Hmmm. 8-9 year olds is harder to entertain at parties, than maybe 5 year olds. We actually stopped having parties at our house when our kids were about 7-8. However, we did have a Halloween party at our house 2 years ago for kids ages 7-11. The biggest hit was a scavenger hunt. I actually looked up a lot about scavenger hunts on internet and made up little riddles of where to go to find another clue. I hid different objects in different places and they all had lots of fun.
Last weakened, when my family was at our local mall, we actually saw a different kind of scavenger hunt. It was several group of kids (maybe 12-13 years old) who took pictures of thing on the list and the first one to come back to home base with all pictures on the list wins.
It maybe too late to go back and make a new start, but it's not too late to make a new ending.
I eat to live. I don't live to eat.