what is the cheapest food to serve for a birthday party?!
How about sloppy joes? They usually seem to do pretty good with my family and parties (other than the sloppy part - lol). And usually pretty inexpensive. To save even more you could just use regular bread instead of buns. Also like other people were saying, get some chips. Just make sure you don't get too carried away with name brand stuff. You can find some pretty good off brand stuff for great prices. I hope this helps and good luck.
Pizza is always a good choice or chicken nuggets. I had both and most kids wanted pizza.It's not messy and finger food. You can have some chips, don't recommend too much since they can get messy, but kids like. Apple slices worked for me with small juice boxes. (no mess of cups spilling). Keep them entertained and they'll have fun. Food is an after thought for them when they're having fun.
Spaghetti is always cheap and kids like it. Same for macaroni and cheese.
For treats try fairy bread or fairy toast. With 4 year olds, it might be fun to get several colors of colored sugar or sprinkles and let the kids decorate their own. Makes for a fun and cheap activity.
Finger food is always great - cocktail sausages on sticks, cheese (and pineapple on sticks), fairy cakes etc, really easy and cheap to make!
make your own pizza's..get some of the refrigerated pizza dough, and buy the sauce and cheese, get various toppings nad the kids can top the pizza with whatever they likee.
get some chips
pizza and pitta bread with dips are good and filling options, but if you really want to save some money bake some cookies and things yourself :)
I must say that Cheetos once saved the day when my son's party guests were getting cranky and the party was about to go down the tube....
chips.best party snack EVER.