This post: 18 Cool Birthday Party Ideas for Teenagers They’ll Flip Over
When your child hits the tween or teen years, planning a “cool” birthday party can be tricky. They’re still young enough to actually want a birthday party, but old enough to give a big thumbs down to anything that’s lame, boring, or too childish.
That’s why we asked every tween and teen we knew for their opinion! Our list doesn’t cover all the amazing birthday party ideas for teenagers they passed along, but it does highlight the best of the best! From an epic outdoor movie night that’s anything but boring to a murder mystery party that’ll keep your teen’s guests guessing, we gathered 18 cool birthday party ideas for teenagers that are hip enough for even the pickiest teen!
So, go ahead… ramp up the cool factor when planning your teen’s next birthday party with these 18 cool birthday party ideas for teenagers they’ll flip over!
18 Cool Birthday Party Ideas for Teenagers They’ll Flip Over
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Outdoor Movie Night
Is there a teenager out there who doesn’t love watching movies? Host the party indoors or, if weather permits, take it outside for a movie night they’ll never forget. A few ideas:
- Invest in a projector and screen: You can pick up a decent projector on Amazon for under $100. If you’d rather not invest in a screen, simply hang a white sheet.
- Serve movie munchies: Serve popcorn (of course) with plenty of tasty toppings or add-ins. Create a fun popcorn/munching station and let everyone scoop out popcorn into small bags and add their own toppings.
- Candy: A movie night birthday party wouldn’t be complete without plenty of movie theater-style candy. Let your teen pick of few of his/her faves!
- Add comfortable seating: Teenagers are fairly easy to please, so you don’t need anything too fancy. You can use big throw rugs or picnic blankets with plenty of comfortable pillows to create a comfy seating area.
- Add lighting: Lanterns, solar stake lights, or string lights will add to the mood and make it easy for guests to find their way to the food without distracting movie watchers.
Image Credit + More Ideas: 100 Layer Cake
Not Your Ordinary Pizza Party
Did someone say pizza? It’s the universal food most teens can’t pass up! Of course, most teenagers will settle for plain cheese, pepperoni, or sausage pizza, but why not take it up a notch by serving all different kinds of pizzas to tempt their tastebuds? A few ideas:
- Offer a variety of pizzas: From New York Style pizza and BBQ chicken to extra cheesy and taco pizza, there are so many varieties of fun pizzas – have a little fun! Keep it affordable by making your own or cater to make it easy.
- Serve a few sides: Don’t forget to serve a couple of sides including a traditional Italian salad or pasta salad to offer a variety of food.
- Bread with dipping oils: Offer a basket or two of fresh french bread pieces with a few dipping oils to add to the Italian theme. (Teenagers love dipping!)
- Keep the fun flowing with games: It’s true that teens are fairly easy to please, but you don’t want them getting bored. Have some fun by planning a few games. Looking for ideas? Here are a few indoor party games for teens!
Rent a Hotel Room for the Night
A great way to host a fun birthday party and keep the mess out of your house is to rent a hotel room for the night. Depending on the number of kids in attendance, you can even book adjoining rooms so they can all be together and have fun until the wee hours of the morning (we all know teenagers are night owls). A few ideas:
- Decorate the room: Since hotel rooms are typically fairly small, you can make a BIG impression with even a few decorations including number balloons, helium balloons, streamers, etc.
- Make the evening special: Whether the kids venture out for a night on the town or head to the hotel pool and jacuzzi for an evening of fun and laughs, be sure to plan something to keep the kids occupied.
- Chaperone: Depending on the age of the kids, there’s a good chance you’ll need to book a hotel room across the hall just to keep your eye on things and make sure they’re safe. Older teenagers (18 and up) are likely fine on their own and can be dropped off and picked up the next morning.
Image Credit: Pinterest
Is your teen an avid gamer? Then a fun gaming party might be a great party to consider! Whether they’re into Minecraft, Fortnite, or any other video game that has them hypnotized, you can have a ton of fun creating a gaming-themed party. A few ideas:
- Choose your color theme: With any party, choosing a color theme helps set the tone of the party and makes a big impression.
- Make the food/dessert table the focal point: Make or purchase a backdrop for your food/dessert table that stands out. This table decor, which is easy enough to recreate, makes a BIG impression!
- Carry out the theme: Amazon has a great selection of gaming party supplies including paper plates, napkins, and utensils along with gaming-inspired decorations. And, they’re affordably priced!
- Consider a LAN party: If you really want to step up your game, host a gaming LAN party where your teen’s friends bring their computers to the party and they all game together. It takes a bit of work to plan, but it’s a blast!
Backyard Beach Party
Not everyone is fortunate enough to live near the beach. But even if you don’t, it doesn’t mean you can’t bring the beach to your backyard. Create a fun beach-themed backyard birthday party your teen will love. A few ideas:
- Serve themed food: You can have so much fun with this idea! From frothy teen-friendly “mocktails” with little umbrellas to a themed cake and adorable flip-flop sandwiches like the ones here. Get creative and serve food that makes you feel like you’re sitting on the beach.
- Make the ambiance beachy: Create the ambiance of the beach by tossing in a few beachy decorations including umbrellas & chairs, longboards, surfboards, shells, or beach balls.
- Fun and games: The difference between a good party and a great party is the entertainment. And, we all know teenagers love to have fun. Get a few beach-inspired games started or get a conga or limbo game going.
- Don’t forget the beach music: Looking for ideas? Check out this list of beach songs!
Image Credit + More Ideas: Catch My Party
Epic Glow Party
This is one party that’s sure to impress! And, the best part is, it doesn’t take a whole lot of work or money to pull this party off. It’s fun, creative, and will definitely be one party your teen’s friends never forget.
- Start with the decorations: From glow-in-the-dark balloons and streamers to a glowing “happy birthday” banner, get your glow on by filling the party room with everything that glows in the dark! Don’t forget the black light.
- Create a glowing neon tablescape: Create an epic table that will stop your teen’s friends in their tracks with glowing paper plates, napkins, and utensils all draped over a black tablecloth so it really glows.
- Have fun with glow-in-the-dark drinks and food: Neon food coloring can transform an ordinary cake, glowing drinks can add to the festive flair of the party and bright-colored food, candy, and treats make it really fun!
- Offer glow-in-the-dark party favors: From neon sunglasses and glowstick bracelets and necklaces, fun party favors will get guests involved in the glow fun.
Image: Oriental Trading
Murder Mystery Party
This is one party your teen and all their friends will die for! A fun murder mystery party will keep your teen and their guests looking for clues all night long as they work together to solve a fictitious murder that occurs at the party. It’s basically a live-action version of the game Clue! A few ideas:
- Create the crime scene: Have fun by purchasing (or creating your own) crime scene with crime scene tape, evidence markers, blood stains, and more. You can pick them up on Amazon for less than $10.
- Create a theme: To ramp up the party fun, have guests dress up to match an era or genre and give each guest a fun “murder mystery” name when they arrive.
- Choosing the murder mystery: Make up your own murder mystery with plenty of spine-tingling clues or purchase a murder mystery to make it easy! Looking for ideas? Check out this site.
Rent a Party Bus
When it comes to cool birthday party ideas for teenagers, this one just might top the list. This will cost you a few more bucks than some other parties, but trust me when I say, this is one party your teen and all their friends will never forget! Teenagers love party buses! The amenities and sheer cool factor some of the buses have are over-the-top cool! A few ideas:
- Shop around for the best deal: Check your local listing and shop around for the best deals. Most party bus rental companies have several buses available for rent depending on the number of passengers. And, different party buses offer varying features, so it’s important to see pictures (or look at them firsthand) before making a decision.
- Choose a fun itinerary: Whether you head to the city for an evening out at a cool restaurant, head to a concert or play, or have the party bus take the kids to a sporting event, the options are endless. Honestly, the kids will love just riding around town on the party bus.
- Ideas for keeping costs down: One way to keep this idea affordable is to have two or three kids celebrate their birthdays together. Each child can invite a certain number of guests and the cost of the bus rental can be split accordingly.
Image Credit: Julie Measures
Outdoor Birthday Bash
The beauty of having a backyard birthday bash is that you can make it as fancy or as casual as you like and you can spend a lot (if you choose) or scale it back, get creative and pull together a bash without spending a ton! Whether they’re turning 13 or 19, there are plenty of ways to make your backyard (or any other outdoor venue) fun for teens! A few ideas:
- First, feed them! Fire up the grill and whip up some burgers, brats, or hotdogs, serve a few sides and plenty of easy snacks like pretzels, chips, and Fritos, or get really creative like the picture shown. Don’t forget the cake! Here are a few teen birthday cake ideas to inspire you!
- Crank up the music! Teenagers and music go hand in hand. Be sure to have your teen create a playlist and add a few Bluetooth speakers outside.
- Add decorations. Whether it’s streamers, balloons, or signs, toss in a few fun birthday decorations to make it festive.
- Don’t forget the games. Considering teenagers have a tendency to get bored easily, you need to get a few games going to keep them busy (and laughing). Break out the volleyball net, set up Spike Ball, badminton, or cornhole, or have a slip n’ slide (no, teenagers are not too old), water guns, or get creative with a few other backyard games. Here are a few ideas they might love.
- If it’s in the evening, add mood lighting. Even a few strands of lights hung from trees can set the mood and make it more festive in the evening.
Image Credit + More Ideas: Catch My Party
Give your teen and all their friends a BIG thrill by springing for a day at an amusement park. Roller coasters and junk food – need we say more? A few ideas:
- What to pay for: Pay for entrance into the amusement park for each attendee. If the budget allows, you can also offer each attendee a certain amount of money to pay for lunch and a few drinks.
- Keep costs down: Another option is to have guests arrive at the house, spring for pizza, snacks, and drinks (or breakfast if they’ve decided to head to the park early), and drive them to the amusement park. Then, all you need to pay for is their entrance into the park and a few drinks.
- Chaperone: Depending on the age of the teens, a chaperone may be required. You don’t have to be with your teen and friends all day, just hang out at the park and have them check in with you every hour or two.
S’Mores and Hot Cocoa Bonfire Party
The great thing about teen birthday parties is that they don’t have to be perfect to be amazing. A simple, yet fun idea for guys or girls is a s’mores and hot cocoa backyard party. It’s not too stuffy or over the top (since some teens like to keep it low-key). A few ideas:
- Make it cozy: Offer a few soft blankets for guests to wrap around their shoulders if it gets chilly.
- Offer all the fixings for amazing hot cocoa: Chocolate chips, peppermint, whipped cream, and caramel bits are all great add-ins for amazing hot cocoa.
- Let guests make their own toasted marshmallows and s’mores.
- Add mood lighting: A few well-placed lanterns can add ambiance and mood lighting to enhance the party atmosphere.
- Food ideas: Keep things casual by serving easy finger foods/appetizers that teens love. Pizza, potato skins, hot mac n’ cheese in mugs, and a variety of chips and snacks will keep them happy!
Image Credit + More Ideas: Today’s Creative Life
Rent a Food Truck
If you really want to have some fun (and the budget allows), rent a food truck for a few hours. We all know that teenagers and food go hand-in-hand, so when you offer food, you know they’ll stick around! A few ideas:
- Choose your food truck: There are literally dozens of different types of food trucks to rent – everything from BBQ and Waffles to Hot Dogs and Kona Ice are available to give your teen and all their friends an afternoon of fun and food they’ll always remember. Check your local listing for ideas and pricing.
- Keep it outdoors with games: Since the party is already outside, keep it going with fun games like Cornhole, Badminton, Volleyball, Spike Ball, Ring Toss, or other games you think they’ll enjoy.
- Crank up the music: Create a party atmosphere by cranking up the music. Let your teen create an epic playlist their guests will love. Another fun idea is to take a step back in time and play all 80s or 90s music.
For teens who love everything Starbucks, this party is for them! From specialty coffee (it can be decaf if you don’t want a bunch of wired teenagers on your hands) to iced lattes, you can have a blast planning this party. And, it’s an easy, affordable party idea teens will love! A few ideas:
- Serve what they love: Your daughter and son likely know what their friends’ favorite coffee/iced coffee drinks are, so… serve what they love! It’s easy enough to find recipes that are easy to make at home.
- Have fun with the food: Not everything served needs to be coffee-inspired, but you can toss in a few specialties like Frappuccino Cupcakes like they did here.
- Keep the Starbucks theme going: Serve drinks in authentic Starbucks cups you can buy on Amazon.
Image Credit + More Ideas: Catch My Party
Game Night Party
When you’re on the search for cool birthday party ideas for teenagers, no one says you have to spend a ton to make it fun! If you’re looking for an easy and frugal birthday party idea, host a game night party! Chances are you have plenty of games on hand that teenagers love already and, if not, splurge and buy a few more trendy games. The fun part about this idea is that you can choose to do board games, card games, trivia games, or even silly made-up games. Either way, get ready for a fun night! A few ideas:
- Offer a variety of game choices: If you’re hosting a game night, then you’ll need to have a good variety of games on hand to keep your guests happy. Check out these popular board games for teens!
- Bring on the game night food: Hosting a game night means you’ll need plenty of fun and easy-to-grab foods on hand like pizza, small appetizers/finger foods, veggies and dips, chips, and pretzels.
Image Credit: That Sweet Gift
Chocolate Fondue Party
If you’re looking for a fun, inexpensive, festive birthday party that just about any teen would flip over, have a chocolate fondue party! The beauty of this party is that you can have it in the morning (think birthday brunch), the afternoon, or on a Friday or Saturday night – either way, teens will love it!
- A few ideas: First, invest in a fondue set. You can find them on Amazon for under $50.
- Pile on the dippers: Have fun and offer a wide selection of fun dippers for guests including apples, pineapples, strawberries, grapes, bananas, marshmallows, brownies, angel food cake cut into squares, cookies, pretzels, sugar donuts, waffles, and even bacon!
- Hint: This is a fun idea for a sleepover party!
Pancakes and Pajamas
We all know how much teenagers love sleepovers! Why not step up your sleepover game and do something a little out of the ordinary? A few ideas:
- Make breakfast special: Have fun with breakfast by serving sprinkled donuts, hot pancakes off the griddle with maple syrup, tasty biscuits with honey, or anything else that will temp teen’s tastebuds.
- Choose a color theme: Let your teen choose a two or three-color theme and carry it throughout the party- from the table decor to the decorations and balloons.
- Plan fun pajama party games: A pajama party wouldn’t be complete without a few fun games to get everyone involved and laughing! Check out these epic sleepover games!
Image Credit + More Ideas: Style Me Pretty
Mexican Fiesta Party
Break out the chips and salsa, crank up the Mexican music and get ready for a fun party teens will love! You can either make the food yourself (or even a portion of it) or cater it to make it easy. A few ideas:
- Set the theme of the party: Decorate with bright red, green, and yellow balloons and streamers and add a fun “Taco Bar” banner to make your food table the focal point.
- Serve up plenty of fun authentic Mexican food: We love the ideas in this picture! A simple offering of grilled chicken, ground beef with taco seasoning, tortillas, shredded lettuce, cheese, and all the extras like guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and plenty of taco chips will fill up even the hungriest teen. To make it fun, you can even serve margarita “mocktails.”
Image Credit: Avery.com
Girls’ Night Glamping
There’s camping, but then there’s glamping… which is the glamorous side of camping! What we love about this idea is that you can make it as casual and low-key (and inexpensive) as you like or you can go all out and make it really unique. A few ideas:
- Rent a tent: There are actually plenty of companies that rent cool tents for events like this. Check your local listing for pricing.
- Ramp up the party atmosphere: Add balloons, streamers, string lights, stake lights, or lanterns to create a cozy ambiance.
- Food for thought: When deciding what food to serve, the sky is the limit. You can either keep it casual and serve sandwiches, pizza or campfire nachos, and snacks or you can really go all out and plan a fancier menu. A great option is to let your teen choose the menu! Don’t forget the s’mores! Here are a few easy camping recipes!
Image Credit: Pinterest
Sports Themed Party
If your son or daughter is a sports enthusiast, consider hosting a party centered around the sport they love! Whether they’re into basketball, football, soccer, or cheerleading, the cool thing about this idea is that it can easily be modified depending on their sport. A few ideas:
- Choose your color theme: All great parties have a color theme! Choose yours and carry it through the party with the decorations and food.
- Add a focal point to your food table: What’s fun about this table is how they’ve added a basketball hoop to the table decor. It doesn’t have to be fancy or over-the-top expensive either!
- Serve sports-themed food: Have a little fun with the food! Look for ideas to incorporate the theme into your food – from the cake or cupcakes to appetizers and snacks to carry your theme throughout.
Image Credit: Michelle’s Party Plan-It
Here are a few other birthday party ideas for teenagers they might love!
- Hollywood Red Carpet Party
- Spa Birthday Party
- Escape Room Party
- Great Gatsby Party
- Boho Sleepover Party
- Charcuterie Board Party
- Dance/Karaoke Party
- Glitter & Gold Party
- Baking/Cooking Party
- Mini Shopping Spree at the Mall
- Concert/Sporting Event Birthday Party
- Scavenger Hunt
- Pool Party
- Emoji Birthday Party
- Instagram Party
- Themed Party (80s, 90s, Superhero, Holiday, etc)
- Indoor Skydiving
- Laser Tag/Arcade
- Water Park
- Putt Golf/Golf
Looking for more birthday party ideas for teenagers? Check out this post!