Children love being the center of attention and there’s no more perfect time to be just that than during their birthday. If you’re struggling to plan for yet another birthday, try these top tips on organizing a themed birthday party.

Start out by determining how much money you want to spend for the party. Remember, once you choose a theme you’ll want to have decorations, tableware (plates, napkins, cups, and tablecloth), food, beverages, birthday cake, invitations, and games. Decide how much you can spend for each item and don’t go over it. There are plenty of ways to have a great party without breaking the bank.

Next sit down with the birthday child and ask them what they would like for a theme. They may want to have a character party with their favorite cartoon character, movie, or something along those lines. If that’s the case, it’s possible there may already be decorations and tableware available. Try to find matching invitations, plates and cups with that theme. The other items for the table can be co-ordinating colors if you need to save money.

Typical themed parties for girls would be princesses or other Disney characters. Boys may enjoy having a super hero or pirate theme. Instead of going overboard with store-bought decorations, try to think of ways you can decorate with items you have at home or can print off the internet.

Buy or make the invitations in plenty of time to get them addressed and sent out. Two weeks is generally a good amount of time. This will also leave time for the parents to call and let you know if their child will attend.

Plan a few games or a craft which is in keeping with the party theme. Don’t feel pressured to provide goodie bags for the guests. While they are a nice thought, if you talk to most parents they’d rather spend the money on something else for the party. They also don’t like stepping on the small toys once the children lose them.

Food is always a necessity at birthday parties. Not only will you want to have a great birthday cake, you’ll probably also want other snacks. Since the children will be having sweets in the cake, try to serve other healthy snacks like vegetable sticks or fruit. If possible, stay away from chips and dips. Serve only 100% juice for beverages.

Themed birthday parties can be a lot of fun but they can also be a lot of work for the adults. Don’t feel like you have to purchase a party kit or have everything related to the theme if money is a concern. Your child is most interested in having their friends over, being the center of attention, and enjoying themselves.