Chicago Suburban Family


Annual Party Guide

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Party Places & Advice From the Pros – – – 17 Creative Birthday Activities for an Unforgettable Party – – – Benefits of Hosting a Party Away from Home – – – Tips on Taking Party Photographs – – – Host a Party with These Hacks


Party Places & Advice From the Pros

If you like to have fun and be active, Funtopia is the place to host your birthday party. With a variety of private party rooms, adventurous activities and friendly staff, the birthday kid and the guests will have a great time guaranteed! For more info and reservations please visit

 Maxson’s Restaurant & Riverboat
Maxson’s Restaurant has been in business in Oregon, Illinois since 1952. It offer’s glass enclosed dining with stunning views of the Rock River. The Pride of Oregon Paddleboat takes guests on a scenic 15 mile round trip lunch and dinner cruises. Maxson’s can host events up to 260 people in the restaurant, 200 on the sprawling deck, and 149 on the Riverboat. Located at 1469 IL Rt. 2, Oregon, Illinois 61061. Perfect setting for a day trip or your next special event. For more information call 1-815-732-6761 or visit

The Oaks at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse
Oak Brook
Situated on the east side of Gibsons’ elegant Oak Brook location (2105 South Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523) and offering nearly 6,000 square feet of pre-event and event space, this stunning new private dining expansion can host up to 300 guests for a seated event and 600 for a cocktail reception. The Oaks is not only versatile (divisible into three smaller rooms, all with state-of-the-art AV potential), but also beautiful with hard wood floors and artfully placed wooden accents. From corporate meetings to weddings and special occasions, this impressive space provides endless private dining options, featuring Gibsons’ legendary food and service. Customizable menus are available from Gibsons’ expert private dining team. To learn more, please call: 312.587.0508, email: catering@grgmccom or visit:

Fleetwood Roller Rink
Celebrating our 60th anniversary (Established 1957).
Fleetwood Roller Rink is a family owned business. Our venue hosts public skating, birthday parties (our specialty) privates and fundraisers. We promote family fun for all ages plus for “health sake, roller skate” Come visit us and join in our fun.  Instruction available every Saturday at 1 pm   Check for our ongoing specials and public skating times

Santa’s Village Azoosment Park
Party like a Pop Star at Santa’s Village! For the Best Birthday Ever… Nobody throws a birthday party better than Santa’s Village.  Best of all when you book your party you receive a minimum of $242.50 in return tickets…and that’s like having a complete birthday party almost absolutely FREE.  If your Birthday Celebrity is ready to ride like a rebel, eat like a champion, and party like a popstar go to Located at 601 E. Dundee Ave., East Dundee

Chateau Orleans Banquets
Chateau Orleans Banquets is the elegant banquet hall directly attached to Chuck’s Southern Comforts Cafe in Darien. Not only does it make the perfect destination for weddings, it also can accommodate business meetings, special events, private functions and so much more. The room which can hold up to 300 people can also be divided into different sizes as well to accommodate parties of any size! The room features a spacious dance floor, a stage and a bar. The food is exclusively provided by Chuck’s and the menu offers a wide array of choices for you and your guests. Be sure to take advantage of our newly renovated Gazebo which makes for a perfect picture spot in the spring and summer! For booking and pricing contact James and Jackie our Banquet Managers at 331-431-4000 or visit our website at for more information.

Vertical Endeavors
Indoor Rock Climbing
Give your child a birthday party they will never forget! Vertical Endeavors provides an adventurous and fun party atmosphere for all family and friends. Your party will consist of climbing, games, and activities led by one of our experienced climbing instructors. Additionally, a party room is available for pizza, cake, and presents! 246 Windy Point Drive, Glendale Heights. Visit us at or 630.784.9000 to learn more!

Safari Land
Let Your Adventure Begin! Safari Land has everything you need for a complete adventure. Whether it’s bowling, video games, rollercoaster, kiddie carts, food or other fun, Safari Land is the place for your party. Come ride the tiger terror…take a spin in our 360 degree, full-motion, 3D flight simulator,…play in our soft play area, or throw some strikes during cosmic bowling. Contact us today for additional event information and to book your next adventure of a lifetime. 701 W. North Avenue, Villa Park. 630-530-4649. Visit

Odyssey Fun World
The place for out of this world family fun for all ages!  Plan your next birthday party here. Two fun locations with 150+ arcade and redemption games, a 4-story soft play center, Laser Tag, numerous exciting indoor rides, and great food. All summer long we offer Go Karts, Mini Golf, Bumper Boats, Hydro Racers (like Go-Karts on Water!), a ZIPLINE (30 feet high!), and an Inflatable Kidz Park at our Tinley Park location and Paintball at our Naperville location! Visit for exclusive discounts, or call 708-429-3800. 19111 S. Oak Park Avenue, Tinley Park, and, 3440 Odyssey Ct., Naperville

Scuba Emporium
Back in 1974 when Patrick Hammer opened his first SCUBA STORE , in the local area, many people thought he was nuts. Today after tens of thousands of certifications, and earning the PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) highest rating of Platinum Course Director, he is still overseeing the day to day task at SCUBA EMPORIUM in Orland Park, a PADI Career Development Center. Located at 16336 104th Ave. in Orland Park. For young adventurers, the Bubblemaker Party is an introduction to the thrill of breathing underwater and a unique and exciting party idea! For information about scuba, snorkel and swim lessons and party options, call 708 – 226-1614, or visit:

Tiki2Nite is Chicagoland’s
Mobile Fun Center!
Do you have an outdoor event coming up and you NEED something that will make it different, special and the most fun anyone has had in years? Tiki2Nite has the answer. Our 24 foot Tiki Bar is the perfect addition for a block party, fundraiser, work event, bachelorette party, shower and more! Decked out in commercial equipment and loaded with tons of charm, it is built on a trailer so we bring the fun to YOU! Contact us for a no obligation consultation. Call: 847.780.3571. Email: Visit:

Rent Rite Events
Rent Rite Events is a full-service provider of party and event rentals, serving the greater Chicago land area and suburbs for more than twenty years. Rent Rite specializes in tents, tables, chairs, dishes, linens, grills, inflatable’s games and more. Located at 1260 E. Higgins Road, Elk Grove Village. We can be reached M-F 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. or Sat 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at 847-640-8875 or 24/7 by checking us out at

LEGOLAND Discovery Center
Voted best birthday party location in Chicagoland! Winner of two awards including the ‘Most Awesome Amusement/Fun Center Party’ location by Located at the Streets of Woodfield, 601 N. Martingale Rd. Schaumburg, IL. For more information, call 847-592-9708 or visit

The Elk Grove Park District Knows How to Party!
Ride a carousel or ride a water slide. Fitting your child’s age and interest is our specialty.  Invite the kids and the whole family to celebrate at Rainbow Falls, Pavilion Aquatics Center, Pirates’ Cove or the Carousel. We accommodate large groups to celebrate that special day. Themed parties include a Mad Scientist Party with crazy experiments or a Sports Party with a referee and your sport of choice or a Magic Party with a magician teaching tricks.1000 Wellington Ave., Elk Grove Village, IL 60007. 847-437-9494.

Sweet Street Candies and Goodies
Sweet Street Candies and Goodies is an old fashion candy store that carries over 500 items. Pick favorites from candy you remember as a kid; gourmet chocolates & fudge, imported licorice, bulk chocolates, gummies and popcorn. We’ll custom design any special occasion gift basket from your candy and gift item selection. We specialize in unique favors, corporate gifts and candy buffets. Call us to order gifts for family, friends and clients. 17 W. St. Charles Rd., Lombard. Visit

Mon Ami Gabi
Plan your next special event at a traditional French bistro. From private parties to business gatherings to special events, Mon Ami Gabi can accommodate parties in our two private rooms and dining area (up to 250 guests). Available seven days a week for lunch, dinner and breakfast meetings, you’ll work with our Catering Manager and Party Planner Jessica Cavanah every step of the way. Contact Jessica at 630-472-1900 or via email at Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL 60523. Visit us online at


17 Creative Birthday Activities for an Unforgettable Party

By Christina Katz

I don’t mean to brag, but my husband and I have thrown quite a few awesome birthday parties over the years. However, when reflecting back over all the parties we’ve thrown, it’s clear to me that the most memorable parties were not the most elaborate or even the most expensive. They were simply the messiest. Messy and birthday parties go together better than you might imagine. After all, what could be more festive than a little bit of parent-approved pandemonium?

The key to milking the most fun out of any birthday party is including more messy fun. And if you really want to throw the party to top all parties, go for a totally messy party from beginning to end. If a little bit of mess is memorable, than a lot of mess just might be unforgettable. In that spirit, here is a list of seventeen indoor and outdoor ideas that won’t break the bank.

  1. Take aim, color. Mark off a square play arena outdoors with five-foot tall Bamboo garden stakes and blue painters masking tape. Fill squirt guns or squirt bottles with non-toxic watercolor paints, don a pair of clear swim goggles, and let the kids decorate each other dressed in white t-shirts and leggings or sweats. The only rule is no one leaves the field until the paint is all spent.
  1. Take a whack at it. Fill a store-bought piñata 2/3 of the way full with cooked, well-drained spaghetti. Then add small plastic toys, foil-wrapped granola bars, and plastic wrapped candies. To extend the fun, hang the piñata on a pull cord threaded through an eyehook so you can pull it up and down as kids swing at it with a bat or broom handle. Secure a tarp underneath with Duck tape (indoors) or camping stakes (outdoors) for easy cleanup.
  1. Eggcentric art. Break the tops off real eggs and pour the yolks and whites into Tupperware to make quiche or a soufflé later. Keeping empty shells in the carton, fill each with acrylic paints of various colors. Outside or in the garage or basement, hang a large canvas against a sturdy wall or fence and let the kids take aim and fire until they make a masterpiece. Use plastic drop cloths to catch the splatters as needed.
  1. Franken-beauty. Make natural facial masks out of banana, avocado or cocoa. Sit guests around a large table in pairs to take turns applying masks to each other’s faces. Be sure to have some hand mirrors handy so everyone can see what all the squeals are about.
  1. Construction junction. Supply lots of sheets, blankets and pillows for fort construction. If you can mount a few Hula Hoops strategically around the room, they come in handy. You might also supply bandanas and bungee chords. Be sure to inspect the results for hazards. Keep food and drinks strictly separate.
  1. Reach for the foam. Play messy Twister in the yard by mixing foam shaving cream and food coloring. Wear clothing that can get stained. If no one wants to worry about clothing stains, simply use white shaving cream for the same effect.
  1. Pudding slide. Make about a gallon of chocolate pudding. Drop large spoonfuls of pudding onto a Slip & Slide. Have guests take a running start down a low-grade slope. To make slide more slippery, have guests sprinkle it with water from a sprinkler can or set the hose sprayer to mist. Add more pudding or water, as needed.
  1. Slime ball. Find an online recipe to make nontoxic slime and let guests prepare it. Then play a game of hide the bouncy ball in the slime. Use a blindfold and a timer to see who can find their party favors the fastest. Enjoy the groans.
  1. Picasso footsie. Roll out a long sheet of paper and pour puddles of acrylic paint at one end. Have each guest step in one color per foot and walk across the paper. Switch to the other side of the paper to balance out the look. Hang art on a fence or wall to dry.
  1. Musical silly string. Put half the group in the middle on a plastic tarp. Encircle guests with the other half of the group. Turn on the music. Have the inside group move in one direction and the outside group move in the other direction, while spraying the inside group with silly string. When the music is turned off, switch groups.
  1. Pasta fling. Cook one box of spaghetti per party guest. Get some five-gallon buckets and fill them 2/3 of the way with water. Add enough flour to thicken the water, then add spaghetti. The only rules are: use your own spaghetti, no bucket-dumping, and no touching-just throwing. Put them in the square play arena and get the heck out of the way.
  1. Mud puddle fun. On a sturdy table at playing height, fill a small kiddie pool with dirt and just enough water to make mud. Add digging and pouring toys for an hour of industry for young guests.
  1. Duck-Duck-Dump. Have kids sit in circle for a game of Duck-Duck-Goose. But first, hand them a cup of water and a half-cup of flour to pour over each goose’s head.
  1. The opposite of tiny bubbles. Make bubble mix with ten cups of regular Dawn Dish soap and five gallons of water. Let it sit overnight. Do not agitate the solution as you pour it into a small wading pool slightly larger than a Hula Hoop in diameter. Have guest don a pair of clear goggles and stand in the middle of the pool without splashing. Let two party guests lower a Hula Hoop over the guest and then pull it straight up into a giant bubble.
  1. Three-legged color run. Set up a start and finish line for a short jaunt. Tie the legs of two guests together and have them wear clear swim goggles and white play clothing. Have other guests stand on the sidelines and throw color from bags of nontoxic Holi colors (the type used for Color Runs, available online). The winners take on the next pair of challengers until everyone has run. The most colorful pair wins.
  1. Sloppy volley. Divide guests into two groups. Put a line across the center or your play arena like a tennis court. Everyone has to stay on their own team and wear swim googles. Place a table of supplies within reach of the backcourt. On the table, supply large bowls of chilled mashed potatoes, Jello, pudding, and cooked oatmeal. Tint food with food coloring if clothing can be stained. On your mark, get set, food fight!
  1. Trashion runway. For a couple of months before the party, don’t discard your reusable recyclables. Spread them out evenly in tarps with plenty of clear tape, masking tape, painter’s tape, and Duck tape. Pair guests up into design teams. Give a time limit like one hour. The assignment is to design a runway-worthy fashion for each team out of only the trash that’s been supplied. Have a runway show afterwards to display the results.

Benefits of Hosting a Party Away from Home

Everybody loves a good party, whether you’re six or sixty-six. However, many, understandably, don’t like the logistics that often come into planning them. Hosting a party is hard work at the best of times, and kids parties doubly so. So when people consider planning a party, they may find themselves wishing they could just offload the hassle onto someone else.

Hosting off-site allows you to co-ordinate with the venue’s staff and streamline planning.  Y.our house is left intact. All the noise, mess and damage is contained somewhere far, far away from your fragile belongings and good curtains. The neighbors will not be disturbed. You’ll be able to record or take photos, or better yet, you’ll actually be in some of them!.

Hosting a party at a venue could be the way to ensure you have a carefree time. Here are some reasons why you should consider hosting it at a venue instead at home.

  • A change from the same old scenery
    Parties always tend to be more enjoyable when they’re held somewhere different. Why not be a bit more adventurous and venture away from your normal surroundings? You might even want to book a hotel room and enjoy a mini getaway for the night.
  • You won’t need to worry about cleaning up
    The worst thing about holding your own party is the cleaning up after it’s all over. Everyone has left, the atmosphere has died down, and your house now feels like a ghost town. To compound all of this, the washing up, tidying up and vacuuming is yet to be done! Let the venue staff take care of this for you, and you’ll be able to leave the hard work behind at the same time as all the other guests.
  • Give yourself a night off from cooking
    If you’re preparing food for guests, you’ll no doubt be worrying about allowing yourself enough cooking time to make sure everything’s prepared on time, and presented well. Why not book a venue? Give them the food orders in advance and turn up just as the party is about to start.
  • You can invite more people
    This will be dependent on the size of your house, but are you limited to how many people you can ask? Booking out a larger sized venue will mean difficult decisions like who to leave off the invite list don’t need to be made.

If you’re seeking an enjoyable party without the stress, booking a venue could be the answer. After all, ensuring everyone is enjoying themselves on the night is work enough!

There is a variety of different venues available that allow you to host kid’s and parties for adults away from home in this section. You can read all about them in the ‘Party Advice From the Pros” section. Please consider these advertisers when planning a special event.


Tips on Taking Party Photographs

Parties are a great time for family and friends to come together and have some fun.
Here are some simple tips to help with taking the party shots that last.

  1. Break the camera out early. Depending on the type of party you may need to take pictures of the decorations, food, the cake, etc before any people show up.
  2. Get the group. Typically people don’t stay in a large group at parties; they are all spread out in smaller groups. While having everyone in the same room at the same time, get that group shot so you can treasure it afterwards.
  1. Capture the emotion. Keep your camera handy and turned on so you’ll be ready for those spontaneous expressions.
  1. Be Candid. You can get some great shots of your family and friends when they don’t even know they are getting their picture taken. This is great for capturing emotion at the party
  1. Don’t be afraid to zoom in or out. Don’t be afraid of zooming in so your subject fits into your camera frame. This way you can capture the expression of the subject. Also make sure you get pictures of the party as a whole, don’t be afraid to zoom out to capture the entire room.
  1. Avoid Red Eye. One of the most common occurrences when taking pictures of people at parties is red eye. To make sure your friends and family don’t look evil eyed have them look just over your shoulder rather than directly at camera. This should help reduce the chances of red eye in your pictures therefore saving you time having to take it out before printing them.
  1. Try different perspectives. Don’t be afraid to try different perspectives throughout the party: get at eye level with the kids to get their perspective of the party or take pictures standing on a chair or staircase to get a shot of everyone at the party.

Host a party with these hacks

Hosting friends and family in your home is fun any time of the year. However, with entertaining comes the stress of planning and the pressure to make each get-together more exciting than the last.

Throwing a memorable party does not have to be overwhelming. With a few simple hosting hacks, you can impress your guests at every turn, from food and drinks, to decor and even parting gifts, creating an unforgettable experience for all.

  • Smoke ’em with a signature cocktail. Dazzle your guests with a cool mixology trend and try torching a cocktail. Lighting a float is one cool technique to try. Once your cocktail is mixed, add a thin layer of a high-proof alcohol very slowly on top of the drink (tip – pour over the back of a spoon). The higher-proof alcohol will float on top, then light it on fire to bring out more of the flavor. Mixologists recommend using a torch like the Bernzomatic ST2200T Detail Torch for this.
  • Create your own beverage cart. Simply take an old (or new) office or craft cart on casters, spray paint it in a festive color and – Viola! – you have a portable beverage cart. Stock the cart with spirits, soft drinks, ice, cocktail napkins, garnishes and everything you need to achieve beverage service on-the-go.
  • Wow with a custom centerpiece. A centerpiece can communicate the vibe of your celebration. Sure, you could go buy something pre-made, but creating your own centerpiece will add a personal (and impressive) touch to any table.
  • Prep and clean ahead of party time. Many key party tasks – from appetizer prep to setting the table – can be done a day (or even two) before the party. Pre-mix the punch the night before, pre-make and refrigerate dishes and get your party music ready and queued up a day early.

If you don’t have time to clean the entire house, focus on the areas where guests will be. Create a fresh, fragrant aroma that will permeate the house by simmering vanilla, lemon and rosemary in a pot of water on the stove.

These few smart hacks, paired with the right tools, will help create an event that is memorable, impressive and most importantly, fun. (BPT)

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