Kids' birthday parties don't have to cost a lot

BERWYN, Pa. - Sept. 19, 2008

Your local dollar store can be a great place to start if you want to plan a party on a budget.

Check the cosmetic and hair accessory aisles for everything you need to have a beauty shop party. Girls can create updo's, try on makeup or give each other manicures and pedicures. You can even enlist the help of older sisters or neighbors to teach younger girls or help them out.

If your child's athletic, consider an outdoor sports party. Again, older siblings or neighbors can help organize games in the backyard or local park, using equipment you already have or inexpensive balls from the dollar store. Change sports every 20 minutes or so to make things interesting -- or even make up your own "crazy" games. Dollar stores also often have ribbons or medals that can be given out at the end of the games to the winner.

The dollar store's also a great place to pick up all your paper goods and party favors, for a lot less than most stores that specialize in those items. And speaking of favors, inexpensive craft projects can double as party activities and favors, giving you more bang for your buck.

Baking a cake yourself is a lot less expensive than buying one at the store. Or, bake cupcakes and let kids decorate them with icing, jimmies, and candies. That way, you get a cake and an activity all in one.

You don't have to stay home to have a budget party.

Does your birthday child love animals?

The Cumberland County SPCA hosts birthday parties for less than $10 a child... including animal-themed games, visits with animals and invitations.

Details on what's included is available on their website -- Cumberland County SPCA . Other SPCA's may offer similar plans.

Another way to cut costs is to plan a destination party on a weekday.

Popular party spots like Chuck E. Cheese will give you more for your money -- and will be less crowded -- than on the weekends.

Tom Klonis, the manager of the Chuck E. Cheese in Berwyn, explains that children who attend weekday parties each get 40% more game tokens and don't have to wait in line for popular games, since the facility is less crowded.

Many other party spots offer similar deals. You can learn more by clicking this link: Chuck E. Cheese website

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