Ideas for Celebrating Birthdays in College

The chances are pretty good: you’re probably going to celebrate several of your own birthdays and plenty of friends’ birthdays while you’re in school. College is a unique time of life, and for many students, cash flow isn’t exactly steady or exceptional. That doesn’t mean that you have to skimp or avoid celebrating just to save money. All a good birthday celebration needs are just a few things: a pinch of creativity, some pals, and an open mind.

So how can you plan for the momentous occasion of a birthday? Here are some fun, clever ideas to make your day (or best friend’s day) great.

1. DIY Craft Night

If you’re looking for a low-key activity that everyone can participate in, try crafting some decor for your dorm room or make another useful craft. The best part about a craft night is that it’s low-key and materials are generally pretty inexpensive. If your friends aren’t very crafty, consider doing some planning ahead of time, type up some instructions, and purchase materials before everyone arrives. That way, your guests will only have to construct.

At the end of the night, both you and your guests will have something to use in their dorm room! It’s a good activity that keeps the hands busy and the conversation flowing.

2. Do something exercise-related

There’s nothing better than getting the blood flowing with a group of your friends. See if there’s an outdoor yoga class you can take at your local park, or gear up and go for a canoe and swim in a nearby lake. If you are willing to spend of money, some cities offer community classes like rock climbing, tap dancing, or even something crazy like juggling.

The possibilities with this type of party are endless: try sailing, go bungee-jumping, or rent some paddleboats. Not only will you have fantastic pictures from an event like this, but you’ll have some stellar memories too.

3. Have a photoshoot

If you’re looking for something to do that’s entirely free, gather some friends and have a photo shoot! You can keep things simple and just snap a whole bunch of shots on campus, or you can do something a little zanier and set up a theme. Have your friends bring certain props or dress in a certain way, and pick a fun location that’s unique or a little interesting. You could all dress smartly and meet at a sculpture garden or head into the woods for a camping-themed shoot. Whatever you do, it’ll be fun to look back on the photos years later and remember your time together.

4. Do something artful

Speaking of museums, they can be an excellent option for a birthday celebration. Head to your city’s art museum or museum of natural history and do some exploring. Some museums allow for photography and some do not, so be sure to find out what rules and regulations are. Depending on the type of museum, you might be able to get in free!

Other artistic outings could include going to a community theater production, seeing a concert, going to a poetry slam, or making some art yourselves. If you have a friend who is an art major, try picking his or her brain for fun, artistic outings.

5. Nix the homework

It’s your birthday! Of all the things, doing homework should be off limits. Plan your time wisely, and maybe even spend some time working ahead so that when your special day rolls around, you won’t be stuck in the study lounge typing a 10-page paper. You spend the rest of the year cramming for tests and working on group projects—take some time off for an evening and enjoy that homework-free feeling.

6. Go to the movies

Depending on the theater you decide to go to, ticket prices can be pretty cheap. If you go on a special discount Tuesday, they might even throw the popcorn in for a special price as well. Movies are a fun and inexpensive way you can celebrate your birthday, and at the very least, you can stay home from the theater and host your own movie marathon. Have everyone wear their comfiest clothes, grab some cozy blankets, pop the popcorn, and wallah!