Crafts + DIY

Top 10 Birthday Party Tips: Stay Sane While You Party!

Has the bar gotten a bit high for junior's marking of the years? Do you feel like you have to start planning for next year the day after the last one?

Here are ten terrific tips for keeping it easy on you and fun for them - while cutting down a little on the price tag!

10. Include kids in the planning. You might be surprised at how affordable they dream. You are more likely to hear "Pink cupcakes!" than "Pony!"

9. Trader Joe's. Make the trip and stock up on juice boxes, individually wrapped snacks and bars, affordable pre-cut fruits and veggies and a case of Two Buck Chuck for you! Wait. Did I just type that?

8. Use nature in your decorating. From Princess to High Tea to Pirates most themes can handle a bit of greenery from the yard. Dandelions in bud vases are charming! Vines dripping down from your chandelier are cool! Plus, with your yard offering up some of the decor the kids can help gather the goods!

7. Party favors that don't spoil the fun. Cheap party favors are a little less enticing with all the lead paint concerns as of late. Instead try making the favors! Did you see Angie's Play-Dough recipe? A few Zip-Loc bags of that will bring a smile to any kid's face. How about packing up all the things a kid would need to make a friendship bracelet or neat-o paper airplane? Print off directions and you've got a cool, one of a kind gift.

6. Dance! Kids love to dance. Love. It. And it's a great free, energy burning activity. Set aside part of the party to let 'em get their grooves on with a 15 minute dance party. Make a kid-friendly play list on your iTunes and turn it up

5. Cupcakes! Instead of getting a cake, bake some cupcakes and make an activity out of frosting them. Candies, sprinkles, fruit - lay it out and you've got dessert and an activity all in one.

4. Have it delivered. The marketing people at the pizza chains are gonna love this tip - but with $5 Domino's/Papa John's et al pizzas and a bunch of hungry kids that just want cheese on 'em anyway it might actually be cheaper to feed your masses en mass. And it is for sure easier on you. Ask for plates and napkins when you call and save yourself the clean up!

3. Costumes for everyone! Theme or no theme, things are just more fun when somebody in the room is dressed like a bunny. It's a great way to create an insta-party atmosphere when your guests arrive in their Halloween best. Plus, you and your husband can place a side bet on how many ballerinas or Harry Potters show up. Loser does dishes!

2. Your house, back yard or neighborhood park are great places to party. You don't have to rent out a theater to throw a good party. I promise.


1. Think back to your birthdays as a kid and pay attention to what you remember. I bet that more than presents or fancy cakes what you most remember was the attention and love of your family. Invest in that - be present, play, dance, frost cupcakes, giggle - that's what they'll remember.

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