Birthday parties for less

I’m always reading in parenting magazines about kids’ dream birthday parties. How they are ‘budget friendly’ at a cost of $1000!!!! What? Really? My dream party for my kid would cost less than $100 and be very simple.

By the time my kid is old enough for a party, I would assume that she would have a couple of friends over for a party. Depending on her class size, it might be the girls in her class, or just one or two. I would allow her to have input on the theme, but it would be kind of generic, and it would be at home, not at a fancy bouncy place. In this economy who can afford that? A few balloons for decoration and some cake or other snacks is just fine with me. Forget the goody bags, but maybe a few games with prizes would be alright (thanks to Mrs. Frank years ago, I got a huge jar of m&m’s for guessing closest to how many was in the jar, awesome!)

What do you think? All out kid’s parties (someone I used to know got a pony for her 1 year old’s birthday–and the kid slept through the party, so she sat on it. Yikes!) with the works, or simple is better. Has this changed because of the economy or did you always think so. Hate goodie bags or love them? Let me know.


  1. Last year, I probably spent ~$200 for Jammin’s 7th birthday – but that was including everything, (we had it at a local bounce place but it was VERY cheap here – $5 a kid)….after you took into account plates, cups, food, cake, ice cream, silverware, and goodie bags it all adds up quickly.

    I was pregnant and wanted easy – otherwise, all the other parties I’ve done here at home – and just got really creative with the games – all centered around a theme…and everything for the games is cheaply made or already owned (soccer ball obstacle course, for example)

    I always do goodie bags – usually very simple things in there – lollipops, stickers, stuff I found at the $1 store or Oriental Trading. The younger kids get so disappointed if you don’t have them to give. Probably older kids won’t care as much.

    Plus – I am of the belief that while the kids are young – Under 10 – If you are going to have a party, either the entire class (or all boys/girls thing) needs to be invited. That way no one gets their feelings hurt. Kids talk about their parties at school and “best friends” are still being made (at least for the boys anyway)

    $1000 for a party is WAY too much – even for an adult.

  2. OK -we do an over the top cake -all homemade and designed by hubby – but that’s it for “theme” -the plates are generic paper ones in yellow that we got for the Munchkin’s first birthday and still have some left… they go with everything.

    Invites are hand made on the computer – or emailed.

    No goody bags – but we have mostly cousins and relatives at our party.

    The games we play? usually new board games that the Munchkin got as gifts.

    I also can’t stand the “prepackaged” theme stuff… not my style.

  3. My kids no longer have parties for birthdays, but we did theme parties, especially for Lyssa.

    But I always made the cakes, and probably never spent more than 100 dollars on a party for 12 girls.

    So it averages out to about eight bucks a kid… not bad. And lots of goodies and fun.

  4. I’m old fashioned and think the best parties are the ones done at home with traditional games and home made food. Goody bags are OK if it’s few simple things that don’t cost much.

  5. My kid’s only 3 and this year? Was her first party where we invited other children. I did goody bags, but they were full of stickers and crayons and an experimental toy–a tiny whale that, when put in water, grows to 600 times its size–type of thing.

    Her party this year, we spent around $250. That was for her cake and all the food/beverages. Plates/napkins/utensils I got at the Dollar Store. Table coverings, streamers and napkins were one solid color (no theme) and the balloons? I get the helium ones at the Dollar Store for a buck a piece and those bitches lasted FOUR WEEKS!! Far better than dishing out $4 per balloon from a florist or the grocery store.

    I could never bring myself to spend a ton of money. I’d go all out for her graduation party, but a birthday? I’d rather use that money toward a really big gift she’s been wanting or stash it in her savings account.

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