Budget-Friendly Birthday Party Ideas for Kids
Save the serious check writing for her Sweet Sixteen. These three parties (with throw-it-together themes) are big fun for the 10-and-under set. And not paying for a bouncy castle? That’s our gift to you. By Sara Hicks Malone; cake ideas by Dawn Perry
Target audience: 5- to 7-year-olds
A mess is a theme? To you, it’s just another Saturday. But, really, this idea—devoted to splatters and spills (or, if you’re brave, dirt and goo)—will make you the coolest mom on the planet. And you can throw out the party-prep perfectionism (iced rosettes just so). Stock up on Silly String, set out paint (washable—you haven’t totally lost your mind), and serve food with graffiti-style toppings. Then let the kids go wild. As if they wouldn’t, anyway.
Start with melba toast rounds with guacamole and sour cream squiggles (place each topping in a resealable plastic bag, snip a hole in the corner of the bag, and squeeze). Follow them up with Sloppy Joes and gross-out candy: licorice laces that look like alien intestines, gummy worms and snakes, and chocolate eyeballs. Splatter jawbreaker pops are a fun treat or favor (try Paintball Pops, 24 for $40, groovycandies.com). Napkins—at all times—optional.
Make 24 cupcakes out of 1 box of yellow cake mix according to the package directions. For the icing: Thin store-bought vanilla icing with milk until it’s smooth and runny. Tint it with a few drops of food coloring and put it in a resealable plastic bag. Snip a hole in the corner of the bag and let the kids squeeze to decorate their own cupcakes.