Does the idea of several 8-12 year olds make you want to run and hide? It should. No, seriously, anyone can have a successful slumber party. Planning the party helps keep the girls busy and out of mischief. You can involve the entire family to spread the workload around as well.
The first step to planning a successful slumber party is bribing your family to not run away. OK, not really the first step, but keep that one in reserve if needed. You need to sit down with your daughter and make a guest list. Realizing that most girls at this age can be fickle with their friendships, ask your daughter which of her classmates that she would like to invite. For conventional parties, the target number of guests is one per year of age of the child. For slumber parties, you can stick with this rule, or go a few lower. Realize that the girls will all want to (ahem) sleep in the same room, so plan accordingly. Send the invitations two weeks to a month before the party with an RSVP request.
In today’s world, there are many dietary restrictions, so when you start receiving the RSVPs back, talk to the parents about any dietary challenges. Pizza, ice cream, cake, and s’mores are slumber party staples. If serving soda, you might want to avoid caffeine in the hopes that the girls will go to sleep at some point! Popcorn during movies is nice as well. Make sure to plan a simple breakfast. Getting multiple packs of cereal allows the girls some choice in their breakfast.
Some favorite activities are movies (check with parents about any PG or higher rated movie), dancing, Karaoke (with or without a machine), and the ever popular hair styling. Mani/pedi’s are fun too, and an older sister can be recruited to help. For a special treat, create a turban towel for Dad, put him in an old bathrobe and visit Madame Toulanna (or any other strange name) to have a good old fashioned palm reading or fortune told.
After all, it isn’t too much to ask for the girls to sleep, right? Put out all the kids sleeping bags and have the girls get ready for bed. If you have made it through this point without tears, a fight, or someone wanting to go home, you are doing great! Turn out the lights and go to bed. Make sure to take your bull horn with you for the “reminders” of “Settle down, girls and go to sleep!”