Munich - Parties
When organising a birthday party, it is important to hold it either on the person's birthday or afterwards. In Germany it is considered bad luck to wish a person 'Happy Birthday' or 'Alles gut zum Geburtstag' and/or give them a present before their actual birthday.
For younger children, birthday parties are held at home. You may wish to hire some sort of entertainment for the children, such as a clown or a magician, but this is not expected.
It is expected that you keep the children occupied for the whole time with competitive games from which they may win prizes. Treasure hunts 'Schnitzeljagd' through the neighbourhood are a popular activity. Presents are opened after all the guests have arrived (on time!), and the cutting of the cake is also an important part of the party. You can either serve cake at the party or wrap slices up in a serviette for the guests to take home, along with a small bag of lollies and a balloon.
Younger children like to dress up in nice clothes for birthday parties.
As the children get older, it becomes more usual to hold birthday parties at a venue such as a public swimming pool, roller disco, McDonald's, the cinema 'Kino' or a bowling alley 'Kegelbahn'. The guests' admission fee is the responsibility of the hosting parents. There is an added difficulty in organising transport to such venues in Germany. One of the road rules is that children under the age of 12 who are less than 150cm in height must have a proper child restraint. Therefore car pooling for children under 12 (and also for 12-year-olds, as some of their friends may still be 11 or younger) requires more than a van, as you must have the proper safety seat for each child.