Food for a party can be one of the biggest expenses. You want to make sure that there is enough food for everyone, to accommodate different tastes. I suggest a mixture of home made food with some convenience items, such a a bulk package of frozen chicken nuggets or appetizers that can be heated in your home oven or microwave.
Then there is the all important birthday cake. I priced out castle cakes, and even the standard ones at the grocery store cost $50. (My son wants a three-dimensional cake, not a sheet cake with decoration on it.)
To save the most money on the cake, there is really no other way than to make it yourself (or have it made for free by a generous friend). Fortunately, there are many different ideas on the web for homemade castle cakes, from the simple to the elaborate.
I am choosing to make a castle cake than I have made before. It is simply a square cake at the base with a round cake on top (made from boxed cake mix), decorated with store bought icing and candy for decorations.
The turrets will be made from cup cakes and decorated ice cream cones. The crenellations, the jagged parts at the top of the castle that allow the archers to shoot without getting shot, will be made of chocolate nugget pieces, the drawbridge and windows the cut sections of a chocolate bar, etc. Toy knights, a moat made out of colored blue plastic wrap over aluminum foil, and some land made from brown sugar will add to the decorations. Simple, quick, and it costs just a few dollars.
Check back again, when I cover inexpensive decorations and supplies.