Column: Record heat knocks piñatas from party plans

Kids with summer birthdays are having a tough time right now.

It’s just too hot outside for a piñata.

We’re used to sweating out the birthday cookout. Local June, July and August babies have been hosting piñatas in the park since we were little South Texans. By the time we turn 5, we’ve done the swimsuit party at the neighborhood pool or at least got our folks to set up a few inflatables and the Wet Banana Peel or Slip ‘N’ Slide. We might have even scored a birthday trip to the river or the beach. When it comes to celebrating a special day, we San Antonio kids are not opposed to breaking a sweat.

But in this year of record-breaking heat, it’s too hot to blow out a candle at the picnic table. Nobody wants to flip burgers on the patio when it’s hotter on the sidewalk than it is on the grill. Hanging by the pool long enough for a competitive game of Marco Polo means risking a serious sunburn. Going to the river or the beach? Not unless there’s an air-conditioned hotel room with a waterfront view. Even those brave enough to host a party despite the heat take a big chance on party guests sending regrets.

Places that cater to entertaining groups of kids, such as bowling alleys, arcades, skating rinks and indoor race tracks, are great air-conditioned alternatives, but they are pricey and often booked well in advance. However, the main problem with these is that they are indoors and, therefore, piñata prohibitive.

That’s unfortunate, because one can only pull off a good piñata party until they’re 12 years old or so. After that, having a piñata is a little uncool. But little ones still get excited at the thought of beating the daylights out of a piñata Thor or any other licensed character that the piñatero was brave enough to copy. We only get a few years in which we can brag about having six pounds of fun-size chocolates rain down from the sky. And if you’re older than 9, you know your piñatas are numbered.

So, here’s hoping the weather changes soon, if for no other reason than to give local kids hope that, with the help of passing clouds and SPF 80, they can swing their way to more childhood memories.

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