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    Rockin' Party Ideas on a Realistic Budget!

The Crazy Party Game Find or Say What???

I love the library.  Call me old fashioned, to read real books with pages and all, but I love it.  It’s like shopping for free.  You get to take back the clutter and get a fresh supply.  Did you know Ben & Jerry went to the library to figure out how to make ice cream, and the rest is history?  So why can’t I use it to fuel my party idea fire?

On a recent trip, I looked for a little inspiration for my blog.  And boy, did I ever find a doozy.  I brought home a party game book.  I just kind of glanced at the title, and thought it said, “Great Party Games.  Over 200 Games for People of All Ages.”  Nope.  What it really says is, “Great Party Games.  Over 200 Games for ADULTS of All Ages.”  This party game book is written by Gyles Brandreth.  The copyright date is 2000.  The reason I bring this up is because, I just yahoo’d him.  (I would have google’d him, but my son set up my browser to default to yahoo.)  This dude is something else. 

Great Party Games...Seriously

Great Party Games...Seriously

When I first brought the book home, I skimmed the first few games.  Just the names really, not even the descriptions.  For some reason, I just sorta let it go.  Well my due date (library that is) is fast approaching so I thought I better give this Great Party Games book another go.  As I am reading, I start to read about this game called Feelies.  I notice that the necessary equipment involves feather dusters and music.  I thought, hmmm that’s strange.  As I read further, like the first sentence in the description, I came across the words dance around and scantily clad.  Say what?  What kind of party is happening here?  I actually laughed out loud as I read these games to my husband.  And we got a great kick out of wondering how the heck people would react to some of these games.  Well, other than run screaming down the street after slapping us in the face.  Suffice to say, this game is in the “Naughty Games” section.  And well, I won’t even go there on some of these, not even in a blog. 

However, I will say that the other chapters provide some great games.  Some very hilarious ones.  Like this party game called, “Ankles.”   Here’s how to play:

  1.  Divide the guests into two teams. 
  2. Hang a blanket or curtain. 
  3. Have one team sit or stand next to each other behind the curtain with their socks and shoes off.  And that being the only visible part of the players bodies.
  4. The other team then guesses whose feet are whose.  (They can examine the feet if necessary.)
  5. Then switch teams, and the team with the most correct guesses wins.  This works best with 40 or 50 guests.

There are actually some awesome party game ideas in this book.  And yes, most are more geared toward adults.  So head on down to the library, or Amazon, and pick up a copy.  Even if you’re not hosting a party, this will make you laugh.  The Author himself puts it best in the intro, “There are games here for the innocent and the wicked, for the sober and the merry, for the prim and the permissive, for the athletic and the sedentary, for the extrovert and, yes, for the introvert too.”  And he is most certainly right.

Cheap Party Starter

To  be honest, when I attend a shower, the party games can bum me out a bit, mostly because I am usually surrounded by a bunch of people I don’t necessarily know all to well.  So the idea off making a fool of myself upon first impression doesn’t sound like fun.  Maybe I need to not worry so much, but I’d venture to guess I’m not alone on this one. 

I just came across something really cute on my travels this weekend, and actually, I’ve purchased something similar before.  This would be a good time to share this info, as we are embarking on shower inundation season, and party season really.  If you’ve invited a mixed bag of nuts to your party, consider purchasing a product like this, to serve as an icebreaker and also give a little relief to the hostess.

Conversation Starter Cards

Conversation Starter Cards

 

These little packets of conversation starters will help stimulate a little chatter, and save you from having to play mixer woman.  The photo in this post is from Amazon, but there are a lot of different brands for this type of product.  Head to your local Barnes & Noble and you’re sure to find something that will do the trick.   The one I purchased was a deck of cards I found at WalMart during Valentine’s Day.  I used this on a date with my husband and we had a fun time answering the questions. 

Another option, even though it’s a game, is

Would You Rather...?
Would You Rather…?

Zobmondo makes an awesome game that is fun for every age, and will lead to some very interesting chatter as well.  Click on the picture to head over to their site and check out all the different options available. 

So, next time you’re planning on gathering a bunch of people together that don’t know each other all that well, have something available for them to work with in terms of mixing with each other.
I also like to use “displays” of photos to create a conversation hub.  And please, for pete’s sake get a little creative when you do this.  Don’t just slap some pictures on poster board.  I’ll share some cheap and easy and fab ideas for this in another blog entry.  Check back soon.
 

Rock Star Party

Rock Band Party

Rock Band Party

What better way for you to become a Rock Star for a day than to host a party themed around that game we all know and love?

I’ve seen a few videos of people making their best attempts at doing this, but to pull it off it’s gonna take more than 3 dudes standing in front of the TV,  belting out their tribute to AC/DC.    In fact, I just watched a video of such an event.  I was totally surprised that someone posted it, but hey, it was a good attempt.  We all have to start somewhere.

This should be a party dedicated to rocking out.  So do that.  Rock out your party!  To get people stoked about it, you have to be stoked about it.  Are you ready to rock?

Invites: Create a Ticket!

1234 Main Street Welcomes Rock Star World Tour

A List Guests Only (That’s U). 

If you aren’t dressed to rock, don’t even knock.

Time: 7:00 PM – ’til the last one is standing.

THIS IS THE ONLY TICKET YOU WILL BE ISSUED.  PLEASE REDEEM AT THE DOOR. 

rsvp:555-5555

BE THERE & BE READY 2 ROCK!

Let’s talk menu: 

  •  Smokin’ Drumsticks, 
  •  Rockin’ Rolls
  •  Bleuz Burgers
  •  Nirvanna Nibbles.

You get the picture.  Fun descriptive name cards can be scribbled on old Cd’s with a sharpie and placed in front of each dish.  Instant decoration, instant mood enhancement, and FREE.  Well the food isn’t free, but doesn’t it all sound better with a great name.?  And I addressed that whole matter in another blog entry, but it really is easy to fool people into thinking they’re dining on something special simply by the description you give it.  Yeah, a study has been done on this, and it works.  Go figure.  Hey, I remember trying this on my kids when they were little.  I just called everything steak, so they ate it.  Moms, you know what I’m talking about.

Decorations:

  • Make a CD garland by stringing Cd’s together with fishing wire.
  • Hang some album covers.
  • Buy a roll of red fabric for a red carpet effect at the front door.
  • I’ve heard if you place a fogger in a cooler the fog will stay lower.  Sweet bonus if you have one of those.
  • Dig out your lava lamp, disco ball, strobe light.  Any kind of cool lighting.  Heck hang some icicle lights. 
  • Make your own concert poster using your favorite desktop publishing software.
  • Super impose the faces of your guest on your favorite rock stars and hang around the room.

Games:

Of course the obvious…hit the old PS 3. 

For the other people who can’t be playing the PS 3 at the time…this is a game adapted from a Halloween Party game called “Killer.”  We’ll call this rocked out. 

  • Buy yourself enough bead necklaces (can purchase form Dollar Tree) to equal one per guest. 
  • One person is designated as the “Rock Star”
  • The way the “Rock Star” is chosen is by taking a deck of cards and passing out a card to each person as they come in.  They are not allowed to tell anyone what card they have chosen.  Let them all know before hand that the person who chooses the Ace of Spades is the “Rock Star”
  • The “Rock Star’s” job is to go around the party and quietly wink at people without anyone other than the person he/she is winking at that they are being rocked.
  • Once you have been rocked, you must either scream out I’ve been rocked, and fall to the ground like you’re dying.  Then grab a bead necklace to signify your new fate.
  • Eventually, all people will have been rocked and the last remaining person wins the game.
  • People should “rock out” 30 seconds or so after they have been winked at so they don’t give away the identity of the rock star.  be sure to explain this from the beginning.

Give an award like a wild tshirt/baseball cap that has some sort of rock saying on it, or a rock CD.  Whatever is befitting a rock star.  Maybe some fake tattoos. 

Hint: You might want to stack the deck so that the right person gets the Ace of Spades,  you don’t want someone who would be uncomfortable doing this be the rock star.

So that about sums it up.  Let your imagination run wild, and don’t be scared.  This party will Rock!

Looking your best on the Big Day

Any time I host an event or attend one, I really want to look my best. I know that if I am having a crazy bloated day or have been on edge all day, it’s just gonna feel wrong the whole time.

These are a few things that help me keep my sexy going so I don’t have that yucko feeling as a distraction.

1.  Workout the week before. 

OK, I usually workout everyday anyway, but I make sure I am doing my best, especially in the cardio department the week before any event.

2.  Drink loads of water.  Just in case some bloat action tries to throw you off you game.  Make sure you get your water in the week before the event.  8-10 glasses a day.  Put it in a big ol’ mug and sip all day every day.

3. Get Ready First!

It happens all the time.  you’re hosting an event and worried about all that you still have on the to do list.  So you run to the store, and here and there.  You’re cooking, decorating, freaking out.  And now there’s 30 minutes before guests arrive!  Best tip.  Get ready first.  Get out of bed, take your shower, do your hair, and throw on some makeup.  This is called, plan- just in case.  Just in case something unexpected happens that throws you off schedule a little.  you still look good, and feel good.  It’s much better to keep your pretty smile in place when your hair doesn’t look like Don King.

4.  Dance

If there is dancing involved at the party.  Make sure your get your groove on during the week before.  This sort of gets you in the mood to dance.  Maybe crank some Motown while you clean.  Or some Stevie Ray Vaughn while you’re cooking.  Warning: It may get hot!  Actually, your muscle memory comes into play here.  If you’ve already been bopping   house for a week, when the party gets here your body will be ready to go.  It’s sort of hard to fire up a rusty engine and blaze down the road at 60 mph.  Same thing holds true for dancing.  If you haven’t been shakin’ your groove thang in awhile, you may need to rev your engine a few times before the big day.

5.  Drink a glass of wine.

Whatever takes the edge off for you.  I find that if I have a glass of wine before my event (that is if it isn’t a kids birthday party, then save the wine for afterwards) it helps me to calm down a little.

These 5 little tips can go a long way in helping you be ready for your event.

OH, and most of all…

Put a big ol’ smile on your face.  This is the day you’ve been preparing for, so enjoy it with all your might.

Get your water on!

Get your water on!

All About Invitations

I really wanted to touch in this subject because it is one of my all time faves.  In this entry, I want to address the following: the importance of the invite, ways to word the invite, and how to construct the invite in a captivating way. People  usually either run out and buy the cheapie little invites at the store, or try out their new desktop publishing software to make their own, or last and worst of all pay mega bucks to have someone else make them.  I want to help you set the tone for your event that fits what your goals are for the party.

The importance of the invite.  Too often this is so overlooked.    The party invitation sets the stage.  If you have given little or no thought to the invite, it can communicate a “have to” feeling to your guests.  You want them to know that this party is going to be a great time, and they don’t want to miss it.  We’ll explore how to accomplish that later.  For now go back to your vision of what this party is about, the sights, the sounds, tastes and theme.  Then convey that in the invite.  Having a video game party?  Why not send your invites on CD?  Have a crazy kids record something on the like a disc jockey.  Or why not write directly on the CD with a sharpie, or for the truly crafty, make an “altered cd.”  I may need to construct one for fun and share on a vlog later.  We may need visual inspiration for that one.  But how fun!  Or send your invite in a box.  A scroll in a bottle.  Use your imagination and your theme to guide you.  Having a sushi party?  Why not send it in a take out box, or a fortune cookie constructed of felt (this was featured in a Martha Stewart magazine, the cookie, not the invite inside.  the possibilities are limitless.  But you want to convey that this party is going to be fun and interesting, and you’re excited about having your guests celebrate with you.

Invitation Wording:  One of my favorite  things to do is song parody.  I once had a Halloween party and used the song “Hotel California.”  I saw a website where someone had a haunted house they called “Hotel Killafornia.”  And it was born, I just used the lyrics to convey what guest could expect to experience when they came.  Yeah, that’s great for a Halloween Party, but I’m hosting a bachelorette party.  What about “Going to the Chapel” and inserting the names of the bride and groom.  The possibilities are endless. Use nursery rhymes for baby showers.  M

Here’s an idea on how to just take the usual time, date, yadda yadda, and kick it up a little.

What’s on Fire?  Just a bunch of s’mores and a few fireworks, to celebrate summer and life on the lake.

Join us at the lake cottage, and bring your suits for a smokin’ night by the firelight.

Where: At our cozy little cottage on bla bla lake at 123 Main, bla bla MI.

When ‘s it all goin’ down?   On Friday the 5th of July just before the sun settles down, and then we’ll heat up the rest of the night til it comes back up again. 

Who: It’s me Jen,  Holla back at 574-555-5555 so we can chat, and so I can have your beverage ready when you get here:)  Can’t wait to here from you.

This invite spells out the location and time without being boring.

Invitation Construction:  For the above invitation how cute would it be to buy those little flags you stick in your lawn or that kids play with, and just type everything out, printing on white paper, stick a few star stickers on and roll it up around the flagstick.  Then secure with ribbon.  Or what wrapping a box of sparklers with the invite…these will probably need to be hand delivered…no injured mailmen please.    All you really need to do is think about your vision for your party and then take a small element related to that and make it into an invite.  Usually this just amounts to somehow attaching the paper printout to the item. 

Or use awesome scrapbook papers and scissors.  The key to keeping this cheap is, no one said you had to use the whole sheet of paper. You can cut this into shapes relating to your theme, or just into 4 squares.  This way, you’re getting 4 invites out of one 25 cent sheet of paper.  Smear the edges with an inkpad to give them some more dimension, and a more personal feel.  Back with fabric, or punch a hole in the top, tie some ribbon through, and add a bead, or charm, or some chopsticks, or little cocktail umbrella.  How cute, and you didn’t have to spend a fortune, just a little brain power.

You can do this!

How many people should I invite to my party?

I remember the first time I had 100 people at my house.  I thought I was going to have to polish off a bottle of wine before they got there just to be able to deal with it all.  I didn’t.  All I could think of was, where we people gonna park?  What if someone got hurt?  Where was I going to hide the stuff I didn’t want everyone to have access to?  Who would watch over this and that?  Worry, worry, worry.  For nothing!

But what about the budget?  How do I figure my cost per guest?  Okay, now I am not talking yet about weddings, although you could apply some of these concepts depending on the type of wedding you are planning.  this particular entry is addressing other parties. 

Before considering cost per guest, just answer the simple question, who do I want to invite?  Who do I want to experience this occassion with me, and who will they bring with them?  Get a good count and then split that  into kids and adults.  Chances are, if you keep following my party tips, you’ll figure out a way to make it work, be it pot luck or barter, or having a garge sale to cover the cost.

There are some great party tools for finding out how much food to plan for each person.  My absolute favorite is www.allrecipes.com   But remember, along with the food itself, utensils, plates, cups, napkins, table coverings, decorations, beverages and ice are all part of the plan too.  But, as you know, this is the Cheap Party Chick and I have cheap party ideas for every part of the event.  So, keep looking, and you will find help.  Or send me an email at info@cheappartychick.com and I will share some thoughts and direct you to my best sources for cheap party help.

But, what you should be doing right now is just figuring out who you wnat to be there.  This is all about community, sharing life, and having fun.  So don’t sweat your budget just yet.  Just get your number, and we’ll make it work.

After you accomplish this misson, come back and check the next blog and we’re gonna talk about where this shindig is gonna happen.

Guest List Pt.1 or a Bag of Mixed Nuts is Better than a Handful of Cashews

The old adage opposites attract certainly applies when compiling a guest list.  I’ve lead quite a colorful life, and along the way, I have met some great characters.  Ah, characters, the perfect word, in a sense party planning is like putting on a production.  The guests are your players.  Any great movie, or life for that matter, is sprinkled with a variety of personalities.  How boring to have a sinister plot with no villain, or a comedy without the comedian? 

I used to be afraid of allowing “worlds to collide” as George Costanza from Seinfeld so aptly said.  You know what I am talking about.  Huh!  We can’t have the church ladies over with the crazy uncle…God love him.  What if your co-workers meet your funky friends?  You know what?  They would probably all have a great time.  Part of the fun is figuring people out…the mystery.   It doesn’t really feel like a party when you put that cool outfit on just to show it off to the same people you’ll see tomorrow.  The interplay keeps things interesting.  It’s fun to watch people blossom when their extrovert is brought out by the party animal, or to watch the chatterbox be tamed by the wise student of life. 

I am not suggesting, by any means, you try to invoke a brawl by inviting someones ex, or the guy who stole the neighbor’s mower.  The goal is not to create a mangled mess of mayhem.  We’re wanting a nice mix of people who will bring out the best in everyone, not send them screaming for the hills.

Will people get annoyed at each other?  You bet, and so goes life.  But you and your guests are there for a good time, and just understand that some people will complain if the gold you guild their croutons with isn’t shiny enough.  Their problem…not yours.  So focus on the other 99% of whom are enjoying themselves because you wanted to share this occasion with them.  Hmm.  Kind of a good practice for everyday life.

Up next…the numbers.  One hundred people in my 1600 sf ranch?  Are you crazy?