The Dora cake from Starlet's party last year. I think this year's cake will look similar. I'm getting hungry just looking at it...mmm...cake...
My ideas for thrifty decorations kind of came in my head in bullet form, so I'll just list 'em for ya!
- If you're doing a character-based party (like Dora, Thomas, Elmo, etc.) choose a few key "character pieces" like a centerpiece (or even just the cake!), pinata, or plates & cups, then use generic decorations with similar colors for the rest. For example, for Monkey's Thomas party last year, I used a Thomas centerpiece, banner, and napkins, then I used a solid blue tablecloth and red and blue plates, cups, and cutlery.
- Colored balloons and crepe paper streamers can go a long way. (Think long streamer curtains in doorways, balloons everywhere!) Bonus: the balloons double as a fun activity.
- Print off images from character websites and have your children color them before the party. Then combine them with the letters to spell "Happy Birthday" and attach them all to a ribbon for a festive birthday banner.
- Use your child's own toys as part of the decorations. For my son's tools party I borrowed his wooden toolbox to use as a holder for napkins and cutlery, and for my daughter's Dora party I am planning on using her big Dora doll as a centerpiece (she's going to need some hairstying first, though!)
- iTunes has all the theme songs from movies and kids' tv shows for $0.99 apiece- download some music to add some fun atmosphere to the party- you never know, you might inspire a dance party...
- Have a permanent marker available (up high away from little fingers) so you can label guests' plates and cups with their names. We want to share good times, not germs!
- For my parties, I usually remove all the chairs from around the kitchen table and place them around the kitchen and the living room. Then I push the table against one wall and I use that as the main focalpoint for all the food and decorations.
These are the ideas that can pretty much apply to any child's birthday party. I also wanted to share some things I've done specifically for my kids' parties.
For my son's tools party, I couldn't find a cake that I liked, so I ordered cupckakes with yellow and orange frosting (we LOVE Wal-Mart's cupcakes with whipped icing, so we always get the kids' cakes from there) and I went to a baker's specialty store and picked up some really cute "cupcake picks" in the shapes of little tools, then I stuck them into the cupcakes. Also for that party, I found a 4-pack of miniature orange road cones and I put them on the table (covered in a plain yellow tablecloth) and strung caution tape between them which I had purchased from Birthday in a Box that said "CAUTION: PARTY ZONE!" It turned out really cute.
I highly recommend the cupcake cakes from Wal-Mart. We discovered them when planning Monkey's second birthday and we have used them ever since. They can decorate them just as cute as a regular cake, the whipped frosting is DELICIOUS (seriously, hubby and I fight over who gets the leftovers) and using cupcakes is much easier- no cutting required!
As I said, for Starlet's Dora party I will use her Dora doll for a centerpiece, and I may pick up a few more Dora-themed things from the party store. But most of my decorations will be random yellow, pink, green, and purple items from the Dollar Store. I am also planning on bringing in the kids' picnic table from outside and even using the umbrella that goes with it- I thought it would be a fun (and contained!) place for the kids to eat in the kitchen. Another idea is to set up a picnic blanket on the floor for the kids to eat on. Everybody loves a picnic!
Hope these ideas inspire some thrifty decorative creativity in you! Check back later for some fun birthday party activities!
Do you have any thrifty decorative party ideas to share? Leave a comment!