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Arrrgh! I'm trying so desperately to find a way to throw a party this year, but the money just isn't there. I've got the decor and decorations covered, it's the food and drink that's the killer.
I considered throwing a pot-luck costume party, but most people don't seem willing to have to buy a costume AND bring food. Can't say I blame them.
We're known for our fantastic food, so going the cheap route with hot dogs, popcorn, BYOB would seem like a real letdown to the guests, and myself.

Anyone else feeling the financial strain this year? Any suggestions?
 

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Ravenous Zombie
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I think you can find some cheap dishes to make in bulk, like pasta dishes - cold pasta salad, baked ziti. It's really the alcohol that adds to the cost. You should ask people to bring their own booze.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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Get some chips and dip, make stuff from scratch (much cheaper and tastier than storebought - I've done sausage/cheese balls, deviled eggs, and cookies for a few bucks each) and get some bottles of cheap soda and some punch. You could probably get away with spending $25 or so if you do that, and still have a decent spread.

Put on your invites to "bring your own booze."

and let folks know that you wouldn't be hurt if they brought some snacks either. ;)
 

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My husband got laid off in February this year and still hasn't found another job. At first I thought I would cancel our annual Halloween party, but then I decided that I have cut out so many extras recently to make up for the lost income that I really wanted to have the party anyway. I'm not doing many new decorations, just a variation on last years stuff. The food will be chili, hot dogs and nachos. They can either have a bowl of chili, a chili dog, chili nachos, or variations. It may not be as fancy as I've had in past years, but it still gives me something to look forward to! I also put BYOB on my invites. I usually make one signature drink and then if someone wants something besides that or soda they need to bring it.
 

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Girl Gone Mad
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I understand about money being tight....how big is your yard, you could have picnics, they bring their own, but if not just stick to the cheap finger foods. If you want at least one big dish make a big pot of chili or spaghetti...something that simple but easy and cheap to make in large quantities with the finger foods for the sides, have them bring their own booze if they so desire otherwise provide homemade punch and canned drinks. Get the stuff that can stay around a while ahead of time so you won't be swamped with buying everything at once.
 

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Ravenous Zombie
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Cupcakes are really cheap to make - just buy a box of the Pillsbury cake mix (the one that says pudding in the mix) and a jar of frosting and you can make 24 cupcakes.
 

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We don't really do too much food at our party, just snacks and stuff. Halloween is one of those parties where everyone understands that the effort is in the decor, not in the food and drinks.

But if you feel like you have to provide something, Pulled pork tacos are my budget go-to and very cheap. Can feed people for less than a dollar each.


We do BYOB for our parties too, and nobody cares. They are just happy to have a night out that is cheaper than going to the bars.
 

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Wunderfully Wiccaned
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You might consider teaming up with someone like I did. My 2 best friends and I got together 2 years ago for Halloween, and have been doing it ever since. We split the cost of everything, and even though we have an annual budget much higher than most, it makes it a much more affordable party. We started out with a $600 budget the first year, and split between 3 people made it only $200 a piece for food, decor, booze, drinks... Granted our Props were rudimentary at best that year, but we had a ton of fun. We have a set amount of guests that each person can invite, and this is our third year and it's worked out well. Last year we spent $2000 between the 3 of us, and this year we are up to $3500 for our budget, HOWEVER, each person puts in $100 a month all year long for what we do, and this year we will have over 100 guests (we had about 25 the first year). I believe that if you can and want to work with someone else to put out a fantastic party, ask your friends. They may be more willing than you expect. You could do something along the lines of... I'll provide house, decor, etc, and you help me with food/drinks, and in return you can invite some of your other friends, and put your name on the invite.... It also helps you figure out a concrete menu, so instead of doing potluck and ending up with all sweets, you can control what is being served to guests. It's worked for us... just an idea.
 

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The Goddess of Screams
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Chili is really a good way to go like Hallowskeen said. For not much, you can make a lot! Add cheese, fritos and crackers and it's a meal! If you have the $, throw some wienies and buns in for chili dogs. Very filling and good!

Most def make it BYOB, no one should have a problem with that!

Hope we've helped you some! :)
 

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Reaper
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I don't see why anyone would have a problem with BYOB. And a lot of people are under financial strain lately, I think most people would be understanding of the food being a little less fancy or what not.
 

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I'm handling the food this year, but I'm asking for guests to pay $20 towards the open bar, which will also include lots of pre-made drinks. So far none of the potential guests have had a problem with it, since it's still cheaper than the bar. It would cost them $25 for a 2-4 which is what most of them would bring if it was BYOB, so this works out better for everyone.
 

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Good Ghoul Gone Bad
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I feel your pain. Last year, 2 weeks before our annual party, my husband and I had to close our business, which means we lost our jobs, lost the business, and lost the place we were living. I had decided to cancel the party, but in my heart I knew I would be devastated, so we went ahead and had it. Probably 75 or so guests. Several family members made food dishes, some helped with snacks and soda. Limited bar and byob. We had a ton of food and a blast. Definitely buy generic if you can and make your own stuff like other members have suggested. I wouldn't buy any pre-made platters. They are so much better when you make them yourself and so much less money.
 

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Ubzest
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I ve always found that people will eat what you give them! If you have alot of food , they eat alot., if you have just finger foods...same thing. Maybe you could fancy it up a bit more with garnishes.
I think the chili is a good idea too.
 

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I've been a full-time university student for the last three years, so I'm used to doing parties on a budget thankfully! My suggestion is to do a few nibbles, as most people will come to the party to drink and mix with friends and have fun, the food is often more of an accessory to the party. I am doing a lot of bulk things like nachos and chili this year also, (although my theme is Mexican so I can easily fit it in lol). Definitely say BYOB - alcohol is so expensive these days, you'll spend a small fortune trying to cater to a crowd with varying tastes just in booze alone! :eek:
 

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Arrrgh! I'm trying so desperately to find a way to throw a party this year, but the money just isn't there. I've got the decor and decorations covered, it's the food and drink that's the killer.
I considered throwing a pot-luck costume party, but most people don't seem willing to have to buy a costume AND bring food. Can't say I blame them.
We're known for our fantastic food, so going the cheap route with hot dogs, popcorn, BYOB would seem like a real letdown to the guests, and myself.

Anyone else feeling the financial strain this year? Any suggestions?
I definitely feel your pain!This is my first halloween party and even though it's for a bunch of kids (around 30 or so) all their parents will be hanging around as well. I have so many ideas of things I want to try but I know financially it's going to be a TON of $$! I've already put a lot into the decorations, invitations, etc. Plus I'm working to get some landscaping done in the yard before hand. All these things add up! I agree with some other posts, find things you can make in bulk like chili, dogs, etc. I believe it's all in the presentation of these foods!! I think if you dress up the table with your decorations, they will love it and eat it whatever it is! :) I also don't think anyone will have any issue with bringing their own booze.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
HallowSkeen and BooBerrie, I'm so sorry to hear about your job loss. My thoughts go out to you, and hoping you find employment soon!
Wow, so many great suggestions! The BYOB tip seems to be the #1 answer, and I'm really like the chili/homemade foods vs. premade stuff ideas.
To help ease the pain in the wallet, I've slowly started stocking up on non-perishables (Chex Mix, candy), and made some Witch Finger butter cookie dough to store in the freezer til then.
Thanks everyone for the fa-boo-lous ideas, and here's to a prosperous 2010!
 

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Chocolate is my BFF!
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finger food is always the way to go! cheap, fast and do not have to worry about stressing yourself out. veggie tray, hotdog, chip and dip and or spread sandwhiches


My sister and I learned to do this the hard way and alot of times, we seems to get too excited and stretch the budget to the breaking point, that we forget to buy food for our own home.
 

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We never have a problem with everyone bringing a dish and their own booze. We do supply the meat (usually Bat Wings) and a dessert or two and one alcoholic concoction. Everyone enjoys coming up with weird ideas for food items and naming it appropriately. Most everyone just enjoys a good adult evening out.
 

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all of these are great ideas......... I have to say not only is it cheaper to make your items like veggie trays (rather than preprepared) you get more and are able to refill them which is always a must at my parties. I also suggest using simple things like a cheese and cracker tray (try to buy the generic noone's going to know but you usually anyway). As for drinks you can always do even something as simple as several flavors of kool-aide hey even adults love it. Want to make it a bit more flavorful get a bottle of sprite (the generic works fine) and pour some in with each of the koolaid drinks (it's really good). I always have the chili in the crockpot also like many have said it's quick and easy and cheap to do. Try to repurpose some things you already will have like pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin you might be carving. Got several boxes of cereal that aren't all finished up? Mix them togeather and serve with or without adding some nuts and raisins into the mix (they will love it). I have lots of other ideas and would be happy to share them if you want to send me a message :) Sorry things are so tight for you right now. I have a family of 4 and my husband was just laid off plus we're both college students so I know how that goes. Remember the most important part of the party is for you to have fun and destress so don't worry about it too much :)
 

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I think almost everybody has been effected by the economy so don't feel bad about scaling down. Besides, if a guest doesn't understand or makes a comment they aren't a true friend and they have no place being there anyway! (off my soap box now) Good grief! None of our friends expected us to "water" them, they were just happy to have a decorated place to hang out and get a little crazy. :D

I never went nuts with food at our parties, but always wanted something around for those who over-indulge. One of the fav's over the years were meatballs. I bought 2 bags of frozen pre-cooked meatballs from Sam's. Heated them up in the oven (paper towels underneath to drain some of the fat). Throw them in a slow cooker with a mixture of 32 oz of sour cream, 3 cups of water and 2 packets of auj juis gravy mix. Done. I also like to do french bread cubes with some sort of dip.

Have fun at your party! I sure miss having our parties.
 
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