I received an email from a reader a while back who kindly requested that I do a post on how I put together Boo's Hello Kitty birthday party. As most of you know, I'm a DIY sorta girl who likes to do things on the cheap, thanks to being whipped into frugal submission by my husband. This year's birthday party was no small feat, considering how popular Hello Kitty is, and how expensive all of the merchandise can be. Those party favours add up! However, I managed to do everything below for less than $50.
I will be honest, I started planning this party a long, long time ago. Like, before Halloween. In fact, when I was making her homemade Hello Kitty costume, I made a conscious choice to make the costume purple instead of pink. Why? Because I had purple stuff (like construction paper) left over from last year's Snow Princess birthday party, and I wanted to be able to use it again this year.
The first thing I did was order all of the stuff pictured above (and more) from Amazon.com.....for free! Yes, free, thanks to my Amazon gift cards earned via Swagbucks. (Don't know what Swagbucks are? See the bottom of the post "My Favourite Things 2011" for all the details.) So for free I managed to secure all of our party favours (from tattoos to activity books), the Hello Kitty cake pan, cookie cutters, and frosting colouring kit. (Yes, the majority of the party favours are pink, but I will be putting them in white bags, which I already had, with purple kitties so they will not be
Then I made a trip to the dollar store and purchased the above items, which included plates, streamers, a purple tablecloth, and 2 packages of blow-outs (not originally Hello Kitty). Total: $5.
Now that I had pretty much everything I needed, it was time to get to work. This is where the labour comes in to play, making up for the fact that I've only spent $5 on the party so far.
The first thing I did was change the blow-outs from the "happy birthday" ones, to custom Hello Kitty ones. I scanned that picture in from a colouring book that we already had, removing a bunch of stars on her dress, and then coloured her dress purple and her bow lilac. I made a template of the original blow-outs out of velum (again, which I already had), but you can use whatever you have that's see-through, even wax paper. I printed four images on four sheets of card stock (2 of which I already had, and then I borrowed two from a neighbour). Then I just traced the template around the printed images, cut them out, and attached them to the blow-outs. Presto, custom Hello Kitty favours!
Next up was creating the custom Hello Kitty birthday banner, in purple to match the party theme. Note that cookie cutters are not just for cookies! They make excellent templates for decor, so I'm all about multi-purposing a purchase. With entirely leftover paper, I constructed a banner for absolutely free.
It helps to be married to someone who used to teach Kindergarten because you have bins full of stuff (like a new package of clothespins) hanging out in the garage. A perfectly free way to hang the newly-made birthday banner. Paperclips, binder clips, or holes made with a hole punch would work equally as well. I know this because I tried all three before I discovered the clothespins!
Using some white bags that I had in storage, I traced the other Hello Kitty cookie cutter pattern onto my purple construction and glued them to the outside for the gift bags. Don't ask me from where these bags came, I can't remember. But I know they've been there a while because they were starting to yellow, so it was a good thing I could put them to good use. Regular brown lunchbags would work just as well (and those are really cheap).
Next up came the food items. At a trip to Target (armed with coupons) I managed to get my cake mixes, ingredients for marshmallow fondant, water bottles, juice boxes, vegetables for a platter, popcorn and a few incidentals. I already had leftover coloured icing from last year, along with left over cookie pop sticks and wrappers, and a few other decorating supplies. Total for all food that will be served at the party: $26.86.
Plans for the food items include making two Hello Kitty birthday cakes (turns out we're going to be having over 30 people), which Boo and I will be baking together today. I prepared two batches of homemade marshmallow fondant (pictured above) to cover the cakes and will probably decorate them tomorrow.
We also baked 100 cookie pops today. Two thirds of them are Hello Kitty, and the rest are plain squares, for those who are too manly to be caught dead eating a pretty kitty on a stick. It was quite a few cookies, but we're baking for Boo's birthday party at preschool next week as well. The cookie pops will also need to be decorated today, with the square ones having the number "4" on them, for Boo's age.
Although I purchased grape juice in purple boxes (I learned my lesson after buying red boxes last year for a purple party), I still used my trusty pack of construction paper to cover them and put the number "4" on them. This is remarkably easy and it's little details like this that tie the whole look of the homemade party together.
I also got water bottles for adults (or those not interested in juice) and easily removed the paper covers and added my own purple ones. I didn't need to decorate these, they looked just fine as-is.
Lastly, we can't have a party without games. And with games comes prizes. Thanks to super friends who like to give stuff away, and my forethought to say, "Oh, I'll take that," knowing that they would make great prizes for a birthday party 6 months down the road, we have the above items to give away to our game winners. We'll be playing musical chairs, the egg/spoon race, and pin the nose on the kitty (recycling Boo's Halloween mask). We'll also be allowing kids to have their photos taken wearing the mask. Nothing like getting your money's worth out of the costume.
Boo's already received her birthday present (the custom-made Hello Kitty jacket), which cost us $15 (it helps when you know creative people who give you a discount), bringing the grand total to $46.86.
Now that all the decorations are done, and the cookies baked, it's time to get busy: These cookies are not going to ice their own faces! Don't worry, I promise to post completed party pics just as soon as I can.
Dollar Store purchases: $5
Target baking supplies: $26.86
Making my daughter's birthday wishes come true: Priceless
Head on over and check out the final birthday party pics for completed cake and cookie pops photos.