Dogs and Cats Party
A word of caution....the below ideas are all well and good - but don't blow the budget! Set a budget before you begin planning, and try to stick to it - that way you don't regret it later when your credit card bill comes in!
A dogs and cats party is essentially, the perfect kids party. It has a lot of advantages. It has an uncomplicated and simple theme that appeals to a large age range of children. It also suits both boys and girls - they can dress up as their favourite - costumes are cheap and easy and can be made from things around the house - they can be as simple as some whiskers drawn on the face with a soft crayon (try warming it a little), or as elaborate as a full dog or cat suit! Leotards can be great animal bodies, or old white bodysuits can have black spots drawn on with a marker to make an instant dalmation! Tails and ear sets are available cheaply from local party stores or online - or make your own! It's not hard - Cut out felt or cardboard triangles for ears and attach to an old headband with a hot-glue gun, or even super glue (no where near the kids, of course! Super Glue and kids don't mix!). Glue on a bit of fluffy feather and bobs your uncle! Tails can be made with any material you like, rolled into a sausage shape and stuffed with tissues, old stockings (which can also make a tail skin outer if your pressed for time) or cushion filling and then sewn up the side. Another bit of feather fluff glued on the end makes it fun and cute!
Money Saving Tip
Costumes as cheap as $10 are available from "Spartys" - The party outlet of Australian Spotlight chain of stores. You can easily convert, for example, a pink pig into a pink cat by changing the tail!
If you are making your own invitations, consider cutting your them into the shape of bones - an easy shape that leaves plenty of horizontal space for words.
Cheap stickers make an easy invitation and envelope seal decoration - kids can easily help-out putting stickers on, and they are available widely from stores such as the Reject Shop, Crazy Bargains, etc
If you want the kids to dress up - say so! A gentle "tails and whiskers required" can be enough, but if you don't hint, they usually won't make the effort. For real incentive, offer a prize on the invite!
A note on colour themes
Colour themes can be great fun, look good and give you some focus to stop your kids party decorations from looking like a dogs breakfast (pardon the pun!). Keep it simple, one colour with white, or two colours is usually a good effect. Balloons, crepe paper streamers and plastic tableclothes in block colours can make any party look great, and are all inexpensive items! You can get them from junk shops at the cheapest prices, but also they are usually available from kmart, party stores and supermarkets
Paw-print balloons can be bought from party shops or online - printed balloons are more expensive, so mix them up with some plain coloured balloons to make them go further. It usually looks better that way anyhow. If you're going for a colour theme, choose one or two colours only and mix them with white balloons for a great visual effect. If you don't want to buy printed balloons, a permanent black marker will do the trick to draw paw prints on - if you have the time and patience! Remember, balloons, particularly hellium (hire a tank locally, or buy already blown up from your local party shop or florist) ones need to be inflated on the day for the best effect - plan your time wisely, especially if you have little ones to care for and dress!
Print out some large dog pictures off of the internet, cut them out and stick them on cardboard for table decorations. Dog and Cat printed paper plates, cups and lolly bags can all be found on the internet too, but they can be expensive. Plain coloured plates etc still look good, and they all end up in the bin at the end of the day anyhow!
Going for some atmosphere music? Believe it or not, you can buy cds with dogs barking songs in the background. A bit of Google-ing, and you should be able to find a sales outlet that offer them!
Cheese Balls in an oversized plastic "dogs bowl" with great big dog paws drawn with coloured textas (easy to draw) can be called "Dog Kibble"! If you want to go the whole hog, order a dog bone cookie-cutter off of Ebay, or check out your local kitchen specialty stores - with these you can do dog cookies (just ice with the theme colours and put some colourful sprinkles on top), dog fairy bread (looks great, the kids love it!), dog bone licorice straps - whatever your imagination can come up with!
Cheap and Cheerful, buy a cheap new dogs bowl from a junk shop to hold lollies - looks great, and if you've got a dog, you can use it afterwards!
If you are a dedicated party cake maker, dog bone shapes are achievable with little artistry, as you just need a straight piece with two circles fitted at each end
Cup cakes are always crowd-pleaser. For one-minute themed decoration, Cake Toppers are simple plastic rings with pictures on, available from party stores and/or Ebay.
If you're feeling creative, you can do dog and cat faces on the cupcakes. First, when icing the cupcakes, split the icing and use a couple of drops of food colouring so that you have two colours - one for dogs (blue can be good) and one for cats (pink is a cute contrast). Once your icing is on, it's time to decorate. Plan ahead - check out the lolly aisle at the supermarket. Choose lollies that could be eyes (smarties, or sliced marshmallows), whiskers (finely sliced licorice straps or musk sticks), tongues (strawberry clouds cut in half, or again, licorice straps), ears (jelly beans), etc. Try to decorate before the icing sets, if you're using the harder kind. Give yourself plenty of time for this - the decorating may well take twice as long as making the cupcakes! It's well-worth it in the end, as the kids just love novelty cupcakes!
Why not do a Dog and Cat treasure hunt?
This can be done inside or out, large scale or small. If you have access to a printer, get pictures of dogs and cats off of the internet. You can theme it still futher and look for nursery rhymes and/or songs with dogs and cats in (Old Mother Hubbard, Puppy in the Window, The Three Little Kittens, etc). Cut up sets of these pictures - laminating turns them into take-home souvenirs - and hide them in different spots (easy for younger children, harder for older children). Give the children "clue" sheets to read, or simple arrows to follow. The kids collect up one of each character and then get a prize at the end. A lolly, a small box of crayons, small themed toy - it doesn't really matter, and of course depends on your budget!
Planning your party in advance? Cheaper toys and party novelties can be purchased in bulk, online from overseas or here in Australia. A good one I've found is Sunrise Imports, and I'm sure there are others. Stores like this are where your party Ebayers often get the more expensive party items from! Often postage equalizes the price, however the range of products makes for a fun and original party, and often you come out in front! Go for inflatable toys if you have the budget - kids LOVE playing with these and they are soft and safe, especially with lots of boisterous little ones about!
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