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Spend Less than $20 on Your Next Party

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Lucy Riles: Whatever happened to the good old days? When life was simple, cheap, and meals cost a nickel! With the economy caving and people losing their jobs, now is as good a time as any to go back in time and throw your child's next birthday party ... old-school style!

kids at a birthday party

One of my most favorite birthday parties ever was when my mom threw me a 1950s themed party. Growing up with 11 older siblings, my mom was always coming up with ways to throw a fun party on a tight budget!

Go With a 1950s Theme: Pink Ladies, T-Birds, Squares, and Jocks ... Be sure to dress the part! There is no need to buy a costume: use some old material found in your home, cut out a poodle design, and pin it on one of your daughter's skirts; tie a scarf around her neck; make a high ponytail in her hair -- and you have yourself a 1950s outfit. Pink Ladies should be in capris or rolled-up jeans, and of course, a pink jacket. For T-Birds, jeans, a white T-shirt, and slicked-back hair will do. For Jocks, letterman jackets or cheerleader outfits work well. Join in the fun and dress up too!

Penny Candy Store: As each child arrives, give them a paper bag of pennies (make sure their name is on the outside of the bag). With the pennies, they will shop at the Penny Candy Store. Have an older sibling or spouse work the store, collecting pennies in exchange for treats and toys. What the children buy at the Penny Candy Store will also act as their Goody Bag to take home. Need pennies? Gather them from couch cushions, piggy banks, sock drawers, your spouse's pockets, or any other place extra change might be hanging around.

Music, Games, and Cake
: The kids can dance along to 1950s greatest hits while they play Musical Chairs, Freeze Dance, and have Hula Hoop Contests. If you don't have 50s tunes in your music collection, check out www.pandora.com, where you can create a station online of any type of music (in this case 50s music) for free, or see if your TV/cable has a 50s music channel. With the favors, games, and costumes taken care of, now it's time for the birthday cake. I suggest decorating it with a poodle, jukebox, poodle skirt, or an old-fashioned car. Chocolate Malts or Shakes also make great desserts and are very 1950s.

Budget: Treats and toys from your local dollar store: $10. Cake mix: $3.99. Giving your child a fun birthday bash without breaking the bank ... priceless!


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22 comments so far | Post a comment now
Brandy May 20, 2009, 3:56 PM

I love the ideas here!! You always provide unique ideas on the cheap….you can’t beat that!! Im going to have to tell all my friends about this site.

jean May 21, 2009, 6:35 AM

vision of saddle shoes, poodle skirts, cardigans and red lipstick come to mind. The boys and girls would love it. They would get to experience the “olden days”. Great ideas keep them coming. Jean


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