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Throwing a birthday party is no easy task, and doing one on a budget is dang near impossible. Unless you know all of the tips and tricks to cut costs on a party. Once you have that foundation of knowledge, all you need is some creativity and outside the box thinking.
A great place to look for party suggestions is Pinterest.
Millions of users daily so I’m sure that you know exactly what I’m talking about when I reference this site.
I had a secret party board full of inspiration growing for months beforehand, and finally, the day arrived where I was able to bring it to life. I just love designing creative parties and budget photoshoots with the kids and then watching them come into reality! It’s so much fun!
I made a Pinterest worthy Monster birthday bash/ party for my son, for $50.
Not an easy task when you add in the food allergies:
It seemed like all of the good foods were excluded. But no one was going to be sent to the hospital on my watch.
Here’s how I did it:
Several weeks ago I had decided upon the theme Monster Mash. Our little monster is turning one.
I made and designed my own invites using Cricut Design Space. Officially cut out one invite to hand deliver to a family member who is not on my Facebook friends list.
Then created an event for it on Facebook and uploaded a video of me opening the invite so everyone had the chance to see it.
Since I only needed to print and make 2 invitations, it was pretty cost-effective. Made the cards using cardstock from Michaels that I bought for $2.50 a pack during a sale. I actually used 3 packs of cardstock for all the decorations, which cost me a grand total of $7.50
$42.50 left in my budget.
About 3 weeks in advance, I started physically making the decorations.
Using child nap times and bedtimes to my advantage whenever possible. I didn’t even use everything I had made, because I had to cut a few things out last minute due to layout changes in the room. Like not having the long table I planned on holding foods and needing to switch to two smaller tables.
Dollar Tree was a big help in my shopping/planning as well.
From there, I purchased:
- 1 pack of rainbow color tissue papers (from the present wrapping aisle)
- A pack of 8 count glossy photo paper
- 1 pack of monster stickers from home décor section
- 3 white plastic table cloths
- 1 pack of 2 count yellow streamers
- A pack of plates
- 1 pack of napkins
- 2 packs of silverware
- 1 pack of balloons
- 1 foam board
For a grand total of $13.
Leaving me $29.50 in the budget to work with.
The foam board doubled as both a photo prop frame as well as a number one for the wall. I did this by cutting out the frame, and then cutting out the one from the square that was leftover.
To make the One, I used the tissue paper, cutting it into 1 inch squares.
I applied glue to the foam and using the eraser of a pencil I pushed a piece of tissue paper against it so that it formed a 3D cup-like affect. Repeated until the foam board was complete and looking full (took a few hours) but it looks great!
The foam photo prop was completed using cardstock images I made and glued onto it. I even included the hashtag I made for my son so that the party images and videos that made it to social media could be easily locatable.
Photo booth props were super easy as well. All made with cardstock and kabob skewers. Some were layered and others were printed. All held together with glue sticks and hot glue.
I made him custom shirts for the party, one for the cake smash and one for the party itself so he could look “cleaner” in photos.
Since I make shirts all the time and used products I had on hand to complete these, they didn’t add to the budget.
But due to postponing the cake smash until after the dinner was consumed, his shirts were used out of order.
He’s adorable enough to make it work for him!
I designed and made a pin the eye on the monster game.
The monster stands at 3 feet tall and has provided hours of fun for my oldest child who continues to move the eyeballs around since I have yet to take it down from the wall.
He was made and completed using only cardstock, tape, and a glue stick.
The party favors were made using the 8 counts of glossy photo paper from Dollar Tree. So $1 made the bags. I designed them on the Cricut Design space weeks ago in anticipation. These could easily be made on any computer program, including Microsoft Paint. You can look up “custom chip bags” online and see tons of options that folks have done for a variety of reasons.
My blog subscribers received an email on October 1st with Free printable for a Halloween Jack O Lantern themed one I designed especially for them. *One more good reason to subscribe to my blog, is the exclusive freebies 😉
The bag was held together with glue and the paper crimping was done using a tool I purchased forever ago from Wish, for about $2 (not included in final budget) the crimping wasn’t necessary by any means, I’m just “extra” as a parent and couldn’t resist. After doing one, I had to do the rest for symmetry.
Inside the bags was about 1/2 a measuring cup worth of cheerios, chocolate chips, pretzels, mini marshmallows and candy monster eyeballs. Pre-mixed into a bowl and scooped out to fill the bags, not 1/2 a cup of each item (just to clarify.) This cost about $3 and left me with a ton of leftovers.
The Cake Smash Cake
How I made the smash cake.
You can read all about how I made the monster themed smash cake and the steps I took to make it by clicking right here. It only cost me $6.50 to complete it.
Other décor related items I made included cupcake toppers, and personal sized spaghetti monster containers (take out boxes.)
The cupcake toppers were made using cardstock and toothpicks. I designed the images online and printed them out. Cut into circles using my Cricut Machine and glued onto the colorful cardstock backing. A hot glue gun helped hold the toothpicks in place and that’s honestly as easy as it is to make your own.
The takeout boxes, were free due to my parents gifting them to me.
They work at a job involving restaurant supply and when a pallet of items is damaged, it can’t go out to customers, so the items become a free-for-all grab for the employees off the “free pallet.” My parents bring home random items all the time thinking I can find a creative use for them.
I printed cardstock pictured of a spaghetti monster, labeled them, cut and glued onto the side of the box. The spaghetti and meatball portions inside these boxes were very generous, and I didn’t even fill the boxes completely.
Not to mention these take out boxes made it so much easier when people had leftovers, they could take them home with them!
Had I not been given these cute boxes, I no doubt would have done self serve giant bowls of gluten free and regular option spaghetti.
The rest of the food
First, let’s remind you what’s left in my $50 budget at this point so the math keeps up with us. I had a $50 budget. I spent $30 on the stuff all mentioned above, and have $20 leftover for foods.
Gluten free spaghetti noodles were $3, regular was $0.59ea. I bought 2 regular and one Gluten free. I used 2 cans of spaghetti sauce at $0.79 each. A large package of meatballs was $2.76 for the non-gluten free meatballs. I bought Italian seasoned ground chicken and made my own gluten free meatballs, that meat cost me $2.50. So the main course of spaghetti and meatballs cost $11.02.
Leaving me with $8.98 left in the budget.
The candy eyeballs used on the cyclops cookies, monsters on a log and in the monster munch party favors cost me $3 from amazon. Linking it HERE, but keep in mind the price changes so it may not be so cheap when you look for yourself. But you get a great deal of use from these! I had some leftover when I was done! So -$3.00.
A container of raspberries was $1.99, blackberries were from my freezer and 2 containers of strawberries cost $1.49 each. Celery was $0.99, and 2 bags of candy corn priced at $0.33 a bag brought my total to $6.62.
I used a roll of frozen cookie dough I had in the freezer for the cookies and opened the new jar of peanut butter in the pantry to make the celery monsters (didn’t see the point in buying a new jar since I personally popped the seal on this new one, leaving it contaminant free.)
The budget buster for the party was the $4.86 gluten free box cake mix and the second box of dairy free Duncan Hines cake mix $1.
I had to make cupcakes for everyone, couldn’t let the birthday boy get all the sweets.
My aunt offered to, and contributed the drink for the party; but had I done so, it would have been Kool-Aid to keep costs low.
So my total cost for this Allergen Friendly Birthday party was $56.50
Not the original $50 budget I had set out weeks ago to achieve, but considering I had to work around allergies, I think I did pretty well. Everything was Dairy Free, Onion Free, Garlic Free and the only thing that wasn’t Gluten Free or didn’t have a GF option was the cyclops cookies.
The name tags for the foods were made using cardstock and my mothers beautiful handwriting. There’s a reason why I sit behind a computer instead of working on calligraphy, my chicken scratch is only slightly above a doctors note.
The foods were all themed as well.
Cyclops cookies were chocolate chip with a single monster candy eye ball.
Monsters on a log, were cut celery pieces with peanut butter I piped in using a frosting bag to keep neat and tidy. and randomly placed candy eyeballs.
The Candy Corn was called Monster Fangs.
Sliced strawberries were Monster Tongues. The spelling of which lead us to a Google war trying to determine who was correct. It wasn’t me, shocker.
And the mixed raspberries and blackberries were Monster Noses.
The table cloth was half of a long table cover from dollar tree, literally cut in half, but I realize now that I could have simply folded it. Fitting nicely over the square poker table and adorned with circles of paper I hand cut from cardstock scraps.
The banner around my son’s high chair was hand made using the leftover tissue paper. Using printed cardstock and some twine I had, I was able to give it the finished look you see in photos.
And so there you have it!
I set out to achieve a $50 Monster Mash party on a budget and while I did go over the allotment just slightly, I still feel that this was an accomplished party and everything went smoothly and great. Couldn’t have been happier with my results.
Happy Birthday to my beautiful and wonderful rainbow baby. I still can’t believe how fast time is flying by.