'Pester power' blamed as parents splash out on children's parties
The average child's birthday party now costs over £200, as parents come under pressure from "pester power" as well as trying to out-do other families, research suggests.
Nationwide Current Accounts, which commissioned the survey, said the findings suggest that inviting a few friends round for jelly and ice cream and a game of pass the parcel no longer seems to "cut it".
The survey of 2,000 parents of children aged up to 18 found the typical party now costs just over £218. This includes around £77 spent on hiring a venue, £33 on general party food and £15 on a birthday cake. Around £12 is spent on the birthday boy or girl's party outfit, with a similar amount also being spent on filling up party bags for guests to take home.
More than half (52%) of parents surveyed admit to blowing their original budget, with 8% of over-spenders saying they caved in to pester power and 7% saying they had been trying to compete with other parties. One in seven (14%) parents who had spent more than planned said they like to indulge their child when they can.
As well as hosting parties for their children at home, bowling alleys, trampoline centres, sports venues, soft play centres and local halls were also popular with the parents surveyed.
One in 25 (4%) parents had received contributions from relatives to help with their party costs, while one in six (15%) had used a credit card to fund the occasion and one in 20 (5%) had dipped into their overdraft.
Phil Smith, Nationwide Building Society's head of current accounts, said: "For kids, the best parties are often more about spending time with their friends, rather than a lavish event, so parents shouldn't feel under pressure to over-deliver."
The cost of attending other children's birthday parties can also add up, with £10.86 being the average amount of money spent on a card and a gift for another child.
On average, parents said their child had attended four other children's birthday parties in the last year - but one in 16 (6%) had been to more than 10.
One in seven (14%) parents admitted they had missed a party invite left in their child's school bag, while one in 10 (10%) had pretended their child was ill or away so they did not have to attend a party.
One in 12 (8%) had turned an invite down because they did not like the birthday child - and 6% had made their excuses because they did not like the child's parents.
Here is how the average cost of a child's birthday party adds up for parents, according to Nationwide Current Accounts:
:: Entertainment/activities, £77.21
:: Venue hire, £47.29
:: Food, £33.58
:: Birthday cake, £15.02
:: Party bags, £12.71
:: Decorations/tableware, £12.33
:: Child's party outfit, £12.15
:: Invites/thank you notes, £7.83
:: Total, £218.12