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Birthday Party Ideas for Teens

By Zora Hughes ; Updated April 18, 2017
Help your teen come up with the perfect party theme.

When it comes to birthday parties for teenagers, one size definitely does not fit all. For some teens, a cool house party is a no-brainer, while others want to get as far away from home as possible. Save yourself the headache of trying to come up with a birthday party idea for your teen and let her take the lead on the type of party she'd like to have, within your boundaries and budget. Whether at home or a nearby venue, you can help make your teen's next birthday party one to remember.

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The House Party

Your teen can have an awesome birthday party at home, whether indoors or out. Having a theme for the party makes everything easier, as all the activities, decor and food can be planned around it. Offer suggestions, but let your teen choose a theme she thinks is cool. A 13-year-old girl might like a hot pink karaoke party, while a hip 16-year-old might love a party based around the hottest movie franchise of the moment. For the all-around sports-loving boy, a sports-themed backyard party that includes basketball and water volleyball in the pool might be right up his alley, while the science-fiction fanatic might want a Comic-Con style birthday party, where everyone must come dressed as their favorite science fiction character. Talk with your teen about the details of the party to make sure that you can pull off the theme of their dreams within your budget.

The Hotel and Club Party

Splurge on a hotel ballroom for a major milestone birthday, such as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, Quinceanera or a Sweet Sixteen. Most hotels with event venues have their own event planners and caterers who can help you pull off an amazing party. You could also rent out a local restaurant, lounge or nightclub for your teen's special night, ideal for older teens. Have servers offer up a menu of nonalcoholic mocktails, including a signature one that the birthday teen can create. If you can't afford a full-on hotel or club party, a more laid-back option would be to book a suite in a hotel for your teen and a handful of friends. Get a room for yourself next door so you can monitor, while giving the teens their space to have fun.

The Cool Activity Party

Many local teen-friendly attractions and entertainment venues offer birthday party packages that would appeal to your teen. You could have a bowling birthday party at night during "cosmic glow bowling." For older teens, an upscale bowling lounge, such as the national chain Lucky Strike, would add a slightly more sophisticated feel to the party. For the game-loving teen, consider a party at an entertainment center that combines an arcade with a restaurant, such as Dave and Busters or ESPN Zone. For the thrill seeker, get discounted group admission for your teen and a bunch of friends to an amusement park, where they can ride every roller coaster, or a water park, where they can race down the tallest speed slides. Most amusement parks have pavilions that you can reserve for a party celebration as well.

The Getaway Party

Your teen might love the idea of a party out of town so that it feels like a getaway, or so that she's not having the same type of party as everyone else in town. If you live within a couple of hours from a ski resort, a ski lodge party might be perfect for a winter birthday, provided it's feasible for her guests to get there. For a summer birthday, perhaps you could rent out a cabin by the lake just outside of town. Make sure to get several other parents to help you chaperone. If there's a campground relatively close, your teen might have a blast with an overnight camping party, with plenty of adults to supervise and help with the campfire and other safety concerns.

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About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.

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