This year, we went to a number of birthday parties for kids in Benji’s class. They all followed pretty much the same formula: The parents had rented time at Pump It Up, Arena Sports, or Elevated Sports. A large number of kids showed up — usually >20, accompanied by a least one parent, for a total of 40 to 50 people. The kids were let loose in the bouncy house/play zone for an hour, followed by an hour of eating pizza, veggie tray veggies, chips, candy, and cake in an almost perfectly featureless “party room” decorated by the parents with lots of plastic banners and such. As a party favor, each kid got a plastic bag full of Pump It Up (or whatever)-brand Oriental Trading Company-quality junk that broke almost instantly and that we then had to secretly make “go away” at some point not long thereafter.