Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Show Me The Money!

We are in pre-party planning mode. Georgia’s birthday is next month, and Eli’s birthday is in July. Last year, we did a combo birthday party for them together, which I think saved some money. This year, we are at the point again where we are trying to decide where to have the party.

Here is the issue. Everything is so freaking expensive!! Dude! When I was a little girl, I rarely even had a birthday party. When I did, it consisted of having a couple of friends over to spend the night. Things sure have changed. You go to birthday parties today, and it’s an all-out bash for these little kids who are so young that they probably won’t remember it anyway. Not to mention the fact that you have to spend money on a birthday gift, which adds up quickly when you get invited to so many damn parties!

The last couple of years, we have had parties for Eli at Deanna Rose Farmstead and at Wonderscope Children’s Museum. Those were some of the cheaper ones, priced at $90 and $130, respectively.

This year, his taste seems to be getting more expensive. I am trying to choose someplace that will accommodate all of Eli’s school friends, our family and their kids. When I did a conservative estimate last night, that came to about 37 people. Here are some of Eli’s picks for a birthday party including prices. Keep in mind, with these prices, you get the entertainment of the venue, but at most of them you still have to bring all your own shit (cake, decorations, party favors, etc.)

Pool party at the Community Center $200 - $275 (depending on whether you want them to provide cake & decorations)

** Chuck E. Cheese - $10.99 - $15.99 per child – We have 22 kids coming, so that would be $242 - $352

** Pump It Up - $260 for the basic package

** Incredi-Bowl or Skate City – No price on their Web sites, but I’ll bet it’s not cheap.

** Paint, Glaze, Fire - $12 per person for basic package ($264)

This makes me go back to the option of just having a cookout at our house. However, having that many people in my house doesn’t excite me a whole hell of a lot either. Plus, by the time we rented some sort of entertainment – whether it be a magician or a moon bounce or whatever – it would still be expensive.

So in a nutshell, I think I am just screwed no matter which way I go.

I need birthday party ideas, people! Cheap birthday party ideas! Help!


Donna said...

I guess they're both too young for a pajama party? That's the cheap way: you rent movies, invite their friends of the same sex, and party on. Kids love this.

LadyBugCrossing said...

Do a cookout with a kiddie pool. Do games in the yard - balloon toss, peanut on the spoon, sack races, follow the leader, anything - they'll love it!
Do decorate your own cupcake instead of a birthday cake. You can do that outside as well! I know this... I have been there.
Get a sandbox and put it out there with some toys.
The kids will love it and if you stay low key, the parents will love it too. Just make sure the parents stick around to help or you'll have your own "daycare". Put a time limit - say 1 - 3 or 11 - 1 and stick to it. (I always had family stay later, but the school kids could definitely go home after the alloted time.)


Clicker said...

You have a nice few months to hold the party outside. Do you have a local park? We've done this before. Have the family and friends met us at the park near our house. Either pizza can be served with soda and cake (no ice cream) or hot dogs if grilling is allowed. Go there a bit early and stake balloons to the grounds and fences. Play games. I use to be a clown and a family had me meet them at the park once. but you don't need a clown to have fun. Just the organization of the games. Go to the dollar store and buy cheap prizes and a ton of hula hoops, jump ropes and balloons etc. bring a "boom box" If it's hot you can fill the balloons with water the day before for a cooling game. This way nobody has to be in your house but the closer the park is to you the better. On the invitation instruct guests to bring their folding chairs etc.

Another fun thing. My ex use to own a ice cream truck. He would get requests all the time to be on a certain street or park at a certain time for a party. The parents would let all the kids pick a ice cream treat and pay him at the end. Every kid loves the ice cream truck and it really didn't cost anything. So if you have a ice cream truck in your neighborhood before the party ask him to come back on the birthday day.

oops sorry so long.

stacey_beilman said...

Try Monkey Business in the great plains mall. . . . I think they are on the lower end. Kennedy went to a party there and loved it and I got to shop!

I LOVE the idea of the park! That is so workable.

Lindsay said...

Go cheap and do something at home. Movies, pizza, candy, a FEW friends. If we got by on it as kids then they can too. It's not the money that makes it special, it's the memories.

Thea said...

I was going to suggest the park, too. One of the best parties my son ever went to was at a local park shelter. They chose the shelter that was close to a playground so some kids played on the playground, some played ball in the field, and some went on a nature hike with one of the dads. she did PBJ sandwiches and juice boxes for food and made cups of dirt for dessert. It was awesome.

Crazy Working Mom said...

There really is no "cheap" alternative if you're having over 10-15 guests! Good luck. I've got one in August myself. He's only turning 3, so I can still skimp by right now. *LOL*

Tisha @ CrAzY Working Mom