The frugal mum’s guide to party planning – for Halloween & beyond!

Of course, you want to throw your children an amazing party, but do you really need to spend an arm and a leg to make great memories? There are so many ways to save money without sacrificing fun at your child’s party. Here are a few things to consider when you’re planning for the big event.

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PLAN EARLY & WATCH SALES

It’s okay to begin planning your child’s party months in advance. Of course, that’s no help right now with Halloween on the horizon, but if it’s a birthday party you’re planning, you know when it’s coming up and can get started early. There are so many benefits to knowing what your plan is ahead of time rather than trying to piece things together last minute. Ask your child what type of party they want to have so you can keep an eye on sale items at local and online party stores.

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SPLIT THE BILL

This is something you can do at Halloween in particular because all families will be celebrating at the same time so can pool their resources to make one big party that you can all attend. But that’s not to say you can’t split the bill throughout the rest of the year too. Let’s say your son is having a Minecraft party, and his friend’s mother has mentioned they’ll be throwing a party with the same theme later in the year or perhaps their party is coming up before yours. Regardless of which party will happen first, consider asking that mum if she wants to shop together for Minecraft themed party supplies.

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You may save a few pounds here and there by buying plates etc in larger quantities. If you’ve ever noticed, you actually save a little bit buying a 30 pack of plates than getting three packs of 10. Also, if items are on sale or clearance that could save you both in case the items are back to full price if you hadn’t purchased them at the same time. Plus decorative items, such as banners and wipe-clean tablecloths, can be shared from one party to the next, cutting the cost of them in half.

CALCULATE THE COST

When it comes to food, think about the cost before you grab a supermarket party platter that’s already put together. Sure, it’s an easy way to get everything you need for the party at once but when you purchase a party platter, you’re not only paying for the food but also the labour it took to create the platter. So sometimes they’re more expensive than purchasing the items and assembling a platter yourself. It’s worth adding up the individual costs to see if you can save some money.

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Also, platters don’t need to stay in platter form for your party. You might use a meat platter to make sandwiches ahead of time and you can divvy up carrots and celery sticks from a veggie tray to make individual snack packs too. Don’t forget that you can easily decorate your own plain vanilla cupcakes to suit any occasion, saving ££s on perfectly decorated, themed cakes.

PARTY BAGS

You could plan an activity for your child’s party guests and provide them with a separate party bag to take home. Instead, why not knock two things out at once: Plan an activity that doubles as the party favour. One classic version of this idea is a party piñata. Kids are going to take turns hitting the piñata until it breaks to reveal a ton of sweets for them to collect. Before this activity, hand out party bags to each child to put their sweets in. Writing their names on the bags is a good idea to keep them from fighting over the bags later. You can set some bags of sweets and chocolates aside in case guests need to leave before the piñata is introduced or if a crying child isn’t able to gather as much candy as others.

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If you’re getting crafty, and doing an activity during the party, that craft just became each child’s take-home gift. You can ask parents for some help in saving you money too, but only if the activity is really appropriate. For example, if you’re tie-dying shirts, it’s more acceptable to ask parents to bring a shirt for their child to tie-dye. But it’s not quite so acceptable to ask parents to bring their own glue for a craft you’ll be hosting at the party.

BUY IN BULK

Whether it’s food or supplies for activities, it’s okay to buy things in bulk and separate them yourself. If a craft you’ve planned involves glue, don’t feel like you need to purchase a bottle or stick of glue for each child. Instead, grab a few glue sticks and encourage the children to share them, or collect condiment cups like you see at fast food restaurants to pour glue into for each child. Depending on the activity, you can probably purchase one bottle of glue for everyone in this instance.

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Remember the piñata earlier? Buy bigger bags of sweets and split them up yourself rather than buying individual pre-packaged bags of assorted sweeties. Not only will you save money, but you’ll be able to create your own assortment of treats rather than being restricted to the ones that are already pre-packaged. If you want to stick to a theme, such as a Halloween or rainbow unicorns, it’s easier to mix up your own combination of treats than find a specific set of sweets.

What do you think of these money-saving ideas for a kids party? Do you have any other hacks or advice for cutting costs when you’re planning an event? Let me know your ideas in the comments below 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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