Guest post written and photographed by Kim Norcross, who has been doing digital marketing with MJM since 2017!
A note from Marie:
When Kim (who has been working with us on our digital marketing since 2017 and is now a very good friend!) sent me some photos of her sons' recent birthday parties I knew we had to get her to write this guest post!
I love the intentional ways Kim and her family created a fun and unique Harry Potter themed birthday party, without buying in to any of the mainstream single use party items.
And the fact that she incorporated mason jars into the fun only makes the parties an even bigger hit for me!!
If you've planned a party of any kind you know how quickly your budget can get out of hand. Just do a quick search online and you'll easily find oodles of party supplies and decor for every theme or color scheme that you could imagine.
In addition to being expensive, those party supplies are usually made up toxic and non-recyclable materials that end up in the trash after one use!
As a mom of three, I want my kid's birthday parties to be celebrations to remember; but not at the expense of my pocket book or the environment.
Two of my boys have birthdays within 4 weeks of each other, so we'll often meet in the middle and throw one party for both of them. Being that we're in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic right now, we opted for two separate smaller parties, but with the same theme. Right away we knew we could reuse anything we came up with for both parties.
As the kids and I talked about their ideas for celebrating turning 5 and 7 this year throwing a Harry Potter themed party was a no brainer. All summer long we've been reading the books together and all three of them decided they wanted to be Harry Potter for Halloween.
With a little creativity we were able to pull together TWO budget and eco friendly birthday parties, AND come up with some great Halloween costumes as well!
Here are my tips for creating a budget AND eco friendly birthday bash!
1) Use or repurpose what you already have.
Avoid purchasing on theme trinkets or decor items. Instead, repurpose things you already have on hand for your decor and party activities.
For our Harry Potter birthday bash we created a potions shop by filling different sizes of mason jars and other containers we had on hand with various things we collected in our back yard.
My kids had almost as much fun collecting and naming each potion ingredient as they did mixing them up in an old ice cream bucket to create a special potion!
Our next door neighbour heard the commotion as we were setting up, and even popped over with some unique ingredients from her own yard!
2) Incorporate an activity into your party decor.
Instead of decorating with single use balloons or streamers, have party goers engage in an activity that adds to the decor.
For our Harry Potter themed party we make guests feel like they were in Hogsmeade (if you're not familiar with HP this is the wizarding world's prime shopping destination) with a potions shop and a wand shop.
I used recycled paper and markers to create hand made and reusable signs for the Ollivander's Wand Shop and Slug & Jiggers Apothecary (potions shop).
The boys and their dad spent hours whittling and sanding sticks from the forest into wands. We set up the wand shop so guests could choose a wand and paint it to make a custom wizard wand to take home!
Over at the potions shop, guests could grab an cauldron (old ice cream bucket) and mix up their own unique combination of potion ingredients.
We didn't have to purchase anything new to set up these two activities and because most of the materials we used were found in our backyard nothing was thrown in the trash! This also made for a nice mess but super easy clean up ;)
3) Spend your money on items that you can reuse.
Lucky for me, all three of my kids are CRAZY about Harry Potter and two of them have birthdays that fall within weeks of each other. This meant that anything I purchased could be used for two birthday parties right off the bat.
I was able to find a great reusable Harry Potter themed 'Happy Birthday' banner and cupcake toppers all made out of felt.
We had an amazing birthday Harry Potter cake (made by Nana!) and I also made individual chocolate trifle desserts in mason jars and topped them with the cupcake toppers. All it took was a quick wipe of the wooden stick to clean these up and store them to be reused another time.
We've already used the banner twice and the cupcake toppers once, and everything is still in perfect condition to be shared with other friends or family members and be reused again and again!
4) Consider eco-conscious gifts.
The boy's Nana offered to sew each of the boys Hogwart's cloaks for their Halloween costumes. She found black flat sheets at a local thrift store and repurposed them into these amazing cloaks!
Nana also surprised the boys with hand crocheted scarves in Gryffindor scarlet and gold.
These costume pieces were worn during the birthday parties, will be worn on Halloween, AND will continue to be used for years to come!
I'm always looking for ways to reuse what we already have, avoid purchasing anything that we'll use once and toss, AND throw a celebration to remember!
I hope these tips are simple ways that you can rethink how you can stay under budget and eco-friendly when you throw your next big party!
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Various sizes of mason jars were used throughout the post, here are links to some smaller sized mason jars that would be perfect for individual desserts or DIY projects.