Planning a party for a teenager can be as treacherous and dangerous as defusing a bomb. Teenagers are just starting to exercise their independence and to build their social circles, so it is understandable that they want the best possible party. You want something that will please your finicky teenager but also won’t break the bank. Luckily, we’ve got ten party ideas for teenagers that will sure to please even the most precocious youngster, without draining your bank account.
1. Backyard Dance Party
You may not want to host this year’s rave, but letting your teenager invite over a few of his or her closest friends and letting them blast some music while they dance, chow down on snacks, and chat, is often as much planning as a party needs. Provide plenty of finger foods and make sure that you have the equipment to really get the music pumping! If you have a little extra cash to spare, you could even rent a hall and let your teen invite more friends.
2. Karaoke Competition
Some teenagers might need a little warming up before they are reading to take the microphone, but a karaoke competition, with a set list full of their favorite songs, is a great way to get every up, dancing, and participating. Even if some of the guests don’t want to sing, they could definitely dance. Set up lights and a stage for extra effect, or even invest in a karaoke game for a video game console that puts the singer right into a music video!
3. Video Game Tournament
This one is great for guys and girls that love video games! While it may limit the number of guests that can be playing at one time, if a video game is the main pastime of your teen, you can set up two screens and let them play in two teams against each other. Game-themed snacks can round out the event. Some guests may just want to watch, or you could set up another station with board or card games for those who don’t have a controller in their hands.
4. Make a YouTube Video
If you have a teen who dreams of stardom, this is the perfect birthday activity! There are even production companies that will help your party-goers write a song, record it, and make a music video (a la Rebecca Black), before posting it to the internet. If you don’t want to go that professional (or expensive), have all of the guests suggest songs or video ideas and then have everyone vote on which one they want to do. Break out the cameras (or smartphones), and start recording their skit or lip-sync video. Edit it together and post it online for a great memento of the party!
5. Whipped Cream or Water Balloon Fight
If your teen has a summer birthday, this is a great way to get everyone involved and having fun. Pick a park or just use your backyard, as the setting for an epic whipped cream or water balloon (or both!) fight. Get plenty of cans of whipped cream or fill up the water balloons beforehand, so all you have to do is pick teams and get throwing! For a more interactive and intense game, turn it into capture the flag. Everyone who gets sprayed or hit sits out for a minute before re-entering the game and the first team to nab the other’s flag is the winner!
6. Hide and Go Seek in the Dark
This is a great variation on traditional hide and go seek and is way more fun for teenagers. If you have a large building that you can use, like a church or a house, this is the perfect setting. Have the party after dark and turn off all the lights in the building. Whoever is “it,” (the birthday boy or girl is the perfect patsy), goes outside while everyone hides, and then re-enters the space, blundering through the dark as he looks for his guests. Laughter and fun are sure to follow. Sardines in the dark is also fun.
7. Talent Show
If your teen and his or her friends are an especially talented bunch, a talent show might be the perfect birthday party activity. Give everyone plenty of time to practice their talent, set up a stage, and provide popcorn and other snacks and get the show started! Don’t put too much pressure on the whole event, and make sure everyone knows that all types of talents are welcome! If someone would rather be the stage manager or director, that is a great way to get everyone involved, even if they have stage fright.
8. Old Movie Marathon
For teens that are fans of classic cinema, nothing is better than an old movie marathon. Work up a playlist that is full of the essentials, from Casa Blanca to Psycho, depending on your kid’s tastes, and set up a big sheet and project the movies onto it for a great viewing experience. Provide classic movie snacks for an added touch of theater.
9. Book or Movie-Themed Party
Pick a classic book or movie, something most of the guests are likely to have read or seen, and plan the party around it. Come up with a menu that suits the story or time period, and have all of the guests come in costumes that correspond to the theme or to characters. Some suggestions are The Hunger Games, The Great Gatsby, Twilight, etc.
10. Laser Tag
Laser tag is another great way to get every single one of the guests involved. You can rent or buy laser tags sets from just about any party store, or go to an arcade that provides the sets and the space that make for a more realistic game. Divide up into teams and see which can survive the longest. Keep shuffling the teams until everyone is too tired to play anymore.