Birthday parties can be a strain on the wallet and on the imagination. There’s more pressure than ever for parents to put on an original birthday party for their children. While a successful party for young kids can consist of traditional party games and some cake, tween-aged girls (ages 9 – 12) aren’t as easily impressed. Here are some creative and budget-conscious party ideas for this challenging age group.
Andrea Garavaglia’s daughter McKenna, 11, had a celebrity birthday party for 10 girls that cost only $100. A party of this scale and type can be organised by the people at Colorado’s finest and largest Casino Night Company at your request. Invitiations were stars cut out of construction paper, requesting that each guest wear their fanciest dress. When guests arrived, they walked down a red “carpet” – which was a red plastic table cloth cut in half and taped on the driveway. The “paparazzi” (a few kind neighbors) were there to take pictures of the celebrities on digital cameras which were printed out and given to the girls as parting gifts. The red carpet led to the garage which was decorated with white Christmas lights, balloons, and stars made of contruction paper. A food table was set with plastic champagne glasses filled with 7-up, and appetizers including pizza rolls, cheese and crackers, and chocolate-covered strawberries. The girls were able to make their handprints in cement and write their names on them, like movie stars have for years outside of Mann’s Chinese Theatre. They also sang karaoke and danced to some mixed cd’s McKenna had made for the party.
The decade of big hair, leggings, and frosted pink lipstick has made a comeback. Since Carrie Smith, mom of Lindsay, 10, grew up in the eighties, this was an especially easy party to put together. Smith scanned a picture of her and some girlfriends circa 1984 into her computer and printed out some very eighties invitations that requested that her daughter’s five guests dress in eighties style. She got out her old record player and albums for mood music. “The girls got a kick out the record player and loved my “Wham!” and “B-52’s” albums,” says Smith. She also had saved some old issues of TigerBeat and Seventeen magazines from her youth that she layed out for the girls to peruse. For food, Smith made Kool-Aid and got 2 $7 pizzas from Costco that she heated up in the oven, as well as a $15 sheet cake. They watched “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” for further entertainment and goodie bags consisted of a paper lunch bag filled with a tube of frosted pink Wet N’ Wild lipstick, a pair of dollar store hoop earrings, and a box of Nerds (Smith’s favorite candy when she was a tween). The total cost of the party was $60. “The price was right,” says Smith. “And, I got to relive my youth for a night. Totally awesome!”
Some clearance makeup, nailpolish, and teenaged girls helped make Brianna George’s ninth birthday a success. Her mom, Jennifer, bought a package of blank notecards from Michaels for $1 and had Brianna beautify them with a pink glitter pen, inviting six of her friends to “a night of indulgences.” George enlisted three teenaged girls from her neighborhood to help with the party. One of the girls did manicures and pedicures, while the other two did hair and makeup. George had gotten some cosmetics from the local drugstore on clearance. “They were reliable brands. I didn’t want anyone’s skin to break out,” George says. “But, two eyeshadow kits, a tube of mascara, a creme blush, and three tubes of lipstick only cost $20.” When the makeovers were completed, the younger girls dressed up in semi-formal dresses that the teenagers had brought. George took pictures of the guests on her digital camera and printed them out for keepsakes. Including a tray of cupcakes and three 2-liters of soda, the party cost about $70.
Tara Johnson’s daughter, Katie, 10, loves to bake. “A baking party was logical for us because it’s Katie’s favorite pasttime,” says Johnson. “And, who can resist cupcakes?” Katie made invitations out of 3X5 cards. She asked her four guests to write down their favorite simple dessert recipe on the back of the invitation and bring it with them to the party. In leiu of presents, Katie requested that each guest also bring the dry ingredients for their recipe to the party. Johnson bought aprons on sale at JoAnn Fabrics for the girls to decorate with fabric pens that she got on sale. When the girls arrived, they decorated their aprons. Then they got to work in the kitchen, making desserts that included brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and rice krispie treats. With the cost of baking ingredients, the aprons and fabric pens, as well as milk to wash it all down, the cost of the party came to $60.