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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.