Low Stress Low Cost Birthday Party

Birthdays have always been special to me because growing up my mom made them that way. We would pick a theme and off she’d go! Every other year I got a big party with lots of my friends and on the off years I got to pick 1 friend and an activity.

One of my most memorable parties was a Murder Mystery theme. As each guest arrived they were greeted at the front to create their “file” with fingerprints, detective name, etc. We played fun mystery games and had to figure out clues to find my hidden cake. I really love that my mom created these wonderful birthday memories for me. So now that I have a child of my own I’m passing on the tradition.

As much as I love throwing a good party, planning it can cause a lot of stress and end up costing more than you wanted to spend. So for my son’s 2nd birthday My goal was to keep it low stress and low cost. I’m happy to report it was successful! So here are some of the ways I accomplished that.

He is obsessed with Baby Shark right now so that was our theme. First, we took a trip to the party store to see what they had.

Tip #1-
Only buy what you’ll need

I knew the adults didn’t care if they drank out of a baby shark cup so I only bought enough for the kids attending the party. The adults got the regular old red solo cups that I already had stocked away in my pantry. Same with the favors.
I bought enough special themed plates for each person to have one and then used plain paper plates I already had as back up.

Party ware

Tip #2
Dollar Tree

I wanted a fun ocean backdrop to hang so I perused the Dollar Tree and grabbed a blue plastic table cloth, some colored poster board, tissue paper pom poms, streamers, & balloons. I was pleasantly surprised to see they have added quite a bit to the party section there! I won’t be winning any awards on this, but it was just to add a little fun to the decor and my son loved it 🙂 You can get much more creative if you want to!

Baby Shark Scenery

Tip #3
Make party time between meals

One of the big stress relievers was I chose to do the party between meals so I was only providing snacks and dessert. The pressure to feed everyone enough food for an entire meal was off! We had mini sandwiches (hawaiin rolls w/ turkey & cheese), goldfish, pirate booty, fruit, cucumbers, sea salt chocolates, gummy sharks, and of course cake & ice cream.

Tip #4

Hawaiin rolls at Costco are so cheap! And you get a lot! Pirate Booty and Goldfish are a great price in bulk as well. Select Costcos do cakes that feed 50 people for under $20. I chose to get our cake from a favorite local bakery BUT Costco cakes are also delicious and we’ve used them in the past.

Tip #5

I bought a baby shark sticker book and used the stickers for decorations and games. Cutting out colored card stock I labeled the food with fun ocean themed names and then added a sticker. You can see examples in my food pictures above. I also used the stickers to create a simple Baby Shark Scavenger Hunt. And when the kids found each character I gave them stickers to help mark them off so they knew which ones were left.

Tip #6
Fun but simple extra touches

I love Etsy. They have so many cute, unique, and specialized items! I didn’t want to go overboard with spending so I chose just a couple things for special party touches. One was the cake topper. So so cute! It was personalized too which made it extra special. The other purchase I made was matching family shirts. I had a mommy shark shirt, my husband a daddy shark shirt, and our little guy a baby shark shirt.

Other party details:

  • Shark Ice Cubes – put gummy sharks into ice cube molds for drinks
  • Pail & Shovel – purchased at Dollar Tree to use as snack holders
  • Ball Pit – blow up pool + ball pit balls + slide = so much fun!

Tip #7
Pare down the guest list

Start your list off with the family you’ll be inviting. Both sets of grandparents live near by so they of course were on the list. Then we knew the cousins were going to be in town so they would be attending. After the family, I would recommend choosing 2-3 families that your child is close with. Who do they spend most of their time with when it comes to friends? When the list gets long, the cost for the party goes up. OR you can do the party for your child’s friends only and have a small family celebration separately.

Hope this helps you have a party you can actually enjoy!!! Also, if you have any good tips, leave a comment below.


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