Monday, April 27, 2009

Summer Parties - little on the wallet, big on the fun!

So planning birthday parties for young kids is still fairly easy to pull off on a tight budget...but what if you want to throw a party this summer for your friends? In Phoenix, granted, with most homes having pools, a pool party is always a safe bet! But themes often make for a change of pace so here are some quick, easy and cheap ideas.

I actually did this one for a group of 16-18 year olds but it's perfect for older groups too! We took turns as dealers and food consisted of appetizers and mocktails (virgin daquiris and margaritas) and sparkling cider.

Dining: green table cloths (plastic or paper) from party stores or sometimes even at the dollar store - gives casino color without expense; plastic champagne & margarita glasses from grocery store or dollar store; no silverware if having only appetizers/finger food; red plastic plates from Walgreen's or grocery store and same for the cocktail napkins.

Decor: we splurged a bit at a party store but cheapest options are red/green crepe paper, a couple of casino related balloons weighted as centerpieces; confetti that fits theme (we got dice confetti and gold $ sign confetti) to sprinkle on tablecloths.

Games: we opted to keep it simple - primarily Black Jack and tables for poker. For $20 we bought a felt table cover for craps as well. In many party stores you can get a cheap version of a roulette wheel for $15 or less. We used plastic poker chips that we bought bags of at (get this!) our local Goodwill store. At the end of the evening, chips were tallied and person with highest number got first pick of prizes and so on down the line...everyone got something. Prizes were simple and gathered over the course of a few weeks prior to the party. Most were obtained at the dollar store: fuzzy dice, mini "how to play poker" books, decks of cards and some poker sets with cards, chips, etc. A few were obtained cheaply at Walgreen's - Yahtzee pens (use your imagination to visualize those!), handheld battery-operated poker and blackjack games, etc.

Other easy cheap gathering ideas:

Wine-tasting parties (or beer) - plastic glasses and guests all bring a bottle of wine and an appetizer or specialty cheese.

Murder Mystery parties - we've all seen the boxed games to throw a party with...personally never tried it, but sounds fun!

Luau - yes, corny, but certainly simple and inexpensive - back to the virgin daquiris, fruit platters and BBQ - set up a few tiki torches (literally $1.99 each at Michael's) and any additional decorative touches and you are ready to go. You can also go the appetizer route instead of a BBQ - less expensive and far easier to clean-up!

Other suggestions? Feel free to post your ideas! Party on!

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