Cheap Party Ideas for Turning 15

by Kate Bradley

A tight budget might get in the way of a lavish 15th birthday. However, the amount of money you spend won't change how much fun you have or how much your guests enjoy the party. Use a little ingenuity to throw a memorable 15th birthday party without breaking the bank.

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Outdoor Parties

The great outdoors provides plenty of natural opportunities for fun. Hold your party in the park. Have a cookout, play cards or board games on the picnic tables and have an adult shoot off fireworks (if legal in your area). Or, tell your friends to grab their sleeping bags and head to the lake for an overnight camping party. Build a bonfire, make smores and stay up all night partying. As another option, turn your back yard into party central. Download dance music onto your laptop to create an outdoor living room. Lay a floor rug on the ground for the "dance floor," surround it with bean bags and comfortable chairs and dance. Break for cake and snacks, then move the TV outside and watch movies under the stars.

Vintage Parties

Rummage through your attic and your parents' old clothing for the elements to hold a vintage birthday party. Choose your favorite decade and tell your guests to come dressed in '60s, '70s or '80s style. Thrift stores often have cheap and funny options for vintage clothing. Play music from your chosen decade and watch classic films or old TV shows, such as "The Brady Bunch" or "Three's Company," at your home. Bring out your parents' old board games, such as Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble, and have a tournament.

Active Parties

Invite your friends over to enjoy cake and punch, then set out on an adventure. Have a parent create a scavenger hunt for you and your guests. Gather in a large area, such as a big public park. The clues should contain items like "man with a long beard" or "someone wearing purple shoes." Pass out disposable cameras -- or the guests can use their camera phones -- to capture evidence. Put your guests in teams and race to see who can get all the items first. If you love sports, model your birthday party after the Olympics. Plan a variety of events for your guests and tell them to wear active clothing. Hold a footrace, a volleyball tournament, a basketball shooting contest and a soccer kick competition. Celebrate afterward with sports drinks and party food. Award each guest a gold medal, which you can find at discount crafts stores.

Dinner Parties

Everyone will remember the food if you host a well-planned dinner party. Create a menu complete with appetizers, side dishes, entrees, drinks and desserts. Set the guest list and ask each guest to contribute one thing from the list. Have a grown-up potluck dinner party. Cut the birthday cake afterward and move the party to the living room, where you can play cards or watch movies. To keep costs extremely low, host a mock elegant dinner party. Set your dining room table with silver and china. Light candles and dim the overhead lights. Have your guests bring their own dinner -- from a fast-food restaurant. Dine on cheap fare together and enjoy fruit punch or soda.

About the Author

Kate Bradley began writing professionally in 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and a minor in German from Berry College in Rome, Ga; TEFL/TESOL certification from ITC International in Prague; and a Master of Arts in integrated global communication from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga.

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