From Harry Potter to Princess Leia, let your imagination run wild when it comes to planning a fancy dress birthday party. Decide on an overall theme (pirates, princesses, Disney characters?) and have guests come dressed accordingly. Great costume ideas can present themselves with just a dig through your wardrobe. Alternatively, peruse the aisles of any local costume shop or department store. Mr. Ben’s Costume Closet (Satwa,04 346 3494) or Marks & Spencer (The Dubai Mall, 04 339 8890) are good places to start. Or rely on Fun City (locations across the UAE, www.funcity.ae) to dress the entire congregation for you. They offer themed birthday parties, from Hannah Montana to Cars and Barbie to High School Musical. They even provide party favours for the little ones to enjoy once they get home.
You don’t have to fret about throwing the ultimate party at home or, worse yet, cleaning up after it – not when there are so many different kid-friendly venues in Dubai willing to take the hassle from you. From an under-the-sea theme at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo (The Dubai Mall, 04 448 5200), channelling an inner Picasso at KidzArt (055 222 0129) or thejamjar (Al Quoz, 04 341 7303), to creating delicious cakes at Hey Sugar’s Mix, Batter and Bake (UAE-wide, 800 HEY SUGAR) and face painting at Fun City (www.funcity.ae), you're definitely spoiled for choice.
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If your teenagers are trendy hipsters, tap into this by throwing a rocking musical-themed birthday party. Whether your venue is at home or a hotel ballroom, rent a karaoke machine or book a DJ and start perfecting your air guitar skills to rock the night away. Bonus points go to guests who show up dressed as their favourite music star.
Birthday club night
For a more grown-up party that veers off from the standard hotel or home venue, consider booking a birthday soiree in one of Dubai’s hottest nightspots. Clubs like Republique (The Address The Dubai Mall, 056 718 1188) roll out the red carpet to offer event packages and semi-private areas so that you and your friends can feel like VIPs all night long.
Forgo a glitzy affair altogether and host an in-home or in-spa pampering party. A number of local spas and salons offer packages for you to relax your special day away. Some spas will come to your home while others provide packages for every celebration. Your guests will thank you afterwards.