My goal was to pull off a fun party on a budget. I planned on catching some photo's of the food to share but among the chaos I didn't get any pics. We had a 'friend' party and a family party. We had 6 little toddlers running round so I wanted to make food that was practical, but not all junk. Here are a few tips that helped me out:
Decor- Borrowed a banner from a friend (why not re-use?), Other than that just had balloons. They are inexpensive, floating around can cover the entire room and provide a little gift for each child to take one home.
Party favors - I have been to so many party's where my son comes home with a little baggy of useless junk, instead of paying $20 or more for favors that will likely end up in the trash within minutes of arriving at home I wanted to get something the kids could get a bit more use out of and save me a few bucks at the same time. I hit up the dollar store and bought 6 Transformers coloring books and 6 Iron Man puzzles. The kids were just as happy and I have the peace of mind that they will get some real use out of them.
Food - My son wanted to server hummus and carrot sticks (yes I know this is out of the ordinary but I'm lucky that way).
- Rather than having little fingers double dipping I put a spoon of hummus and 2 carrot sticks in individual little cups I picked up at the dollar store a while back (I had them leftover from jello shots).
- I put a spoonful of Almond Butter and a couple celery sticks in the cups.
- I made pigs in a blanket using little smokies and Pillsbury Crescent rolls I got with coupons.
- For a sweet treat I dipped marshmallows in chocolate served on a straw in a tall glass. (I tried bananas but couldn't get the chocolate to stick right ) I envy those of you who are crafty and good with creative treats.. this was a stretch for me.
- I also had a spoonful of caramel (got with coupons) in the little cups and served with apple slices.
Believe it or not the kids (and parents) ate all of the food.
Cake- I bought Iron Man cupcake papers for $1.99 and made cupcakes using cake mix and frosting I got with coupons. This way each kid could make their own mess and my son didn't spit all over a cake while blowing out candles.
This was a NO GIFT party. Fortunately all the moms respected my wishes. I did want my son to feel special so I gave him a couple gifts from my stockpile to open. He didn't even think twice about his friends not bringing gifts. I just felt it was unnecessary on the heels of Christmas and knowing that his family party would yield more than enough for my little guy.
Overall it was a success! I tried to use items I already had, reuse and for any package foods I made sure to use my coupons. The fresh stuff didn't cost that much or I already had it on hand. I also used regular paper plates I have stockpiled from coupon deals and real utensils and cups rather than buying and throwing out plastic (the dishwasher is an amazing thing). I figure I spent less than $50 on the entire party.
Thanks to all for your ideas!