If you’re planning a birthday party when the weather outside is frightful, you can forget about the park, pool and beach. Don’t despair, though—it’s very possible to throw a memorable fete during the cold months and our roundup of winter birthday party ideas is proof. From outdoor fun (like ice skating and skiing) to indoor activities (like laser tag and escape rooms), read on for your cold-weather celebration inspiration and get ready for some fun.
15 Winter Birthday Party Ideas That Are Seriously Fun
The coolest cold-weather birthday celebrations, whether you want to embrace the season or cozy up indoors
1. Go Ice Skating
When it comes to winter birthday party ideas, you can either seek shelter at a warm, cozy venue or opt to embrace the frosty weather instead. If you’re leaning towards the latter, set up shop at the local skating rink. Aside from covering the cost of rental skates for kiddos that don’t have their own, all you really have to do is make a big batch of hot cocoa to bring along, order a pizza for the lunch and cake break, and maybe organize a relay race as an ice breaker (pun intended).
2. Do a Ski Trip
This one will cost you a pretty penny—lift tickets and ski rentals aren’t cheap—so you’ll probably want to limit the guest list to just a couple of your kid’s very close friends. That said, if you can swing a weekend ski trip, complete with cozy lodging (jacuzzi recommended), you’re guaranteed a truly memorable birthday celebration…and a great excuse for a family vacation, too.
3. Check Out an Indoor Playground
Nobody’s enjoying those frosty metal monkey bars in the dead of winter, but your kid and all the peer-aged partygoers have plenty of energy to spare. The solution? A wild birthday bash at a climate-controlled indoor playground or trampoline park. Not only do these kid-friendly venues serve up tons of entertainment, they also typically cover the party food for you, too, so you just need to pony up the cash and bring the cake. Bonus points if you find an indoor playground with a giant foam pit, ‘cause those are just plain awesome.
4. Try Laser Tag
Round up the gang for a day of fast-paced, exhilarating fun at a local laser tag arena. This winter birthday party idea is super low-prep, which means all you have to do is drive to the place, let ‘em loose and relax. Plus, the days are already short and dreary, so some indoor fun in an underlit space just makes sense. (Right?)
5. Visit an Arcade
Ideal for gaming enthusiasts, the arcade is a lively, energetic birthday party venue that boasts built-in entertainment, kid-friendly food, and the promise of prizes. (So, yeah, feel free to skip the goody bags.)
6. Go to a Movie Theater
For the social butterfly with a long guestlist, take the celebration to the movies. Nearly all venues allow you to reserve a theater for a private viewing party, which can typically accommodate 20 people or more, with deliciously buttery popcorn and drinks included. Best of all, the adult hosts needn’t worry about wrangling a rowdy group of kids, since this party idea is fun, easy and blessedly lowkey.
7. Do a Hotel Party
The tween or teen in your life is dying to be all grown-up. Indulge the sentiment for a sec with a fancy hotel birthday party that involves a couple close friends, a heated pool and all the room service food they desire. And because the novelty factor is so high, the main event can simply be a couple face masks and a movie marathon. Psst: When it comes to winter birthday party ideas, this one has sweet sixteen written all over it.
8. Hire a Limo and Go Out to Dinner
Birthdays are all about feeling special, so why not give a little celebrity treatment to the guest of honor and a few friends with a limo ride to and from a favorite restaurant? Make it a ‘dress your best’ event and, for a little extra flourish and be sure to serve some fancy non-alcoholic cocktails on the commute.
9. Make It a Spa Day
You don’t have to shell out at a resort to treat the birthday kid to a day of pampering. Stock up on some sheet masks, luxurious body lotions and a variety of nail polish in trendy colors and you’ve got the makings of a successful spa party. For a little entertainment before the self-care fiesta, a makeup competition will do the trick.
10. Make Your Own Pizza Party
Pizza is the go-to birthday party food, but don’t rush for the takeout menu just yet. Instead, score some pre-made pizza dough and set out a wide selection of toppings so kids can make their own pies. It’s a fun, hands-on activity with a mighty tasty reward.
11. Do an Escape Room Party
Rent out a real life escape room and get ready for a fun-filled hour of solving challenging puzzles and playing games in order to break free from the space. The activity is a thrilling race against the clock that promises lots of fun for the whole group—provided you sandwich the main event between lunch and cake, so everyone is fed and firing on all cylinders, that is.
12. Host a Tea Party
Throw an Alice in Wonderland-themed, Mad Hatter tea party for a whimsical celebration that features a theatrical host, a lavish spread of bite-sized delicacies and plenty of wacky party games, including minute-to-win-it challenges, pin the tail on the cheshire cat and tea cup pong (it’s like beer pong without the booze). To make it a true Mad Hatter tea party, guests should arrive with zany headwear—so be sure to specify the dress code on the invitations for best results.
13. Have a Pottery Painting Party
If there’s a pottery painting place nearby, you can host a small group of kids or inquire into rates for a larger crowd. Attendees will have a chance to pick out a piece of pottery (think: mug, pasta bowl, piggy bank) and then get artsy customizing it with paint. When the process is done (and the mess cleared with the help of the staff), serve some pizza and cake and call it a day. The hand-painted creations will have to hang behind to hit the kiln, but the fact that every kid in attendance will get to take home a special keepsake a few days later is part of what makes this winter birthday party idea so memorable.
14. Host a Winter-Themed Movie Marathon
The theater is great but tickets for a gaggle of kids can cost a pretty penny. Save a buck and host a home movie marathon instead for a double feature that includes unlimited popcorn and snacks and plenty of viewing pleasure. It’s not necessary, but a theme is always welcome here—so why not lean into the season with some festive wintry picks? (Balto, Happy Feet and Ice Age come to mind for the younger crowd, while teens who are allowed to watch R-rated movies might go for The Shining or Fargo.)
15. Have a Knitting Party
The weather outside is frightful, which is why a winter birthday party idea that yields a cozy new scarf (or the start of one, at least) for every kid is just kind of genius. Head to a local yarn store that hosts such events so everyone in attendance can learn a new skill and leave with a cold weather DIY project they can continue at home.