— Dave & Buster's. The locations in Tempe and Scottsdale are offering a roast beef dinner buffet, which includes soft drinks and coffee, a $20 Power Card for games, a DJ and dancing and a champagne toast for $47.99 per person plus tax and gratuity. www.daveandbusters.com.
IF YOU HAVE KIDS TRY...
— A children's museum
Many of them have New Year's Eve celebrations, which are great for elementary age children and their toddler siblings, says Janet Rice Elman of the Association of Children's Museums.
For example, in Salem, Ore., children and families will ring in 2009 at 9 p.m., which is midnight Eastern time, with a lighted ball drop from the Erector Set tower at A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village.
Tickets and general admission range from $10-$12 for drop-in guests; free admission or reduced ticket fees for museum members. Visit www.ChildrensMuseum.org.
— The YMCA.
Some of them host family nights, teen parties and lock-ins.
The Elmhurst YMCA in Illinois is hosting a Family Night from 5 to 8:30 p.m., with skating, pizza and a balloon drop. The cost is $25 per family for YMCA members (up to 4 people).
Kids ages 8 to 14 can spend the night at YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin in Middleton, Mich. The Camper Overnight includes games, indoor climbing and a dance and countdown. The cost is $55 for members.
Find your local YMCA at www.ymca.net.
...AND IF YOU MUST THROW A TRADITIONAL BASH:
— Later is better.
Start the party around 10 or 10:30, says Gallant. "You don't want to invite them earlier because it's too much time before the ball drops," she says. Plus, providing snacks and beverages are cheaper and easier than dinner.
— Keep the guest list small.
Pay attention to how many people you are inviting, says Gallant. They should all be able to sit comfortably.