for my kids birthday parties they are allowed to invite 6 people with a special guest for the other sibling to play with. So a total of 11 people. we try to keep our budget to $100.
I make the cake and often have cake toppers/decortations that double as a birthday present (figurines, action figures, etc)
balloons, crepe paper and cardboard cut outs for decorations
books form the library.
goody bags - use plain brown paper bags that your child has decoratated. we keep it somewhere between 41-$3 per child depending on whatelse we are doing.
games etc - kids prefer free play with props is what I have found. dress up clothes are usually a hit. and of course a god round os pin the whatever on the whatever is always fun for some reason.
My thre best and cheapest party:
Madelines 7th fiesta
pinata - we made it. there was some expense but we considered it a homeschool priject. favors were inside. favors were mostly candy and cost around $1.50 per girl ($20 total?)
food - our biggest expense but there were lots of left overs. we served tostadas, nachos and fak-a-ritas (cherry lime aid slushies with little straws) probably $40 all together.
decorations: around $20. I bought a lot at the dollar store which is a rip off. they are much cheaper and in bigger packages at hobby lobby and walmart. this included the pin the tail on the donkey game.
cake- same as if we hadn't had a party.
So $80. that was probably one of my more expensive ones since it involved food. Madeline and I made God's Eyes ( a traditional mexican craft) for decoration and sent them home as favors. I believe both yarn and popsicle sticks were left over from something.
and other wise they just played and painted thier nails with the stuff in the goody bags.
Pizza party for 5th birthday
went to papa murpheys and got thre pizzas unassembled. way to much we were eating pizza forever. the kids used about 1 large so $5. (thier pizza is cheap).
made a "pizza" cake but she would have had this without a party - it is so theme related I had to share
craft - painting aprons. got the pain on clearance and the arons were $3 each. so $35 total.
favors. we put a hand full of bubble gum and dum dums in a paper bag. $4. hey they got the aprons.
so kids were entertained, fed and took home a favor for $45. 10 kids. woohoo!
Pirate party for 4 year olds (5 kids - we had a second party for older kids later in the day)
They recieved paper pirate hats that we made from construction paper and loot bags we made from black fabric and ribbon. white crayons did lettering on both. and an eye patch. $7
decorations- ballons and streamers $3, cardboard whatnot and tape $5 We used large peices of cardboard to make a ship facade that we taped to our front porch. hung old curtains from the food to make sails. it was awsome. I also made some other boats out of smaller boxes. we used black ballons for cannon balls. here is a picture of the big boat and a smaler one. it isn't great. we also made a pirate flag for dd. It was cheap and easy. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...pirateship.jpg
we had stations set up around our yard where they would go to look for "booty" and hear a story. at one they dug in the sand for gold coins ($3 for the bag. kids were pulling gold coins out of our sand box for months afterward) and gold coin candy $4, station two was bubble island. we filled the pool with bubble bath and put in pirate rubber ducks. they had to find the one with thier name on it. the neighborhood kids had a blast with those bubbles for a good week. the ducks were $15. and tehy got a bottle of bubbles $2 and then to the porch where we had a pirate battle and the winner got the treasure chest (made from card board - there is actually a book with all the cardboard pirate stuff and there is one fr princess stuff to http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846
) and got to hand out treasure to everyone. jewls ($1) and suckers $1. tehn they just played and played.
Oh I almost forget. they each made thie own pirate flag. Ihad skull and cross bones already cut from white paper and they glued them to black paper in thier own design. this was essentialy free.
so for 6 preschooler we spent around $40-$45 and they went home with bags overflowing with loot, pirate flags, balloons, and dress up. the books were the big hit and best use of time though.
Later that night we had some older friends who would have been board to tears at the baby party or who helped with the babies (reading stories and passing out treats and construicting the card board stuff) for a movie and pop corn and supper. we have an industrial pop corn popper so that was free more or less for a garbage bag full of popcorn, hot dogs and uns were about $4, pop was about $2 and the movie rental $3 but doesn't count because i had been an awsome hostess and put together the playmobile pirate ship. kids or not I deserved a couple of hourse oogaling Johnny Depp.
So big kid party $10 for 8 kids. no loot. leftover cake. :LOL poor kids. they did get to eat pop corn until they hurled though.