Birthday parties are almost always a big deal for most people, but this is even more true for teens. While most kids always have some sort of say in helping plan their own parties when growing up, when they hit the teenage years, things get a little different.
With teenagers, you always have to walk a fine line with what’s cool at the time, and what’s not. This is why their input is a lot more important, since they’ll want their friends to have fun, and then tell everyone how fun it was afterwards (ideally.)
Confused as to where you should start with the planning of your teen’s upcoming birthday party? We’ve got you covered. Here are 5 crucial tips you can follow to make sure everything goes perfectly.
Avoid Themes (Unless Requested)
In the world of birthday parties, the idea of themes kind of come and go depending on age. It’s an odd thing, really.
When we are younger we tend to want the normal themed birthday parties, whether it’s princess-themed, ninja-themed, or whatever the current popular movies or television shows are. During the teenage years, the idea of theme becomes embarassing or too corny for most…and then when we are older adults, themed parties suddenly become en vogue again.
The thinking behind all of this is a topic for another day, but in the meantime, know that most teens are not going to want a themed party — unless they explicitly ask for one. So don’t try to surprise them with one, as it may not go over as you’d hoped.
Let The Teen Handle The Inviting
The methods for inviting people to birthday parties has changed quite a bit over the years, and just like everything else with a teen, things will be different for this age group.
Try to give your teen as much control as possible during the process. Let them come up with their ideal guest list, and then ask them how they want the invites to be put out. They’ll most likely want to do it via a Facebook event, and maybe some kind of specialized evite. If they want to hand out physical invites as well, let them design it.
Plan The Food Accordingly
The food aspect is definitely crucial to having a great birthday party for a teen. You can certainly make things pretty varied if you want, but it’s best to stick with simple, popular foods that will go over with most every guest.
This actually leaves you more options than you initially think.
Pizza is definitely a no-brainer, just be sure to get a lot of variety for those who don’t eat meat, or just simply want a cheese pizza ala Kevin from Home Alone.
Some other simple but popular ideas include burgers, hot dogs, and a build-your-own taco bar (or burrito bar.)
Whatever you go with, make sure it’s finger food, and generally easy to walk around and eat. You don’t want anything that will require utensils.
Be sure to have some simple appetizers too, like chips and dip, brownies, cookies, and all of the other usual party fare.
Oh…and don’t forget the cake!
Have A Dance/Music Area
Music is an important part of every teen’s culture, and since you’re having a party, it makes sense to have plenty of music on hand to keep the vibes going strong the whole time. You definitely don’t want to have awkward silence.
There are several ways to handle the music aspect, and if you’re having the party at your house, you likely have a sound system setup you already use.
However, you’ll want to set up a dedicated dance area, and make sure it’s not awkward. Some of this revolves around where you set it up, but also how you set it up.
You can’t just clear a room out and call it a dance floor, you need to set the mood. To do this, you’ll need to pay close attention to things like lights and other accessories. This may sound like a lot, but it’s actually more expensive than you think. Plus. if you do have to buy anything, you’ll always have it on hand for future events — maybe even next year’s birthday party.
The basics you’ll need include a light rig, a fog machine, and a bubble machine. Use those three things in a dance area, and you’ll instantly create an alluring dance floor that teens won’t feel weird or awkward getting out on. Just make sure the music never stops, the lights are always going, and the fog and bubbles are always flowing, and you’ll be good to go.
Set Up Video Games
Teens have loved video games for decades, but video games are now more a part of today’s culture than ever before. I mean, NFL players do Fortnite dances when they score touchdowns now.
Regardless of age, it’s always more fun to play video games when you have a big group watching. This can easily break into impromptu tournaments as well, which may end up becoming the highlight of the party.
So, make sure you have a dedicated video game area that can accompany most or all of the attendants, because things will likely end up there at some point. This included extra chairs. Make sure to let your teen get everything set up properly if you have no idea what you’re doing.
You may have to rent a few things since it’s a bigger group, but it’s all worth it. It’s also a good idea to get some prizes for any tournament winners, such as gift cards, or even video games themselves.
Teen birthday parties may seem a little daunting to plan initially, but as you can see, things can be simpler than you may think. Just make sure purchase all the appropriate aitems, then go over everything with your teen to make sure things are to his/her liking, and it will all go perfectly well. Good luck!