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Ghouls Night Out

Ellie's 11th Birthday Party
Oct. 18-19, 2008

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Like everything else, birthday parties grow increasingly complex. Ellie's 11th was a nice birthday party at home, with a dozen friends ... but it lasted about 18 hours.

Before this, I had never feared sleepovers. The well-known secret is that after an evening of sugar and play, little kids pass out around 11 or midnight. Maybe 1 or 2am by the time they're tweens. But this crowd was still at it 3, when I came out and asked them to be quiet. It was Jen's turn at 4. By 5am we gave up. Some of them never fell asleep.

Until now, I never understand why parents of teens disappear to Hawaii and leave the house to be trashed by epic big parties. Now I'm starting to get it: they would rather lose the aquarium and the old bottles of cab than have to be around during the party.