19 Birthday Party Ideas for Teens

Hawaiian luau

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There is no doubt about it: A great teen party needs an awesome party theme. Try using one of these birthday party themes when planning your teenager's next birthday party. If you need any help getting started, you can also use any teen birthday party planner with budget information, free printables, and a list of games.

  • 01 of 19

    Backward Party

    backwards birthday sign

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    Do everything you'd normally do at a party, just do it backward for laughs! Ask guests to wear fun party outfits inside out and backward. Serve birthday cake first, then pizza. At the photo booth, make guests say "eseehc" and hang signs printed backward, like "yppaH yadhtriB."

  • 02 of 19

    Someone's in the Kitchen Party

    cupcake decorating party

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    Have guests cook and customize food or baked goods. Host a cookie or cupcake baking party with all kinds of icings and ingredients. Older teens may enjoy a make-your-own tacos theme. Give guests chef hats and aprons that they can take home as favors.

  • 03 of 19

    Sports MVP Party

    soccer birthday cake

    Natalia Rüdisüli / EyeEm / Getty Images

    If your teen loves a specific sports team or sport like football, basketball, or soccer, there are plenty of readymade decorations and favors at party stores. Decorate with sports memorabilia, and play videos of famous big games. Serve ballpark and stadium-style foods such as hot dogs, soft pretzels, nachos, and soda.

  • 04 of 19

    Under the Sea

    Under the Sea decor

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    Little kids may love this theme, but kick it up a few levels for teens. Ask guests to dress creatively as their favorite undersea character (vintage Sponge Bob, anyone?). Expect a mermaid, too. Hang crepe paper jellyfish from the ceiling and serve starfish- and shell-shaped cookies.

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  • 05 of 19

    Blast from the Past: Roaring '20s

    pouring sparkling cider into flutes

    The Spruce / Candace Madonna

    Invite guests to dress in sequined flapper dresses and feather boas or white suits, bowties, and hats. Play jazz music, and serve non-alcoholic bubbly in flutes. Serve rich chocolate cake to keep with the era. Favors can include party store finds, such as long beaded necklaces or neon fedora hats.

  • 06 of 19

    Blast from the Past: '50s Sock Hop

    girl in a poodle skirt

    Michele Quattrin; mQn Photography / Getty Images

    Dress up in pink poodle skirts, frilly ankle socks, saddle shoes, or leather jackets. Go with a retro diner decor theme and include a big slippery dance floor with blaring rock-and-roll music. Throw a hula hoop contest. Serve an all-American menu with burgers and fries, sodas and milkshakes, plus old-fashioned candies like Whoppers and licorice.

  • 07 of 19

    Blast from the Past: Groovy '60s

    tie dye shirts drying

    Melissa Ross / Getty Images

    Throw a flower-power party for your free-spirited teen decorated with love and peace signs. Make a cardboard photo booth in the shape of a vintage VW bus painted with funky flowers. Guests can create tie-dyed T-shirts to take home. Serve veggie burgers and granola parfaits. Give retro round sunglasses in neon colors as party favors.

  • 08 of 19

    Blast from the Past: '70s Disco

    disco ball and mylar curtains

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    Light up your teen's party with a glittering disco ball and funky dance music from the 1970s. Blast the soundtrack from the era's iconic film, "Saturday Night Fever." Encourage guests to wear big bellbottom pants and platform shoes. Serve cheese or chocolate fondue. Give mini-lava lamps or disco ball keychains as favors.

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  • 09 of 19

    Glam Cam Party

    Glam makeup kit

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    Guests can come dressed up in their best glamorous party clothes, and you can supply makeup for their glam photoshoots. Serve non-alcoholic bubbly in flutes and chic hors d'oeuvres to make it feel like an elegant cocktail party. Give each guest a mini-makeup kit to take home as a favor.

  • 10 of 19

    Hawaiian Luau Party

    Hawaiian luau

    Lee Vue / Unsplash

    A Hawaiian-themed party is always popular. Ask guests to wear Hawaiian shirts and give them plastic leis as favors. Decorate with tiki torches, palm trees, and pink flamingos. Serve fruity tropical mocktails, plan a traditional luau, or make Hawaiian pizza. End with a coconut birthday cake. (Or, try a volcano cake!). Learn hula dancing to Hawaiian music.

  • 11 of 19

    Lights! Camera! Action!

    Oscars party theme

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    Treat guests like stars on the red carpet. Display disposable digital cameras and make guests pretend to be paparazzi while taking photos. Decorate with gold and silver balloons, dangling gold stars, and a red carpet leading to a photo booth. Serve a star-shaped cake and popcorn. Send them home with a star-shaped favor.

  • 12 of 19

    Movie Party

    popcorn bags

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    Choose a movie to show and create the decor, menu, cake, and favors around the film's theme. Serve popcorn in red-and-white striped bags or boxes, soda, and movie theater boxed candy. If the weather permits, stream the movie on an outdoor movie screen under the stars.

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  • 13 of 19

    Murder Mystery Party

    murder mystery party theme with mocktails

    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    Teens (and tweens) love a murder mystery and it's also a great theme for a birthday near Halloween. Look for themes with free kits that include downloadable detailed instructions, character background kits, secret clues, invitations, and everything you need to host an unforgettable murder mystery party.

  • 14 of 19

    Mystical Party

    Tarot Card reading

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    Is your teen into astrology, tarot cards, or palm reading? Hire a professional psychic or ask a friend to pretend to tell fortunes. Set up a table with a crystal ball and candles for readings. Find free printable tarot cards and ESP-related activity cards. Decorate with celestial images. Create a birthday cake with zodiac signs and give mini-crystal balls as favors.

  • 15 of 19

    Nail Night Party

    nail art

    Tatyana Maximova / Getty Images

    Pamper your teen with a trendy nail art party. Set up a nail salon, providing loads of colors, decals, and stencils. Or buy a spa kit with everything you need. Serve easy foods like pinwheel wraps, lemonade, and flavored waters. Outfit each guest with a plush robe and slipper set to keep as a favor, or as a budget gift, guests can take home their favorite nail polish.

  • 16 of 19

    Pizza Party

    pizza party

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    The simple pizza party theme is a perennial winner. Set up your kitchen with various choices of sauces and toppings, from the classics to more eclectic choices. Remember, aprons all around! Wrap up ceramic pizza slice dishes as favors.

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  • 17 of 19

    Splish, Splash! Pool Party

    pool party

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    A pool party is always a huge hit. Grill burgers and dogs and add a drink bar with lemonades and iced teas. Water balloons, colorful floats, and inflatable pool games get the party started. Create a grab bag of pool toys for favors.

  • 18 of 19

    Viva Las Vegas

    gold dice and playing cards

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    Celebrate your teen's birthday with fun card and dice games. Throw an Elvis impersonator contest with a karaoke machine. Add to the bright neon lights with glow sticks games. Set up a buffet of hot foods and end by wrapping up a new set of playing cards for a quick favor.

  • 19 of 19

    Wild, Wild West Barn Party

    Barn party

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    Barn weddings are big, but so are barn birthdays. Ask guests to wear comfy cowboy boots and square-dancing gear. Hand out bandanas and cowboy hats as party favors. Serve country comfort food, such as chili, mac and cheese, and apple cider. Teens also love a bonfire if you have the space.