When you're on a budget and looking for an inexpensive way to host a party, consider a bit of nostalgia. Bowling offers the opportunity to talk with everyone and yet provides an activity. For a rental fee of about $3 for shoes and $2 per game after 8pm, you just can't miss.
Today was a close friend's birthday. Inspired by a recent trip she took to Hawaii, I went to the party store and spent $15 in decorations and favors. I know I could have saved quite a bit, but it was worth it and I can reuse most of it for another island themed party. I purchased silk flower leis, a posable cardboard dancer, tropical fish bendy straws (because its not a party without fun straws!), and a crown for the party princess. Dinner consisted of 1 pizza for $14.75 and atomic cheese nachos as a joke for the birthday girl ($3.75).
Now, I have to admit that I could have done this for less, but there was no clean up and I was able to participate as much as everyone else because I didn't have to do anything.
As for the the party itself, I think everyone enjoyed the music from the 80s, neon setting, and of course, those fashionable shoes!