The Ultimate Birthday Party Planner

All Kinds of Goodies

4. Order Great Stuff Online

Check out the deals we found at four of our favorite party sources.

Discountschoolsupply.com: A must if you're looking to buy inexpensive craft supplies in bulk. We found a pack of 50 craft-foam flowers for only $4, and a dozen plain wooden yo-yos, just waiting to be painted, for $5.

Ebayexpress.com: Grab those great deals right away -- no auctions to worry about. Where else could you find a dozen stick-on jewel earrings for only $1.25 -- including shipping?

Containerstore.com: We love the small Zig Zag pots -- only 99 cent each! They're great for holding snacks or craft supplies. If you need extra party chairs, the plastic chairs for kids are a steal at $7 a piece.

Plumparty.com: We spotted a dozen sporty key chains for $10 -- that's 84 cents each! You can pick up a pack of 10 colored takeout containers (perfect goody bags) for $8.

5. Baby's 1st Birthday

No need for a massive party -- keep that 1-year celebration simple by inviting a small group of family and friends. You'll want lots of pictures of this milestone, especially the classic messy moment when your kid dives into her cake. And why not start a birthday tradition you can do year after year? A few we like:

Baby girl eating a cupcake

  • Make a HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner from paper or fabric, then laminate it so you can use it every year.
  • Take an annual picture of your child wearing a special birthday hat or crown.
  • Create a tablecloth keepsake. Ask guests to use fabric markers to write birthday wishes to your child each year.

6. Birthday-Cake Creation

Game board birthday cake

James Franco

Sweet Game! Frost half of a sheet cake with yellow-green frosting. Use Starburst candies to form the path to the other half. Use various kinds of candy such as gumdrops, licorice, lollipops, and taffy to create a Candy Land-like game.

7. Cool Cupcake Idea

Cupcakes that spell out a happy birthday message

Letter Perfect: Frost half the cupcakes in chocolate and half in vanilla, then coat edges with white or brown sprinkles. Use #8 frosting tip to pipe out a birthday wish.

8. Goody Bags

Birthday party goody bag

Peter Ardito

  • Shred magazine and catalog pages to make quick, colorful filler for gifts and goody bags.
  • Send guests home with something to nibble. Decorate mini candy bars and bags of candy with custom "wrappers." This works great for packs of crayons too!
  • Stick-on tattoos make great party favors. We especially love these from Tattoos for Tots ($3.99 per pack; tattoosfortots.com). Each child-friendly image is labeled so kids learn about animals, fruits, and nature.
  • Party bags aren't the only way to package goodies. Use take-out containers, poster tubes, even paper party cups.
  • Let the season inspire you. In the summer, nothing beats water squirters or beach toys. Come fall, kids can't get enough of those tiny pumpkins.
  • Cut pieces of construction paper in half, fold, and staple together to make a mini book to go along with stickers.

Winning Birthday Cake
Winning Birthday Cake

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