Planning a birthday party can get overwhelming—even if you’re hosting a casual, intimate gathering. There are plenty of ways to get organized and throw the perfect bash, while making sure you’re still able to enjoy the party. Careful planning beforehand and plenty of prep work is the key to a successful celebration. Every birthday celebration needs decorations, food and cake, and games or some form of entertainment, so we’ve rounded up plenty of creative ideas and tips to pull it all off. To start, you’ll need a theme. Choose from clever birthday party ideas that won’t cost a fortune or three party themes that are unique, but so easy to pull off. Then, make sure to consult some of our helpful checklists to keep things streamlined, including one for an away-from-home birthday party. Finally, you’ll want to plan a menu—especially dessert, which is arguably the most important part. Check out party desserts for kids and unique cake topping ideas, all of which you can do without heading to the bakery.
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.