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30 Birthday Party Hacks That Will Blow Your Mind

Tips, products, and decor ideas to make your life way easier.

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Party planning hasn’t always been my strong suit. But in nearly a decade of parenting, I’ve learned that even the least crafty person (hi, it’s me) can figure out how to plan a birthday party and pull together an awesome bash for their kid. There are plenty of birthday party hacks to use that help make serving food, decorating, and entertaining a breeze. These practical and affordable products are just the thing to help even the least imaginative of us (again, me) throw a banner birthday with way less stress.

While most of these birthday party hacks are ideal to use when hosting a party at home, many of them can even be used at party venues as well. A lot of them also work for different types of events and gatherings above and beyond use for birthday parties. So, if you ever host a baby shower, throw a graduation party, or have family over for the holidays, plenty of these ideas will work then, too.

From a drink dispenser with an ice core that keeps your punch cold without watering it down to creative activities you can plan that double as take-home party favors, this list is chock full of ways for you to rock your next party.

We at Romper only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

1

The Hack: Use mini marshmallows to keep ice cream cones from leaking

One birthday hack that helps keep messes to a minimum is to place a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of ice cream cones to keep them from dripping at the bottom as the ice cream melts. If you’re hosting a birthday party where you will be serving guests who have specific dietary needs, these mini marshmallows from Dandies are vegan, Kosher, and don’t contain gelatin or gluten. They’re all-natural, non-GMO Project Verified, and have a vanilla flavor. Since you just need one marshmallow per ice cream cone to stop the drips, this 10-ounce package will likely leave you with plenty leftover to use as a sweet topping.

Review: “So yummy, we eat them as snacks and just the other day we made s'mores with them, they came out perfectly delicious. I like knowing it doesn't have all the harmful ingredients as regular marshmallows and I personally think they taste even better. The texture is also pretty good, a bit softer than the regular marshmallows but not bad at all. I'll definitely continue buying them.”

2

The Hack: Use party hats as snack holders

If you’re looking for a way to dish out party food that’s as germ-free as possible (because you know those little kids like to put their whole hand in the chip bowl) consider this birthday party hack that turns party hats into single-serve snack containers. This package of kids party hats by Vesil comes with nine paper cone hats in assorted colors and patterns with pom pom toppers. Each hat measures approximately 5 inches tall once assembled, so they’re the perfect size to flip upside down, fill with popcorn, chips, or other snacks, and hand out to all of the kids. Since there are nine unique designs, each child can keep up with their own and you can re-fill with snacks as needed. Also included with the purchase is one gold crown and one silver crown that can be worn by the guest of honor or used as fun party decor.

Review: “Great for the price! I did use a stapler to staple the bottom. The sticky dots are a little tricky but worked perfect! Super cute for my girl’s birthday! These are small, perfect for small kids or as in my case, my pups!”

3

The Hack: Use this effortless ice cream tool for perfectly round scoops

If you’re exhausted just thinking about how you’re going to time getting ice cream out of your freezer to let it thaw a bit before you scoop while also wrangling 20 kiddos at your child’s next birthday party, this Spring Chef Ice Cream Scoop is here to save your sanity. With more than 27,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, this ice cream scoop seems to be one of the most effective ways to dish out perfectly-round scoops.

The professional-grade metal scoop with soft grip handle is designed to cut through ice cream with ease and deliver spherical scoops with zero effort. The thin edges help dig into the corners and bottom of ice cream containers to get every last bit out and the handle even has a notch on the end to help easily lift ice cream lids open. It weighs approximately half a pound, comes in 12 colors, is dishwasher safe, and doesn’t have any mechanical or moving parts that can break off as you scoop.

Review: “It literally is the best ice cream scoop I have ever used. It literally cuts through the ice cream like a knife. I'm confused by how easy it makes the scooping experience. It's the best ice cream scoop in the world. It's easy to clean, easy to use, and it's comfortable. It doesn't matter how hard the ice cream is, it just goes in deep and does the trick. I love it and will start recommending it to everyone that I know that loves ice cream.

4

The Hack: Use cupcake liners to contain popsicle drips

Of the many messes that you’ll clean up after hosting a party, popsicle drips don’t have to be one of them thanks to this birthday party hack. Paper muffin cups are the perfect thing to catch the mess of a melting popsicle before it stains your stuff (or your kids). Wilton’s polka dot baking cups come with six colors including yellow, turquoise, lavender, dark pink, red, and black, each decorative with white polka dots. They’re a festive choice for your bash, and with 300 paper cups included in this pack, you’ll have plenty to use for multiple parties or just with a popsicle treat at home on hot summer days.

Review: “These cupcake cups are so darn cute. I love the polka dots they are a refreshing change from plain or prints. They go with all types of parties.”

5

The Hack: Decorate disposable tablecloths with vinyl stickers

If you’re planning a birthday party and can’t find actual party decorations that go with your theme, chances are there are vinyl stickers on Amazon that you can use to hack your party decor. When my son wanted to decorate for his birthday party in the theme of a TV show he loves that has been off the air for a few years, it was so hard to find decorations. The only thing we could find was a huge package of vinyl stickers on Amazon meant to decorate water bottles. So, we stuck them to disposable tablecloths, cups, and balloons — it was it hit.

This particular pack of 100 waterproof vinyl stickers by Bekayshad with a variety of fun items like donuts, laptops, and pandas would work well for tween and teen parties where the general vibe they’re going for is “cool” and don’t necessarily want a specific character or color scheme.

Review: “The description and pics are accurate! Last pack I ordered looked nothing like the picture. This pack of stickers is great! They are waterproof and adhere great to your bottles. Definitely some of the best waterborne stickers I ever bought! Super great deal.”

6

The Hack: Put custom confetti inside clear balloons

This birthday party hack is an easy and cost-effective way to customize your party decor. All you need are clear balloons and whatever color or type of confetti matches your party decorations. This package of transparent balloons from Amscan comes with 72 balloons included, which means you’re paying just pennies per balloon. Made from thick, durable, eco-friendly rubber latex, each balloon can be inflated to a size of approximately 12 inches. Before you blow up the balloons, stretch the opening to add a handful of confetti to the inside. When you blow the balloon up, you’ll be able to see the colorful confetti inside.

Review: “Nice quality. Had a large banquet room to decorate and little budget. Tied these clear balloons to every other chair at various heights and it looked great. Using clear didn't obstruct anyones view of the stage but still 'filled' the empty space.”

7

The Hack: Make and print custom temporary tattoos

From Silhouette America, each sheet of temporary tattoo paper in this package of two measures 8.5 by 11 inches to customize and create a variety of temporary tattoos with any design your heart desires. It’s the prefect birthday party hack for a kid’s party if you can’t find tattoos with the right character or in the correct theme. Simply load the paper into any standard inkjet printer, print, cut out with scissors (or a digital cutting tool if you have it) and apply as you would any other temporary tattoo. The adhesive backing on each sheet contains a specialized adhesive that sticks to skin when activated by water. The tattoos usually last about two days and can be easily removed by scrubbing with a cloth and warm water.

Review: “I was skeptical this paper would really work even though it has great reviews. My fears were completely baseless. This paper is amazing. I bought it to make tattoos of my friend's cat for a cat themed party. The tattoos turned out flawless. We were all sporting my friend's cat on our arms, necks and faces and it was hilarious. I know am asking myself what can't I make into a temporary tattoo! The directions are easy to follow and it takes very little time from start to finish to create the tattoos. Applying the tattoos is similar to any temporary tattoo application (i.e. anyone can manage it).”

8

The Hack: DIY pouch drinks

My kids love drinking juice boxes, but sometimes I’m not a huge fan of the ingredients in them. (Hello, sugar rush!) These Tomnk clear drink pouches allow you to make your own drinks and serve them pouch-style for little ones at a birthday party. Each pouch measures approximately 9 inches tall and can hold about 12 ounces of liquid. This pack of 50 pouches comes complete with a straw for each pouch. At the top of each pouch (not in an area where the drink will leak out) are two holes to make transport easy or store a straw. They have a re-sealable top and can be hand washed to use multiple times.

Review: “These were purchased for a beach trip and they worked out wonderfully. I added some vinyl decals on them and they have not peeled off yet. These held up through the beach, pool, and multiple washes in between. They were a lot thicker of material than what I expected them to be. I do recommend hand washing of course and with a bottle brush.”

9

The Hack: Decorate a hula hoop as a photo frame prop

If you plan to have a photo booth at your birthday party, you’ll need fun photo props to make your pictures pop. One way to DIY your photo props is to decorate a hula hoop to match your party’s decor. What’s great about this exercise hoop from Liberry is that it’s made from six sections that snap together, so it’s easily adjustable from 24 to 28 inches. So, if kids will be primarily using the hoop for a birthday party photo shoot, you can make it smaller to accommodate their size.

To achieve this hack, cover the hoop with colorful fabric, ribbon, or paper to match your party’s color scheme and then attach fun extras like balloons, flowers, or other corresponding decorations. Aside from being a fun photo prop, you could also hang the decorated hoop up on a door like a wreath as a cute party decor hack.

Review: “Bought this for my 3 year old girl, and I love it. First of all it’s easy to assemble, and you can make is smaller or bigger depending on if you use five or six segments when you build it. It’s pretty lightweight, so should be good for kids. And the best thing - this hooks hoop looks and feels very durable, which is so important with small kids. Worth the money!”

10

The Hack: Fill an inflatable baby pool with ice to keep drinks cold

Using an inflatable baby pool to ice down your drinks is one birthday party hack that is super convenient. It’s cheaper than buying a cooler, stores easier when not in use, nobody will pinch their fingers opening and closing a lid, and you can find them in a variety of colors and patterns to match your party decor. When fully inflated, the Intex Sunset Glow Baby Pool measures approximately 34 inches across and the sides stand about 10 inches high, giving it a 22-gallon capacity. Fill it with canned sodas, bottled water, juice boxes, beer, or any other type of beverage, and then add a few bags of ice on top to keep everything cool. As the ice melts, everything will stay contained in the kiddie pool (instead of all over your yard) and then you can just empty it out when the party is over.

Review: “Bought this for my toddler. Great little pool! Easy to inflate! Inflates in 3 layers so it makes it very easy. Happy with my purchase.”

11

The Hack: Use plastic swizzle sticks as kid-friendly snack skewers

If you’ve ever made fruit skewers or shish kabobs with wooden skewers, you know how easily some varieties can splinter and how sharp the ends are. When you’re hosting a child’s birthday party, one hack that’s super easy to implement is to use plastic swizzle sticks with rounded tips to make appetizers and snacks that are kid-safe. Aboat crystal swizzle sticks are made from high-quality plastic that’s non-toxic and odor-free. Best of all, they’re easy to clean so you can re-use them if you’d like. With rounded tips and measuring approximately 7-inches in length, theses sticks are also much easier for kids to handle that the longer shish kabob skewers. Use this package of 120 sticks for fruit kabobs, single-serve cake balls, or any other skewer-able party food.

Review: “I used these for cake pops and they worked amazing. Love the sparkle to these. The nob helped the cake pop stay on the stick. Threw them into the dishwasher for easy cleaning.”

12

The Hack: Buy one roll of plastic covering to use on tables and as photo backdrops

Something I learned right off the bat about decorating for birthday parties is that not all plastic tablecloths are created equal. Some are ridiculously thin and tear easily, others are too short to drape over longer tables, and then there’s also the struggle that comes with trying to cover a round table. (If you know, you know.) One birthday party hack to use when covering tables of multiple shapes is to purchase one large roll of plastic table covering that you can use for multiple things. This roll of plastic table covering from Creative Converting comes in in 13 color choices and measures 40 inches wide by 100-foot long, so you can cut it down to the size or length you need. You can use it for tables, photo backdrops, ceiling decorations, or window drapes. Made from light-medium weight plastic, it’s waterproof and easy to wipe clean.

Review: “Worked perfectly. Often these tablecloths are too sheer and you have to double them to get any color. So convenient too. I would definitely buy this again.”

13

The Hack: Create a rainbow party banner with bandanas

Made from 100% cotton, this set of 12 paisley bandanas from L&M can be used to create a cute DIY birthday party banner. Each bandana measures 22 by 22 inches, so when they’re all folded in half (corner to corner) and tied together at each end, you’ll have a banner that is approximately 20 to 22 feet long. The multi color pack will create a pretty rainbow decoration to hang up, but you can also purchase packages of 12 in a single color that matches your party’s decor if rainbow doesn’t work for your party theme.

Review: “I love the bright colors and the pure cotton fabric. A little stiff right out of the package, but one laundry cycle and they are soft and absorbent. I always put one in my pocket, backpack or bike bag to wipe sweat and cool off with during the hot summer.”

14

The Hack: Use pop-up nets to keep bugs off of outdoor party food

As someone who has battled their fair share of bugs at picnics and outdoor events, this is one birthday party hack that I can personally vouch for. Pop-up mesh food covers are the idea way to protect your party food from any unwanted “guests” like flies or ants when you’re outdoors. Each collapsible food tent by Simply Genius in this package of six measures 17 by 17 inches and stands 9 inches tall, so there’s plenty of room underneath to cover large party platters and serving bowls. Made from a fine mesh attached to a metal frame with a lace edge, these breathable covers are an elegant and simple way to keep food covered, but still accessible for your guests.

Review: “I love this product! Extremely good deal of a package of 6! The size is big enough to fit two items. This is perfect for backyard party. We kept the flies away from our food and they looked so cute that I have compliments from our friends. It is super easy to clean, we have some chocolate icing and hummus spread on the edge when people scoop the food. I put a small cloth with a bit water to wipe it off gently in two seconds. This net is very delicate, cleaning must be gentle!”

15

The Hack: Use a kit with stencils to make face painting easier

For my youngest son’s first birthday, I asked my sister to come and do face paint for all the kids. It was such a fun activity and as a former makeup artist, she had the skills to pull it off. However, if you don’t have a family member who is a pro at painting faces, one easy way to hack this party activity is to invest in a face painting kit with stencils and all of the tools needed to create cool face paint designs.

This face painting kit by Create A Face includes 32 re-useable stencils, eight water-based face paint colors, two brushes, two glitter tubs, two sponges, and two paint applicators. The non-toxic, cosmetic-grade, hypoallergenic paint is made without parabens, so it’s safe for sensitive skin. It dries quickly and stays put, but is easily removed with soap and water post-party. Use the stencils to quickly brush on hearts, flowers, superhero symbols, animal shapes, and more at your next party. Or, you can go all out and follow the directions in the included eBook and video tutorials from Create A Face to apply more intricate designs.

Review: “I bought this as a back-up for my last event, and I'll say we tried it out to see. We were impressed. The colors were nice and vibrant. Also long-lasting (but gone with just soap and water!). I used my own collection of paintbrushes, but the set that came in the kit were good enough. The stencils were re-useable and user friendly. Definitely recommend this kit.”

16

The Hack: Make a craft-turned-party favor

One easy birthday party hack that cuts down on waste and fills up some time is to create a craft during the party that kids can take home as their party favor. This set of paint-your-own wooden magnets from YOFUN comes with 26 wooden figures ranging from frogs to unicorns and flowers that kids can paint and take home. Sure, painting can get messy, but it’s also a super fun way to keep young kids engaged and in one spot during a birthday party. In addition to the wooden magnets, the kit includes 12 vibrant colors of non-toxic paint, two tubes of glitter glue, and four paint brushes.

Review: “I used these for an art activity for my daughter’s art themed birthday celebration at school and it was a hit! She was turning 6 and every child was able to color in school plus I sent magnets home in the gift bag. Her teachers loved it and so did my baby girl!”

17

The Hack: Put disposable flatware in a clear desktop pen holder

My old go-to for setting out forks at parties was to put them prong-side up in a plastic party cup. Unfortunately, this meant that everyone who grabbed a fork had to put their (germy) hands on the end that then winds up in their mouth. Gross. This birthday party hack lets you store utensils upside down so nobody has to touch the tops of the utensils, but in a way where you can still see what you’re grabbing. The NIUBEE acrylic pen holder has a crystal clear transparent design with four divided compartments so you can store forks, knives, spoons, and even a marker to write names on cups at your party. It measures approximately 9-inches long by 3-inches wide and is about 4 inches tall.

Review: “I love this product! It has a clean and sleek look. Excellent quality, there are no flaws. I use this to organize my 4-year-old’s creativity. I’m considering you buy another for my paintbrushes. It would look nice for any setting, including office. I also purchased the single one, as my daughter would always lose the remote, so it brings a decor touch to our living room now. It’s a great price too!”

18

The Hack: Serve snacks in sand buckets

Especially for summertime parties, using beach pails to serve snacks is a fun birthday party decoration hack to try. Each bucket included in this pack of six buckets from Top Race stands about 5 inches tall and comes with a small sand shovel. The bright green, yellow, blue, and red hues really pop against the white bucket handles and shovels, so they’ll look great as tabletop decor that doubles as snack service. Made from BPA-free plastic, they’re completely kid-friendly and safe to serve food in. You can fill them with snacks like pretzels, chips, or candy to scoop and serve with the included shovels, or fill each one with single serve snack packs to give to each guests for a germ-free experience. When the party is over, you could also send them home as party favors or just keep them on hand for your family’s next beach trip.

Review: “We used these for my daughter’s Baby Shark themed birthday. We chose to use them as food dishes and the shovels as spoons. They could easily have been used in place of a favor bag for guests. After the party, we emptied the food and saved the buckets to be used at the beach.”

19

The Hack: Hang a bucket on a gardening hook to put utensils at kid-level

To help encourage independence for little ones attending a birthday party, it’s important to keep the things they need at their level. Instead of stretching their entire body across a table full of food to grab a fork, you can use this birthday party hack to keep a stash of utensils at an easy-to-reach level for kids. Simply hang a small pail on a gardening hook and stick it in the ground next to the serving area. This two-pack of EXCMARK shepherd hooks are fully adjustable with three different height options ranging from 15.5 inches to 31 inches. Made from heavy-duty steel, they’re stabilized by three stakes that can be pressed firmly into the ground, are rust resistant for outdoor use, and each stake can hold up to 10 pounds.

Review: “I purchased the adjustable shepherd hooks so I could choose the height I needed to hang my path lanterns. They went together easily and my lanterns hang just right. The price was great as I retained the pieces I didn't use so down the road I can use the hooks for other items as well. Very happy with the quality and ease of installing.”

20

The Hack: Use a tie-dye kit for an activity that doubles as a party favor

My kids recently went to a birthday party where there were children invited that ranged in age from 4 to 16. It can be difficult to find a party activity to please that wide of an age range, but the mom who hosted had the genius idea to have all of the kids make their own tie-dye shirts and it was an absolute hit across the board. The hack here is that the activity doubles as a party favor — you just need gallon-sized baggies for everyone to take their wet shirts home in.

This tie dye kit from Emooqi comes with everything you need to make up to 36 projects, so it’s ideal for a large birthday party. It comes with 26 squeeze bottles and corresponding bags of non-toxic tie-dye pigment that you mix with water to create the dye. Also included are 10 pair of protective gloves, two table covers, two disposable aprons, a funnel, spoon, a step-by-step dying guide, and 160 rubber bands to tie up shirts or other garments.

Review: “Loved that it came with a funnel, stickers and small bottles! The kids picked out the colors they wanted and put the sticker on a bottle. Mom's job is to match the sticker to the labeled dye powder and fill up the bottles with the dye. Several kids can each pick their favorite colors and still enough left over for quick, spur of the moment single shirt projects as wanted. Way better kit than the larger bottle sets.”

21

The Hack: Put grab-and-go salads in plastic cups with lids

Build salads of any sort right within a clear plastic cup so that your guests can see what’s inside and easily serve themselves without spreading germs. This birthday party hack creates an easy grab-and-go option that helps reduce the amount of hands grabbing a single serving utensil or touching a larger bowl or platter of food. This set of 100 clear plastic cups from Stack Man hold 16-ounces and come complete with fitted lids that snap on to create a tight seal around the rim. Each lid also has a straw slot, which is perfect for this birthday party hack because you can stick a fork (prong side up) in the slot.

Review: “Wow, this set of cups is awesome! I was impressed with the packaging and quality of the cups. They are a thick durable plastic. Even filled with ice, my hand doesn’t get too cold. The lids snap on securely with no issues. These are my new go-to cups for ice coffee when I know I cant bring my thermos somewhere. Very pleased with this purchase, they will last me for a very long time!”

22

The Hack: Ready-to-use photo booth props

This set of 30 birthday party photo props from the Perfect Occassion Store comes fully assembled, so all you have to do is set them out and let your guests enjoy plenty of photo booth fun. Most photo booth prop sets that you can order for birthday parties either don’t come with sticks to hold things up or they come in pieces that you have to assemble, but not this pack. Each of the set’s 30 pieces is made from sturdy, 350 gsm card stock and comes attached onto a 9.5-inch wooden stick. The sturdy construction means that you can likely use this coordinated set for multiple parties. (As long as your guests don’t get too out of hand, of course.) Gold glitter decor is the perfect accent to the black cutouts of party hats, bowties, word balloons and more, so they’ll really pop in photos. If black and gold doesn’t match your party decor, there are eight additional color and event varieties to choose from.

Review: “When I first saw this set I thought it seemed a little pricey but for 30 party signs it is less than $1 each so it is actually a great deal. They are thick and sturdy and come put together so if you are in a time crunch they are perfect. Quality was superior to other packs I've purchased in the past. I highly recommend them.”

23

The Hack: Use a ring light to make DIY photo booth pics look amazing

Instead of hiring a professional photographer to operate a photo booth, one birthday party hack to try is to use a ring light stand to hold your smart phone up to illuminate your pictures and snap gorgeous photos for your party guests. This 10 inch LED ring light from Wonew with stand and phone holder is compatible with just about any smart phone. The brightness can be adjusted and it also has three color settings to create a flawless look. Though the ring light and holder sits on a sturdy, adjustable metal stand that can be raised to 18.5 inches, it is light enough to be set on top of a table to elevate it to the correct height for a photo booth set up. This setup also includes a wireless remote that pairs with your phone (both Android and iOS) and will activate the camera shutter with the push of a button.

Review: “Got this to use at photo booth for a birthday party. Ended up using it for family photos, holiday photos, photos with pets. Remote makes it easy to take picture.”

24

The Hack: Serve cold dips in this bowl with a built-in ice well

If you’re serving a cold dip or salad, using a serving bowl with a built-in ice well is one birthday party hack you can use to keep cold food cool throughout the duration of your party. This stainless steel serving bowl from Prodyne holds 22 ounces and sits nested inside of a bulb-shaped acrylic base that can filled with ice. A snap-on plastic lid is perfect for storing leftovers or covering food that’s being served outdoors. The entire set is top rack dishwasher-safe for easy clean up.

Review: “I have been wanting something like this for years because of how many parties we host. Was glad to find these at such a great cost, and they look great. Upon arriving, they were the perfect size, super easy to clean and kept our dips cold all day. I added some more ice once after a handful of hours, but that's because it was in the sun all day (to be expected). Also loved that these came with lids for our leftovers!”

25

The Hack: Use pool noodles to create various decorations and games

To entertain your birthday party guests, a simple pack of pool noodles can be transformed into an obstacle course, swords, light sabers, and more. They’re also perfect for creating fun centerpieces using online tutorials. Though you can usually find pool noodles at local big box stores during the summer months, this five-pack of Fix Find foam noodles can be ordered from Amazon and comes with various bright colors to fit your birthday party hack needs.

Review: “Like another reviewer I was looking for pool noodles to make light sabers out of. These had a great price, were good quality and did the job perfectly. I appreciate the quality as they held together. I've had pool noodles that have broken apart into pieces very easily. These did not break apart at all even when the kiddos were ‘fighting’ with each other, the tree's or anything they could find to ‘whomp.’ No pool noodle pieces to be found which is great so they aren't getting into little mouths. The only con is that they seemed a bit shorter than the noodles at out swimming pool. They were the perfect size to cut in half for light sabers but may be a bit smallish for an adult to use in the pool.”

26

The Hack: Serve pre-mixed drinks in small mason jars

If you plan to serve beverages like cocktails or punch, but don’t want to spend time at the party mixing individual drinks or re-filling larger containers over and over again, this birthday party hack is a great one to try. Pre-mix your drinks ahead of time and pour into these Accguan glass mason jars that are about the size of a soda can. Each 12-ounce jar in this set of 20 comes with a matching silver lid that seals when closed to prevent leaks. Also included is a set of 20 chalkboard stickers and a pen to label your drinks. The jars are dishwasher safe for easy clean up and can be used for multiple events.

Review: “Like anyone purchasing glass online I was extremely nervous that these would arrive with more than one casualty. To my surprise, none did! They are packaged so well. They came with a thick foam base with individual cut outs for each jar, a middle thinner foam for stability, and a final top foam. Some had small smudges or didn’t balance well but nothing extreme. I have used these for both liquids and dry foods with no issues.”

27

The Hack: Set up a first-aid station for scrapes, bug bites, and other minor injuries

If you’re hosting an outdoor party, one convenient party hack that might not even be on your radar is to set up a first-aid station for your guests. Especially with little ones around, having bandages and supplies on hand to fix any boo-boos can come in super handy. This all-purpose first-aid kit from Johnson & Johnson comes complete with 140 pieces that help treat minor cuts, scrapes, burns, and bug bites. It comes stocked with an assortment of Band-Aid brand gauze, gauze pads, adhesive bandages in assorted sizes, Neosporin brand antibiotic cream, Tylenol caplets, Benadryl itch cream, an instant cold pack, and more. For parties, you can set up everything from this kit in a cute bucket or on a small table and add things like bug spray and sunscreen that your guests might need.

Review: “This little First Aid kit is a must have for pretty much anywhere. It has all the essentials to treat minor wounds, burns scrapes and cuts. They are able to pack a decent amount of first aid gear into this little box. The box itself isn't the most rugged of cases, but it is good for storing somewhere easily accessible. The price is fantastic for what all comes in it.”

28

The Hack: Use a drink dispenser with an ice core

This birthday party hack will help you serve cold beverages that are the perfect temperature whether you’re indoors or out. The FindDine 1-gallon glass beverage dispenser has a built-in core that can be filled with ice to keep the liquid inside cold. In short, your punch won’t get watered down as the ice melts. Made from premium-grade glass, this dispenser looks pretty, but it’s durable enough to hold up through party after party. (Though hand-washing is recommended.) The stainless steel spigot attached to the bottom of the dispenser is leak-proof and drip-free to keep messes to a minimum. The wide mouth top makes it easy to mix your drinks right inside the dispenser and it comes with a tin metal lid to keep the contents securely inside and free from bugs and debris when outdoors.

Review: “I really like this. I love how the ice is separate and won't dilute the drink. I made sangria and the fruit did not clog the spout at all. It held a double batch--so two bottles of wine, tons of fruit, 1/2 cup triple sec, 1/2 cup vodka and 2 cups seltzer. I didn't have room for a triple batch though. Zero leaking. My only issue is the ice part is made of plastic and it turned a bit cloudy after running it through the dishwasher.”

29

The Hack: Make your own snow cones with this convenient shaved ice machine

One trendy birthday party activity that my kids and their friends are super into right now is hiring an ice cream or snow cone truck to serve treats. If that’s not in your budget, investing in a home snow cone maker is the perfect birthday party hack to try. This electric shaved ice machine from Nostalgia uses precision-cut stainless steel blades to create fluffy snow cones with the push of a button. Simply add standard ice cubes to the top of the machine, place a snow cone cup or bowl underneath, and press the button. Then, you can add any number of snow cone syrups and customize it to your guests’ liking. It’s so simple and fun!

Review: “We got this for our daughter for her kindergarten graduation gift. She loves it sooo much. It is easy for her to load the cubes and make a cone on her own. I also love that it comes with a reusable cone. We would totally recommend this to anyone.”

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The Hack: Point a mini projector at a blank wall for a movie party

This portable mini projector by ELEPHAS plays and projects videos straight from your smart phone, tablet, or laptop. It connects through either an HDMI adapter (included) or wireless wifi network adapter (not included) and is controlled by an included remote. When pointed at a blank wall or screen, this projector will display a video at a maximum of 60 inches across. It has a built in speaker that works well for smaller spaces, but can also be connected to a larger speaker if desired. Though it is a bit of a splurge, this birthday party hack is one that can be used over and over again for different events, or even just regular movie nights at home.

Review: “This projector really surprised me. I wasn’t expecting much since the price was cheap compared to other projectors on the market but the picture quality blew me away. It’s really small so it works perfectly on our apartment. I love the level of detail and care put into this product since it includes an HDMI cable and AV cable, plus a control remote and a cleaning kit. Definitely worth every penny.”

Implement these birthday party hacks to make things easier on yourself so you can sit back, relax, and actually enjoy the party.

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