DD had 9th birthday recently. We took 7 of her friends to swimming pool which has flumes, waves etc. as they can all swim, they went into the pool themselves.....Which meant me & her dad could sit & watch them while we had a nice cup of coffee. we then went for a buffet dinner afterwards which the girls also enjoyed.
I'd told DD that I wasn't doing party bags as swimming & dinner were costing a lot. She decided to make & fill her own party bags. She found some white paper sandwich bags (which we'd acquired for free on a train journey). She Decorated them, made a CD for each bag and recorded the music they're all into, made them friendship bracelets and I gave her small packets of haribos plus a bit birthday cake in each bag.
Everyone had a great day and her friends loved the party bags!
DD2 was 11 last week and the children had a mixture of party games and team games, had a dvd and eat pizza and ice cream.
They played Pass the button. Kids sit in tight circle, one child is 'up'. Music plays and button is passed round secretly. when music stops 'up' child has 2 guesses 3 if a big number who has the button. Everyone puts on their most guilty face possible. If guessed correctly child wins a sweet, if not too bad. Next person up is child with button unless they have already won.
Tommy is a good last game because the children win sweets to go in their party bag. 5 or 6 wrapped sweets are put on a table. One child is sent out the room and remaining children choose which sweet will be 'Tommy'. Child is called back in and told they can have any sweet but Tommy unless its the last sweet on the table in which case they have won Tommy as well. At the end of their go more sweets are added to replace any won and someone else is sent out. A new sweet is chosen or to add confusion the same chosen again. Always a popular game and fills a good 20 minutes
My dd friends had a disco and games, you can hire the lighting stuff quite cheaply. All furniture taken out or put to the sides of the room. Games were more grown up and with 8 dc you could have 2 teams and do something like a pop quiz. Karoake, painting nails, fancy dress etc are popular with this age group too. They didn't expect party bags but balloons with age on made good takeaway pressies as did sweets, etc.
At that age they still enjoy traditional party games IME so you will probably find that traditional party games like musical statues and pass the parcel go down well. Another good one is to have a load of dressing up type clothes in a bin liner which the kids pass around to music and when the music stops the child holding the bag takes an item without looking and has to put it on. Take a photo at the end with everyone together in their outfits! You could also make up some questions to have a quiz.