When you're researching inexpensive party ideas for tweens, it's easy to limit yourself to a party at home. But sometimes your home isn't an option, and the hunt for a budget-friendly venue begins. It might be daunting at first, finding a space that fits your needs and your tween's hopes—but there are more options than you might think. Whether it's an indoor pool party or a bowling alley bash, there are plenty of ideas that are both fun and easy on the wallet.
01 of 09
When the weather permits, the park is a wonderful place to throw a birthday bash. This outdoor space provides plenty of room for plenty of guests—and best of all, it’s free of charge. Simply invite friends to meet you at the park of your choice, pack a picnic lunch and entertain the kids with some traditional outdoor games and activities.
If you want to use your park’s event facilities, such as a pavilion (in case of rainy weather), reserved picnic tables, or bbq equipment, you may have to pay a rental fee. This flat-rate fee is likely to be much less costly than the per-person price an indoor venue might charge.
Sometimes, the park can even provide the perfect party space in the winter. If there is snow on the ground, invite friends for a sledding party. If the park has a lake that allows ice skating, bundle up and have an ice-skating party.
02 of 09
Pool parties are a popular summer party choice. A rainy day, however, can wash out even a summertime pool party. Many locations with indoor swimming pools such as hotels, community centers, and fitness centers will rent their pool area for parties. Prices will vary according to dates and locations, but some hotels will allow you to invite as many guests to come and swim if you rent a room for one night. If the cost of the room is less than the cost to rent the pool area, this may be a fun way to save money on your party and treat the family on an overnight adventure.
03 of 09
When you want to throw a DIY, at-home style party, but your home won’t accommodate the guests, consider rental halls in places like community centers, Veteran’s Halls, or local Lodge club buildings. The fee to rent this type of party space is often a flat rate that is significantly cheaper than a banquet hall or catering facility. You will, however, need to provide your own food, paper goods, and decorations, so calculate the costs of everything from the napkins and table coverings to the cake and clean up in your party budget.
A few ways to slash the budget on some typical party items include:
- Bake your own sheet cake.
- Provide a cold buffet for dinner so you don’t have to purchase food-warming equipment, or calculate the cost of pizza delivery (a local pizzeria might provide a discounted price for a large order).
- Decorate the facility with simple balloons and streamers.
- Provide your own music: hook a smartphone up to portable Bluetooth speakers, and use music streaming apps to set the perfect atmosphere.
04 of 09
If the cost of a local hotel suite is cheaper than that of a local party hall, consider renting the suite for a night and throwing your party there. Many hotels have discounted rates that aren't advertised during non-peak times. Inquire in person about acquiring one of these rates for rooms that would otherwise remain empty.
Tweens and teens especially will appreciate the “cool” factor of partying in a hotel room. And if they pack their sleeping bags, you can turn it into a slumber party.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Train stations in some towns have a room available to rent for parties. Some banks also have a room in the basement they rent out for the same purpose. Ask around the neighborhood about places you might never have considered. Other places that may have party rooms include the firehouse, library, museum, church, and borough hall.
Some of these community spaces use the fees to support their services, and some may not rent, but only donate their rooms for non-profits or fundraisers. You may be able to acquire one of these spaces by setting up a donation bin at your party and asking guests to bring an item for charity in lieu of a birthday gift.
Many museums offer free admission on school holidays. Schedule your party on one of those holidays and invite kids for a self-guided tour of the museum. Follow up with a budget-friendly lunch at a nearby pizzeria.
06 of 09
The cost per ticket for a typical admission to a movie theater doesn’t typically make the movies an inexpensive place to celebrate a birthday. Many cinemas, however, offer birthday party packages to make this choice more affordable. Some theaters even offer private screenings, but you have to be willing to throw your party in the morning before normal business hours. During the summertime, some theaters even show last year’s films for free, or for as little as one dollar per person, one morning a week.
07 of 09
Whether you just rent the lanes, rent the private room, or go for one of the whole party packages offered by most bowling centers, the bowling birthday party usually ranks among the least expensive of children’s party venue options. The lower cost doesn’t mean less fun by any means, especially when you incorporate some of these bowling party ideas.
08 of 09
Yes, the mall. Here is a place where you can host your guests for free and create an adventurous birthday celebration. The food court provides seating and a central meeting place. From there adult chaperons can escort small groups on an excursion such as a digital image scavenger hunt, or an amazing race-themed party. Schedule the party between meal times and when the games are done, treat guests to inexpensive food court items such as pretzels or ice cream cones–or bring your own cupcakes.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
If your guest list is small, a restaurant may work well for your celebration. Think pizzerias. You can invite kids to meet at the pizza place and treat them to lunch or dinner for the same budget you would spend to have the pies delivered to a party at home. By having the party at the pizza place, however, you don’t have to worry about cleaning up the mess.
Bring a few table games to keep kids entertained and ask the proprietor ahead of time if you can bring your own cake.
Other places to consider:
- Ice cream parlors: ask guests to meet after dinnertime for a dessert party.
- Fast food restaurants: value menu options cut the cost of feeding a group.
- Pancake houses: host a breakfast party with inexpensive pancakes from the children’s menu.
- Chain restaurants (go for dessert only or ask about a discounted menu for a group).
What are some ways to save on a children's birthday party?
Cut the guest list down. By limiting the number of invitees, your costs drop considerably. Also, avoid holding the party during mealtimes since you'd likely have to feed the entire party. Price out pre-packaged birthday places before deciding to do it on your own. The cost of doing it on your own may be the same as if you held it at a party venue. It might be worth it to you to leave the set-up, decor, and clean-up to the venue's party hostess.
How do I plan a kid's birthday party?
Planning a party is straightforward but has many parts, making it seem like a giant task. Decide on the guest list and date, pick a theme, choose a location, send invitations, order food or snacks, get party favors (and decor), and create a to-do list to keep you on track. If holding the party at home, you might want to have games or hire entertainment.
How long should a kid's birthday party last?
For toddlers, an hour or hour and a half is plenty. Preschoolers and kindergarteners can go on for two hours. Older children will enjoy two to three hours, provided there is entertainment or an engaging activity.