16th Birthday Party Ideas

Sweet 16 Parties
Sweet 16 Parties

Here are 16 fun ideas for a 16th birthday party. While you don't have to work all of them into your party plans, you're bound to find several ideas that can really help make your event more entertaining for everyone.

1. Have a Candle Ceremony

The traditional 16th birthday party celebration consists of the birthday girl lighting sixteen candles to represent sixteen important people in her life. Occasionally, a seventeenth candle is lit in memory of a loved one who has passed away. As the birthday girl lights each candle, she talks about why the person is important to her.

2. Hold a Shoe Ceremony

The shoe ceremony stems from the Quinceanera, a Mexican tradition that marks a girls fifteenth birthday. The birthday girl wears a pair of flat shoes to her party until her parents present her with her first pair of high heels during the event. She changes into the shoes as a symbol of her transformation from girl to woman. Other guests may buy her high-heeled shoes as gifts as well.

3. Throw a Tiara Party

A tiara party is similar to a shoe party except the birthday girl is crowned with a tiara during the party instead of being adorned with high heel pumps.

4. Hold a Father-Daughter Sweet 16 Dance

It is common for sweet sixteen parties to revolve around a father-daughter dance. The birthday girl can invite her friends and their fathers to a formal dance to mark her birthday.

5. Have a "My Super Sweet 16" Party

A popular television show on MTV called My Super Sweet 16 features privileged girls as they plan and celebrate over-the-top parties. To throw a Super Sweet 16 party, rent a fancy hall, hire a DJ, have guests dress up in black tie and rent a limo for the evening.

6. Throw a 90210 Party

Another television-themed party is the Beverly Hills 90210 party. To throw this party, think California cool. Decorate with palm trees and have guests dress for a hip beach party.

7. Have a Gossip Girl Party

If the birthday girl is more Manhattan than Manhattan Beach, try a Gossip Girl party. Decorate with cityscapes and "I Love New York" party favors. The dress code for this party is designer duds only.

8. Have a Candy Land Theme Party

The candy-themed party plays off the idea of sweet sixteen. Send invitations attached to lollipops, make gift bags full of sweets and hang a candy-stuffed piñata for entertainment.

9. Host a Dessert Party

Dessert parties are another way to play off of the sweet theme. Instead of serving dinner or appetizers at the party, serve a buffet of desserts. The main dish is, of course, the birthday cake.

10. Hold a Luau

It's hard not to have fun at a luau, so an island-themed party is a safe 16th birthday party idea. Decorate with tiki candles and inflatable palm trees and adorn guests with leis. Make sure the birthday girl has a grass skirt for the occasion.

11. Host a Driving Party

One of the most exciting things about turning sixteen is being able to get a driver's license. Mark this special occasion with a car-themed party. Send invitations that look like driver's licenses and decorate with speedway flags or traffic signs. The lucky birthday girl might even get a new car as her big gift.

12. Throw a Mall Party

Mall parties are a fun afternoon event. To throw one of these events, give each guest a small amount of money. Twenty dollars is a good amount. Each guest uses her money to buy things on a list, similar to a scavenger party. Have guests meet at the food court to announce the winner and have cake.

13. Have a Spa Party

Another fun way to spend the afternoon is at a spa. The birthday girl and her guest spend time together while getting facials, manicures and pedicures.

14. Hold a Princess Party

You can also make the birthday girl feel pampered by hosting a princess party. To pull off this party, go all out. Ask guests to wear formal attire and make sure the birthday girl has a crown to wear and a throne to sit in during the event.

15. Throw a Dinner Party

Some girls may want to celebrate their sweet sixteenth with a quiet dinner party instead of a big event. Host the party at home or in a restaurant. Good food and good conversation are the key ingredients to make this party work.

16. Have a Slumber Party

Finally, consider the traditional slumber party. The guest of honor and her friends stay up all night dancing, eating and laughing. Stock the party with good music, beauty supplies and pillows for the traditional pillow fight.

Make the Most of the Occasion

Whichever party option you choose, make the most of this landmark occasion. You'll create memories that will last long past your sixteenth year.

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16th Birthday Party Ideas