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How to Throw a Sleepover Birthday Party

How to Host the Ultimate Kids Slumber Party, Straight From a Professional (They Exist!)

Slumber parties are a timeless childhood tradition, but hosting a successful sleepover is no easy feat. Between homesick guests, picky eaters, and overtired kids, throwing an all-night bash for your child's dream birthday party can quickly turn into any parent's greatest nightmare.

Thankfully, hosting the ultimate slumber party isn't actually as intimidating as it may seem. POPSUGAR recently chatted with Trish Healy, the creator and founder of WonderTent Parties – a luxury sleepover company in Los Angeles – about her favorite ways for DIY-loving parents to re-create her five-star fetes at home. Here, Healy shares her top five tips for sweet dreams on a budget.

1. Top Chef Kids

"We love the idea of making your own meals, whether it's individual pizzas, tacos, burgers, or sundaes," says Healy. "Making it a communal activity with each child making their own meal not only makes it fun, but it also guarantees they'll eat it. You can add in prizes for the yummiest, most creative, or prettiest meal, too. We always do a pizza-making contest at our house."

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2. Popcorn and a Movie

"A movie is always a hit," she says. "Have two or three pre-selected ones to watch. Your child might have a favorite in mind, but it's great to have back-ups just in case. With streaming, the options can be limitless, so it's good to have a narrowed-down list so that the kids can make the final decision. Having a party theme might make the movie to watch a no-brainer. We've done The Polar Express, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Legally Blonde, among others. Add in some popcorn, and let them settle in for a few hours of fun."

3. Throw Out the Rulebook

"Plan some activities, but let the evening flow as it does," says Healy. "There's nothing worse than having the kids on a schedule when it's meant to be a night of fun. Not everything will go as planned, so just go with the flow of the evening. Make sure to set a lights-out time, but know that it's likely to be one to two hours later!"

4. Game Night

"Have some games on hand," she says. "Create a scavenger hunt with little candy treats hidden around the house. The thing to remember is to make the clues just hard enough that they have to think and feel good about solving the puzzle. Board games are also an easy and fun way to keep the kids entertained. Classics like Jenga and Uno are always a hit. Faster-paced versions of Monopoly work, too. More current games like Guesstures, Sequence, or the app Heads Up are also big crowd-pleasers."

5. Go Glam

"To elevate your child's sleepover to a five-star experience, use a bespoke approach like that of a fancy hotel," says Healy. "You can use generous amounts of coordinated fabrics, luxurious fluffy pillows, and even small throw rugs. Reusable hand-crafted bunting adds whimsy, and lots of sparkling lights will help to make it an unforgettable experience. Can you sew, cook, or craft? Head to your local craft store and find things with initials for your guests. Small details go a long way. The main objective is to have fun!"

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