Kids parties have taken on a life of their own with entire magazines and websites now dedicated to planning these events. Gone are the days when you could simply invite a few of your child’s friends over for a simple party in your dining room. Now you have to have a theme, party packs and entertainment to keep the kids busy for anything from two to four hours. Here’s a quick checklist to help you keep the costs down:
When you are planning the budget for the party, try not to get carried away with your theme and constantly check your costs to make sure that you stay within budget.
Whether you are planning a graduation party or a sixteenth birthday party, use a checklist and shop around to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck.
“There used to be a formula to invite a particular number of children based on the age that your child is turning but parents now sometimes invite the entire class!” says Sherree Kruger, chief executive and founder of party planning company, Supakids SA. Kruger says you can keep costs down by inviting just a few children. If your child is younger than 10, take into account that the little guests are likely to be accompanied one or two parents. This is important when you are planning your catering.
Create your own invitations. You can find a number of free online invitations or invitation templates that you can print out at home. For a cute touch, get the birthday boy or girl to help you make hand-made invites.
If you cannot host the party at your own home, try to kill two birds with one stone and look for a venue that offers an activity as well. For example, you might have the party at your local aquarium or at an indoor playpark. If you do choose this type of venue, make sure that you confirm what you are allowed to bring on your own and what it is that you have to buy from the venue. Some venues only offer a full package where they will provide snacks, drinks, entertainment and even the cake. This can work well for a busy parent but you might want to source your own – cheaper - cake and snacks.
Not surprisingly, the largest cost (aside from the venue) is often the cake. If you do your research properly, you can have your cake and eat it too! Remember that the more detail you want on the cake, the more it is likely to cost. Kruger notes that many parents tend to overlook the time and work that goes into creating the finer details on intricate cakes. Instead of opting for edible figures and details on the cake, shop around for plastic figurines and tiny toys that can easily be placed on the cake and removed afterwards. Your child will have a memento of their birthday that will last for years rather than hours. If you go one step further and opt to bake the cake yourself, you can significantly cut costs and also have the pleasure of knowing you made the cake.
Keep the party packs as simple as possible and always have one or two extra party packs just in case you have any surprise guests. Sometimes guests will bring an uninvited sibling to a party simply because their parents had no other option. Scout out discount stores for bargain items. This can be particularly useful when you are putting together party packs.
Don’t overdo the décor. Often less is more and your child is unlikely to pay much attention to the décor once their friends arrive. Remember that for kiddie’s parties a lot of your décor can be made at home.
Supakids SA is a party planner and events company based in Johannesburg with branches around the country. Visit their website at www.supakids.co.za.