Cheap birthday party ideas. Anyone?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Californiablonde, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    difficult child 2's birthday is quickly approaching. His actual birthday is October 17th, but I'm planning on having his party on the 13th. That gives me three weeks to plan it. I have no idea what to do for it. We've already done Chuck E Cheese several years and I think difficult child 2, who will be turning 12, is getting to old to have parties there. He doesn't like any of my suggestions. I suggested a skating party. difficult child 2 is very uncoordinated and can't skate well so he nixed that idea. I also suggested bowling. Again I was shot down. Last year we had the party at my mom's. She has a big house with a big back yard. My ex boyfriend was a parrot trainer, so he brought his four birds and did a parrot show. That was our entertainment for the party. If I have yet another party at my mom's, I have no idea what to do for entertainment. What do a bunch of 12 year olds do at home? I have no idea what to do. I am on a tight budget (Can only afford to spend around $150 total) so anybody have any great ideas? I am seriously at a loss this year.
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    My easy child's best friend E always has parties that seem to be a big hit with their crowd. She usually invites a mix of boys and girls, so the activities are neither too rough nor too girly. Here are a few examples of things they did:

    Last summer's party:
    They went to the beach and played picnic games: three-legged race, potato sack race, egg-and-spoon race, cartwheel contest, taking silly pictures of each other to e-mail out after the party.
    Afterward, they all went to E's house for cake and crafts. The loot bags were made of felt and included markers, stickers, stencils and whatnot that they all used to customize and decorate the bags. The boys loved it.

    This summer's party:
    A round of mini-putt at the local driving range. Then back to E's house for cake and a water-balloon fight in the back yard.

    Both parties were very simple and inexpensive (craft supplies etc. from the dollar store, and from things lying around E's parents' house), but they were a big hit and the children talked about them for weeks afterward.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    How many kids do you expect?

    I have a couple of ideas. Do you have a laser tag place close by? That is a cool party. Not sure how old the bounce house places go up to but Im sure you have something around near you. Check out them. The one near me is called Monkey Joe's but I think others are called Fun Fun Fun or something like that. They are indoor bouncers.

    You could always just do a pizza, popcorn and movie party at your house with a bunch of kids. My kids didnt get parties once they got over about 6. I just couldnt afford it anymore. We just had parties with ourselves.
  4. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Our parties basically revolve around FAMILY. Food and gifts.

    We have had overnights for both Onyxx and Jett - pizza, movies, cake and ice cream. Nothing huge. We do have a projector so we can have Jett's outside (his birthday's in August) and show the movies with a bonfire (supervised!!!). Onyxx has pretty much outgrown parties but LOVES my parents' tradition of going out to eat...
  5. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    We stopped "parties" around 4th grade. After that -- it was a few friends, dinner and an activity. Usually a movie, dinner at a "teen boy heaven" place (for my boys that would be: Five Guys, Buffalo Wild Wings, a sports pub type place-lots of big screens, etc) followed by a night of XBox etc and a sleepover with a big breakfast - either homemade (pancakes or waffles) or junky. (donuts, captain crunch, etc.) the next morning. The years when the activity wasn't a movie - it was a pro game-basketball usually, or the auto show, or monster trucks etc. Or an amusement type place - video games, laser tag etc. Check Groupon for good deals on local shows/attractions.
  6. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    He's too old for bounce houses otherwise I'd rent one of those. I am thinking we will probably have it at my mom's house again this year. Sleepovers are a no go. I am going to let him invite five friends. I am just stumped at what to do for entertainment. All of my older relatives will be there as well.
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Hmm. Big back yard. My kids used to like to play flashlight tag... If it's earlier in the day regular tag works. Or beach ball tag... Red Rover... Simon Says... Red light, green light?
  8. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My kids didn't (don't) have parties every year - they were every now and then.

    Having said that, a drive to a local orchard to pick apples with a basket of cold fried chicken and the fixings - An afternoon at the beach ending at a pizza parlor for dinner and cake - A movie theater movie then home for cake and ice cream - Putt Putt and then back home for hot dogs on the grill and then cake - Go carts then hot dogs - Laser tag/most include a room you can rent and they do pizza, soda, and cake for so much per child - One year my son was really into zombies (still is) and he invited a few friends over, wrote a little play, and I provided the fake blood and body parts; when they had finished filming, they came inside and I had hung black streamers all around the family room and served frozen store bought pizza I just heated in the oven and juice on black paper plates with black napkins while they watched their homemade movie and then the first Resident Evil movie, easy child made a cake which she iced with choc icing and drew a skull and crossbones with white piping. Call the local SPCA or animal shelter if difficult child 2 likes animals and see if the kids can do some type of service for a couple hours - instead of presents, have the guests bring dog/cat toys or dog/cat food for the shelter (easy child did this).

    I think one important things to remember is that some birthdays are just your favorite dinner choice, cake, and a movie at home with family. The expectation is huge if they feel entitled to a party every year. There's tons of stuff you can do for not a lot of money -- I bet you could even do an internet search and find some ideas.

  9. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    How about rock band! That is, if you have or can
    Borrow a game system and rock band set. Or guitar hero. Our pawn shops have the musical game disks for $5. You could grab an assortment of 3-4. If its an older system like ps2, dance dance revolution new is under $20. Can be wrapped and gifted, then enjoyed by the kids? It's gaming sure. But fun and interactive and lots of laughs. Alternately there are some great and affordable wii disks that aren't just zone out games. The wii music is fun. Twister and other games. They also make super cheap disks with multiple party games for most systems. So that could be a great entertainment for the kids that would involve them all. I paid $20 at Walmart for a two disk set that has 10 games. Monopoly, twister, Jenga, Life, yahtzee, and so on.
    Just thinking boys at that age are big on games. And this would keep it in their range of interests with also ensuring they interact and laugh and have healthy competition. Maybe organize a tournament of sorts with a dollar store trophy for the winner and something like a gift certificate for a free ice cream or milkshake or something.
    To keep costs down, you could do easy cook out things. Hot dogs, drinks, popcorn and potato chips, a few cold salads. Cake and ice cream.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Music, cook out or order pizza, have a couple of game stations and let the kids who are coming bring their favorite games and music. Those are my ideas anyway.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The bounce house places I am talking about arent the ones for little kids. These places are indoors with tons of loud music, really tall bouncers, they sell pizza there and charge by the kid.
  12. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Well I talked to difficult child 2 again and he says he wants it at my mom's house with a pinata. He wants a pizza party which works perfectly for me because we can get $5 large pizzas at Little Cesar's. I am going to bake a cake and bring ice cream and we will be renting movies which is what difficult child wanted. He is inviting several friends plus we will have my older relatives there. I will also be doing gift bags from the dollar store. I will be coming out below budget which is good. We are going to do it nice and simple which is just what I wanted.
  13. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    That sounds like a great party. In budget and makes difficult child happy. Win win!
    My kids had a few big parties over the years. Both tell me they preferred the quiet ones. Simple food like pizza or burgers/dogs. Simple activities like games or movies. The boys will have a great time.
  14. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Just a thought on those gift bags...

    I read an article a few weeks back about gift bags, I guess a lot of parents don't like them... What're you putting in them? (I always liked them till I stepped on Jett & Onyxx's stuff a few hundred times...)
  15. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Pizza and movies are great party makers. Instead of gift bags, how about pumpkins? I bet the boys would love to decorate the pumpkins as a project at the party and take their own home.

    I think my difficult child was about that age when I made a scavenger hunt. They enjoy figuring out the clues.
  16. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Duckie is already planning her 12th birthday party: a sleepover craft party. Her birthday is in January.
  17. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the pumpkin idea Andy. I love it!
  18. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Well my mom just called and is offering to pay for the pizza plus the cake. Now all I have to worry about is the cost of the pinata plus candy to go inside it and some party favors. I am getting excited about this party!
  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Now THAT is the kind of stuff that Grandma's are SUPPOSED to do!
  20. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Exactly, InsaneCdn! Just when I get mad at her for over stepping her boundaries, she goes and does something nice like this and makes me feel guilty, lol. Anyway, I am truly grateful.