Lola Rolls
Advice on Life from a Former Sideshow Fat Lady

Tired of Drive-Thru Birthday Parties for Kids

Posted By on Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Dear Lola,

With the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen the advent of drive-thru birthday parties for kids. I love the idea of making the birthday boy/girl feel special, but these events have left me feeling kind of flat.

When invited to the party, I purchase a gift for the honoree, and round up the kids to go yell “Happy birthday!!!” out of the car. The drive-thru party is not really fun for my 8- and 4-year old, who don’t want to be in the car, but I lure them with the idea of feting their friends and having some cake.

I have been to two of these parties now, and my kids have been somewhat deflated, as they don’t get to play with their friends or even interact much, and they have left empty-handed — no cake, no goody bags.

I know that a birthday celebration should be about the person we are celebrating, but I also think we have a sort of social pact around kids’ birthdays: The honoree’s parents provide a fun party for the kids; we invitees bring presents; everyone has fun; invitees leave filled up junk food and maybe with a goody bag.

These drive thrus have left us all feeling a little depressed, and my little one feeling car sick.

Would it be wrong to decline future invitations to these parties?


–These Parties Suck


Dear Parties,

I feel sorry for all the kids involved in this. The birthday boy or girl isn’t getting much of a party, and the guests aren’t having any fun either. For the record, the parents are probably afraid to pass out cake or favor bags because they are either worried about spreading the virus, or, as is even more likely, they don’t want to upset other parents.

This situation seems like a drag all around. Even so, I would encourage you to continue participating in these events because it’s a way, albeit a not very entertaining one, for children to stay connected with each other, and, more importantly I would argue, to stay familiar with at least the concept of socialization and the idea of bringing good wishes to others.

Maybe you could tag on a fun event that your children would enjoy, like going through a drive thru to get ice cream cones after yelling out their “happy birthdays,” or eating cupcakes on the way, or some thing you can give them as a treat to make these “parties” fun.  Yes, this is extra work, but it’s also a way to break up the monotony of your kids’ days and yours too.

Hang in there!


Barbara Boehm Miller
Fiction Writer and Creator of the Character, Lola Rolls

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