On December 23, 2014, my little boy turned 4. FOUR! I can’t believe how fast time flies and that it’s actually been 3 years since I went all out for his birthday party. The last two years were kinda low-key and I don’t even think I bought balloons, it’s probably because I was still pooped from his first birthday. It was a Sprout themed party complete with a homemade, fondant-covered, two-tiered Chica cake. It was a big deal.
Since then, birthday party ideas are exploding on Pinterest and any well-intentioned mom could totally go bonkers trying to pin ALL.THE.THINGS. There is soooo much to do if you want to have the “perfect” kids party and one could surely end up being committed if you actually try to do it all. Not to mention what it will do to your bank account. I mean, seriously, we can all be party planning pros let alone afford to hire one to handle all the gasp inducing details that a Pinterest party requires. If you haven’t checked out Pinterest for parties yet….grab a glass of wine (or scotch) and check out my Birthday Party board.
I’m happy to say….you CAN have an amazing Pinterest-y birthday party without blowing the budget or losing your sanity.
For Landon’s 4th birthday party (which was held an entire month later because I can’t handle holiday planning AND birthday planning at the same time), we had a dinosaur theme….but not scary, jungle dinosaur. Cute, vibrant Dinosaur Party complete with dinosaur fossils wearing party hats. I will not take credit for the fossils wearing hats or the kids party hats…I did find them on Pinterest. What I didn’t find were the instructions to make them. Soooo, I bought a cheap pack of party hats at the dollar store to create a template and then cut them out using card stock. I made the spikes just by measuring a length of card stock and then cutting triangles out. Super easy, insanely cute. I used hot glue to secure the spikes to the edge of the card stock hat and then glued them together to form the cone shape. I bought elastic and stapled it to the sides for the chin strap. I spent a total of $8 to make 20 hats. The dinosaurs were bought on Amazon for around $6 each and we had to assemble them ourselves.
The “chandelier” I hung from the ceiling fan was a little bit of a pain….I won’t lie. Balloons are just as festive and so much easier. But it did look flippin’ amazing and I received a ton of compliments on it. I bought the puffs and paper lanterns from an online company, Just Artifacts. Their party supplies are amazingly inexpensive, the same items at a local party store cost 4 times as much. I tied them together with fishing line and looped them over the blades of the ceiling fan. I’m like Mrs. MacGuyver.
I made his Copycat Milk Bar Birthday Cake, however, the banners and cute cupcake toppers I also bought online from Cupcake Express. All the items were sent to me via email and I printed myself. You’ll need time to assemble everything but for under $10 you can’t beat it.
The dinosaur tracks are from Oriental Trading Company for a whooping $10 and they are now on the playroom wall. Double-duty decorations!
For the party favors, I gave out dinosaur eggs filled with candy from Oriental Trading Company and Ball jars with decorative lids. The lids cost pennies and were purchased from Just Artifacts, the jars I bought at Target for $15.
Ok….got it all? Now,
I’ll break down how I remained sane while planning this big bash.
How to Plan a Pinterest Party on a Budget (Without Going Crazy)
- Plan ahead….we all know this. But how many times have you underestimated the amount of time it would take you to do a task….say, separating all the tissue layers in those cute tissue puffs. Really, try to have all the decorations prepared at least 3-4 days in advance. The only thing you want to be doing on the day of the party is handling the food and set up.
- If you’re ordering items online, make sure you know the shipping and handling times. Sometimes two-day shipping isn’t shipped for 5 days because their handling time takes forever. So, it’s like 7 days until you receive it. Think about what you want to order online about a month ahead and order it. Don’t wait until the week before…especially if you’re ordering those tissue puffs.
- To save money, skip the theme cake….bake your own. I made my Copycat Milk Bar Birthday Cake and it was a huge hit. I didn’t even get a slice, I had to make another. It’s not hard, it doesn’t take much time at all and sometimes a homemade cake is far more tasty than one that’s crafted into a 20 story Cinderella castle. Sure it’s beautiful but a cake bunting can be just as cute and you can save hundreds of dollars.
- Think light….on the food. (I don’t do this because I’m a food blogger and I have to adhere to certain expectations…ha!) If you have a party at noon….you will probably need to serve lunch. BUT if you have a party around 2 or 3PM, you can get away with just some light snacks and cake. Timing is everything….food is expensive…this is definitely a place where you can save a ton of money.
- Balloons….they’re pretty cheap. Especially from the dollar store. Don’t ever overlook the dollar store, this place is a gold mine of party supplies on the cheap! However, for this party…I did better, price-wise, at Target for plates, plastic utensils, cups and napkins. And the color selection is much more fun. I mean…polka dots!?!?!?
- Don’t try to do it all….pick a color scheme….don’t go overboard and pick just a few impressive Pinterest tricks to use at the party. Really…if you have too many “super, clever, mind-blowing, Martha-esque” party ideas going on….people won’t even remember half of them. Pick your favorites (or your child’s favorites…who’s party is it anyway) and narrow it down to 2-3. Decorate with your color scheme and weave in your Pinterestic tricks.
- Plastic tablecloth…the children’s parties that use cloth tablecloths….those people are already insane. Let’s just not even go there.