|Whether it’s to see their favorite actress take home the big prize or just catch the red carpet arrivals, millions of people watch the Academy Awards every year. Hosting Oscar parties is a popular activity on this night; but throwing a great Oscar party for your friends and family doesn’t have to mean emptying your savings account.
Read on for a few tips and tricks for planning an Oscar party on a budget.
1. Ditch the Paper Invitations
Traditional paper invitations are certainly nice, but as the world becomes inundated with technology, electronic invitations are trendy and more convenient. In fact, Kiplinger recommends doing this for kids’ birthday parties and more.
Your friends and family members will appreciate receiving an invitation that they can easily access on their laptop or cellphone. And ditching the paper invitations doesn’t mean losing out on a fun project — much like traditional invitations, electronic invitations can be centered on a theme and can include any image or text you want.
Best of all, they are completely free! Instead of spending money on stationary and stamps, go green and save cash by taking advantage of these convenient invitations.
2. Get Creative with Dollar Store Decorations
One of the most important aspects of planning a get-together is making sure that your home looks party ready. Once you’ve cleaned everything up, transform your home from glum to glam with Hollywood-inspired touches.
Your local dollar store should have a variety of craft items that are inexpensive, such as spray paint, sequins, star cutouts, markers, streamers and shiny tinsel. Use stars and gold as much as possible — this is the Oscars! For a creative twist, hang stars from the ceiling featuring the name of each guest.
3. Turn to Your Friends for Fun Wardrobe Ideas
You can make your cheap party feel classy and fun without doing much at all if you request that your guests dress in formal (or, red carpet-ispired) clothing. For even more fun, encourage your guests to dress up as their favorite Oscar nominee or as a character from a nominated film.
In addition to all the other awards you’ll be witnessing on Oscar night, create an award for the best-dressed person at your party. Buying a piece of red fabric is fairly inexpensive, and can act as a red carpet that your guests will make their entrances on.
4. Cast Your Academy Awards Vote
Don’t just invite people over to sit around a TV — make your party interactive by encouraging your guests to cast votes. Using dollar store materials, spray paint a variety of small boxes (shoebox size or smaller) gold or silver, and write the name of each category you’ll be casting votes for (e.g., “Best Actress,” “Best Film,” or “Best Actor“).
If you can squeeze it into your budget, you can also hand out prizes for those who guessed correctly. You don’t have to shell out a ton of money for themed prizes, either: These can include movie items, such as popcorn and licorice, champagne, dollar store trophies or medals, or star-shaped treats.
5. Hors D’oeuvres and Drinks
A party isn’t complete without some fabulous snacks and drinks. Unfortunately, providing food and beverage options for a household full of people can quickly add up, and this tends to be an area where people overspend.
So, don’t be afraid to throw a “BYOB” onto your invitations, or better yet, turn your entire event into a potluck. When it comes to drinks, Real Simple suggests passing on the open bar and instead offering a “single, memorable” cocktail for the night.
While you’re scrambling to make Oscar party arrangements and put the finishing touches on your decorations, don’t forget that the most important part of hosting a party is having fun! While games and food can definitely contribute to the enjoyment, having a good attitude, putting on a smile, and enjoying your company is what will surely make your Oscar party a night to remember.