Birthday party ideas for 18-year-olds

By Laila Alvarez
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An 18th birthday is a milestone typically worth a special celebration. However, while the celebrant is of legal age to vote and buy cigarettes, gambling and drinking are still off-limits. The birthday symbolises entering adulthood, but without many of the adult legalities. With high school graduation and college looming, a party with friends may be what the soon-to-be-18-year-old needs.

Pool Party

If weather permits, a pool party is a class party idea for teens of any age. A pool party offers an opportunity for a tiki bar with virgin island drinks (virgin mojitos, long island iced teas and margaritas). Let the birthday party go unsupervised to allow the guest of honour feel like 18 really is the threshold of adulthood. Host the party at your own backyard pool or a community pool if you do not have a private one.

Casino Night

Because your teen has still three years to wait until a 21st birthday trip to Las Vegas, create a Vegas-esque atmosphere instead. If there is a real casino nearby turn it into a weekend trip for a group of friends or a family celebration. Most of these casinos have the same games, hotel spas, bars, restaurants and shows that can be found in Las Vegas, but may be closer to home and less expensive to host.

Alternately, create a mini-casino in your home or community centre. Rent blackjack tables and poker tables, and use fake money, tokens or coupons instead of real cash. Include a raffle so that partygoers have the chance to win something tangible, even though fake money is being used for the games.

Toga Party

When your child is turning 18, ideas of college, frats and sororities and more come to mind. A toga party, the typical college-movie scenario, makes for a perfect "welcome to the college age" birthday party. Serve nonalcoholic drinks and have extra bedsheets available to give to guests who show up to the party without the required dress.

Amusement Park

Even though your now-18-year-old may think he's an adult, we're all kids at heart, and an amusement park can be the perfect party destination for all ages. The only difference this year is that the teens can drive themselves and the party's not supervised. It's the perfect way for parents to know their child is safe (inside a major theme park equipped with security guards and emergency stations) without keeping a watchful eye out at all times. The partygoers feel like adults roaming alone throughout the park and have fun safely at the same time.

About the Author

Laila Alvarez has been writing professionally since 2002. She has written for Houston Community Newspapers and "L.A. Zoo View," "North O.C. Magazine," "Perpetual Phlegm" and other magazines, newspapers and websites. Alvarez has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from California State University-Fullerton.