16th Birthday Party Ideas

A teen's 16th birthday marks an important transitional year. Whether you do a "sweet 16" party for your daughter or a bash for your son, try to remember that 16-year-olds consider themselves very grown up.

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STEP 1: Sit down with your teen and establish what would make an ideal celebration for both of you.

STEP 2: Discuss issues such as noise levels, curfew and appropriate behaviors with your teen before the celebration.

STEP 3: Devise a guest list based on your available space and your child's listof critical invitees.

STEP 4: Consider a creative location for the party, such as the beach, a roller-skating or ice-skating rink, a bowling alley or a local pizza place.

STEP 5: Send out invitations at least two weeks in advance.

STEP 6:Devise a menu and buy more food than you think you'll need, especially if teenage boys are coming to the party.

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STEP 7: If you don't want to cook, order pizza - always a teenage crowd-pleaser.

STEP 8: Jazz up the drinks. Although teens will drink a lot of soda, you might want to serve punch or sparkling cider to add to the festive mood.

STEP 9: For background or dancing music, buy blank tapes and have your teen and his or her friends make mixes of favorite songs.

STEP 10: Consider something special like renting a strobe light and clearing the living room for dancing.

STEP 11: Order or make a special cake. This is a milestone birthday.

STEP 12: At the party, keep a low profile, but let your presence be known.

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Tips & Warnings

  • Make a special piƱata and fill it with age-appropriate trinkets such as toe rings, nail polish, woven bracelets or rub-on tattoos.
  • If you decide to do party games, choose games that teenagers will like; avoid younger kids' games.
  • Warn the neighbors ahead of time that you will be having a teenage party.
  • Plan ahead what you will do if you find an inappropriate activity (drinking, drugs, sex) going on at the party. Possibilities include sending the offender home or calling his or her parents.

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