Nowadays kids’ parties seem to be getting more and more expensive. The days when a game of pass the parcel, a few sandwiches and balloons would suffice have well and truly gone. Some parents openly admit to feeling competitive about their children’s parties every year, and the pressure can be enormous. But it doesn’t have to cost the Earth: after all, not all of use have hundreds of pounds lying around to throw at a party that will last two hours at most. If you are among this majority, the good news is that there are plenty of ways you can save money and still ensure you child has a great day. For example:
1. Venue: It is much cheaper to hold the party at your house because you don’t have to hire out a hall and then travel over to it. But if you really can’t face the thought of your home being trashed by a crowd of marauding children then it’s also possible to hold parties in a local park or free outdoor play area. All you have to do is provide a picnic and arrange some energetic games to tire the children out. However, this is always going to be a brave choice because you are banking on the weather holding up. If you want to be secure then holding it indoors is still your best bet. If you still don’t want to hold the party at home then you could try booking a hall away from peak times – half-terms and holidays – when costs are likely to be higher.
2. Invitations: When putting the invitation list together for your child’s birthday party, try to limit the amount of guests as far as possible by stressing that older / younger brothers and sisters are not invited too (after all, you will have to provide food for everyone). If you really want to keep costs to the barest minimum then you can send email invitations out. If not, you can try buying some card-making kits in bulk from a craft supply website such as Handy Hippo. You can normally get a much better deal online than you would do if you went out to the shops to buy the invites.
3. Food: Children don’t tend to eat a huge amount at parties when they are excited so you don’t need to go overboard. The key thing to remember is that you should include a few healthy snacks such as carrot sticks and cucumber in amongst the inevitable sausages, biscuits, cakes and jelly. If you’re not confident in your baking abilities, buy a lot of cheap cupcakes form the supermarket and get the children to decorate them. Makes sure you choose finger food so you don’t have to spend extra on cutlery, and buy paper plates and cups in bulk. When it comes to table cloths you can save money by either borrowing them or simply buying plant white paper, scattering crayons all over it and letting the children decorate it as they eat.
4. Entertainment: We all know that professional children’s party entertainers, whilst great, can be prohibitively expensive for a lot of parents. Luckily there are plenty of alternatives: why not set up a few tables with a load of craft supplies from a website such as the above-mentioned Handy Hippo, and let them get creative? Games like pass-the-parcel and musical statues always go down well, and kids always enjoy a bit of face-painting as well. It helps if you have a theme of some kind – pirates, for example, or princesses – and then all the entertainment can be built around this theme.
5. Party Bags: This is often the area where parents can end up spending more than they had intended to. Even buying a lot of cheap plastic toys in bulk can add up if you have to fill bags for 30 or so kids. One option can simply be to do a lucky dip and let the children choose one present each to take home with them. Or it can be enough just to send them away with a balloon and a slice of the birthday cake. It really all depends upon how much you can afford or feel you want to provide. You should never feel pressurised to try to outdo other parents.