Tips on Planning a Bowling Themed Birthday

Bowling is a classic good time and makes a fun birthday party theme, especially for kids in middle school or the upper grades of elementary school. Most bowling alleys offer birthday packages that include shoe rentals, a party room and food served from their snack bar, usually pizza.

To ensure lanes are available and that the party does not conflict with adult bowling league times, it is best to schedule the event in advance rather than arrive with an unreserved group of eager bowlers. Besides risking a long wait for lanes to free up, some bowling alleys will not allow unscheduled birthday groups to even bring a cake inside.

For most kids, cosmic bowling ranks as the ultimate in bowling party fun. It’s a glow-in-the-dark adventure that may also include dance club music, light shows, fog effects and a disc jockey who keeps the party rocking and rolling-bowling. Many bowling alleys have cosmic bowling, but those that don’t can still be the site for a memorable party. Bowling is a fun activity, dance music or not!


There are many clever ways to showcase a bowling birthday party theme, starting with the invitations. Slipping black card stock into a paper CD cover with a clear and circular center creates a bowling ball image, and adding three small, round stickers to represent finger holes is the finishing touch. Prior to putting the card into the CD cover, use a pen with white or silver ink to write out time, date and location. A theme-related invitation header might be “Make my birthday a perfect ‘strike’ by coming to my party” or “Hope you can ‘spare’ some time to celebrate my birthday.”

Birthday Cake

A bowling ball birthday cake is one of the easiest kinds to make and decorate. For a traditional black bowling ball, chocolate frosting or black fondant can be used to cover a round cake, and finger holes can be made with white icing or round candies. Since bowling balls now come in many colors, the cake can be frosted in any shade because the finger holes are what will actually identify it as a bowling ball. This same decorating concept can also be used to make cupcakes. Another theme-oriented design is a bowling pin cake, which can be made by cutting the pin shape from a chilled rectangular cake, frosting it with white icing and adding two bands of red icing in the pin’s neck.


If the bowling alley allows outside decorations to be brought into the party room, the simplest choice is a bouquet of bowling ball balloons, made by applying three round stickers to round balloons. With a little more care, balloons that mimic bowling pins can be made by constricting oblong balloons several inches from their tops and securing the crease with thread or ribbon. Follow the cosmic theme by inserting glow in the dark sticks inside colorful balloons.

Once the party gets going, work a few silly activities into the action, such as bowling backwards or in slow motion. Just make sure all activities are closely supervised since bowling balls can go airborne, slip from fingers and land hard on toes.

Happy birthday bowling — and remember to take the video camera!

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