We had his party early because his birthday annually falls over Spring Break. We have learned the hard way that no one is around the weekend before or after Spring Break and most people with school age children take a trip during the week.
So we chose a Wednesday afternoon prior to his birthday and had a small affair at the location of his choice - McDonald's!
In fact, Aaron chose everything related to his party. The theme, of course, was backhoes.
He chose the napkins, the plates and the stickers that each child received.
He also, very specifically, requested cupcakes - not a cake. And he wanted backhoes on them. After seeing many options, he chose these backhoes so each child went home with a small backhoe and sheet of stickers along with a backhoe cookie.
Having the party at McDonald's was completely Aaron's choice and we tried to talk him out of it, but it was such a great deal! We got there just a few minutes before the party and everything was set up. Each child got a hat and a sweet favor bag (with stickers) and the happy meal of his or her choice. We had a wonderful hostess, Michelle, who made everything wonderful.
The kids were free to play (the party was set up in the play area) and eat and it was safe and fun and enjoyable for the parents. We did bring the cupcakes and some favors in addition to what McDonald's did and I brought the plates and napkins because Aaron has picked them out, but we would not have had to provide a single thing. It was really the most hands-off experience.