Check out the invites I did for my son's 5th birthday party. I am so proud of how his party turned out! I was totally going to do what I always do, which is to schlep something together at the last minute, but thank goodness I went all out. This is a milestone birthday (5), and also, since he's a middler, I wanted him to feel special.
How to do a Character Birthday on a budget:
1. Since he loves Ben10 so much, I did his party with the Ben10 colors of black, white and lime green. I didn't have any actual Ben10 merchandise (damn, they're pricey!) so I did just the colors. I had black, gray and green balloons blown up and taped to the rafters, and taped white, black and green streamers around the ceilings. In addition, I was able to get black plates and white forks, as well as green plastic table cloth. I also made a birthday banner that coordinated with the invites I made.
2. I decorated his cake like an Omnitrix. The cake was almost a disaster because who knew that too much food coloring makes your icing bitter???? Thank goodness no one noticed. I used 2 Box cake mixes for the cake. I was a little scared to frost the cake, but here's a neat trick a cake lady taught me: Freeze the cake overnight. It's easier to frost that way. Okay, my cake wasn't perfect. I think rolled fondant would've been better, but you get the idea. See below.
3. Play theme music from the cartoon (show, character, whatever). I was able to find the theme music online. We really just listened to the music, but another idea would be to do musical chairs to the song(s).
4. Crafts/Activities. I rolled out and taped some paper onto my walls and placed some crayons around for the children to do wall art.
5. Another Craft/Activity we did was to make picture frames out of colorful craft foam sheets. I cut out the middle of half the pack and left the other half as backing. I then had them decorate the 'frames' with precut foam shapes. I went around taking pictures of each child, printed them out at the party, and had them place the pictures into their 'frames', which we stapled together. This doubled as their 'take home'. Grand price: $2 for the 20 frames (thanks dollar tree!)
I spent about $15 on food and about $20 on decorations and plates, etc. for about 10 children. A great time was had by all!