Kids' Birthday Parties -- The 'Modern Family' Way

"Nothing is too big when Phil and Claire decide to throw Luke the biggest and best birthday party a boy could ever want."

That's the description of next week's installment of Modern Family, airing November 25. But it could easily depict any number of parties that go on in my suburban neighborhood. So I was interested to watch a video clip of an on-set interview with Nolan Gould, who plays Luke, offering some tidbits on this "biggest and best birthday party."

Not surprisingly, Phil, a.k.a. Cool Dad (Ty Burrell) has spared no expense. He's rented a zip line, a repelling wall, a bouncy house, a snow cone vendor and a reptile handler named Jungle Tanya. Admittedly, Fizbo the Clown probably came free, since it's really Uncle Cameron (Eric Stonestreet).

In my humble opinion, no second-grade shindig should require a theme, or a title with "palooza" on the end. But as usual, Modern Family reflects reality. Parents are renting inflatable water slides and petting zoos and carnival rides. At some point during grade school, your kids will probably attend an extravagant bash, or five.

A friend told me recently that she dropped her daughter off at a six-year-old's party with gift in hand: a beautifully wrapped Webkinz animal. It cost $12.99. When her daughter returned home, she reached into the "loot bag" she'd been given on the way out the door. Among the "thanks for coming" giveaways was a Webkinz animal. How embarrassing.

On the other hand, my five-year-old had a blast at the last super-party we attended -- the one with the two-story, inflatable slide and gorgeous, bountiful spread of food. I had a good time, too. (Did I mention they also had a bar for the adults?) A few months later, when we "hosted" her birthday party at the park down the street, she was equally thrilled. So for the time being, I'm not too worried about the crazy party trend. Apparently, Carvel flying saucers and playground games were just as cool.

Now, will she still feel that way at 10? Or maybe at that point she'd prefer a different venue, like the food court at the mall?

What's the most elaborate kids party you've ever attended? Chime in below!

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