Melissa Newell from My Party Passion and our budget party contributor, threw her son the Ultimate Nerf Party.  Not an easy theme to do, but Melissa found inspiration in unusual places. Read her whole story below:

I don’t know about you, but it’s easy breezy chicken peazey to find girl themes for birthdays, however, much more challenging to find a boy — preteen no less — theme.

This year for our son’s birthday party my inspiration was found in a strange place – the sporting goods store!

Back story: On one of our “date nights,” my husband and I decided to meander into a local sporting goods store in search of some additional camping gear (yup we go shopping on date nights – lol). No go on the gear, but total SCORE on the birthday party idea!

Walking down the isles..I spotted these targets…

Were they in my budget?  Where they safe?  Where they what I wanted?  YES TO ALL THREE!

What boy doesn’t love NERF?  What boy doesn’t love obstacle courses? So the Ultimate Nerf Party was born!

Nerf parties out there are few and far between.  Nerf brings me back to my older son’s adolescence when the nerf colors were navy and yellow!  I wanted to combine the newer colors of Nerf with the more traditional colors and came up what I think was a great combo! You can see it in this photo:

Oh the wheels were spinning now!  What else could I use these babies for other than just putting them up onto a piece of foam core board?

AH…my son and his friends are not big fans (ok not even small fans) of Justin Beiber (I have no problem with the popstar).  SO I thought what great way for the boys to take out their “feelings” on The Beib than to shoot him with Nerf Darts!

The other décor was easy.  Take any old glass jar, fill with Nerf Darts = centerpiece. 

Reuse some paper lanterns that I purchased at a local shop for $ .99 each! 

A few balloons minus helium. (BONUS – I bought these great plastic balloon holders some time ago from Oriental Trading– reusable – blow up, insert into base and they stand up great. Cost saver on the helium and I reuse the plastic sticks time and time again).

Food – asked the son – “hot” was what he wanted – reply: dogs and French fries – Oh how I love him! One of the most inexpensive foods to buy for “the masses.”  

Add in a popcorn bar for a snack (very inexpensive to do) BONUS TIP:  I used cute popcorn boxes but brown paper lunch bags from your local dollar store or grocery store work just as well!)  

(Big sigh here.)  My original plans (plan A as I call it) was to use our backyard as a huge totally rad (do they say that anymore?) obstacle course.  Mother Nature had a different plan. 

In the 11th hour, I was challenged with hosting the party mostly inside with the hopes of a clearing patch in the rain and we could quickly get out.  “Scale down” was my new motto.  I had to basically take an entire party that was to cover over a ½ acre of backyard and fit it into my playroom/dining room. (laugh, go on, you’ve been there, done that, right?!)

Low and behold we had a few hours of clearing, sun and we took advantage of it!  Hubby had set up party of the outdoor course that “could get wet”!  Boys had a blast! BONUS:  The “pool noodles” were purchased from the Dollar Tree – SOOO FUN and COST next to nothing!

I was so happy with how everything turned out, despite my Plan B!  The boy was happy and all the boys had a “blast”! (pun intended)  In fact, one of the boys said to me “Mrs Newell, this is the best weekend ever!”  awe..thanks buddy!

I hope I have inspired you to be creative on a budget!  Until next month   – Party on friends!

Thank you, Melissa, for this great story. You prove that with a little ingenuity, anything can be a budget-friendly party theme! To learn more about Melissa, visit her at My Party Passion and find her on Facebook or Twitter.