Birthdays are a big deal in the kid world. For us parents, not so much. (Another year older – hooray!) On the kid calendar, birthdays are the top social event of the season and require lots of thought and planning, especially in our home. My daughter starts thinking about what to do for her next party almost as soon as her current one is over. As a result, I’ve gotten to be quite the expert in how to host a fun and relatively stress-free party in the comfort of your own home.
Considering how expensive most kids’ parties at different venues can be, it’s nice to be able to save some bucks and have a fun get-together at home. Here’s how to pull off a fun fiesta and be able to enjoy the festivities yourself.
Decide on a Theme
Every party should have a theme; it makes pulling together the décor and cake so much easier when you have a solid idea of what the party’s about. Whether it’s a favorite character, a favorite animal (like a pony party or a zoo) or a fun theme (like a circus or beach party), you’re sure to find decorations on a dime. There are myriad birthday party sites such as Oriental Trading or Party City with tons of ideas. If shopping online, be sure to look up coupon codes in order to save even more money.
Wal-Mart and Target also have great party supplies as well. You can buy really cute supplies for even less here.
Make sure you have plates, cups, utensils, napkins, a tablecloth and decorations, which we’ll get to in a bit. Keep in mind that not everything you buy needs to fit the theme. A solid-colored plastic tablecloth with matching cups and napkins from a dollar store will work just fine and can be a real cost-saver. Don’t be afraid to mix and match.
Décor on a Dime
So you have your theme and your party supplies. How to decorate? It can be as simple or extravagant as you like it. For a true party atmosphere, nothing beats balloons. Dollar stores give you the most bang for your buck; you can load up on Mylar balloons here for $1 each instead of around $5 at party stores. I also get a great deal on solid-colored helium balloons at the grocery store. Tie them all over your home, outside your front door and on your mailbox for instant atmosphere!
Banners and pennants also add party panache to your home; run them down stairways, across doorways and along balconies or deck rails for a fun touch. Also, anything that you can hang up adds to your party’s look. Dangling decorations can either fit your party theme or you can find simple ones in all colors at discount retail stores. You don’t need to rent used equipment to make your place party-ready!
Food and Drinks
There’s no need to go fancy on the food. Think simple instead, like hot dogs or pizza. Believe me, this is gourmet for kids and they are sure to eat them. Also serve fresh fruit, potato chips and pretzels, baked beans in the crockpot, and a fun dip for crackers or veggies. Pizza dip or buffalo chicken dip go over well. You can make them the day before, which really makes your life easy.
Set out a punch bowl with Kool-Aid or Tang, and have other options in your fridge for kids who are picky.
When it comes to the cake, remember to go with your theme. You can really save money by making it yourself, but keep in mind how many guests you’ll have. A sheet cake works best for a big crowd. If you find the baking and decorating of the cake a bit overwhelming, then try your local grocery store bakery. You can get great cakes there for not a lot of money. You can always add fun elements like small toys to the cake yourself to fit your theme.
Things to Do
Play some fun music to fit your theme, like luau music for a Hawaiian party or disco for a ‘70s bash. Set out coloring pages with lots of crayons. If you live close to a playground and the weather is willing, take the party outside! Even though we hate to admit it, our kids don’t play outside the way we used to when we were younger. End your party with a piñata – you can find some cute ones online or at discount retailers and fill them with dollar-store candy.
Make favor bags with dollar store items that will be used, like crayons and notebooks, lip glosses, toy cars, temporary tattoos and stickers.
Now that you’re set, let the party take its course. Between playing together, eating lunch and cake and opening presents, the kids will have a great and memorable time. Then you can collapse on the couch and start planning for next year!
|Savannah Marie is a mom and a writer. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading anything she can get her hands on and learning to balance work and home life.<em><strong>Click here to read more of Savannah’s articles!</strong></em>|