Is your teen celebrating an important birthday? Whether it’s a 13th birthday, 16th birthday, or another fun milestone, you may find yourself looking for epic birthday party ideas. Today’s teens want more than just some party games, and they’re long past the phase where a pinata and a bounce house will cut it. If you’re looking for some epic birthday party ideas, here are 17 fun and age-appropriate ideas that are sure to get your teenager’s stamp of approval!
1) Painting Party
Painting parties are the perfect option for artistic teens, and when you use premade painting kits it takes much of the party planning and setup burden off your shoulders. You can pick a fun painting kit that reflects your teen’s personality — perhaps they love video games and would love to pay homage to a classic video game character? Or maybe they’re a sports fan who wants to honor a star player?
The event is all about your teen, so make the activity a reflection of who they are. Activities like paint parties are also an excellent creative outlet, and research shows that art has a number of benefits for youths — who says you can’t plan a beneficial and fun party for your teen?
Painting kits like the ones we offer at Painting to Gogh give you everything you need to set up a fantastic painting party for your teen: paint, brushes, easels, aprons, and canvasses. With dozens of acrylic kits to choose from, you’re bound to find at least one that your artsy teen wants to try their hand at recreating. Set up in a large enough space for your guests, load up the online step-by-step tutorial, and you’re just about ready to go. You supply the snacks and drinks, while we supply everything else! Browse available painting party kits today to start planning your teen’s birthday paint party.
- Avoid messy foods. The last thing your guests want is to smear hot wing sauce across their freshly-painted canvas. To make sure their hard work doesn’t get ruined, choose low-mess snacks like a teen-friendly charcuterie board.
- Consider diptych paintings. Diptych paintings let two people collaborate on one big painting. Group party guests into pairs. Each person paints half of a scene on their canvas, and when they’re complete, the canvases are displayed next to each other to complete the scene.
2) Disco/Dance Party
Teens love to dance, and you can transform that passion into a great party. Grab some glow sticks, hang a disco ball, and hire a DJ — or pull up your teens’ favorite playlist. Then, let them dance the night away. Be sure to have plenty of snacks for this party idea, because dancing makes teens hungry. Aim to have at least one filling option, like a taco bar, and several simple finger foods and snacks that teens love: chips, pigs in a blanket, sliders, and pinwheels. Don’t forget to ask your guest of honor (your teen) for their input so you can be sure their favorite gets on the menu!
- Keep the playlist PG-13 at most. Parents differ quite a bit when it comes to what music they’re comfortable with their teens listening to.
- Consider a theme. You can keep it simple, like “movie characters” or “your favorite decade,” and encourage party guests to dress the part.
3) Game Night Party (Board Games or Video Games)
There are many fun games that appeal to teenagers, and you can put these together into a fun birthday party event. You can either choose several board games for small groups and divide the guests into groups to play them one at a time, or choose a fun round-robin style card game, like Relative Insanity, that works for large groups. If your teen is a video gamer, you could set up a video game night instead. Have guests bring their laptops or handheld consoles and headsets, or arrange challenges in multi-player games where guests take turns and compete against each other.
- Choose games that give all party guests a chance to play. A classic like Mario Kart is always a fun option that lets everyone get involved!
- Have extra supplies on hand. Make sure you have enough controllers, dice, pencils, headsets, or whatever other supplies you need to make the game night a success.
4) Murder Mystery Party
A murder mystery themed teenage birthday party can be quite a bit of fun. Create a “who done it” scenario complete with mystery guests (using some parents who are willing to dress up to play the part), and have your teen and their guests work together to figure out the clues to find the killer. While it’s a great idea to have party favors for all the partygoers (and any parents you roped into helping out), make sure you sweeten the pot with one big prize for the person or team who figures out the identity of the killer first.
- Use printables. You don’t need to recreate the wheel, or make everything yourself from scratch. You can find printables and kits that make planning a murder mystery party a breeze, like these from My Mystery Party.
- Set the scene with decorations. Decorating your space to match the theme of the murder mystery is a fun way to create an immersive environment for your party guests.
5) Pizza Party
This classic, laid-back teen birthday party idea is a great way to celebrate an easygoing guest of honor. Pizza may be the main party food for this type of event, but don’t forget about the other must-haves: snacks, drinks, and dessert. Have several options available to account for guest preferences (and possible food allergies). Individual packs, bottles, or cans of soda, water, and juice make it easy to set up a grab-and-go buffet table.
- Make it interactive. Turn a pizza party into a cooking party by letting the guests DIY their own pizzas.
- Choose party decorations with a pizza parlor vibe. Some red-and-white checkered tablecloths and some fake menus can go a long way!
6) Amusement Park Party
Not all birthday parties have to be indoors. If your teenager is a thrill-seeker, take them and some of their close friends to an amusement park. This one is easy to plan — let the roller coasters and carnival games provide the event’s entertainment.
- Always practice safety first. Give the teens some freedom while they explore the park, but make sure to check in regularly with designated meeting spots/times or phone calls.
- Reserve a lunch spot. Check with the park about reserving a picnic area or party room to serve your cake or food.
7) S’mores and Bonfire Party
A s’mores bonfire party is another fun party option for a more laid-back event. You can gather around a bonfire and tell ghost stories or sing campfire songs while cooking hot dogs and marshmallows for s’mores. If you have enough space, play laser tag or flashlight tag after the fire dies down.
- Give your teen and their guests some glow sticks. This will help you keep track of everyone in the darker outdoor space.
- Emphasize fire safety. Even teenagers need reminders about fire safety, so give them some reminders before starting this event.
8) Paintball Party
Paintball parties are an awesome way to have some messy, action-packed fun, especially for older kids and teenagers. Many paintball facilities even offer birthday party packages. Paintball is a pretty physical activity, so it’s a big step up from the version of “capture the flag” that your teens played when they were younger!
- Plan the guest list carefully. Paintball isn’t for everyone, so make sure your teen understands that it might not be the best activity for friends who prefer quieter, more low-key events.
- Keep the party going at home. After the paintball excursion, consider bringing the teens home for more birthday fun. This can even be a great time to meet up with friends who preferred to skip out on the paintball portion of the party.
9) Backyard Music Festival
Do you have a big backyard? Transform it into a music festival! Rent some sound equipment, grab a karaoke machine or hire a live band, and invite your teen’s friends to sing and dance together.
- Have your teen choose a theme. Most festivals have a theme, so be sure to get your teen’s input on what type of music they want to include.
- Add cozy group seating to the yard. This way, the teens can hang out while they enjoy the music.
10) Color War Party
This is a great outdoor or indoor birthday party idea. Create backyard games or indoor games that your teenager enjoys, then randomly assign guests to wear one of two colors to the party. Split the guests into teams by color, and have them engage in an epic battle to see who is the best. Have special prizes for the winning team, either based on activity or for the whole night.
- Make custom t-shirts. Everyone loves custom t-shirts! Have custom shirts made up in your chosen colors so your teams have “uniforms.” The shirts can also double as party favors.
- Turn it into a blacklight party. If the party is after dark, use a blacklight to turn it into a glow-in-the-dark party with neon t-shirts.
11) Relaxing Beach Party
Everyone loves a luau, right? Transform your backyard into a Hawaiian paradise to create a beach party. If you have access to a swimming pool, you could even turn this idea into a fun pool party. Use surfboards, grass skirts, and coconuts as your decorations, have beach-inspired snacks, and even consider incorporating a sandbox into the party area for a hint of the “real” beach!
- Emphasize water safety. Make sure there is an adult nearby at all times — one who can swim well. Even teenagers can have accidents that lead to drowning, so remember that safety should always come first.
- Incorporate beach-themed activities. A beach-themed painting kit can be the perfect activity to pair with your beach party, whether you set it up indoors or outdoors.
12) Outdoor Movie Party
A movie night is always a fun birthday bash, but an outdoor movie party makes it even better. You can rent an inflatable screen for a giant movie experience, or you can hang a white sheet from your garage or fence. Then, grab a movie projector and your teen’s favorite flicks, pop some popcorn, and enjoy an epic movie under the stars. You can turn this into a slumber party by inviting the kids to sleep over after they finish the movies — but consider bringing the sleeping portion of the party indoors where it’s warm and safe.
- Timing is everything. Schedule this party after it is sufficiently dark so the guests can see the movie.
- Plan for sound equipment. You don’t need an expensive surround-sound setup, but a few basic speakers can ensure that your guests can hear the movie over the chatter and ambient party noise.
13) Mega Slip ’n Slide Party
If your teen’s party takes place during the summer and you have a hill or incline in your yard, then you can do a slip ’n slide party. Grab a long roll of plastic sheeting and stretch it out down the hill. Make sure they are connected properly so that they do not come apart. Then, use a hose to make them wet and slippery. Invite the guests to wear clothes to get wet in, and send them down the slip ’n slide. You can even add a little baby soap to make it even more slippery!
- Don’t be afraid to get creative. If you can’t get plastic sheeting, you can do the same thing with some tarps. Make sure the tarps are new and don’t have any frayed edges, and find a way to connect them end-to-end.
- Use landscaping anchors. These can help secure your tarps or sheeting so that they don’t move around while your guests are sliding.
- Use inflatable tubes. If your guests aren’t comfortable sliding on their backs, fronts, or sides, let them use inflatable tubes which can provide additional comfort and safety.
14) Cook-off or Bake-off Party
If the party happens when the weather isn’t great, you’ll need indoor birthday party ideas, and a cooking party works well. Does your teen love to make a mess in the kitchen? Transform that love into a fun party idea. Invite your teenager’s friends to have a cook-off or bake-off.
Have guests cook and bring their favorite recipe, and select a panel of judges — this can include the birthday teen, parents, siblings, or even a neighbor. Let the guests present their dishes to the judges, who will declare a winner. The best part is that the guests provide the party food for the night! If space allows, you can even have the party guests make the food at the party, which is bound to add to the fun (but also the mess).
- Switch it up if you need to. If you don’t have room for multiple teens to bake in your home, buy some pre-baked cupcakes and frosting to turn the event into a cupcake-decorating event instead.
- Choose a theme. If you’re relying on the guests to provide the party food, consider giving them a theme to work with. This ensures that the food works well together.
- Provide the ingredients. If you do have the space for an in-home cook-off, buy the ingredients. This way you can keep an eye on potential allergens, and give everyone the same foundation to start with.
15) Scary Movie Party
Movies are fun, but after dark, scary movies make the party even more interesting. If your teens are up for it, host a scary movie party. Invite them to bring their favorite ghost story to share after the movie ends.
- Keep it age appropriate. Remember that tweens may not be able to handle a full-blown horror movie the same way that older teens can. You may also want to check with their parents to make sure you respect their boundaries.
- Make it a sleepover. This party idea works well for a sleepover party. While they may not sleep much after watching scary movies, they will have fun staying up together.
16) Backyard Olympics
Olympic competitions come in all shapes and sizes. Set up a backyard Olympics and encourage your teen’s friends to showcase their skills. Your Olympics can include any outdoor yard game you think your teen and their guests will enjoy: Relay races, water balloon events, and even hurdles can all work well.
- Include something for everyone. Not everyone is competitive or athletic, so be sure to keep the emphasis on the fun. Make some of the games just for fun and some more challenging, so the teens have fun regardless of athletic ability.
- Have prizes for each game. This way no one dominates the competition — but don’t be afraid to have medals for the first-, second-, and third-place overall winners.
17) Bowling Party
Bowling parties are fairly simple to plan, and they are also a lot of fun. You simply need to book some lanes at the bowling alley, and a party room for food and cake afterward. The teens can bowl individually, or can team up to add a challenging element to the event.
- Continue the party at home. If you don't want the party room at the bowling alley, consider bringing the teens home to party after they bowl.
- Keep the emphasis on fun. Consider booking a bumper bowling lane, so the kids can focus on fun, not bowling skills.
Host a Fun Painting Party With Painting to Gogh
As you plan your teen’s birthday party, keep their interests in mind. Whether you choose bowling, s’mores, paintball, or something else, the key to the fun is being with their friends.
While there are many epic party ideas for teens, painting parties are some of the best. Not only do the teens come away with art they can be proud of, but they also get to work with their friends to create it!You don’t have to be a painting instructor to host a successful painting party for your teen’s birthday. Simply use a painting party kit from Painting to Gogh to host your paint party at home, and watch the magic unfold.