13th Teen Birthday Party Ideas

Cheryl Cirelli
Blowing candles on birthday cake

Coming up with 13th birthday party ideas for your new teen may seem like an insurmountable task. Kids on the cusp of the teenage years can have a wide range of maturity levels and interests, so it is important to involve your child in the planning and preparation of his birthday party.

musical.ly Party

The musical.ly app is very popular with modern teens and will make for the perfect party theme. The musical.ly logo, a white squiggly line over a red background, is the perfect icon to use on homemade invitations and the birthday cake. If you're doing a full meal, spaghetti with red sauce is the perfect main dish.

Decorations

Since the logo is easy to recreate, consider drawing a large version of it on poster board to hang-up in the party venue. Accent the room by hanging musical notes from the ceiling. Use the red and white color scheme for your tableware and balloons, too.

Activities

Activities should include a selfie "booth" featuring a device with the app loaded. Allow guests to create their own videos (get permission from parents before posting to social media). A karaoke machine is also an exciting activity that fits with the theme.

Favors

At the end of the night, hand out Top Musers Awards to guests in a variety of categories; make sure everyone gets an award. Musers are what musical.ly users are called. The awards can simply be red gift sacks with the musical.ly logo on them. Fill the goody bags with treats such as red licorice, fake microphones, candy cell phones, and other fun surprises.

The Color Run-Inspired Party

Covered in pigment powder

The Color Run is a popular activity around the world, so use it as a fun theme for your teen's party. This party would appeal to both boys and girls who love to be active and try new things. Get the word out with a vibrant invitation and lace colorful shoelaces around the edges.

Activities and Favors

Either ask guests to wear white t-shirts or provide some at the party. You can even create an iron-on transfer design with the name of the birthday person and the event date on it to put on the shirts. You might also give guests colorful sunglasses, tutus and bib numbers that can be easily made on the computer to wear. These can all double as party favors, too.

Create an obstacle course in your backyard and ask friends and family members to stand by each station to throw the "powder" at the guests to simulate the larger "Color Run" events. Don't forget to take individual and group photos at the end of the race.

Decorations and Food

Decorate the party venue with rainbow colored streamers, balloons and other decorations. Set up a table of snacks like protein bars, colorful fruit trays, and Gatorade for the kids to eat before and after the course. A layered cake, with each layer dyed a different color of the rainbow, is a nice way to finish the event.

Lucky 13

Snapping wishbone

You don't have to be superstitious to have a Lucky 13 party for your new teen.

Invitations and Decorations

Invitations can be die-cut rainbows or clovers that have all the party information. Decorate the party venue with all things lucky such as four leaf clovers, horse shoes and a rabbit foot or two and of course, the number 13. These images can be found online or easily drawn on poster board.

Activities

Have games and activities that reflect the theme such as a game of horseshoes or a scavenger hunt where guests look for lucky pennies and other special items. Guests can also decorate their own four-leaf clover shaped cookies as an activity. You could even have a wishbone snapping contest - set it up as a tournament and award the winner the "luckiest" person at the party!

Food and Favors

For snacks, serve Lucky Charm bars (made like Rice Krispie treats, but with Lucky Charms) and chocolate gold coins that could represent the lucky pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If you want to do more than snacks for the party, have a buffet set up with 13 of the birthday boy or girl's favorite foods.

Send guests home with a horseshoe with a note of thanks from the birthday boy or girl attached with a ribbon.

Glow-in-the-Dark

Glow sticks

A glow-in-the-dark is the perfect theme for a fun loving teen. Handwrite invitations using neon markers on dark paper to create a glowing effect. Host the party after dark and stock-up on a lot of glow-sticks, available at most dollar stores. Extra sticks can go home with kids as party favors.

Decorations

Fill the party venue with all types of glowing decorations. Put a glow stick into a balloon before inflating it to make it glow in the dark. Cover the venue floors and walls with these glowing balloons. Glow in the dark stars are also a nice addition to your party decor. You can also create a festive table by putting a glow stick necklace under each plate (so that the edges glow against the table cloth) and by putting glow stick bracelets at the base of each drinking glass.

Activities

Fill clear bottles with water and a glow stick and invite guests to participate in a game of glow-in-the-dark bowling. Another fun activity is the glow-in-the-dark star hunt. Find packages of these stars at the dollar store and hide them around the yard or party venue. Hide some stars in obvious places such as attaching them to walls or laying them on the ground. Make other stars harder to find, such as placing them high or low or behind objects.

You can also add black lights to the backyard for a rave party, too.

Food

Serve typical party food to your guests, but surprise them with cupcakes with glowing frosting. Simply add tonic water to your frosting recipe to make your frosting glow under a black light.

Mall Scavenger Hunt

Girlfriends shop in mall

The mall and teenagers are almost synonymous, so a mall scavenger hunt is the perfect way to celebrate your new teen. Instead of sending invitations, give the kids' parents a call so they know where to drop them off at the mall.

Activities

Gear your scavenger hunt to your child's interest or use the number 13 as your inspiration. For instance, have guests find 13 of each item on the list. Include items that can be gotten for free from businesses such as business cards, paper clips, toothpicks, straws, pens, bags, and flyers/advertisements. If your guests have phones with cameras, you could include requirements such as guests trying on 13 different outfits, guests taking selfies with 13 mall employees or photos of 13 different chairs at the mall.

Food

Give guests enough money to purchase their own meals at the food court, or meet at restaurant within the mall for dinner. Many malls have a cupcake, ice cream, or other sweet store so your teen can have a sweet ending to the meal.

Favors

Contact stores within the mall and ask for giveaways for your goody bags. For instance make-up stores might be willing to give your guests make-up samples and restaurants might give coupons. Include these items in your goody bags along with other treats such as candy and favors.

Additional Fun 13th Birthday Party Ideas

To get more ideas for your soon-to-be teen's birthday party, ask what kinds of things he would enjoy doing for his birthday. Talk about various suggestions and let your teen know you will get back to him with a final decision on what you will be doing.

The best ideas are often those that involve an activity your child and his friends are interested in, so don't fret if the first few ideas aren't his favorite. Consider doing the following additional party ideas:

Friday the 13th

If Friday the 13th falls near your teen's birthday, use that as a theme. You can expand on the 13 theme and turn the party into a Friday the 13th event. You can decorate with black streamers and balloons to give the room a creepy feel. Use the number 13 in your decorations. You can hang the numbers from a banner or streamers. Halloween decorations can also be used to add an element of spookiness to the party. If you have a teen who likes scary movies, have Friday the 13th playing on a TV. Be sure that the cake reflects the theme. In addition to the number being displayed on the cake, have accents done in black and colors such as green and orange.

Sleepover

Slumber Party Supplies

Sleepovers are popular among teens of all ages. Making a 13th birthday celebration a sleepover is an ideal option to consider for your teen's party. To add some fun elements to the party, rent movies and a mix of video games. The teens can spend the night dancing to favorite music and playing games. Order pizza and serve snacks such as chips and dip, fresh vegetables and cupcakes.

You can let the teens make their own sundaes as part of the party. Set up an area and serve ice cream and a mix of toppings for each guest to choose from.

Spa Party

Most teen girls will love a night filled with pampering. A spa party can be held in conjunction with a sleepover or as its own theme. Thirteen-year-olds will enjoy giving each other makeovers and manicures. Make a playlist of fun music for them to listen to while they are being pampered.

For an at-home spa party you will need a bunch of cool hair accessories, makeup and nail polish. Make up goodie bags full of beauty products for each girl to use and take home.

Serve fun finger foods for the teens to eat while they are enjoying their spa treatments. Some items to serve include:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Pizza bites
  • Finger sandwiches
  • Sparkling water with fresh lemon

If you prefer to take the teens out to get pampered, call the spa in advance and check if you can bring decorations such as balloons and a cake with you for the girls to enjoy.

Friends in woods

Hiking

If you have an active teen who loves the outdoors, a hiking party is a must. Invite between five and seven children along with you for a day of hiking in the local state park or a nature trail. You can request that those invited wear appropriate clothing and a pair of hiking shoes or boots. Bring along sunscreen, bug spray, first aid kit, cell phone and a large picnic lunch for celebrating. Do not forget a camera to capture the fun. Because you won't want to carry a lot with you, play games that don't require any items such as I-spy or Truth or Dare.

Swim Party

Before planning a pool party bash, check with your teenager first. Both boys and girls can feel shy about their bodies at this age, so make sure it is something he/she would want to do. If you do not have a pool in your backyard, most community pools and country clubs offer their facilities for a small fee.

Keep the food simple so the teens can grab a bite and continue having fun. Pizza, pop and birthday cake are all great options for this type of celebration.

The local dollar store is likely to have some appropriate favors such as pool noodles, floatation devices, beach balls or flip flops.

Sporting Event

Check out the local minor leagues for an inexpensive but fun party. Hockey, basketball, and baseball minor league teams often offer packages for group outings. Included in the package is usually food, drink, and tickets into the game. A special party box or area may be included in the package as well. Call the team's ticketing office for more information on their packages.

Holiday Attractions

If your child's birthday falls near a holiday, ask him if he would like to incorporate that into his birthday party plans. Go to a haunted house as an October birthday party idea; plan a tour of holiday lights at Christmas; or host a fun fireworks birthday celebration for kids with birthdays at the beginning of July.

Cute Crafts

If your newly-minted teen is creative, come up with some fun craft projects together that can be enjoyed by everyone attending the party. Make sure you have plenty of supplies on-hand and set up individual tables where each craft can be made. If you have a lot of attendees, divide them up into groups so that they can all try their hands at each project. For smaller parties, you can just introduce one craft at a time to the whole group.

Try this cute Starburst wrapper bracelet as one of your projects! The kids will love helping you gather the wrappers of course.

Coed Dance Parties

Girls with balloons

Many parents plan a coed dance party for their child's 13th birthday. While this theme may not appeal to all 13-year-olds, there are others who embrace the idea. Those who are shy or not a maturity level where they are interested in the opposite sex may not feel comfortable with a dance party. Those who have gone on group dates or have an interest in the opposite sex will enjoy dancing the night away.

If you decide to host a dance party for your child, make sure you have plenty of party food available such as pizza, chips, pop, and cookies.

Have your child make mix of their favorite dance songs so no one is left manning the music. Let your child know that you or your spouse will be checking into the party periodically.

It is also a good idea to have a back-up plan in case the dance portion of the party flops. You can have several movies rented and make it a movie-night. Be open to suggestions of what your teen wants to do as well if it does not work out.

Simple and Sweet

13 bday cake

Just because your child is turning 13 does not mean she is ready for a huge party. Maybe you do not have the money right now, and would rather spend it on a larger 16th birthday party, or maybe he is experiencing difficulties with friends. Sometimes family and friend obligations can get in the way of celebrations.

In those cases, you do not have to forgo the party entirely. Invite family and close friends over for dinner and make it a simple and sweet affair. Give your teen a choice of his favorite meal, have a birthday cake, and give him a few simple presents.

Keep It Fun

As long as you follow the cues your child is giving you, you will be sure to give her the party she feels comfortable with. Be assured that as long as you keep your child's wishes in mind, the party will be a success.

13th Teen Birthday Party Ideas