So… you are planning a teen party. It may be for a special occasion such as a birthday or sweet sixteen, to celebrate a homecoming, graduation or just to gather a group of friends for a fantastic evening. What do you need to know to make it fun and safe?
What's the Occasion?
There are lots of great occasions for which you may want to throw a party. Some of the most popular teen party events include:
- End of the school year
- Back to school
- Team parties, to celebrate the end or beginning of a sports or club season
- After dance or game parties
While your occasion may affect the type of food and decorations you select, the basics of planning your party will stay the same.
Finding a Cool Teen Party Theme
A theme can help tie the different elements of your party together, and be a fun way for everyone to step out of their everyday lives. The party theme can be articulated in the decorations, food and activities that you have at your party. These are some of the most popular teen party themes at the moment:
- Retro Chic Party : Pick a bygone era and use it to style your party. Rummage in your folks' closets for attire for a Groovy Seventies party, run Brady Bunch episodes in the background, don headbands and valley girl minis for an Eighties Bash or get historical with a roaring twenties bash.
- Luau Party: The luau may be a classic, but it is a perennial for a reason. Who wouldn't enjoy leaving homework and stress behind for a night in a tropical paradise. Make sure you include a limbo contest to get things rolling.
- Silver Screen Party: Looking for a party idea for drama club or for your Oscar night get-together? Take your teen party inspiration straight from the silver screen. You can pick a particular movie, a genre, a director or leave it wide open. Imagine a party themed after your favorite Anime flick or all of your friends playing croquet in honor of Heathers.
- American Idol Party: Rent a karaoke machine and have your own American Idol contest with your friends. When the final votes are in, your party will be the winner.
- Fear Factor Party: You don't have to make your friends eat fried worms to have a fear factor party. Use jello to make unappealing but harmless snacks, make some innocuous slime for people to stick their hands and decorate with rubber snakes and fake rodents.
If you're inviting all girls for a birthday or slumber party, consider these favorite teen themes:
- Salon Night Party: Spend the evening experimenting with hairstyles, makeup and glamour! If you have the budget, consider hiring a cosmetics or nail care professional to come and help!
- Jewelry Glam Party: Stock up on jewelry making supplies and invite your friends for an evening of beading.
Location, Time and Date
Teen Parties at Home
It is important to decide where you are going to have your party. You can hold small parties in most homes. Homes with bonus rooms or recreation rooms are often well-suited to partying, so ask around if your group is looking for a spot. If your home has fragile or valuable items in your party room, consider putting them away before you have your event to ensure they are safe from breakage or damage. If a teen group is throwing the party, make sure you share the responsibilities so that the host does not end up doing all the preparation and cleanup.
Large Party Locations
If you want to have a larger party, look into having it outdoors in someone's yard, in a park, in a community center or other event space. Many towns will allow you to reserve park shelters or community rooms for parties for a very small fee; however make sure you find out their restrictions on group size and what kinds of food and beverages can be served.
When to Have Your Party
When you are planning your teen party, if there is a guest of honor (such as the birthday guy or girl), make sure you pick a time or date that accommodates your guest. While most parties are held in the evening, you can throw a great party at any time of day. Invite a group of girl friends for a birthday breakfast, for a party that is not your run-of-the-mill gathering. Celebrating the winning season of your sports team? Meet in the park for a mid-day picnic with Frisbee and other active leisure sports. If you are having a nighttime party, include the time your party will be over so that everyone's expectations are set when they receive the invitation.
Invitations and Guest List
One of the most difficult decisions for teen party planning is who to invite. If you want to keep your gathering small, stick to your closest friends. Of course, if you are having a co-ed party, remember that your friends are likely to bring dates, so you could end up with twice the number of people you invited!
If your party is for a specific group, such as a team or squad, make sure you get an invitation to everyone involved. Never, ever post an invitation in a public place such as a forum or bulletin board; while your goal might be a big party, you do not want to invite people unknown to you into your space!
Teen Party Food and Drinks
The food and beverages for teen parties can be pretty simple. Stock up on lots of soda and snacks. If you want to serve something more substantial, pizza, hot dogs, burgers or chicken strips are always popular. While teens may not be jonesing for an array of salads, do offer some raw veggies and cut up fruit for those who are into healthful eating.
In addition to soda, provide lots of bottled water to keep everyone hydrated, especially if you are dancing or doing other strenuous activities.
The most important thing when you are planning a teen party is to be creative. If you enjoy an activity or theme, your friends probably will, too. You don't have to have a large budget or live in a mansion to put together a cool gathering your friends are sure to remember.