Depending on your age, you might remember viewing bounce houses/bouncy castles as being the pinnacle of fun. After all, what’s not to love about a colorful, blow-up space to bounce around in? As a matter of fact, there were lots of elements that we, as children, didn’t perceive until we actually experienced the fabled bounce house. Looking back, did bounce houses really live up to the hype? Below are some factors we should not overlook when thinking back on the bouncy castle dream:

Crowds

Firstly, there were always too many kids inside! The first step to getting in the bounce house was to wait in a huge line up to get in. When your turn finally came around, you would squeeze into the bounce house with more kids than the recommended limit, It would soon become apparent that there really wasn’t a lot of room to jump around and do the flips you dreamed of, without the risk of pummeling other children. Of course, this would happen anyway and the bounce house would become a sort of child-mosh pit, which is fine if you were a bigger child, and not great if you ended up under those children.

For more info on various safety considerations for bounce houses, see this article from HealthyChildren.org

The Bouncy Experience

Secondly, the blow-up floor of the bounce house wasn’t nearly as bouncy as we imagined. We imagined defying gravity with how high we thought we would bounce, but the weight of the other kids would often offset how high you could really jump, and the landing wasn’t exactly as soft as we expected. This was often learned after we had already winded ourselves and compressed our spines a little.

The Cost

Thirdly, if you were a parent trying to rent a bounce house, you would know just how costly it is to try and rent one, even if just for a few hours. A truck has to come in with the deflated bounce house and crew, and part of your rental time will be spent setting up and inflating the house as well as deflating it and packing it up. On one bounce house website, a bouncy castle costs $200 to rent for four hours or less. That’s a lot of money when you consider that kids lose interest quickly and probably won’t use it for the whole time.

Buy Your Own?

This sounds like a lot of negatives, but some of these factors only apply to renting a bounce house. What would happen if you bought a bounce house? You could rent it out yourself and make money off of it, or enjoy it to yourself with no need to share. After all, as long as bounce houses are advertised, kids will still want to try them out. It would be pretty fun to camp out in a bouncy house, and a rental company won’t allow that.

Did bounce houses live up to the hype? It’s really something only you can decide for yourself. For some people, myself included, it’s hard to imagine a carnival without the bounce house. In the case of the bounce house, nostalgia and childhood wonder will always keep the hype alive.