16 Ways to Host an Oktoberfest Party on the Cheap

By Laurel Randolph on 7 October 2015 0 comments

Oktoberfest is well-loved by Germans and beer-drinkers everywhere, and for good reason. The long-held festival celebrating Bavarian culture is a riotous good time with special brews, food, games, and music.

If you didn't get your plane ticket to Munich this year, you can still have a great time at home by hosting your very own Oktoberfest. Read on for some tips on how to throw a fun party — on a budget — that your guests will be talking about until next September.

1. Make It BYOB

One sure-fired way to save money on any party is to make it a BYOB affair, and that's never more true than during Oktoberfest. It's a festival centered around beer, so if you want to save some serious cash, have your guests bring their favorite brews. Bonus points if it's a German or Oktoberfest variety.

2. Or BYOS (BYO Stein)

It feels just plain wrong to drink a crisp beer out of anything but a stein during Oktoberfest, but buying each guest their own mug can really add up. Make your party truly unique by having everyone bring their own stein and filling it up for them when they arrive. This is an especially fun idea if you plan to make it a yearly gathering.

3. Or BYOS! (BYO Sausage)

Rather than have your guests bring along beer, ask everyone to bring their own sausage to throw on the grill. You'll save money on meat, and will get a fun assortment of sausages to share, too.

4. Bake Homemade Soft Pretzels

Nothing goes much better with beer than pretzels, and soft pretzels are the traditional accompaniment during Oktoberfest. If you have the time and enjoy baking, homemade soft pretzels are cheap and taste way better than the store-bought version.

5. Serve Hard Pretzels

Although soft pretzels are more traditional, hard pretzels will do in a pinch, and are about as cheap as snacks get. Scatter bowls all around so that guests have something salty to munch on.

6. Sew Your Own Dirndls and Lederhosen

If you have a knack for sewing, why not make your own Oktoberfest costumes? Dirndls can cost a boat load, but with a little know-how, you can look authentic on the cheap. Just do an Internet search to find free or cheap patterns for dirndls and DIY lederhosen. Many patterns allow you to use existing clothing or leftover fabric, saving even more.

7. Put Together Makeshift Dirndls and Lederhosen

If you're not a sewer or don't want to throw down a wad of cash on something you'll wear once or twice a year, then make an easy facsimile. For the men, don khaki shorts, a button down shirt, suspenders, and tall socks. For the ladies, a full skirt, puffy blouse, frilly apron, and an optional corset will do it. It's nothing a trip to the thrift store shouldn't fix.

8. Order T-Shirt Costumes

For the least amount of effort but real campy fun, don a dirndl or lederhosen t-shirt for the occasion. A quick online search will turn up dozens of cheap options, and are sure to be a conversation starter.

9. Make Your Own Edelweiss Hats

Create your own traditional edelweiss hats out of construction paper and few other craft supplies, and decorate the tables with them. They'll make everything festive, and guests can wear them for photos.

10. Use a Free Playlist

When planning your Oktoberfest fest, don't forget music. Luckily, free services like Spotify and Pandora have you covered with German-themed playlists and stations. Put one of these on and do your best to sing along.

11. Buy Your Beer in Bulk

When stocking up on beer for your party, buy bigger lots of one or two great beers rather than buying smaller amounts of different kinds. For example, 12 and 24-packs are typically cheaper per beer, and sometimes you can find good deals on kegs. No matter what beer you choose to serve, be sure to shop around. Costco has terrific deals on beer — and you don't need to be a member to buy it.

12. Throw an Afternoon Party

The official Oktoberfest takes place over 16 days and nights, and the daytime festivities are decidedly less rowdy (but still festive). To save money on beer and food, host your party in the afternoon. Typically, your guests won't drink or eat as much if the celebration isn't at night or during a mealtime.

13. Serve Homemade Apple Strudel

To finish your shindig on a sweet note, whip up a batch of apple strudel. Thanks to frozen puff pastry, the classic dessert is easy to make and more cost effective than visiting a bakery.

14. Host a Sing-Along

For cheap entertainment, lead everyone in a classic sing-along or two. Provide lyrics to a popular German drinking song so that everyone can follow along, be sure to toast with a hearty "Prōst!" afterwards.

15. Use Printable Decorations

Yet again, your party savior is the trusty Internet. Seek out printable decorations and put your printer to work creating blue and white banners, table decorations, and more.

16. Mix Up Flavored Mustards

An assortment of mustards is the perfect accompaniment for all of the sausages and pretzels at Oktoberfest. Instead of buying different kinds of gourmet mustards, buy one big container of brown mustard and flavor it yourself. Add honey for a honey mustard and horseradish for spicy. Get creative and make your own custom flavors!

Are you hosting Oktoberfest this year?

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