The Champagne Life on a DIY Budget Since 2007

3 Ways to Throw an Oscars Bash on a Budget

oscars party budget living

The Oscars, while mostly a red carpet ogle-fest these days, are the time of year to celebrate films and movie-going as our favorite, democratizing form of entertainment — and this awards ceremony in particular is one that should be shared with friends, just like you once enjoyed those movies being honored.

Whether you’re hosting an Oscars party at home, going to a big public affair, or watching the ceremony solo while catching up on the computer, we have your guide to celebrating on the cheap with super fun, tongue-in-cheek silver screen shenanigans.


Our favorite now-defunct magazine, Budget Living, published what is and always will be the ultimate guide to doing the Oscars on a dime: a story called “One Starry Night.” Lucky for all of us, that story lives on through Party Central: A Month-by-Month Guide to Entertaining on the Cheap : Festive and Frugal Ideas for Every Occasion, the mag’s collection of beloved entertaining guides, still widely available (we got ours at a used bookstore for about $2) and on

From hacking a Twister board into a hands-on game of Celebrity to hosting a guerilla drive-in theater in your living room, this story has something for everyone, and is truly an A to Z guide for celebrating the simple pleasures of Oscars night. Order a copy overnight, along with some Chinese takeout containers of varying sizes (an ode to Grauman’s Theater) and bulk candy favorites (Red Vines, Whoppers, Junior Mints, the neighborhood flick regulars). Rent or borrow a projector to hook up to your laptop or cable box and live stream the action against a blank wall. If playing Fashion Police during the red carpet arrivals and critiquing rambling acceptance speeches aren’t your thing, simply rent (or stream through Netflix) a favorite award-winning film from years past.


Make friends (or save your friends’ bash from any awkward moments) by printing out this set of 12 “Oscars Bingo” cards, free to download from one of our absolute  favorite design blogs, How About Orange, from Jessica Jones. With squares like “Presenters speak awkwardly in unison”, “Winner thanks spouse/partner”, and “Dance number!”, among many more, we bet you’ll notice that even friends who never watch the Oscars will find themselves tuning in and having a blast doing it. Download them here.


As much as we absolutely, positively loved Piece of Work, we don’t think that Melissa and Joan Rivers should have the snark market cornered, especially on Oscars night. Join us online for the 2nd Annual #OscarUp on Twitter (simply tag your tweets with the #OscarUp hash tag, wherever you’re watching them), and follow our favorite gossip-mongers either via Twitter or RSS feed to catch up on all the criticism, from high-brow intellectual film commentary to good ol’ fashioned outfit and character bashing.

Story: Copyright 2011, Shoestring LLC. Photos: Shoestring, Budget Living Media, How About Orange/Jessica Jones.

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