Having participated in and hired equipment to hundreds of slumber parties across Melbourne in the last year, it would be fair to say that we have learnt some key elements to hosting a great sleepover party. So here are a few things you should consider BEFORE sending out the invites.....
1. Know the kids that you intend on inviting to the slumber party. Inviting kids that are you are unfamiliar with (and that are unfamiliar with you) can create problems. Some have special requirements, likes, dislikes etc and it pays to know what you are up for.
2. Set a time for sleep. A room full of over excited youngsters that are jacked up on sugar can stay up all night at a sleepover if left to their own devices. Yes we come across countless slumber parties where kids aged around 10 have stayed awake pretty much all night. Its a lot of fun for the kids BUT they are still quite young and the reality is that if they don't get any sleep they (and their parents) will pay for it for many days after. We find that 8 years olds can have plenty of fun with a sleep time of around 10.30 (with lights out a while prior). You can probably add 30 to 45 mins more for each year older than 8. So for example 12 year olds can probably handle a 12.30 curfew sleep time.
3. Have a good long think about the right sleepover party size for your circumstances. If there are two parents present then handling 7 to 10 kids is possible - assuming of course that you have the space and mental strength to survive. However if only one parent is present then we recommend keeping the slumber party to no more than 6 kids. Of course age has a lot to do with it. Younger kids need more supervision.
4. Plan the food supplies to provide the right balance of real food and party food. Yes its a party and an occasion to be liberal on dietary standards but if the kids eat and drink absolute junk from the start to end they won't feel great. Just carefully disperse some healthy options (chocolate strawberries are a winner, watermelon etc) a few minutes before you bring out the less healthy stuff.
Hopefully these observations will give you something to consider before jumping in.