Number 5 and 6 have the same birthday, and their birthday this year was on the day after the last day of school, the first official day of summer for us.
So we had a party.
Number 5 had seven friends come over, and Number 6 had three friends come over.
Just like last year, Number 5 wanted Number 4 (then years old) to be her party planner.
Last year I wrote a post about how I threw a birthday party that didn’t suck for $15, and some people thought the title was misleading because I had a friend offer to buy pizza and because I ended up by chance happening to score a free cake from a swim team party.
So this year I wanted to see if I could have a party where the kids all had fun and that was legitimately under $15.
I just made it.
Here is how I did it.
My mom took Number 4 to the dollar store and she spent $12 on party stuff.
She got some balloons and some paper plates and napkins and a few other small items, and she invited three of her friends to come and help her run the party.
I feel pretty strongly about letting each kid have their own separate experience, so she set up a table for the girls in one area and a table for the boys in another area.
Then Number 4 and her friends set all the stuff up. She blew up the balloons (she needed some help with the tying knots in them) and wrote the names of the kids who were coming on the balloons in Sharpie and used them as name cards on the chairs.
I forgot to get an up close picture of Number 6’s party area, but here’s a crappy, enlarged, grainy photo from far away.
I spent $13 on a big party pizza from the Big Y, and I spent $4 on chips.
I mixed up lemonade from stuff we already had, so that cost nothing.
I did accept some help from my mom.
But pretty much any party you throw or you got to, people ask you, What can I bring?
So when my mom offered to contribute cupcakes and ice cream, I took her up on it.
Now dessert was free. My mom baked the cupcakes and Number 4 iced them.
One of Number 4’s favorite shows is Cupcake Wars and she was determined to pipe the icing onto the cupcakes, which she did.
My mom also read somewhere to scoop ice cream into muffin liners ahead of time and put them in the freezer so you don’t have to be scooping during the party.
So she did that for me, and dessert looked like this:
Some of the cup cakes were a little messed up, but I’d say for her first piping job, Number 4 did great, and it still looked pretty.
Number 2 gave Number 6 a Slip and Slide for his birthday, so the kids played on that and they swam in the pool.
The same friend’s mom who came over last year came over this year and made balloon animals.
Or whatever they were.
The kids didn’t care. They just thought they were fun.
Number 4 planned a fun spin art craft for the kids.
She took our salad spinner and some paint and paper cutouts we already had (that means FREE)
And she helped the kids make some spin art.
You just drip some paint in the salad spinner, spin it, and you end up with things like this:
They aren’t exactly Jackson Pollack masterpieces or something you’re gonna want to display indefinitely in your home, but the kids thought they were cool.
Number 4 also set up a nail table and she and her friends did the girls’ nails. We used nail polish we already had, so that was free.
The boys got tattoos, but I forgot to take a picture of those.
And that was the party!
Swimming, slip and slide, spin art, cupcakes, ice cream, nail polish and tattoos.
I did not buy party favors because I do not do party favors.
Number 5 was a little upset by this.
“But Mom, the people who come to the party need some payback,” she said to me.
I explained to her that the party is the payback.
And so here is what I spent:
pizza : $13
Total for 2 parties: $29.82
Average price for one party: Just under $15 !
I know it was bare bones. I know not everyone has a pool or a birthday in the summer.
The point is that your kids can still have fun without you going crazy. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a more elaborate party.
Okay, well maybe I am a little.
But what I’m really saying though is that you don’t have to have an elaborate, over-the-top party.
If you want to give your kids a party but don’t have tons of money to spend, be resourceful. Be creative! Improvise! See what you have around the house that you can use. Let other kids run the party for you. Let go of the need to control everything and micromanage. Accept help when it is offered to you!
It will all work out great, and your kids will have a blast!
I know, because mine did!