Caroline's party did not start out to be a giant thing, but in the end we had 26 adults and 19 kids!!! That's a lot of people for a cheap party. ***DISCLAIMER*** I sent my sweet husband to Sams Club and he spent way more than I would have, so we did spend more than $78. However, I'm showing you how YOU can do it (and how I would have done it if I had been the one doing all the shopping!)
1. Choose a theme: Choosing a theme before you get started is key. Caroline didn't have a theme in mind for her party, she just kept saying "I want a purple party, and a purple cake, and purple presents." Purple could be a theme, but I needed to narrow it down a little, so I decided on a purple fairy theme.
2. Choose a main color and an accent color: Obviously, purple is the main color here. I thought green would be a great accent color, very fairy-like.
|Got the idea for ruffled table runner from Disney at Ruffles and Stuff.|
3. Shop your house: Go throughout your house and collect everything that might work for your party. I went around and found everything purple and/or related to fairies. I found quite a lot! I looked in the girls' room first, but then found a lot in my craft room and even the garage! Here is the loot:
4. Make a list. Once you see everything you have you can start thinking about stuff you need. I like to start by thinking about what the kids are going to do at the party. How many boys and girls will there be? I don't do treat bags for kids, I usually give them something when they walk in the door that they can play with at the party and then take home with them. For the fairy party I chose fairy wings for the girls and bug catchers for the boys (or fairy catchers...ha ha). I also knew I wanted to make "fairies in a jar" which means I needed mason jars, glitter, and glow sticks.
5. Shop the Dollar Store FIRST. I would even recommend going around to several dollar stores to try to find what you need. At my dollar store I purchased 6 plastic table clothes, 4 packs of plates, a pack of napkins, plastic cups, plastic utensils, fairy wings for the girls, bug stuff for the boys, glow sticks, nail polish and glitter. Total cost? $33. I also bought a pack of cheap pastels and Tinkerbell birthday candle at A.C. Moore. The total cost for everything was $42.72. Other than food, that is all I spent on this party!
6. Bake your own cake.
I am not a very good baker, but I'm learning. (Mostly because Miss Caroline is gluten intolerant, and therefor I can't just go to Food Lion and buy her a cake.) Even with gluten free cake mix, this 3 layer cake I made only cost $12 to make. If it was regular cake mix it would have been more like $7. And it tasted GOOD. There is a really helpful tutorial on the proper way to ice a cake at Prudent Baby.
7. Decorate one wall. For maximum visual interest, choose one wall to really gussy up instead of spreading decorations around the house. I feel like that gives the biggest visual bang for your buck. Tissue paper and chinese lanterns are super cheap. I like to keep them on hand for parties!
You can also scoot a table against the wall and arrange everything on the table. I did this for Jason's Beerthday Party and it turned out great!
8. Think outside the box for activities.
If you keep mason jars on hand fairies in a jar is a super cheap activity. I got glow sticks 3 for a dollar and a big jar of glitter for a dollar. So all this cost 4 bucks.
|Bug station for the boys|
|Fairy Station for the girls|
We had a "fairifying" station where I painted nails, did face glitter and did hair chalking. The nail polish and glitter I got at the dollar store. The pastels I got from Michaels for $6, and they can be used for art projects later!
|I love Charlotte's rainbow hair!|
9. Two Words: Hot dogs. They are cheap, kids love them, and you can cook a whole mess of 'em at one time. Hubby went to Sams club and bought dogs and buns in bulk, you can get condiments for next to nothing at the grocery store. Instead of serving sodas you can serve sweet tea and Country time lemonade. Both are super cheap and go a long way. The grand total for all of these things? About $24.00! Ask everyone to bring a side dish and you've got a party.