Yesterday, I posted the recipe for the Pumpkin Shaped Rice Krispies Treats I made for the Halloween Party for Ryan’s preschool last year. Today, I wanted to share how I planned and executed his class party on a budget.
At the beginning of the year, each child was asked to make a donation to go into a party fund. Then, whichever parent was responsible for planning the party would be refunded for their purchases.
For the Halloween Party, I was given a budget of $40. That was to cover decorations, food, drinks, a craft, a game, and a goodie bag. When you start to divide that all out between the 12 children in the class, you have to get creative.
For the craft, we made some headbands that the kids colored. The teachers already had some that they weren’t going to have time to do with the children, and we used the classroom set of crayons.
I was lucky they already had that. But another cheap option would be to buy one coloring book and tear a page out for each child. Or find a cute printable coloring page that you can get copies made. Most schools will already have a copier, so that won’t cost much at all.
Game & Prizes
The game had me stumped for a while. As usual, I scoured Pinterest but a lot of the games were either too complex for the two-year-olds, would be too messy, or couldn’t be easily done inside a small classroom.
When I was out shopping for items, I found an orange Jack-O-Lantern bucket in the one dollar section. I grabbed that to use as a goal, and some bean bags from home. The kids had to toss (underhand!) the bean bags and try to get them in the bucket.
Of course, at this age, they just had fun being able to toss something and everyone got a prize. Some of the kids really worked at getting a perfect score. Others just wanted to throw the bean bags at each other.
The prizes also came from the dollar section. I found a few items that were listed as “alternates for Trick-or-Treaters”, meaning it wasn’t candy. There were some ink stamps, small notepads, temporary tattoos, and a few odds and ends. Those were put together in some cellophane bags as the prizes.
Food & Drinks
Most of the budget was going to the food and drinks. Partly because I (obviously) enjoy the food part of everything. But also because I knew I could find the craft, games, and prizes for really cheap.
Knowing the party was at 10am and the kids would have eaten breakfast but not be ready for lunch, I had to figure out the best foods while also trying to balance it out. I didn’t end up with any protein, but I wasn’t sure what the kids in class would eat, anyway.
The Good For You Stuff
Top on my list was to get a variety of fruits and vegetables. Originally, I planned to buy them whole and cut them myself, but I found a small tray that was already done and cheaper. Since the kids are so young, they don’t eat a lot. It would have been cheaper to get each item individually if this was for adults. But the kids still had leftovers after the party.
I took the fruits and veggies and dumped them into a small plastic cauldron that I’ve had for years. Of course, I made sure to clean it well before adding the food.
And if you are planning fruits and veggies for young kids, make sure you cut anything that needs to be. I sliced the baby carrots in half and made sure to cut the grapes so there wouldn’t be any choking hazards.
The Good Stuff
As I mentioned, it was still early in the morning, so I went ahead and grabbed some doughnut holes for the party. I wasn’t wanting something that sweet at first, but it was cheap and easy, and the kids ate them all.
The boys had also helped me make some Pumpkin Shaped Rice Krispies Treats for the party. You can read more about them on that post, but they went over really well with the kids. They all enjoyed the silly faces!
I really don’t like buying juice boxes because they are so wasteful. But when you are planning a party for a dozen two-year-olds, most of whom don’t know how to use a regular cup, your options are limited.
For most of the school parties, I’ve noticed the parents like to get the Honest Kids drink pouches. I don’t know how much better they are than others, but since that’s a common one, I knew the kids should like it. And really, you can’t go wrong with apple juice for a bunch of preschoolers!