Shannon Cassidy, a mother of two, gave each of the five guests $30 in cash to spend on whatever they liked at the store.
She was “at a loss” on what to do for her daughter’s birthday, when she came up with the idea of a “Kmart Challenge”.
“Each guest was given a specially made envelope with cash in it to burn at Kmart, then we had lunch at the food court. Easiest party I’ve ever done,” she said.
Each guest bought “at least two bags full” of items from Kmart, including picture frames, light boxes, dog accessories, earrings, stationery, drink bottles, lollies and gum balls.
Small gold trophies were awarded to each guest for categories such as “largest purchase” and “savviest shopper”.
“The children loved it,” Ms Cassidy told Better Homes and Gardens.
The challenge also provided an educational component.
“It was really good to see that maths, budgeting and decision-making all played a large part in the game,” Ms Cassidy added.
After the shopping expedition, the party moved to the nearby food court where the guests could order what they wanted.
A stack of freshly cooked cinnamon donuts doubled as the birthday cake.
Ms Cassidy spent a total of $300 on food, party favours and decorations,” and was “well under budget”.
The party has gone viral on social media, with 4.8K people “liking” the idea on ‘Kmart Mums Australia’ Facebook page.
“Please invite me to her next party … coolest mum ever,” wrote one mum.
Another commented: “This is brilliant! Easy, no stress, fun and inexpensive! Perfect!”
“BRILLIANT!!! Oh my god. I want to do that for my 36th,” another added.
Ms Cassidy was thrilled with the party’s success and said that the only challenge was that she had to think of something “bigger and better” for next year – “and under budget”.
“I can’t believe the attention it has received,” she said, “but I love a challenge.”