Is your child's birthday party right around the corner?

(Photo from Capture Queen™)

Finances tight this year? Just because your wallet has taken a beating in this recession doesn't mean your family is doomed to boring, sparse birthday parties. There are awesome ways to get creative with cheap party supplies and make your party more exciting than ever!

Usually, a cake would set you back twenty to forty dollars (at least!), but there are alternatives to an expensive store-bought cake. Using a few packets of Jell-O brand chocolate pudding mix, a small box of Oreos, and a bag of gummy worms, you can make a delicious treat perfect for any birthday party.

Simply serve pudding with crumbled Oreos and gummy worms in individual cupcake tins for a creepy-crawly treat! If your child is on the squeamish side, you may want to stick to a good old-fashioned cake. A perfect two-layer cake (serves twelve) can be made using a box of cake mix and a jar of frosting.

Using the generic brands of these items, the bill should only set you back about four dollars! To make the cake more festive, consider decorations that can be put on the cake: birthday candles are cheap, as is a small bag of your choice of candy, which can be placed artfully on the frosted face of the cake, transforming a plain-jane baked good into a birthday treat!

What birthday party games can you conjure up from a collection of cheap party supplies? A rousing game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey can be played using a blindfold and a cardboard "donkey". "Hot Potato" is another great game: change is swaddled under layers of wrapping paper, and while music plays, party-goers pass the "potato", each person shedding a layer of wrap.

When the music stops, the person left holding the potato gets to collect the small change! This game can also be played with small plastic toys or pieces of candy or chocolate. The most difficult part for many is buying presents on a budget, but even this can be accomplished on the cheeps.

Fantastic gifts can be made at home: a handmade frame, featuring a picture of yourself and the birthday boy or girl; a collection of interesting rocks, polished and posted on a piece of wood; a doll made from scraps of felt and a dried apple.

Also, collections of puzzles and games can be purchased at your local convenience store very inexpensively -- when coupled with a box of twelve crayons, this makes a very satisfying gift for any child! Just because the economy is tough these days doesn't mean planning your child's birthday has to be.

Follow the above simple steps to ensure your family continues to enjoy first-rate birthday parties, using cheap party supplies!

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