Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The 5 Best Summer Party Themes Under $100

There are so many things to love about the summer: soft serve chocolate ice cream, refreshing cerulean waves, extra-long days of birdsong and sunshine - the list goes on and on.

Still, one of the best things about the summertime is the chance to throw a super fun soiree. But, for too many of us, the cost of hosting such a party makes us jump with fear rather than excitement. To throw a summer party and be broke, or wallow away in fiesta-less season - Where’s the middle ground? 

Throwing an awesome bash needn’t break the bank! As a former party planner, I now bring you five summer party themes. Each will cost less than $100 to deck out your home in style and leave your guests bowing down to you, the Royal Party Highness.

#1 Toga Challenge
This is an excellent afternoon party option, and is well-suited for both adults and teens. Tailor your “Olympic Events” to cater to participants’ abilities. A few event suggestions: three-legged race, water balloon toss and wrap the mummy (toilet paper unrolled onto a teammate) Wrap things up with a medal ceremony while Olympic-themed music, or perhaps just “We are the Champions” plays on a boom box. Make your own togas out of various linen sheets to make these challenges even more fun. Just be sure that everyone gets gold.
Shopping List:
Flat White Sheets $14.98 at elderdepot.com
Roman Laurel Wreath $1.45/ea at stumpsparty.com
Biodegradable Water Balloons $9.75 from amazon.com
4-pack Cotonelle Double Roll $3.85 from soap.com
Plastic Super Star Gold Medals $7.95/48 at ebay.com

#2 Hawaiian Luau
Google “Hawaiian Luau Music” before your guests arrive and plug in what you learn on Pandora in order to stream the perfect soundtrack. This party idea works best as an outdoor party at nighttime, although a daytime Luau would be prefect to throw poolside (should you be so lucky to have access to one) or at a local beach. Quirky decorations will turn this luau into an Aloha-evening you’ll never want to forget.
Shopping List:
Set of 8 Tiki torches with oil $33.95 from centurynovelty.com
Mega Lei Assortment $15.00/100 at orientialtraders.com
Drink umbrellas $5.00/144 at orientialtraders.com
Bright Flower Lei Garland $4.00 at orientialtraders.com
Tiki Bubble Machine for $39.95 at target.com

#3 Red Carpet Event
Looking for a way to recycle that old prom gown or bridesmaid dress that has been hanging unloved in your closet? A Red Carpet/Hollywood party is just the ticket! If you have the technology available to you, try projecting an out black and white movie onto a sheet for your guests to gaze as they mingle.
Shopping list:
Red Carpet Runner $6.28 at partycheap.com
Red Rope Set $55.96 at partycheap.com
Movie Night Cascading Centerpiece $4.00 at orientaltrading.com
VIP Entrance Sign $.96 at partycheap.com
Plastic Champagne Glasses $.4.99 at Walgreens.com

#4 Tea Party
This is a good option for a rainy day in with the gals. Entertain yourselves by decorating the cookies or cupcakes that will be served as snacks. Don’t forget the cucumber sandwiches! (Crusts off; pinkies up!) Encourage your female invitees to wear frilly hats!
Shopping list:
Whistle 3 qt Tea Kettle $39.95 at target.com
Victoria Plastic Cup and Saucer $6.50/ea at enjoyingtea.com
Celestial Seasonings Fruit Tea Sampler $1.37 at amazon.com
Tea Party Beverage Napkins $1.75/16 at orientaltrading.com
Fox Run Tea Party Cookie Cutter Set $5.95 at amazon.com

#5 South of the Border Fiesta
Olé! Try setting up a make-your-own-taco bar for your friends to feast on and be sure to mix up a batch of fruity virgin margaritas for the kids. This party theme also lends itself well to an assortment of dips served with chips and fresh veggies.
Shopping list:
Rainbow Donkey Piñata $13.50 at piñatas.com
3 lbs. Piñata Candy & Toys filler $12.99 at piñata.com
Embroidered Sombreros $25/dozen at orientaltrading.com
Plastic Neon Margarita Glasses $10.49/dozen at partywedding.com
Fiesta Maracas $15/dozen at orientaltrading.com

There you have it, a whole slew of exciting summer shindig options that won’t cost an arm and a leg. Which is good, since you’ll need all your limbs intact to fun it up at your fete!

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