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This Birthday Party Cost $32,000


TLC's new show, Outrageous Kid Parties, premiered earlier this week, and set the bar high in its first episode. The birthday party for 6-year-old Gracie had a whopping $32,000 price tag. That's $3,000 for the invitations, $2,100 for a nine-tier cake, and a party fit for a princess—er, a queen—and 200 guests. Plus: How to Make a Pretty Pink Princess Cake

I'm not even sure I could spend $32,000 on a birthday party if I tried. Given that budget, I'd probably just send everyone to Disney World. The worst part is, there are a million ways to have parties on the cheap, and kids love them all the same. The important thing is that they feel like the super special birthday girl (or boy). Here are 10 tricks:

  1. Make the cake! Check out these incredible, easy-to-make birthday cakes!
  2. Make a craft during the party so everyone will have something fun to take home. (Instead of a treat bag filled with junk—that stuff can add up!) Plus: Cool Things to Do With Paint
  3. Another way to forego the treat bag: make your own treasure hunt, with one small gift at the end for everyone. Check out these awesome toys for $5 and less!
  4. If your kid insists on a character-themed party, you don't have to go nuts. Buy one Dora the Explorer thing (plates, table cloth, whatever) and use regular (read: cheap) paper products for the rest.
  5. Have a lunchtime party. It can be short and sweet.
  6. Keep it simple. Pull out toys, play fun music, blow bubbles. It doesn't have to be complicated. Plus: Sesame Street Coloring Pages
  7. Instead of serving a meal, put out homemade, bite-sized snacks, like mini muffins and bagels, fruit, chicken wings or pizza from your local pizzeria, or little sandwiches. Check out these cute finger foods!
  8. Or have kids make their own food—decorate their own pizzas, make their own tacos or sundaes. It'll be fun and will fill their tummies.
  9. Forget roller skating or pony rides. Pick one of our simple, fun birthday party themes.
  10. Get one of your talented friends to provide the entertainment, singing, dancing, or hosting a craft session. When I was in first grade, my aunt, who is a puppeteer, put on a Hansel and Gretel puppet show and it was the bee’s knees. We didn’t pay her, but we did give her an extra big piece of cake.

What do you do to keep birthday parties cheap? How much do you usually spend?