Birthday party ideas that won’t put you in the poor house and a DELUXE party giveaway!

Congrats to our winner savannah!!
I am not a buttercream hater. Nor do I abhor those kinda scary, you’re not sure if they’ve got a secret vodka flask stashed in their oversized giant clown pants birthday party “entertainers.” To be perfectly honest I just HATE how insanely OVER the top let’s all try to keep up with Joneses  competition kid’s three year old birthday parties have morphed into.


So dear parents an alternative to the three-ring circus type of birthday parties- where kids likely don’t even know three quarters of the adult guest list and are likely crouching in a corner rocking back and forth…I offer you the birthday party-lite!

According to Sara Lise Raff  if your Library has a large screen you can watch a movie and have that movie feel with out the cost.  You can buy swedish fish or other movie type snacks to keep with the feel (no popcorn cause it is a pain to clean up).  Some libraries have a Wii station and hook it up to a large screen you can get Wii party games (just make sure kids know they have to take turns) and they get  wii games on a giant screen.


Age Appeal: Six to eight (perhaps a story time party for 1-2 year olds) stay away from active three and four year olds.

Cost: Donation (give as much as you can afford and tips for librarians)

 What kids will go gaga for:  If it is the local library it is cool to use the facilities for private use.  You can hire someone for entertainment and younger siblings (dragged along) can read books right outside the party room. For younger kids you can ask a librarian to do a special story time and then do a simple project.

Parent Perks-This is a great way to use a very important part of the community and make a donation to a cause that really needs you.  Their budgets are always on the chopping block and they do so much for us and our kids.

Drawbacks:  If you have a group of wild kids this is not the place to do a party.  Guests must be respectful of levels of noise and watch the types of treats you serve nothing to creamy or messy.

Overall:  You can be very creative.  We did a Lego party where we watched a made for DVD movie that no kids had seen yet and then brought in lots of legos that borrowed from our daughters classroom.  The kids built away after the movie, we had cake and each kid left with a a lego set.  For girls they could watch a Disney Princess movie and have a tea party theme to finish up.  In our case the librarian who we knew well was very helpful setting up the dvd and projector and then let us do what we wanted.  A Wii party puts the games up on the large screen which adds a new dimension to the fun but you need to keep the group small and make sure you have enough remotes.

Information:  Check out your local library at and ask if you can use their private room

With minimal planning, a scavenger hunt party is a great way to pull off a fun activity for all of your party guests. It’s hands-on and experiential in nature so everyone can be involved and active at the same time.

The Scavenger Hunt Guru ( offered these top five tips for creating their very own scavenger hunt.

1. Pick a scavenger hunt theme that relates to the interests of the birthday boy/girl. Examples of themes include: pirate, garden, explorers, princess. Ways to incorporate the theme include:stickers on the clue cards that match the theme, rhymes/riddles that follow the theme, a map/treasure/scavenger hunt “kit” to bring along that fits the theme.

2. Have a good mix of easy and hard scavenger hunt clues. This will give your guests a sense of accomplishment and a challenge as well. Consider the ages of your guests as you develop your clues.

3. Set a time limit and be sure to end the hunt with the party guests still wanting more. Nothing is worse than a boring birthday party game so be sure to end on a high note.

4. Consider adding a point value to each of the scavenger hunt items. Be sure to have a prize for the winner. Or, if you are leading them from clue to clue, have a collection of prizes at the final stop so everyone goes home a winner.
5. Have fun planning the scavenger hunt. The more enthusiasm you put into your hunt, the more creative it will be.

A scavenger hunt can make a great birthday party idea for both kids and teens. For younger kids pick a “pirate” or “princess” theme and have the hunt take place around the house or yard. For teens, consider doing a “photo scavenger hunt” and sending them around the neighborhood, the mall or town to photograph your clues.

Parent perks: A scavenger hunt can take little to no planning or it can be really elaborate. You can come up with a simple list or create elaborate riddles.
Overall: It’s a hands-on, experiential activity so kids are actively engaged throughout the activity. It includes all of the guests. You just monitor/supervise.

Information: Contact who will help brainstorm ideas and create custom hunts for their group of kids, teens or adults.

So if you are ready to get your Birthday party on and need some help, the authority on kids’ party supplies and planning, is pleased to introduce five new themes. is the 24-hour destination for kids’ birthday party supplies and planning offers everything needed to celebrate birthdays – except the kids and the cake – and offers unique themes for birthdays, specifically for kids ages 1 to 10. offers a vast selection of licensed and exclusive themes, and ships its products direct to consumers in nearly 35 countries worldwide. Get connected to BirthdayExpress via Facebook (, Twitter (, YouTube (, and Google+ (

These new products give parents more options than ever to host a unique, customized birthday party for their child. The new themes include: The Aquabats! 3-D Invite the cadets to a wicked sweet birthday party with the Aquabats, the crime-fighting “superheroes” team on their quest to save the world. Be sure to make time to eat cake while protecting the earth. Several products feature a unique pattern that uses 3-D technology for additional excitement and fun when viewed with 3-D glasses.

The Aquabats! Paper Masks$4

Chloe’s Closet Be sure to feature a favorite dress-up costume during a Chloe’s Closet magical adventure party. Take the lead of fearless party planning by heeding Chloe’s advice of “anything can happen in my world.” This fall, Chloe’s Closet will begin showing its season 2 episodes.

Chloe’s Closet Empty Favor Boxes $3

Bratz®The Bratz® girls highlight their passion for fashion. Help partygoers embrace the fashion, and find their own individual passion with a Bratz®

Bratz® Stand-up $40

Monster Jam 3-D Plan a “pit party” that the kids won’t forget with Monster Jam 3-D products. Several items feature a unique pattern that uses 3-D technology for additional excitement and fun when viewed with 3-D glasses.

Monster Jam 3D Dinner Plates, $3.50

Pajanimals (available by March 31, 2013) Invite Apollo, Sweetpea Sue, Squacky, and Cowbella to the party. There may be songs about bedtime from the hit Sprout TV show, but the party will be too exciting for sleeping.

Pajanimals Cupcake Box, $4

For each of the themes, choose from a wide variety of products in each collection, including personalized banners, blowouts, centerpieces, personalized plastic cups , dinner and dessert plates, foil balloons, invitations, napkins, placemats and tableware. Themed party favor boxes, masks, life-size wall decals, stickers, and tattoos are also available.

And guess what? We are giving one lucky reader a Chloe’s Closet deluxe party pack for 8 which includes”

  • 8 Dinner & Dessert Plates
  • 8 Cups, Forks & Spoons
  • 20 Lunch Napkins
  • 1 Tablecover, Foil Balloon & Centerpiece
  • 18 Balloons (3 colors)
  • 3 Curling Ribbon Rolls & 3 Crepe Paper (3 colors each)
  • 16 Cake Candles
  • 8 Thank You Notes
  • 8 Cone Hats
  • 1 Standard Size Personalized Banner (18″ x 61″) A $48.00 value!!

For a chance to win it- leave a comment here with your birthday party memory! For a  second entry you can follow Melissa Chapman on Pinterest . For a third entry you can Like The Staten Island Family on facebook  for a fourth entry you can follow MelissaSChapmanwriter on Instagram and for a fifth entry you can Follow @MelissasChapman on Twitter. Good luck! Giveaway ends May 3rd!

Got any other ideas you’d like to share?


  1. april yedinak says

    My personal best birthday memory was the year I turned 17. My family was totally broke, but somehow my mom still managed to scrounge decorations and a cake. She decorated the yard (getting chased by a snake in the process) and I was completely surprised when I got off the school bus.

  2. Lauren Wigginton says

    I remember my mom would always make me and my siblings’ cakes. They were always really neat and elaborate.

  3. Racheal says

    My favorite birthday party was when I was six. We were new to the neighborhood, and several local children followed the clown to my party. It was a great way to make friends.

  4. Jessica says

    I don’t remember many birthdays, but I remember that my whole family had a Garfeild party for my at the lake when I was 4.

  5. Kelly D says

    I loved having an August birthday because my parents would usually throw a pool party for me.. or rent a pony which was cool too…back when SI was a little more country-ish.

  6. Jaclyn Reynolds says

    I had a My Little Pony themed party back in 1985, love looking back at the photos of that party!

  7. amanda randolph says

    I had a pizza birthday party in the 6th grade. One of the few birthday parties alot of other kids showed up to…I suspect it was because of the free food lol.

  8. Dawn Monroe says

    My grandfather(pappy) took me and two friends camping and fishing. We had a blast…but I dont think he did! Did I forget to mention we were 13?

  9. says

    Actually the way my parents handled our birthdays was just to allow us to pick the restaurant we wanted to eat out at. That is it. We never had b-day parties. That is something I don’t want my kids to have as their memories which Is why i would love to win this prize 8)

  10. Jenna Osborne says

    Definitely the year my parents rented out the skating rink so I could have a party with my friends.

  11. Natalie says

    My best memory was a party my parents had for me at Burger King, as an adult my husband had a party for me for my 30th it meant a lot to me for both of tose occasions

  12. Pamela Halligan says

    My favorite birthday party memories are of parties in our backyard. Pool parties were the best.

  13. says

    On my son’s 1st BDay, I had it afternoon-after 2nd nap and he woke up w a fever and diarrhea and a house full of guests waiting for him-he wanted nothing to do w gifts or cake!

  14. Sara Phillips says

    My parents made a giant ‘spider web’ out of string. My friends and I had to figure it out to find the goodie bags at the end!

  15. says

    I loved our daughter’s first birthday party. It was so much fun to play the hostess as the mom and our whole family was able to make it and celebrate with us.

  16. McKim says

    I only had one birthday party as a child. It was when I was in first grade and was a surprise party. My mom invited the whole class. I was so excited – I couldn’t believe it was all just for me.

  17. Savannah miller says

    My favorite memory was this year when my little guys started to make me hand made gifts :) As a mommy I felt very loved this year and will always cherish the little hand print gifts they gave me :)

  18. Les Johnson says

    My best birthday parties were at the local skating rink. I always received a ton of presents and got to hang out with all of my friends.

  19. tess says

    my favorite b-day party memory with my kids so far is – last year my son smashing cupcakes all over his uncle
    tcogbill at live dot com

  20. traci says

    I really dont have any special ones….but I am making sure my 2 daughters have the best ones!

  21. Julie says

    my fave was when I turned 16 and I got my Drivers L. and an opal ring it was great oh to be 16 again:)

  22. 1955nurse says

    My Fav B-Day party memory is of my Grandson’s 1st Birthday. We had it early because my MIL &FIL came for a visit from IL & we got a cabin as a family & had a celebration = 3 generations all together for an entire week-end. It was especially wonderful because my MIL had had a heart attack earlier that year & she had finally become well enough to travel! ((1955nursehjc4me(at)myway(dot)com))

  23. 1955nurse says

    And I follow you (HollyCunningham) on FB, too!!!((1955nursehjc4me(at)myway(dot)com)) Thanks for the chance, wonderful giveaway!!!

  24. Kaeli hines says

    My fav memory is my son’s 2nd birthday when he said “bye friends” as everyone was leaving and waved bye atop his new tricycle.

  25. cw says

    I remember my trampoline sleepover bday party when I was 8. My other brother put itching powder in our sleeping bags

  26. Nancy says

    When our son was 5, he loved trucks. We had a great backyard birthday party with a few close friends. I made a cake and the decoration for the cake top was a colorful new plastic dump truck with chocolate chips in the back to look like dirt.

  27. cassandra says

    i would always have halloween birthday parties as a child because my bday was by halloween and i loved it!

  28. Fiona N says

    One of my favorite birthday party memory was 5 years ago when I got the laptop gift from my sister

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