Party on a Budget Tip #2: Edible Decor (and free printable)

I had very good intentions of getting this post out earlier, but this household has been hit with the nasty stomach virus, and I’ve been busy doing other not-so-pleasant activities!

Back to the more pleasant subject of party planning!  Did you know that one of the best ways to save money when planning a themed party, is with your food? Why? Food has to figure into your budget one way or the other, right? Well, here is a little secret:  You might be able to fudge on some of your other decor, if you make your food part of the theme, thereby saving money!


Edible decor has another advantage:  It gets consumed so you don’t have to figure out what to do with it after the party is over. Here’s another secret: I think this is why I enjoy cake decorating so much–I can be crafty, without having to figure out where I’m going to put it after I’ve made it!

Now, before you get overwhelmed, let me clarify.  If cooking and baking is not your thing, ordering pizza is not a wrong choice, or worthy of inducing guilt.  You can still have an epic party!  Your child would rather have a relaxed, fun mom at his  pizza party, than a frazzled Martha Stewart who is barking orders at his perfectly themed and executed party-of-the-century.  I know, because I’ve been both.

However, edible decor, does not necessarily have to be super fancy or even time-consuming, if you use a little imagination.

Edible decor CAN be simple.  Take the picture of the above veggie platter.  I always serve veggies at my parties, so I chose what veggies to serve and HOW to serve them in keeping with my Ninjago theme.  That “snake” is one of the bad guys.  Meet Pythor.  I spent no more money than I would have, but added a great decor element to the theme that my birthday boy loved!



Here is another great simple example:  Sandwiches cut with a bat cookie cutter to match the Batman theme.  It added no cost to the party, and maybe 5 extra prep minutes, and they got gobbled up.





The menu itself might be chosen based on the theme.  This Kung Fu Panda party menu featured mini egg rolls, “dumplings” (pepperoni & cheese rolls), chow mein noodles served with chopsticks, and “sushi” made with rice krispie treats and gummy candies.




This isn’t a great picture to illustrate my point, but sometimes I fall down on the photography job at parties!  Another easy way to use your food as decor, is to choose your food based on it’s color.  Here is party where I chose to do pizza, rather than making a lot of food, so I kept the rest of the food color-coordinated.  I only served orange and yellow food to go with this Nerf theme.  I had lemonade and orangeade (and Pepsi, but hey, black was one of the colors too!), yellow plain chips and orange Cheetos, and yellow peppers and orange carrots as veggies.  Simple, but it still tied into my theme (remember tip #1 about colors?)

12553048_10153808781575053_5058950187527923158_nStar wars label

Sometimes, all you need are printed signs with pithy names for your food. And if you are as unimaginative as I am in the name/title/labeling department, well, that is what Pinterest is for!  In our Star Wars theme, we had “Yoda Soda,” “Hutt Dogs,” “Vader Veggies,” and so forth. In fact, if you would like a ***FREE PRINTABLE*** of my Star Wars food labels, subscribe to my blog, and then let me know in the comments section that you would like me to send it to you.

And last, but not least, is using the cake to further your theme, but that is probably a post for another day, since that is a hobby of mine . . . this post is long enough!

I leave you with a few more pics of ways to incorporate your food into the theme.  How have you used your food to build on your party theme?

No cute way to serve your drinks? No problem. Just slap on a cute themed label in this Pixar “Planes” theme.
Car "tires" for a Pixar "Cars" theme
Car “tires” for a Pixar “Cars” theme
Lego guys heads made with marshmallows, and m&m and yellow candy melt.
Lego mini figure heads made with marshmallows, an m&m and yellow candy melt.
Captain America Shield Fruit Pizza.
Captain America Shield Fruit Pizza.



7 thoughts on “Party on a Budget Tip #2: Edible Decor (and free printable)

  1. You are so good at this stuff!! I have a birthday coming up in March. I saw that you can have a party at a firehouse. That would be so much fun but I’m sure it would be costly….so I’m going to have to get creative! do you just have everyone play at the parties or do you have specific games/activies?

    1. Bobbi Jo, You should totally check into the firehouse party! The cost may pleasantly surprise you. I’ve only done a couple of parties away from our house, and when I have, I have definitely gone cheaper on the decorations, etc. to accommodate the extra expense. One time, the only thing I did was a themed cake to go with the bowling party.
      With the games and activities, there will eventually be a blog post with details ;), but the short of it is, I do do planned activities, especially with younger children because it helps keep the chaos somewhat controlled. They are simple games, and usually they are typical party games, with a variation to tie it in with the … THEME, what else ;). If you have a specific theme in mind, message me. If you need help choosing a them, message me. I’d love to help! Stay posted for a blog post on games and activities!

      1. ok great thanks! looking forward to reading your other posts! I’ll check out the firehouse if that doesn’t work then I’ll let u know! thanks for the help 🙂

  2. I am working on super heroes theme. I have several themed food, but wanted to do a superman fruit tray that I saw on Pinterest. It was made out of pineapple and strawberries. Problem is that strawberries are not in season. I have not come up with another fruit I can use. Any ideas or substitutions?

    1. Unfortunately, red fruits like raspberries, watermelon and strawberries, are not in season in February. Unless you want to spend a fortune on them, of course! I don’t know if this is red enough, but have you thought of looking for red oranges. You would have to peel them carefully to get all white stuff off them. The other idea, is, unless you are really set on it being fruit, you could make jello, cut it up into little squares and use that for your red. Also, I know I’ve seen red pomegranates at my ALDI here in Kansas City. However, if you do that, I would definitely do some googling on how to peel a pomegranate, because if you do it right, the berries come right out, but if you do it wrong, it can take forever! Hope this is helpful!

  3. The jello is a good idea. I was already planning to use red jello in a different way. Maybe I can rearrange a few ideas. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *