Turning 13 is tremendously important to a kid. He is now officially a teenager and no longer just a child. Making his party as special as the birthday itself doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. Use your resources and a little ingenuity, and you can make the party really special.
Making your new teen a scavenger hunt party takes more people than money. Divide the teens into groups of two to four kids. Give each group a list of items to retrieve or riddles to figure out where each item is located and send them off to hunt. Depending on where you live, make the list appropriate to your area. If you live in a larger city, you might make it a restaurant/cafe scavenger hunt, requiring the teams, with an adult for each team, to get throwaway items only a restaurant would have, such as a day-old bagel, a cake decorating item, a child's menu, crayons or similar items. If you live in a rural area and have more room in your own house or yard, you might hide items around your place, and use riddles to guide the teams to each item. This will keep the teens active for at least an hour. Assign points to each item and give prizes for teams with the most points. Funky pens, notepads or gift cards to fast-food restaurants make good prizes.
Roller-skating rinks are fun for kids and teens alike. A 13-year-old might not want to have a traditional roller skating party, which is usually on a weekend afternoon with only the party attendees. Instead, she might prefer a night at the rink, which offers hourly games, great music, dancing on skates and other fun activities for young teens. This will give your teen his own party, with the supervision of adults and at only moderate expense. If your teen doesn't like roller skating, he might prefer a day at a skateboard park. Drive the kids to the park, and after a couple of hours of rollerblading or skateboarding, take them out for pizza. Most skate parks have a minimal fee. Skate parks are usually fenced, so you may need only one or two adults to supervise. Call the park in advance to find out whether there are people in duty who can give newer skaters safety tips and tips on simpler tricks to get them started.
Teens love to hang out, and a bowling alley gives them a safe way to let loose a bit. Most bowling alleys will allow you to bring in a cake and use a table for the cake serving. They also have complete bowling party packages available at reasonable prices. After bowling, most alleys have snacks, pin ball, arcade games, and some offer pool tables too. This gives a larger group of teens a lot of options in activities inside one building.
Having your teen's group of friends meet at a local swimming pool is an inexpensive way to hold a swimming party. Most local pools have adjacent parks for those less enthused with swimming, and many parks offer grills and picnic areas with tables, for a barbecue and cake. If your local park doesn't offer a pool, a trip to a nearby lake or pond could make a great swimming party, also. You may need to bring your own grill to a lake or pond, but the daily fees to swim are usually not as expensive as a pool.