With the 2017 Academy Awards coming up in a few weeks Sunday, Feb. 26, you may be thinking about hosting an Oscars-watching party. Any party can be expensive, especially a themed one, but throwing a great Oscar party for your friends and family doesn’t have to empty your savings account. If you worked on your financial resolutions for the New Year, you may be looking for ways to cut expenses. Here are a few tips and tricks to host an Oscars party on a budget.
Send Electronic Invitations
Don’t bother with “the envelope, please.” Instead, go green and save money on invitations and stamps. Your guests will appreciate invites that they can easily access on their cellphones or computers. You can also create an event page on Facebook. Electronic invitations can be centered on a theme and can include the images and text you want. They are also completely free.
Focus on Simple Food and Drinks
A great party should have a great spread. Unfortunately, providing food and beverage options for many guests can get expensive very quickly. Keep costs low by sticking to appetizers like bruschetta, chicken fingers, pot stickers, cheese and charcuterie and other crowd-pleasers that are easy to make. Popcorn is an appropriate treat for watching a movies award show and it’s inexpensive. Buy a bag of kernels in bulk and pop them at your party. Pick up some cheap paper bags and offer a variety of seasonings to make it festive. When it comes to drinks, make the event “BYOB” or stick to serving one special cocktail for the night.
Get Creative With Decorations
To help liven up your Oscars party on a budget, you may want to decorate with a Hollywood-inspired theme. Visit your local dollar store and pick up cheap materials like star cutouts, streamers, balloons and tinsel. One fun idea is to hang gold stars from your ceiling that feature the names of each guest. The Academy Awards’ website, oscars.org, features many images you can download and print to bolster your decor. You can also make mini-posters of movies that have won Best Picture or other Oscars. Simply do a Google image search and print the posters you find on standard 8-by-12 paper. If you want to get really fancy, roll out a red carpet on your porch made out of inexpensive felt available at any craft store.
Get Guests Involved
Make your party interactive by encouraging your guests to cast votes for winners before the show begins. The Academy Awards’ website features a printable Oscars ballot (PDF) and a variety of Oscars bingo cards (PDF). If you have room in your budget, give themed prizes to your guests who make the right guesses for the big awards. You don’t have to spend a lot on prizes. Candy, cheap dollar store trophies or medals, or discount DVDs you can find in a department store discount bin can be inexpensive and fun additions to your event.
Make Your Party a Potluck
One of the best ways to host an Oscars party on a budget and make it stress-free is to allow your guests the opportunity to contribute. Try making it a potluck. Create a checklist for what you need and ask your guests what they can bring. Assign them something from the list — drinks, appetizers, etc., so you know what everyone will bring. Friends and family are usually happy to make a dish or bring something to share.