When my daughter decided she wanted a licensed character birthday party, I started seeing dollar signs. After all, anything licensed isn't cheap, and I didn't want to break the budget with this party. Here's some simple tips to keep a licensed character party frugal yet still full of character- pun intended!
1. Start early.
I found the cups for party favors at the Target Dollar Spot back in February/March. Asking your child to decide a theme early (or deciding it for them) allows you to watch for deals and bargains before the last minute.
2. Select two or three colors to use throughout the party scene.
Just like I chose pink, lavender and orange- the colors of Dora's outfit + Backpack- you can greatly simplify things by choosing colors coordinating with your licensed character. I used the colors I chose in the pendant bunting, balloons, tableware, food labels, etc. This saves you money because you don't have to buy Dora plates, Dora cups, Dora fabric, etc. Just splash a few licensed products throughout and let the colors do the rest.
3. Use your child's existing toys as decor.
Since you child has chosen (or you have chosen for them) this themed party, the chances are good that your child already has some character items in his/her toy collection...Just like I used my son's dinosaurs for his Dino-Four party, I raided my daughter's room for all things Dora. Between the drink containers I put a metal Dora purse, and I had another Dora bag hanging in another place.
4. Look for images of your character that you can adapt and transform.
I'm not a copyright expert, but I'm pretty sure you can use images on the internet for personal use, as long as there is no selling involved. I did a simple Google Image search for basic Dora characters, and used Picasa to add text to the food labels. I printed them on white paper, and then used cardstock from my three colors (pink, lavender and orange) to make the "tents".
The banner hanging on my kitchen bar was actually from a tablecloth (found here on Amazon). I was able to remove the two sides and hang one in two different places for the party. It added a nice amount of Dora's face to the decor.
My mother also found this Dora wrapping paper at a local store. There wasn't much on the roll, and she thinks she paid about $2/roll. I taped one roll of wrapping paper on each of the two long tables, on top of a white vinyl tablecloth from the Dollar Tree. This added a "table runner" effect to each of the tables.
What are your favorite tips for saving money on parties? Anyone else had a licensed party and have a great money-saving trick to share?