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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everybody!

I have been a little worried about my money situation while trying to plan a kick *** party with all the details I want to have. Everyone is super excited about the party and more than willing to bring items like food or drinks. But I also asked if people wanted to contribute to the " party fund" they could do that too.I am not trying to make a profit at all, I wouldn't even break even. But a little could help. Is this tacky? I am not charging people at the door of course, but I was also thinking of maybe having a themed bottle for "donations to the party spirits" or something like that if people wanted to help out more. I hate having to ask people for money, but at the same time I am putting a lot of my own money into the party and buying most everything they would eat or drink inside. Thoughts? Have you ever asked for donations or charged at the door?
 

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My other ride is a Ninja
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I would never ask people for money the party is my thing and so I feel it is my responsibility to cover it.
I do say BYOB and I have not had good luck with pot luck style so I cover the food.
If was me I would then scale down your party if you feel it is costing you to much.
Since your not a attraction like a haunted house ya I think that would turn a lot of people off and they may not come at all.
 

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I know how expensive Halloween can be, especially when you're at the crunch of the big night. However, I wouldn't ask for cash donations. That is the difference between an event and a party.

BYOB is fine. Liquor is expensive and even having enough variety of non-alcoholic drinks can add up. Someone will always ask for something you don't have like sugar free ginger ale or organic mint tea!

If people are willing to bring pot luck, let them! I know, potluck is stressful because you're out of control and never really know if you'll have enough. Depending on the structure of your party, you could design the menu then ask people to sign up for a particular dish. Have a Halloween theme to make it super fun. If you're nervous about not having enough, make one big dish yourself like lasagne, stew, chili or mac and cheese that isn't that expensive but goes a long way.

Décor is easy and cheap. Lots of cobwebbing, $1 store creatures, pumpkins, flameless candles (trust me on that one), unique thrift store items and a kickass centrepiece for the table. Don't forget spooky lighting and music/sound fx.

No one will notice that you were on a budget or even care. But they will remember if you ask them for cold hard cash.

So get creative, get loose and have fun!!
 

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I wouldn't ask for money to help throw a party. It's fine to say BYOB. If a guest asks if they can bring something, you could ask them to bring food or party disposables. Do you know someone who has props or decor you could borrow? That could really help offset the costs.
 

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I think BYOB is acceptable. You can also say light appetizers on your invite so people know to eat in advance. Then prepare a few apps that fit your budget and a lot of bags of chips. We get 50+ people at our parties. Over time the bring a dish really dwindled. Tried a donation jar next to the bar one year. Think I got $18. When you know how much time and expense you've put into it, it's easy to think of your friends as free loaders. But we like to think we're the glue that holds all our friends and family together. No one else would tackle this kind of party. I love to do it. I love making memories for everyone, especially the kids. I think of it as a gift to those that know us. We cater and have a bartender. Lately a few friends have brought a hostess Halloween gift or some bottles of alcohol so that was nice. If you have one or two close friends, it's okay to lean on them to help you out with an app. The best advice I can give is to plan what you want to do at the beginning of the year and use those months to find cheap ways to do your props and decorating.
 

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I don't think asking for money would be looked on too well. However, we as hosts are pretty quick to say no when people ask if they can bring anything. This time, when they RSVP and ask what they can bring, give them something to bring! In most cases, guests will be delighted that you are letting them be involved - attending a party can make some feel a bit like they owe the host (hence, host gifts) so in most cases, having something to be in charge of, do or bring will make guests feel good - and help you out too.
 

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When you know how much time and expense you've put into it, it's easy to think of your friends as free loaders. But we like to think we're the glue that holds all our friends and family together. No one else would tackle this kind of party. I love to do it. I love making memories for everyone, especially the kids. I think of it as a gift to those that know us.
I think this is a great way to view it too. We're at a point where it's tough to get the house ready for a party AND the yard decorations, plus have the expense of buying new props as well as food & drink. We have two little kiddos who are budget drainers - ha ha ha - and when DH & I do have guests, we want to treat them well, so our food & drink budget always seems to grow.

But, it's true that it's a gift for our friends as well as ourselves, and that's probably why we keep doing it even when we know we're a bit stressed or tapped out. ::)

I think the BYOB is a good plan, and I have also found that closer friends & family are happy to help out if you approach them honestly. You could say to your best friend or very close friends "Hey, I'm really looking forward to having a Halloween party this year, and I hear from a lot of people who come how much they enjoy it too. But, I'm feeling the pinch this year in both time & money, and I was wondering if you'd be able to help me out in any way."

You could see what they volunteer for - maybe they'll offer food, drinks, or time to help you decorate or clean up. Or, if they aren't sure how they can help, you could specifically ask them if they would be able to make a side dish or appetizer, or if they'd be willing to contribute 5 bags of chips to the cause or something. Keep it simple though - don't ask them to do things that would be more of a host/hostessing role - be specific and don't have them go out of their way unless they offer.
 

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I thought about this too, but when I asked...it was like it was rudest thing to do or even think of. I thought of doing the donation jar so we have a start for the next years party, because there are at least 3 or 4 people that say "make sure you have a party next year". Last year I did have a person that attended give me $50 to put towards this years party...So I was up in the air about it. We decided not to worry about it and plan plan plan is all we can do.
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
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I don't know anybody that isn't in a tight money situation, but asking in advance for donations at a party is probably not cool. Definitely cut costs with the BYOB. I tend to overstock for mine, then end up drinking it myself. That's not a bad thing, but it is more cost than I need. Pot lucks can work, but you need to know who is bringing what so you don't have all the same stuff. Maybe go to a few of your closest friends and ask them help out the food. I've done it for my friends and never gave it a second thought. If anyone ever asks "What do you need" or "should I bring something"... DON'T BE SHY, they offered, time to take them up on it. We often turn down some of the best help we can get.
If you are going to be serving the drinks yourself then a Tip or Donation jar is all good. Most friends will give generously when they think it's their idea. If's funny how asking for $10 is tacky, but they will willingly give $20 or more of their own free will.
 

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I, personally, would never ask anyone for money. But I wouldn't be uncomfortable helping out a friend by providing a dish or drink to a party I'm attending. I never go anywhere empty-handed, unless it is an event that is catered at a venue.
If invitations are already out, send out a little message to remind everyone that it is BYOB to save yourself some money, like many smart posters before me suggested. If invitations have yet to go out, maybe make it a potluck. Make it a GAME. People LOVE games. Especially when they can be BETTER than other people. Use some psychology basics to your advantage. Get everyone's competitive streak going and suggest that they should bring a dish and let their spooky creativity fly off the handle! Even offer a small prize for most delicious, most scary, most funny, etc.... You'll end up saving a lot of money in the long run.
To stay thrifty with decorating, candles and faded lights can do a lot for very little. As does covering furniture with white sheets from the thrift store, and get some cheap flicker bulbs from China on ebay, etc.

Best of luck!
You are going to have an AMAZING party.
 

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I think the best tips I could think of have already been mentioned, but I'll repeat what I've found to be valuable.
Pot luck is helpful.
BYOB if the budget is tight. I usually do a limited number of specialty drinks, plus punch and coffee. (They're not a hard-drinking crew, so it isn't that bad.)
Make a "core" dish that most people like, like chili or barbecue for sandwiches. Then it doesn't matter if a bunch of people all bring dessert, or all bring chips; you've got your main. (Plus, any extra can go in the freezer for later.)
Mysterymaiden made an extremely good point-- one that took me a few parties to catch on to. For a lot of people, the offer to bring something isn't just obligatory politeness. They genuinely want to contribute. People can be more invested in the party, feel more like part of it, if they contribute in a manner of their own choosing. That last part is important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you all for your advice! You confirmed a lot of how I have been feeling about asking for money. I never thought of it before until a friend of mine asked me if she could give me some money to help with the party. And I didn't know how t respond! I was very grateful of course. But I even felt weird accepting her money. I have lent more on having some key friends bring some needed items like drinks and other food items. But I have to keep track of it so we don't get to much of one thing. We had so much food last year that a lot of it didn't get eaten because like 5 people brought similar items. I hate when this happens. As a control freak, I would rather just take care of everything myself. But I do acknowledge that my friends are good people and want to help contribute to the party. I would never discourage this.
 

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Asking for donations or money is in my opinion not an option. If you want to be the host/ess of the party then you have to provide all the food and drink, though BYOB is, of course, acceptable. If you're on a tight budget, then plan ahead and put aside a small amount each week starting well in advance, so when the time comes it's not such a problem. I've found that whatever you spend on a party will come back to you with interest over time by way of goodwill, new friends, and so forth.
 

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Budget is always one of my big concerns so first things first I ALWAYS do BYOB. Second, I usually do a food contest, everyone can bring a food item or beverage (to match the theme) and the best overall (taste and appearance) wins the prize (usually some Halloween themed hand towels, cookie cutters, etc...). This will usually yield way more food than just the typical potluck request. Thirdly, instead of flat out asking for donations why not do a raffle...everyone can donate for the chance to win a prize (a bottle of alcohol, a gift card, whatever), the ticket sales can help offset your expenses while at the same time making it fun.
 

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When we were in a pretty tight financial situation, a family member begged me to go to her party (some type of cookware/primitives) where I was told in advance that I wouldn't have to buy anything. The games were started first and it cost $1-5 to participate in each one. I only had $5 to my name at the time. Another lady and I were the only ones who didn't participate and I would have left at that moment had hubby not dropped me off. I felt humiliated and lied to as the party host had been to these parties before hosting one and should have told me in advance about the games.

Some of your guests may be in a pretty tight situation themselves, so I don't feel you should ask for donations. BYOB or asking for everyone to bring a side dish/appetizer is OK. It's easier for me to whip something up because I usually have all the ingredients I need. If someone offers you a donation, you can thank them and accept it if you choose, just don't ask. :)
 

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We usually asked 2-3 of our closest friends/family to help with food and they were happy to do so. I would not ask for monetary donations, however. It will turn people off. Definitely do the BYOB if you're on a budget.
 

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I went to one Halloween party six years ago that had an entry fee that seemed kind of last minute. They said it was to cover alcohol costs and I was charged even tho I was hugely pregnant and not going to be drinking. It was crowded, awkward, wasn't a very good party and I think others felt the same. I thought it was in poor taste to be charging your guests to come to your party and it seemed to change the vibe. If you can't afford to throw a party, then don't throw one or scale back. I'm in the don't ask for money boat too.
 

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I would never ask for money, people usually BYOB without me having to ask, and bring food as well. It's just rude to NOT bring something to a party. People have even brought me Halloween gifts in the past, haha. But, I ALWAYS have liquor, mixers (soda, cranberry juice, OJ) and limes available, and tell people that if they have a preference of drink, they probably should bring that, since I can't accommodate every single person.

I find myself buying less stuff each year because of how much I've accumulated over the years, as well, I gather supplies and things for my party year round to space it out since I know what my theme is well ahead of time.

But like someone mentioned, Dollar Tree has so much cheap decor, streamers are dirt cheap and also white sheets from Goodwill, and a bottle of blood works wonders. I got lucky because a friend of mine who works in a hospital was able to donate expired supplies and sheets they were just going to throw away, as my theme was hospital/asylum this year.

Room Property Pink Interior design Bed
 

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I disagree that it's always rude NOT to bring something to a party. If you expect people to bring something, you should state it on the invitation. I've not asked for help on past parties and still had people bring food, alcohol or even hostess gifts, which is appreciated, but I've never thought other guests rude for not bringing something. Sometimes, isn't it just nice to get to go someplace without having to do a THING? That's the experience I like to give people when they come to my home... you can just relax, you don't have to bring a thing.

"It's just rude to NOT bring something to a party."
 
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