Great Cheap kids' birthday parties Hunt

Former_MSE_Andrea Posts: 9,614
Combo Breaker First Post I've helped Parliament Rampant Recycler
Great 'Cheap kids' birthday parties' Hunt

Children's birthday parties can be a huge drain on parents' wallets, particularly if it's a "special" age. We'd like to gather MoneySavers' fantastic collective wisdom on how to cut the cost on everything from venues to party bags, entertainment to dressing up and, of course, the cake.

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  • elliep_2
    elliep_2 Posts: 711
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    For younger primary school age children, invite a few of them to your house. Play games like pass the parcel, the chocolate game, musical statues etc.
    Search pinterest for interesting party food ideas. Jelly worms (made a bit stronger than normal jelly and allowed to set in straws) are good. Anything colourful or unusual but containing lots of sugar goes down well!
    It doesn't have to cost much, but the kids will enjoy it.

    For older kids then a pizza and DVD night followed by a sleepover for a few friends is a really nice way to celebrate. The food doesn't have to cost much and you can buy/rent/borrow a DVD that fits within your budget.
  • ITonyI
    ITonyI Posts: 80 Forumite
    I seem to have reached that stage in life where it feels I'm planning parties every couple of months (even though it can only be a couple of times a year in reality). I always shudder when I look up venue costs, so I tend to keep things at home, although that does mean fewer numbers.

    Fortunately I can usually funnel at least one party into the garden in the summer months (although last year was a little bit of a nippy one!) This is great for setting up a treasure hunt with cheapy sweets hidden everywhere. Keeps them quiet for a good hour of searching and munching.

    When it comes to party bags I've had some good experiences with Hawkin's Bazaar. The first time I put together a bundle of ten toys for £20 to include with a bit of cake and a party popper, but since then I've found they also do pre-filled party bags. You save money on each if you buy in bulk, but I've never bought more than 12 (which takes the price per bag from £4 to £2.75). Would definitely recommend them to anyone. Just watch that £3.50 delivery charge - make sure you get everything you want into one order.
  • emmamc1976
    emmamc1976 Posts: 11 Forumite
    If your child has a friend whose birthday is near to theirs, try asking the other parent if they fancy sharing a party/location? Often local community halls or family pubs have rooms for cheap hire or that can be used for free or for a donation, if you do your own catering and split the costs of food and party bags it can keep the larger party costs down. My son is still preschool age and I know that at this age as long as there are lots of children to play with he's happy, even if some of them are someone elses cousins. If you have a room like this you can also take toys from your own home and garden to play with, things like any climbing tunnels, swing ball, paddling pool (without the water) filled with balls, a bubble machine etc... or create your own party games, musical statues is always a good one. I'll be looking at this option next year when he's at school and the "who hasnt been invited" politics begins, it'll be a much cheaper way of entertaining 40+ children.
  • My mum and I always collect the tokens for the free lego with the newspapers. The children always seem pretty happy with a small bag of lego and some sweets and cake.
  • yorica
    yorica Posts: 203
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    There loads more tips on mumsnet
  • mann-banks
    mann-banks Posts: 15 Forumite
    I have found a great recipe to make a millies style birthday cookie, the kids love it and it cost a fraction, I cook it in a pizza tin. I also find with the pizza style party, buying plain pizzas and giving the kids dishes of topping is great once they are about 7/8 yrs old they can then create their own pizzas. For teen girls I buy cellophane bags (the kind they use in posh choc shops) in poundland/99p store approx 20+ for £1 including ribbons, I fill with a nail file, varnish and a full choc bar , all bought on offer in supermarkets or poundshops in multipacks the girls love them and they look great. The cost works out to approx 75p a child.
  • mann-banks wrote: »
    I have found a great recipe to make a millies style birthday cookie, the kids love it and it cost a fraction, I cook it in a pizza tin. .

    That sounds like a great idea. Do you have a recipe? I have a birthday party coming up and I could use up all the old Easter eggs as choc chips.
  • gfaulks
    gfaulks Posts: 10
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    My kids often want a party at home, guess it just feels more friendly. We're always done pass parcel type games plus my daughter likes craft stuff so I've printed off face mask outlines and they've coloured and decorated them. We've also done a film and pizza night (without a sleepover) and the boys loved that.
    I like making cakes so usually make one and decorate it - I'm really not an expert but have a book of ideas or go to Google Images and see what other people have done and try to copy.
    I hate party bags as they seem so expensive and are usually full of little bits of plastic rubbish! I use The Book People and order a set of 10 or 12 books appropriate for the age of the children then wrap each in cheap paper and they take these plus cake home instead of a party bag. I think we've only ever had one complaint and it losts about £1 per child. I hope this helps.
  • liz-paul
    liz-paul Posts: 899 Forumite
    Instead of party bags for my sons birthday next week I have bought punch balloons from ebay, cello cone bags from Ebay, personalised stickers from ebay and some sweets. Each child will get a blown up punch balloon and a cute bag of sweets with a sticker on (says thanks for coming to my party and has an angry bird on it). Total cost - just under £10 for 20.

    I always do a buffet (cos the parents eat it too) but it is a lot cheaper to buy some cardboard boxes (the sort that kiddie chip or sandwich meals come in from takeaways/cafes) & dish up chips and sausage/nuggets followed by birthday cake.

    One year I did a treasure hunt (kids had to find tokens hidden around the garden. They could exchange each token for an item for their party bag = activity & party bag for one price!
    1% at a time no. 40. £8000 (For dream family holiday) 94/100
    MFW 2013 no. 62 £10,000/£10,000
    MFW 2014 no 62 £8000/£7000
  • JimmyTheWig
    JimmyTheWig Posts: 12,199
    Name Dropper First Post Combo Breaker First Anniversary
    Have the party from 2pm until 4pm. You don't need to do lunch or tea (which, mostly, doesn't get eaten). A few packets of cheap biscuits for a snack at 3pm is fine.
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