We've all attended run of the mill children's birthday parties—heck, we've all thrown them. The party package at your local kids' gym is as low-stress as it gets, and pizza and a scavenger hunt in your backyard are time-tested favorites. Still, you don't have to be Martha Stewart (or have her budget) to plan something a little more memorable.

Remember the days before kids' birthday parties became so complicated? Why not throw an old-fashioned party for your little birthday girl or boy? Search out classic party games like scavenger hunts, "Sardine Hide and Seek," or get everyone in a circle for "Musical Chairs."

Sunny out? How about an egg or water balloon toss or a three-legged race? The potato race is the best deal of all, since it borrows only things you already have on handone potato and one spoon for every guest. Whoever reaches the finish line with potato still on spoon wins! Your kids may be shocked that once upon a time, before party favors became a big business, kids decorated their own treat bags. Hand out some paper bags, stickers and crayons, and let the kids fill them during a hunt for penny candy, whistles, tops, and jacks.

Of course, if you have that much room in your yard, you might want to host a garden party. Let the kids run through the sprinkler, dig in the dirt, and spill as much paint and glitter as they like while they decorate earthenware pots. They can fill them with soil and plant a seed to take home as a memento of the party. The cake? Any flavor your child likes, iced with chocolate, topped with crumbled chocolate cookie dirt, gummy worms, and candied violets.

Kids love Halloween so much, why not resurrect it for your child's birthday (even if it falls in July)? Most children will love the excuse to drag out their costume once more. If the traditional Halloween game of bobbing for apples now seems more germy than quaint, remember that pumpkin pie never goes out of styleand tastes even better with a birthday candle in the middle. Snap a photo of each guest in costume, let them decorate inexpensive frames, and send them home with a party favor worth keeping.

If you're in the mood to host a stylish do out of the house, steer away from the chains that sell generic party packages. Find an option that promises unique memories and favors for each guest, like Build-A-Bear Workshops. Your birthday boy or girl will have a blast creating a special friend to take home at the end of the dayand so will the rest of the guests! Only you can say what your little one would most love. When you use your imagination, it's easy to plan parties that are fun and fabulous!