1. We can host 85 people in our house, but that doesn't mean we should.
2. When you have 20 kids in your house under five, you really ought to have structure and planned activites.
3. If you have art as an activity, you need to protect your floors and furniture (and use washable paints)
4. Ask for help. While you're hosting/hostessing, helpers can assist with photography (I love the pics one dad took last year!), helping kids with activites, setting up materials, or keeping track of your own kids (for example, we don't want the birthday girl or boy in tears).
5. Don't let the goody bags get out of hand. One or two items inside is really plenty. I like a mini-notepad and a couple crayons.
This year I'm planning to have a theme (November's all about themes, eh?): Art Party! Rosie fancies herself an artist, and there are plenty of six-year-old friendly activities to set up for art. Here's a few I'm thinking will work.
I'll set up 4 or 5 stations for fingerpainting, chalkboard, clay or playdoh, watercolor (Rosie's favorite!) and then down in the basement, silhouettes! I'm totally excited about this last one! We'll move the screen out of the way and tack paper up on the wall, then I (or a helper) can trace the outline of the child's shadow & then we'll let them fill in the shape. Oh, and cupcake decorating, natch. With prizes for creativity!
If you all have some ideas, post them in the comments. I'd really appreciate your input.
UPDATE: For those of you who are looking for very cheap things to put in goody bags, I just found these $0.60 books of stickers on sale at Dover! There are several other books for the same price; poking around their site is worth it.