Birthday Party Shopping Tips

Read these 11 Birthday Party Shopping Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Birthday tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What do I need to do for a costume party?

Party Shop: Source for Costume Party

A party shop can have a huge impact on the success of your costume party. Good accessories can take an average costume and turn it into something really special. Find a party shop or costume shop with wigs, beards, and moustaches, for example, and you can completely change the appearance of your face. A hat can also have a huge impact on the success of a costume. If you're going for a certain period look, make sure the accessories are also in period.

*If you're stuck for ideas, just a walk through a party site's web site can give you lots of ideas if you're stuck.

   
Who can I call to find a local magician?

Party shop: Local Resources

A party shop can be a good source of local resources for your parties. If you're looking for a magician, a musician, or a balloon artist, try calling your local party shop and ask for recommendations. For kids, make sure the act is appropriate for the age group you are entertaining.

If it's an adult party, let the person know what kind of party you are having and what ages groups and sensitivities are going to be attending! You don't want to shock your grandmother with bawdy jokes if she's the type to be offended. On the other hand, maybe your grandmother likes a good laugh and is pretty slow to take offense.

   
What kinds of party stuff do I need to get?

Party stuff: cake decorations

In addition to the usual party stuff, consider finding some special cake decorations. You can buy special pans and bake a character or shape cake or look up ideas for cutting standard size cakes into various pieces that can be assembled into animals and other shapes.

Use some small action figures and other plastic toys to decorate a theme cake. You can tint flaked coconut different colors for decoration. Different candles are fun as well. Candles that don't blow out easily are fun for older kids but may frustrate the younger crowd. Various candy can be used as decorations as well and are a real crowd pleaser.

   
How many party goods do I really need to buy?

Party Goods: How Many to Buy

One of the best birthday party shopping tips is to plan ahead. When you are planning the guest list for a birthday party, keep in mind that many a party supply store package their party goods in sets of 8. If you can keep the number of guests down below that, you eliminate having to buy an extra set of things like plates, cups, and napkins.

You can decide ahead of time, according to age and maturity of your child, whether the birthday child gets a party bag or not. Younger siblings may also be clamoring for one if they're included in the party at all. If you'll be serving a full meal plus cake and ice cream, make sure you get enough plates for both. Just to be on the safe side, have a few extra plain or colored paper plates, napkins, and cups available in case there's an accident.

   
What can I get at a party supply store for goody bags?

Party Supply Store and Goody Bags

On the prowl for good party supply shopping tips? A good party supply store will be stocked with a fair number of low-priced toys and items for you to send home in a goody bag with the guests. Remember that the point is to give them a token of appreciation, not send them home with a full-blown present.

If you're going to do a craft guests get to create and then take home with them, like decorating a t-shirt, you can probably do without a good bag at all. To save even more money, make decorating the goody bag one of the birthday party activities rather than spending money on fancy bags.

   
How can I help my child get a sense of how long it is until their party?

Party Store: Balloon Countdown

If you're children are young and have a hard time keeping track of how many days there are left to go before the "big day", go to a party store a week before the birthday and get 7 balloons. Let the young child pop one balloon each day. Get 6 balloons all the same and make the 7th a special color or decoration. When all that's left is the special balloon, it's the birthday!

*For the older kids that can count with no problems, consider adding a balloon each day to build up to the big birthday. You can get a special helium balloon from the local party store for the birthday morning surprise!

   
Should I take my toddler to the party supply store with me?

Party Supply Stores and Your Toddler

A party supply store can be overwhelming for a small child. Make sure you agree to a list ahead of time. You might also decide on a theme or color ahead of time, although they might change their mind when they see what else is offered or be disappointed if you can't find the right supplies.

If your children are very young one of the best birthday supply shopping tips available is to leave them with a sitter or neighbor, or shop online! Once they see the party supplies, they'll likely be impatient for the party day and may make your life miserable for a while.

   
Where can I find a starting point for a party supply birthday list?

Party Supply: Birthday Party Supply List

To make sure you don't forget anything, make a party supply birthday list a few weeks in advance. Most people start with plates, napkins and cups. If you'll be eating outside, a tablecloth ensures a clean eating surface in addition to providing some party atmosphere. Balloons are fun for older kids but be aware that younger children can be afraid of them popping. (And make sure you pick up the pieces of any burst balloons to avoid choking hazards.) A pinata is traditional in many areas, filled with small candy and toys. Birthday banners and signs, special candles, and hats are nice additions as well.

   
Are there any fast last minute birthday shopping ideas?

Last Minute Birthday Shopping

You're running through your to do list as you head for the door and you realize you've forgotten the most important thing – a gift for the birthday boy or girl. You don't have an extra hour to do some last minute birthday shopping, but you can't arrive at the party empty handed. Now, what do you do? Don't panic. As long as you have an Internet connection and 15 minutes to spare, everything will work out just fine.

The best option is to hop online to buy a fast gift. Online gift certificates take only a few minutes to buy and if you know the email address of the person you are buying it for, the gift will probably arrive before you do! It is a good idea to buy gift certificates from big, well-established businesses, since they have brand name recognition and are likely to offer a wide selection of items for the recipient to choose from.

If you don't have an Internet connection available, you'll need to stop by a local convenience store. Head for the magazine rack and select the current issue of a magazine the birthday recipient would like and buy a greeting card, too. Put a note in the card saying that you're giving a year of the magazine to the birthday boy or girl. Just make sure you fill out a subscription form from the magazine and stick it in the mailbox as soon as you come home from the party so you don't forget.

   
Can I buy birthday presents for a large family on a fixed income?

Buying Birthday Presents on a Budget

When you have a limited budget, it can be frustrating to buy birthday presents for a large family. However, with a lot of planning and a little luck, you can manage to shop for enough gifts for everyone. To get gifts for your loved ones when you are on a budget, you should:

  • Begin shopping for the whole year right after Christmas. You can find sweaters, handheld games and a ton of toys at a steep discount during the clearance sales. Choose carefully to avoid items that have a holiday feel. If you find something that seems perfect but is in Christmas packaging, don't be afraid to buy it and repackage it. For example, fashion dolls usually are wrapped in a box that says they are holiday or Christmas dolls. Take them out of the boxes and put them in doll beds or carrying cases that someone else in the family created with his or her woodworking tools.
  • Shop at yard sales and thrift stores. Many times, people sell or donate items that are still in boxes that just aren't right for them, but would be perfect for someone else. You may be able to buy new sports equipment, puzzles, or even toys for a fraction of the price stores would charge.

   
Are there any choices for birthday hats beside the traditional cone shaped ones?

Selecting Birthday Hats

Birthday hats. The phrase probably immediately conjures up a specific image in your mind. The upside down cardboard cone hat with elastic string comes in almost any theme imaginable, but it always is a bit too small for adults and the elastic is always a bit too tight. Still, these birthday props do help create some adorable pictures.

For the birthday boy or girl, birthday hats can be quite different. Some families have a birthday crown or tiara that only is worn by the one who is having the celebration. Kids enjoy the excitement of being crowned in the early morning and will wear their headgear until the last possible moment, since taking it off means an end to the day's festivities. Other families stick with the traditional cone shaped hats, but shop for a special one that has a fancy pompom or other topper for the birthday honoree.

For a child who is just turning one, the possibilities are so vast that it is hard to decide on the right birthday hat. Choices range from a top hat that looks like a first birthday cake to a baseball cap with the number one on it. These hats are often placed in a keepsake box after the celebration, so it makes sense to choose a special one.

   
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Sherril Steele-Carlin