Colorful homemade cards will get your little guests in the party mood.
Everything in this slideshow
What's the Story?
Attach a puzzle piece to a simple invite. The guests must take it to the party to help solve the mystery. (Have a duplicate puzzle on hand in case of no-shows.)
Hip, Hat, Hooray!
Send an invite that your guests can wear! It folds from a triangular hat into a square -- perfect for mailing.
If you're planning a scavenger hunt party, mail your invites in small brown sacks. Ask the guests to bring along the bag to collect their loot.
This earth-friendly card can multitask with the front flap doubling as a gift card. Mail with mini colored pencils and attach a ribbon to the corner.
Rummage through your desk for materials to make clever -- and unexpected -- invitations.
The Internet offers great invitation options for non-crafty party planners. At poseprints.com, design a look-alike character to match the birthday child. Log on to pingg.com for stylish electronic invites that you can e-mail, print, or send via text, and check out invitationland.com for free customizable cards that you can print at home. At picnik.com, make an eye-catching announcement by adding text, stickers, and effects to photos.
Originally published in the May 2009 issue of Parents magazine.