pressure quite yet. Setting positive examples is an important meta-layer on all parenting decisions.


I can't answer for USA, but in the 4 European countries I've lived in, "parties at venues" is a rare thing for below-teens, and typically the kids don't care as long as they have fun.

I've certainly never heard of any requirement to hold a party at a venue instead of at home. I've attended and arranged several preschool birthdays in people's apartments, living rooms, back yards, in public parks, etc. -- all great fun with no property damage or problems. It strikes me as something that businesses have invented, rather than there being a legitimate social or practical reason.

As an adult, I've been go-carting etc., but as a kid -- especially toddler/preschool! -- I see no reason to spend $$$ on a venue. This must be a regional thing, or perhaps related to affluence.

  • The question isn't about "requirement" and more about cultural expectation in USA.
    – user3143
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 10:41
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    @DVK in my (admittedly limited, for the age ranges you specify) experience, I'm not sure just how pervasive that cultural expectation is in the USA. It is almost certainly specific to certain economic brackets, and likely varies significantly by region. However, anecdotally, I know of at least one upper-middle-class suburban parent (just outside a large city) that has exclusively thrown home parties throughout preschool and primary school ages for his son. Granted, they are lavishly planned theme parties, but 100% of the decorations and activities are homemade.
    – user420
    Commented May 19, 2014 at 13:17

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