28 November 2011

A Birthday Party {on a budget}

This year daughter wanted to have her birthday party at the house. I tried to talk her out of it to be honest with you. This would be only the 2nd time in her 11 years of life that we had the party at the house. The first time was last year - her costume party on Halloween. We didn't have enough stuff planned for the kids in the time frame I chose for the party.  So naturally, Hubber and I were kind of nervous about it this year.  Hubber was calling it the 11 minute party. "What time is the 11 minute party starting?", "What games do you have planned for the 11 minute party?", etc.  Funny guy.

Anyhoo, Daughter wanted a Mystery themed party. Her and I sat down and brainstormed different ideas, what would work, what wouldn't work, prizes, food, etc.  With Daughter behind most of the creative ideas, we ended up with this:

Fun Stuff (in order):
Guess how much candy is in the jar.
What is in the bowls?
Clue hunt with puzzle to solve (main event)
Hunt for the goody boxes


Candy jars
$5 Jamba Juice gift cards

[containers for the gift cards and one of eight clues]

The prep:
Daughter and I came up with 8 hiding places in the house and 8 different clues to lead the guests to those hiding places.  The clues were numbered 1-8 on the back of each card.  We also came up with 1 clue for the goody boxes which were all hiding in 1 location.  I went to Staples and got business cards to print the puzzle clues on and cream colored paper for the goody box clues and the water bottle labels.  The bottle labels were just to have something extra and since we were already buying the paper it was perfect.

The rules for the main event:
Daughter paired everyone up in teams of 2.  Each team started with a clue which would lead them to the next clue and so on.  Once the teams had clues 1-8 they had to bring them to me. After I verified they had all of the clues, no duplicates, I handed them a stack of letters and a puzzle sheet.  The first team to solve the puzzle won a $5 Jamba gift card for each of them.  

The puzzle was: WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER! All they had on the sheet was the '!'.  This game was so fun!

The time line (2 1/2 hours):
As the guests arrived (17 friends total) the girls started playing a game of hot potatoe with a wiffle ball. Can you believe we have wiffle balls? ha ha This worked out really well since we were waiting on a friend who was rushing over from a soccer game and we couldn't start until everyone arrived.

We started with the Guess how many pieces of candy are in the jars game.  We had them guess the total between the 2 jars.  The 2 closest guesses would win the jars.

Next we did the What is in the bowls game.  We had a towel over the 3 small bowls. Each guest had to stick their hand in each bowl then write down what they thought was in each bowl and in the correct order. The bowls were: #1 apple sauce, #2 smashed peas, #3 smashed cherries.  The winner received a $5 Jamba gift card.

After that we did the main event, the clue hunt with puzzle to solve.  It was so fun to watch the guests work in their teams to figure out the clues and what they meant. 

Then, we had them hunt for their goody boxes. This only took about 5 minutes since the clue was pretty easy and all of the boxes were in the same spot.  Once one guest found a box, the rest found them almost immediately.

Finally we fed everyone and Daughter opened her gifts.  The party ended with about 15 minutes to spare which worked out nicely. That left enough time for everyone to gather all of their stuff.

"That was the best party I have ever had!"  -Daughter

Well ok then. I am glad all worked out the way she wanted it to and I am extrememly happy that she loved the party so much!

Odds and ends:
We ordered the boxes and magnifying glasses from Oriental Trading company and got the candy for the jars from the Dollar Store.  The cupcakes were made by my super talented co-worker, Kristi. Let me know if you want her #. :o)  The pizzas were take-n-bake from Winco.

The best party ever with 17 of Daughter's closest friends for less then $200.  You can't have a party at a place for 17 guests for under $200 anymore.

The final $:
Dollar Store - $10
20 Cupcakes - $30
Candy and nail polish - $36
Oriental Trading - $26 (shipping included)
Gift Cards - $15
Pizza - $25
Plates, napkins, water bottles - $15
Staples - $17

Total: $174!!!
Daughter's excitement - PRICELESS!