We had William's birthday party last Friday. At home. I have given up on doing the big party place thing with him - he's social but doesn't have a lot of good friends, so he usually doesn't have a long list of friends to invite, and those places are SO expensive. I'd rather get a better goody bag gift or give him more presents!
Last year we did Marshmallow Shooters. It was awesome, loud, unstructured, and we were finding stale marshmallows for MONTHS afterward. William wanted to do it again, but since there would be some repeat guests, I asked him to come up with something else. Of course all of my ideas were unacceptable - he asked to have a Nerf Gun party. Well, fate seems to smile on 8 year old boys, because ToysRUs had a sale 2 weeks before the party and some of the knockoff Nerf guns were on sale. A 2-pack of six-shooters, 12 bullets per gun, AND a target for $10. Score! And it was even the same guns that he had bought earlier in the year, so I didn't have to buy new guns for all three of my kids. I bought 10 guns (5 2-packs, so $50! Way cheaper than a party place), and we invited 9 friends.
So it was William's "Nerf" Blaster Birthday; everybody got a gun, goggles, and a bucket with 20 bullets in it (we bought extras). And they spent a hour shooting each other, the targets (well, near the targets), the walls, pyramids of empty cans, and anything else in sight. Except the adults, we were mostly unscathed. Then we decorated cupcakes (that's a LOT of sprinkles!), ate ice cream, sang "Happy Birthday" and that was it. Everyone had fun, they all got to take home a gun, a bucket, and 20 bullets, and I have no stale marshmallows in the couch. Foam bullets I can live with.
Except for feeling a little deaf for the next few days, and a LOT of crumbs and sprinkles on the floor, the damage was negligible. It's going to be hard to top this one, but I said the same thing last year, so we'll see!