About a month ago I mused over the frustrations that tend to come with trying to plan a birthday party somewhere when the birthday girl is gluten-free. This year, we decided to stay home and have a sleepover. Eleven 10-year-olds all over at our house for Emma’s big event! With only one little surprise.

I busily spent last Friday running errands and then making 12 gluten-free cupcakes for the 12 (including my 6-year-old-daughter) girls who were taking over my house for the next 15 hours. As soon as my girls came home from school they started cleaning up and preparing the basement for the big night.

Let the gluten-free party begin

Emma's Hair Decorated in time for the Party

Emma's Hair Decorated for the Party

The girls had their hair colored with those wild temporary colors that come in spray cans. And then it was quickly onto cake. Just about everyone devoured the gluten-free cupcake in front of them. No one said anything about whether it tasted differently or anything. Judging from the fact that about a third of the kids Emma invited had never tried these cupcakes before, there was a good chance someone might say something about their taste. But they didn’t.

The only weird thing that happened was during the gift opening. One gift Emma got was a great idea – a movie night. She got a Blockbuster gift card and all kinds of other goodies like Dots, Junior Mints, Milk Duds, Whoppers, plus gum and lipstick all in a generic Blockbuster tub ‘o popcorn. Great idea but my first reaction was “Crap, Emma can’t eat or use any of that.” Good news is she can have most of it. It looks like Dots, Junior Mints and Milk Duds are all gluten-free. Whoppers of course are not, and I have no idea on the popcorn.

So I’m glad that most of it is okay, but I pose this question to you – how much disclosure do you provide to party attendees (and their parents) about the gluten-free status of the birthday girl? I mean all of her friends know she’s gluten-free (yes, I took a poll during the party) from class. But that doesn’t mean they: A) know how to explain it to their parents when shopping for a gift or B) even think about it when shopping for a gift like that.

Some of these kids were at our house for the first time and I had just met their parents for the first time Friday night. Should we have divulged that she is gluten-free in the invitations only to the parents who are more unfamiliar with her diet? It just seems so … “overshare”. But maybe we should have. I’m torn by the idea.

Luckily Emma didn’t seem too put off by the food she was given or the lipstick and gum which I also checked on from the same gift. Just for the record Wet ‘n Wild are all gluten-free except the mascara – really – mascara? Yup. Also, Trident White I found to be gluten free.

The rest of the party went off just fine. From all the dancing, screaming, X-Box playing, running, fort-making, movie-watching, game-playing, candy eating they were doing, I am surprised they weren’t wired all night! But they crashed around 1:00 a.m. and were back awake again at 7:00 a.m.. Oh to be young and live on very little sleep.

Please send me your comments about the invitations…what would you have done?

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