We just recently celebrated one of our son's birthdays. We didn't opt to have a party this year since our house is in disarray, plus he wanted a family dinner (and a few sleepovers throughout the month). It's so nice to have them get older and opt to hang out with friends rather than have a big party!
I have planned parties for the kiddos at home in the past. While it's been fun to prepare, home parties can be a total budget buster. It requires a little imagination and creativity but it can be done within a small budget. Here are a few tips to create birthday party decorations on a dime:
Take a Trip to the Discount Stores
I love the Dollar Store for just about everything, but especially for party planning. They even offer character-themed items now for plates, cups, etc. You can buy everything you need for a fraction of the cost of a big box store or party store. Because of the cheap cost, you'll be able to buy more which means you'll be able to decorate more. And when it comes to decorations, the more the merrier.
When you're thinking about the table, most parties have at least one main table with a pretty tablecloth, paper plates, napkins, cups, and silverware. You may also have a few extra tables for eating, maybe one for the cake, and one for gifts. Choose plain white tablecloths, which are usually cheaper than the colored ones.
The same goes for cups and napkins. Stickers, crayons, and markers go a long way toward decorating these items. Search the dollar store for big bags of confetti, tissue paper, or even Easter basket grass to spread around to create centerpieces or crazy placemats. Even scrapbooking supplies work. Think way beyond matching cups and plates and have fun. It will cost less and kids will love the unexpected ‘tablescapes' you create.
Personal Embellishments and Party Favors
This also goes for party hats, buttons, noise makers, floral leis, or other personal touches. Make the birthday boy or girl a crepe paper cape or leis. You can get a lot of tissue paper for a dollar! Use it to create floral corsages, hats, or other personal touches.
Most noise makers and party favors are so cheap at the dollar stores, you don't have to look too hard for a bargain. Again, think beyond the ordinary and you'll find all sorts of ways to embellish the guests and your child. Also, rather than end the day with a goodie bag, start the party with one. Include the personal party favors in the bag, along with a few pieces of candy, and your goodie bag does double-duty; decorates and gives each child a treat or craft to take home.
Banners and Hanging Decorations
If you have any Happy Birthday banners from a previous party go ahead and pull them out to use again if they are still holding up. If it need some “sprucing up,” spray it with a coat of glitter paint, or spread on some glue, then sprinkle glitter or confetti over it.
A fun project to do with your child before the party would be to make some hanging lanterns to use as decorations. Do a search online and you'll find plenty of ideas and instructions on how to create them. Then merely hang them all around the party place.
Create other hanging decorations by simply cutting out shapes, letters, or whatever is appropriate. You can even cut pictures out of magazines, or print free images you find online. If you are using a theme for your party, print out images that fit your theme. Attach these items on crepe-paper streamers or on plain old strings with tape, glue, or staples, then hang them from the ceiling, walls, doorways, and windows.
Decorating the Cake
Bake your own cake to save money, or purchase a plain, undecorated sheet cake. Now you're free to decorate it as you wish for less money. If you are having a themed party, look around the house first for the character you are using. If the theme is a superhero, you most likely will have a miniature action figure around. Construct a little scene on top of the cake with the superhero, maybe a few ‘buildings' and small cars.
You can always go back to the trusted internet to search the theme you are planning. Print out appropriate pictures and turn them into ‘standees' on top of your cake. Using your imagination, researching online, and taking advantage of the things you have around your home will allow you to be able to create cake decorations at a fraction of the cost of a character cake from the bakery.
Decorating the Outdoors
If you are having a birthday party at home, it's always a nice idea to decorate outside as well. This doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Start with a few balloons placed on the mailbox and the door. This not only looks festive, but parents who drive up for drop-off know they are in the right place and the kids feel welcomed as they arrive.
Go ahead and carry your birthday party theme outside. If your party has a beach theme, for instance, some beach balls or other beach toys at the front door would be fun. Music playing at the front door as your guests arrive is another form of ‘decoration' that helps get guests in the party mood.
You can see how simply it can be done to create a fun birthday party for less money. Kids only want to have fun at their party; they don't care how much it costs or where you bought the goodies.