Not all kids' birthday parties in the U.S. are created equal. Sometimes it seems like the birthday parties are about showing off and entertaining the parents of kids in addition to children.
Most children's birthday parties are held in the home of the birthday boy or girl. It used to be that children's parties were just for children. Parents would drop their kids off and come back when the party was over to bring them home. Now it is more common for the parents of guests to stay for the party as well. This gives the adults time and space to socialize while the kids play games. Kids and adults don't always have the same tastes in food. So when adults are invited to stay for a child's birthday party, there is usually fancier food for the adults like cheese, crackers, and fruit platters. Meanwhile the kids eat hot dogs and potato chips. While the children drink punch, juice, or soda, the parents may be sipping cocktails, beer, or wine.
Entertainment for a party of mixed adults and children also goes beyond the usual clown or magician. Sometimes there will be a DJ, and the adults will dance. Party games are not just for the kids, either. While the children play traditional games like pin the tail on the donkey, the adults may play casino-type games like blackjack or poker.
Not everyone likes this trend of adults and children partying together. Some feel that the parties should be kept separate. Some people worry about adults getting drunk in front of the kids. Others worry about kids getting abused by adults they don't know. For others, it is just about allowing a kid to have their special day. There is also a concern that these mixed parties encourage a sense of competition among parents in a community.