Frugal Party Theme: I’m Your Biggest Fan Birthday Party

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While birthday parties should be extravagant celebrations of the life of your loved one, they don’t have to be extravagantly expensive by any means! A little creativity goes a long way in making a great celebration using homemade decorations, games and more.

THEME: A birthday party where everyone shares memories and stories about the person who is having a birthday, and does their best to make them feel extra special on their “special day.”

INVITATIONS: Scan a photo of the person whose birthday you’re celebrating. Write “Come Celebrate NAME!” above the photo. Include the birthday party details (Where and When it will be held, How to get there, What to bring or not to bring, etc.) on the inside. Be sure and tell guests if the party is a surprise so they (hopefully!) won’t spill the beans!

DECORATIONS: Copy photos of the birthday girl or guy and make a collage. Hang streamers and balloons. Write HAPPY BIRTHDAY in bright letters on copy paper, or print them (one per page) on the computer and hang on the wall. Make pin-back buttons (you can get the forms for about 50¢ each) with a birthday photo and the words “I’m a Fan of NAME!” and have everyone wear one. Cut out crown shapes from cardstock, tape them together and make party hats for everyone to wear.

PARTY FAVORS: Create colorful bookmarks on the computer using the birthday photos or other colorful graphics. Print, cut out and cover with clear contact paper. You can even punch a hole in the top and add a ribbon or yarn bow.

• Buy packs of pencils or erasers, miniature notepads, balloons, plastic tops or rings, mazes and similar items at the dollar store. Add some “penny candy” – the kind that comes in large bags with hundreds of individual pieces – and fill a treat bag for each guest. For the bags themselves, you can use plastic zipper bags. Or if you’re hosting a children’s party, especially, have the kids decorate a brown lunch bag. Provide crayons, washable markers, and stickers. This makes a fun activity as well.

FOOD: Serve the birthday star’s favorite foods. Be sure to include cake and ice cream! For a frugal cake, bake your own. To decorate, tape a craft stick or clean popsicle stick to the back of a photo of the birthday girl or guy and insert in one corner. Write Happy Birthday in big, bold letters and add candles.

GAMES AND ACTIVITIES: Buy an inexpensive journal at the dollar store and set on a table with a pen. Encourage everyone to write some memories and greetings for the birthday person. If you have time, you can even pass the book around and get the memories in advance, then have someone read them at the party.

• Take an 8″ x 10″ photo and some funny mustaches cut from black construction paper and play “Pin the Mustache on NAME.”

• Save your yogurt containers and fill them with homemade play dough. Let everyone use the dough to make a sculpture of the birthday person. Give a prize for the best one, then let the guests take their dough home as part of their treat bag.

• Buy some inexpensive items like small stuffed animals, small toys, make-up for girls, etc. and hide them around the house or yard so guests can hunt for them. Whoever finds the item gets to keep it.

There are many ways you can have a terrific party for a child or adult without spending a fortune. Add your own creative ideas to these and make this party one the recipient will remember forever.

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