Ten Ideas For Hosting A Birthday Party For The Pre-Teen And Teenager

Sitting on the front porch of her new house, a little girl turning 3 began inviting all the children passing by to her birthday party. Overhearing, her startled mother quickly scrambled to make cupcakes for this impromptu gathering, while the excited children went home to find special treasures for gifts, one of which was a small bouquet of flowers picked by a neighbor boy.

While a simple last-minute party such as this might work for young children, their expectations become bigger and more expensive as they age. Teaching children that flashy parties are not always the most memorable is a valuable lesson and will also save parents money! The following are some fun, yet cost-effective ideas for hosting a birthday party for the pre-teen and teenager.

1. American Idol.

As music starts to become a big part of the pre-teen’s life, a musically-themed party could be a smash hit. Guest stars can dress as their favorite singers – have a supply of old clothes available (visit a thrift shop for interesting items) in case a guest arrives unprepared. Hook up a karaoke machine or use Guitar Hero on the Wii. Use lots of glitter and sparkly paper for decorations.

2. Nightmare on Elm Street.

If your child is a fan of scary movies, try making a horror film. Victoria Thompson, mother of three, borrowed her friend’s cabin to set the stage for her daughter Emma’s horror movie party. It worked especially well since her birthday is near Halloween. Mom brought dress up clothes and wigs, and a camcorder to film the “movie.”

3. “Camping with the Stars.”

When the weather warms up, set up tents for a camping-themed party. Use a firepit or barbeque to cook hot dogs and roast marshmallows. Wendy Grey added a Nerf gun battle for her son’s party and asked campers to pick up dead branches from the property for the fire, a good way to clean up yard debris!

4. Water World.

A beach-themed party is always a hit, especially if you are in driving distance to a beach or sandy lake shore. You can also  take swimmers to a public pool or waterpark for water time. If you stay home, turn on the sprinklers and have a water balloon fight, popular with all ages!

5. Amazing Race.

Jeanine Masciola gave her twin’s scavenger hunt party this title. She divided her runners into two groups and started them off in different directions to follow clues given out by businesses. The teams earned small gifts along the way and the group that returned first won coupons to a local shop.

6. Hairspray.

My twin girls attended  a spa party where the neighbor happened to be an esthetician who gave the girls a spa treatment that included manicures, pedicures and facials. One benefit is that your daughter might come home and recreate the spa treatment for you. I was that lucky!

7. Mall Cop.

Pre-teen and teenage girls enjoy hanging out at the mall. Start at the food court with birthday cupcakes and then head over to a photo booth to take photos. Then it’s on to the shops, such as Forever 21, to try on clothes. Buy a pair of white Converse shoes for the celebrant so the girls can sign them as a memento.

8. Murder on the Orient Express.

Murder mystery games could be the ticket for teenagers. The BBC has free murder mystery games online: BBC Radio “Devon Murder Mystery Play,” “Who Murdered Marilyn Spencer” and “ShakespeaRe-told.”

9. Kidnapped!

After notifying parents in advance, friends arrive at the celebrant’s house early in the morning and “kidnap” her in pajamas and robe! Everyone goes to a local coffee shop for breakfast and to open the gifts there.

10. Pillow Talk.

Of course the old stand-by, the sleepover, is always a backup. Include popcorn and a movie and you’re there! Provide white pillow cases for the kids to autograph with colored fabric pens for a keepsake from the night.

Darla Greb Mazariegos
About Darla Mazariegos

Writer Darla Greb Mazariegos is a mother of three and part of the North State Parent staff.

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