Whether you’re planning a young child’s Alice in Wonderland theme party or a Twilight Saga party for your 15 year old, the secret to any successful party is organization and planning ahead. Here are some tips to help pull off your child’s theme birthday party like a pro!
Start Planning Ahead
Unless you know where to get all of your supplies and decorations locally, you’ll need time to shop around. If buying online, factor in delivery time. Check your calendar to make sure that the date you’ve chosen does not conflict with school events, youth sports or another child’s birthday. Planning well in advance allows you to make any reservations which require a wait period.
Decide on the Source for your Party Food
When throwing a theme party, it takes a bit more creativity to decide on the food. As a result, it might be beneficial to either seriously enlist the help of friends which although can be free but also straining, or you can enlist the help of a professional caterer. Look for a caterer which has experience working with children’s events because they may have ideas which you haven’t thought of.
If you let them know your budget they might be able to come up with a plan specific for your needs. For example, instead of them staying the length of the party and you paying for their time – perhaps you can simply stop by before the party and pick up the food yourself.
If budget is still a problem consider hosting the party between major meals. For example, planning a party around 2PM allows you to still offer food but instead finger food and snacks, plus the dessert. Whenever hosting a party keep in mind to ask the parents if their kids have any special allergies such as peanut butter or soy so you can accommodate those kids.
Pick a Theme… Any Theme…
This is a great opportunity to get your child involved in the party planning. Ask him or her for ideas on what the theme should be. Party supply stores offer decorations and favors for every theme from Pirates and Princesses to sports themes for teens to Nick Jr. type kids shows such as Yo Gabba Gabba birthday party themes.
Save money on throw-away items such as streamers, paper goods: plates, table cloths, napkins, etc. at dollar stores. They also have great bargains on balloons, goodie bags and favors. There are also some great websites with lots of affordable theme party ideas and items and a quick search on the web will give you lots of useful ideas.
Don’t Forget the Decor
For character theme parties, party supply stores and websites such as eBay carry door and wall decorations, posters, etc. in every theme imaginable. For a Twilight Saga party, you’ll need items significant to the storylines, such as red apples, ruffled tulips, a chess board with the queen and pawn and a torn red ribbon.
For example, for a Halloween theme, purchase some mesh fabric and hang it from the ceiling in the corners of each room to mimic spider webs. For young kids that don’t notice those things, simple decorations such as colorful balloons and colorful tablecloths and fun styled hats will do just fine.
Background music can be provided by the movie or TV show soundtracks – instead of purchasing new CDs, ask other parents if they already have some CDs they can bring – they’ll understand!
Party favors can include temporary tattoos, locker magnets, trading cards, buttons, stickers and lanyards. Twilight posters and even life-size character stand ups are available online, however a cheaper experience is to purchase colored poster board and do some life size cutouts of your child’s favorite characters.
Choosing a Location
The least expensive place would be your own home, however it may not be the most convenient if it isn’t conducive for a larger crowd. Other low cost or even free places would be a public picnic area or if you live in a community such as an apartment complex – try to see if you can reserve the commons area.
Parties are only as good as you make them and it’s often the little touches that can really make a difference. Finding ways to cut back on expenses can definitely help the bottom line, but finding the right places to cut back is the key. From careful planning to proper execution, you’ll have a great party and few more dollars still left in your wallet!
Contributed by Liz Krause, author of a cooking website, Liz enjoys finding opportunities to express her creativity either through writing about various topics such theme parties (click here for more theme party ideas), or through cooking in her kitchen. Being the youngest of 5 children, she remembers many costume parties and how much fun they were, of course she never knew then how much planning was involved!