Up until about age 10, most kids are happy if a birthday party includes balloons, a couple of games, and cake. But as children move into the tween and teen years, party planning becomes more complicated. Partygoers in this age group still enjoy celebrating with friends, but want more than a round of musical chairs.
Here are five sure-fire party ideas that can be tailored to fit tweens and teens:
1. Glow-in-the-Dark Sock Hop. Turn down the lights for a fantastic party theme. Use black lights to illuminate your party space for a glowing good time. Decorate the room with white streamers and neon-colored balloons, and make the party table pop with a white table cover along with neon plates and napkins. Peruse party stores for everything from glow necklaces and bracelets to glow-in-the-dark makeup and nail polish. In the party invitation, let guests know that under black lights, anything white or neon-colored shows up, so they should dress to shine! Pick up a package of neon or black and white patterned socks, one pair per guest. Give each partygoer a pair of socks, put on music, and they can move those feet to the beat.
2. Murder Mystery Dinner Party. A Murder Mystery party is a fun, scripted way for partygoers to mingle and puzzle out clues. Mymysteryparty.com is a great website, which has multiple party scenarios to choose from, including mysteries without a murder. You can choose age and the number of players. This instant download comes with everything: Recipes, invites, name tags, and even ice breaker party games. All you will need (in addition to the download) is a few simple costumes you can pick up such as an army hat for a soldier, a feather boa for a movie star, etc. And if you don’t feel like cooking up elaborate dinner fare, kids will be just as happy with pizza and chips.
3. Zombie Apocalypse. Ask your guests to come dressed as zombies and you’re in the running for the coolest parent award! Then hand out Nerf guns and turn your back yard into a zombie battleground. Serve up jello in the shape of a brain created with an HDE Frozen Brain Silicone Jello Chocolate Tray Mold (available at amazon.ca). Then add pizzazz to your punch with brain-shaped ice cube molds (also sold at amazon.ca).
Send the zombies home with ‘Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kits’: Brown paper bags filled with fun items such as novelty Band-Aids (such as bacon, glowing, or neon-colored), Zombie repellent, such as Silly String or breath-freshening spray, small flashlights, and candy.
4. Cake Battle. Turn tweens loose in the kitchen with a mini-cake decorating challenge. Kids can really explore their creativity as they cut cupcakes into shapes, stick them together with frosting, or even build towers by spearing the cakes with toothpicks or lollipop sticks. Teens will also have a blast doing this fun and delicious activity, so be sure to have your camera ready. Hand out six cupcakes per guest. Provide them with a variety of decoration ingredients such as tinted frosting, sprinkles, fondant sheets and cookie cutters, and toothpicks or lollipop sticks to use as skewers for building. Give them a theme to work from to get those creative juices flowing. Examples: Monuments (the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, holidays, animals, etc.). Vote for the best creation and then chow down!
5. Espionage. Turn your party venue into a spy recruiting centre with an espionage theme. Greet each guest as they come in with a customized Spy Kit. Include items such as a small flashlight, a magnifying glass, and an ID Tag. Decorate a round layer cake to resemble a giant magnifying glass and serve red Twizzler dynamite sticks. Check out this website for super-cool spy party gear: spymuseumstore.org/spy-party-supplies.html. For games, check out this website for simple ciphers kids can decode: topspysecrets.com/secret-codes-for-kids.html.
Other game and activity ideas for an espionage-themed party
Invisible Ink. Write a message in lemon juice and hold the paper over a light bulb to see the message appear.
Laser Beam Crawl. Tape yarn across a doorway in different patterns. Challenge guests to climb through the laser beams without knocking down the strings!
Fingerprint Match. Take fingerprints of guests using white index cards and a black stamp pad. Make two sets of prints for each guest on two different cards and label with the name on the back of each. Mix up the cards and let guests try to analyze the prints and match up each set.
Use any of these fun themes as a jumping off point, and then tailor the games and favors to the gender and age of your birthday kid. Fill out your party agenda by searching the Internet for additional ideas. No matter which of these themes you choose, your tween or teen’s party will rock!
Tiffany is a freelance writer and the mother of three children, including a tween and teen.
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