My kids are obsessed with the Lion King and all things animal and Africa. In a bid to save some money on my littlest’s birthday (as I’ve written in previous post, NYC birthdays can easily set you back a thousand dollars), we decided to do a small, low-key home party with 8 of her friends. The theme was Safari…I think we pulled it off (: Fun was had by all…and in reality, it was only a handful of hours of moderate stress fro me (home parties are not for the totally faint of heart).
We’re lucky enough to have a children’s play space in our building, so we kicked off the festivities down there…spending about 30 minutes letting the kids run around and acclimate. Followed up with about an hour (and some) in our apartment for a couple of themed games, snacks, cupcakes and the tried and true pinata. Below are some tips for a successful and affordable home party:
1) Keep the guest list minimal. We capped ours at 8 kids (plus caretakers).
2) Designate specific space in your apartment (for you suburbanites, this could easily be only your yard). We closed off our bedrooms and utilized our dining and living space.
3) Clear furniture and breakables from party space. Kids will be kids. They run, they jump, they mess with things. Anything of value should be put away.
4) Keep your menu simple and make your own food, if possible. I like party times away from major meals of the day. We held our bash at 2:30pm. Kids had already eaten lunch so we provided a variety of juices and water, small sandwiches, olives and pickles, crudite and dip, a variety of chips, cookies, novelty candies, fruit, and cupcakes. I also like to provide some champagne or wine/beer for the adult guests. I realize some parents frown upon booze at kid gigs…honestly, it is the only way I can power through em’.
5) Go with a theme that is easy to execute. My kids’ fervor for animals and the Lion King made this one easy for us. a) Look around your house at what you might already have available. We were in possession of great little animal figurines, some fabrics, floor mats and artwork that helped with setting and table-scape. b) Soundtracks are easily down-loadable on Pandora, Spotify or iTunes and music helps with the overall ambiance. c) Scour the discount online retailers (Amazon, Oriental Trading Company, Shindigz, Party City, etc.) for great deals on decorations and paper goods. I love Retail Me Not for additional coupon discounts.
With decorations, food, games, prizes and party favors, this Safari Party set me back about $300-$350. That’s approximately a $500-$900 savings compared to utilizing one of our local kid’s clubs or gyms. Not bad.
My childhood was filled with these types of lovingly crafted parties…my mother was/is a creative visionary. I have so many wonderful and indelible memories. I can only hope to pass on a little bit of her magic to my kids.