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Birthday Parties for Every Budget

Plus: Food, favors, decorations and invites on a budget

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Have you priced out a kid’s birthday party lately? Between invitations, the site, the food, the cake, the entertainment, the decorations, the favors . . . costs can mount higher than expected. No worries. The Delaware Valley’s the perfect place to plan a party, whatever your budget.

Budget Invitations

Mystery invitations: Attach a separate piece of the same puzzle to simple homemade invitations. Ask guests to bring their piece to the party to help piece together the puzzle. 

Online invite templates: Find a plethora free printable party invitations on websites like Pinterest or through software programs like Microsoft Word.

Invitation in a bottle: Brew strong black tea, let it cool and pour it in a flat rectangular Tupperware. Coat plain white paper in the liquid for one to two hours, then dry completely atop paper towels. Print invitations on the paper, roll them up and insert them in plastic water bottles closed with a cork.

Budget party favors

Write-on chalkboards: Give each partygoer a mini chalkboard with a pack of colorful chalk to decorate.

S’mores to-go: Wrap up a chocolate bar, graham crackers, marshmallows and a skewer for a treat guests can take home.

Art supplies: Give each partygoer a pencil box filled with a pack of crayons, sketch pad, set of watercolor paints, paintbrush, stickers and other art supplies.

$50 or less

One way to make the most of a smaller budget is to celebrate at home with a crafting party. Keep the guest list manageable, no more than five to eight kids, and buy plain, inexpensive T-shirts or canvas bags from the dollar or crafts store. Have the kids decorate with paint, markers, glue, fabrics, buttons, glitter, ribbon and other art supplies all parents have around the house. Or ask guests to bring their own Rainbow Looms, then provide a heap of the colorful bands for a bracelet-making bash.

For foodie kids, a chocolate-making party’s a sweet (and sweetly cost-effective) alternative. Pick up a variety of inexpensive molds and multicolored candy discs at a crafts store. Melt the discs, then have the partygoers pour their favorite flavors into the molds and decorate. The candy will solidify quickly in the fridge and do double-duty as favors.

$50 to $100

Want to host away from home? The Camden Children’s Garden on the scenic Camden Waterfront offers a pair of low-cost garden-party options. Parties with up to 30 attendees can rent the Butterfly House tent, next to CCG’s indoor butterfly garden (butterflies are a popular party of late), for $70 to $80. The Garden Tent, which can hold up to 150 guests, is yours for $85 to $95. For either option, guests can explore the five Story Gardens, dig up fossils in the Dinosaur Garden and, for additional fees, ride the carousel or train (pictured at left). Bring your own cake; the CCG can supply goodie bags.

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