When it comes to birthday parties, a little creativity can go a long way toward simplifying plans, cutting costs and making great memories.
Autumn Thomson, 33, of Tallahassee, Fla., threw a pajama party-themed celebration for her 3-year-old daughter, Irelyn, at a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop. She purchased small pillows at a discount store for a pillow fight, and bought all the guests doughnuts and milkplus coffee for parents. She hosted about 25 kids and 30 parents, and spent less than $75.
Anne Beller, 35, a Dallas mother of four, turned a profit on her sons birthday party. Instead of paying $200 to rent a giant, inflatable moonwalk, Beller purchased one on eBay. After the party, she neatly repackaged it, put it back up for sale on eBay as only used once, and sold it for more than she paid. The difference covered the cost of decorations, party favors and food, and she even had a little left over.
Regardless of the type of party youre throwing, planning will pave the way to success. Use these tips to make your childs day special and your job easier:
- Determine the number of guests and how much you can afford to spend. Use your available moneynot the number of invitesas your guide.
- Make your own party invitations and, if possible, hand deliver them to reduce postage costs. Or, send invitations from a free online service such as evite.com.
- Recruit a party assistantyour spouse, a friend or an older childor hire a responsible teenager to help with preparations, picture taking and cleanup.
- Suggest several party themes and let your child choose one. You can build a party around almost any of your childs interests.
Time it right. A mid-morning celebration lasting 60 to 90 minutes is just right for 2- and 3-year-olds. This way the party wont interfere with naps, and kids are less likely to be cranky. Serve individual ice cream cups for easy serving and cleanup.
Kids 4 and older can handle two or three hours of partying. Schedule an afternoon party and serve juice, a snack, cake and ice cream.
Create a manageable guest list. If youre planning a party for 2- or 3-year-olds, keep the guest list short, and invite parents, too. The kids will feel more comfortable, and youll have extra hands for games and refreshments.
Four- and 5-year-olds need lots of energy-busting activities. Youll have your hands full with eight to 10 guests, unless you have help. Six-year-olds are fairly independent and capable of helping during the party, so you might be able to manage a few more children.
- Consider free or inexpensive venues. Sometimes local firehouses host parties, or you may be able to reserve a room at your local library or community center. A park with play equipment and picnic tables also is a good option.
- Register your child at www.freebirthdaytreats.com for gifts and coupons.
- On party day, make each guest feel special. Put a smiling greeter at the front door to welcome children as they arrive.