Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WFMW--Peter Piper Pizza Party

My son turned 5 last week. Five. Years. Old. Where does the time go?! {I'm a little verklempt, talk amongst yourselves, I'll give you a topic: grapenuts are neither grapes nor nuts, discuss.}

Anyway... for once, hubby was on board with the idea of a big party and several of L's classmates had had their parties at Peter Piper Pizza so we decided to go that route for L's first big birthday party ever. The party was last weekend and I have to say, having a birthday party at Peter Piper Pizza worked for me.

As a little background, I think it's tough having a birthday in the summer in Phoenix. I would have loved to have the party at the park. Kids climb on the play equipment, eat a picnic, have cake and a pinata, done. But here in June, it's just Too Darn HOT! Our house is too small for a big gathering (again, can't use the backyard cuz of the heat) so we had to look for other venues.

Peter Piper and Chuck E Cheese are similarly priced. At Chuck's, each guest is either $10 or $14, at Peter's, each guest is either $8 or $10--and the $10 package is similar at both places. (The $8 plan at Peter's I thought had too few tokens per guest, which you could remedy by getting a bulk package of tokens.) We chose Peter for the location (Chuck is farther away). Also, I had a great coupon that if we got the deluxe package ($10 per kid) we'd receive 50 extra tokens and FREE goody bags (normally $2 per bag).

Turns out, the deluxe package had extra perks I didn't even know about, like giving L a t-shirt for all the kids to sign, and all the kids got ice cream.

So, the party. The best thing by far was the waitress assigned to be our "party helper." Since I was basically clueless, she had to guide me through everything. She would ask me what I wanted and I often replied "what do you recommend?" or "how do other people do it?" We made a bunch of decisions at the beginning (kind of overwhelming), like how many and what kinds of pizzas. (You get one pizza per 4 kids and then we ordered more pizzas so the parents could eat too. She recommended a summer special of two pizzas plus tokens for $20. So on top of the 3 pizzas for 12 kids, we ordered 2 summer specials. Yes, this was way too much food.)

Guests arrived and I gave them their tokens and cups for drinks. {An idea I stole from a friend: bring a sharpie so people can write their names to keep track of drinks and token cups.} We planned the pizzas to come out a half hour into the party. In hindsight, I would have waited till all the guests had arrived before cooking the pizzas, so as not to pay for kids who don't show up. So all the kids played games and I stayed by the tables to greet guests. We ate the pizzas then the kids played more, then we did the cake--signing, blowing out candles, eating cake and ice cream. Then kids played and went home.

For the goody bags, I bought four items in our Scooby Doo theme--notepads, stickers, erasers and fruit snacks--and added them to the free Peter Piper bags. Actually, the prepared bags were very nice, they included a coloring page, sunglasses, mini slinky, a sling-shot-type-rocket-thing, and some candy, all in a decorated zip-top bag. I just slid in the Scooby stuff and I was all set.

For the cake, we ordered a half sheet Scooby Doo cake from Target bakery. At 10am the day of the party, my husband picked up the cake at Target and dropped it off at Peter Piper, where they refrigerated it till we needed it during the party.

I would definitely have a party there again, but I've learned some lessons. First, if you aren't sure how many kids are going to show up (which is likely the case because no one RSVPs anymore), postpone cooking the pizzas till everyone has shown up. I didn't want to slow down the party by delaying lunch, but who cares? Everyone is playing games anyway. {An hour into the party, a family (with 3 kids!) still hadn't shown up. I told our helper but her answer was basically that we had paid for them because they'd already made the pizzas. Bad! Luckily, the family arrived 15 minutes later (straight from the ER, poor things) so it worked out for us, but learn my lesson.} Also, at least where 5-year-olds are concerned, they will not eat all their assigned pizzas, so do not order too many extra pizzas. We ended up with 3 entire pizzas left over!!! A pizza takes 15 minutes to cook, so it's okay if you underestimate and have to order more later.

Also, we had all this leftover pizza and no place to put it. They did not offer to refrigerate it for us (maybe we should have asked) so my husband drove it home in the middle of the party (which worked for us because we live 5 minutes away). Because we ate relatively early in the party, we were worried about all those pizzas spoiling. So again, if I were to do it again, we'd eat later in the party and not have to drive the leftovers home before the party ended. {We had already driven the pizzas home by the time the late family arrived, so they missed out on pizza. Boo!}

Okay, that's all I can think of for now. Oh, final cost of the party (keeping in mind we bought way too many extra pizzas), for 12 children and about 12 adults: $192.00 before tip. So not cheap, but it was a large party and we had to do very little work (and no cleanup--woohoo!). That works for me! For more tips and tricks, visit We Are THAT Family. Thanks!


Jen @ Happy LIttle Homemaker said...

Wow! This looks like a fabulously easy way to do it!

BTW- just returning some belated comment love from UBP; thanks for stopping by my blog!

Peter Piper Pizza said...

Thank you for taking the time write about your experience hosting your child’s birthday at Peter Piper. We pride ourselves on being the absolute best children’s birthday party hosts and we are very pleased that you enjoyed your experience at our restaurant. Next time, to make things even easier, you may want to use our online party planning tool! Visit us at http://www.peterpiperpizza.com/parties to to learn more. Thanks again!

JoAnne Markov said...

Where did you score your party coupon? We are thinking of holding our son's party at PPP as well.

Wenni Donna said...

Super cool pizza party. Seems like everyone had a great time in this bash! My cousin also threw pizza party at local Chicago event venues. We had BBQ food and had a great time there. Everything was arranged perfectly.