How to throw a sweet 13th birthday party

Written by tanya khan
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How to throw a sweet 13th birthday party
Celebrate your young teenager's 13th birthday with a party. (gold and silver balloons image by Yali Shi from

Thirteen is a typically awkward age that marks the advent of the teenage years. Most preteens leave childish games behind and adopt a more adult-like demeanour. Mark this milestone with a birthday party to provide your teenager plenty of memories. Although it may seem overwhelming at first, get your birthday girl in the loop so you spend quality time together and get to know her likes during the planning process. Tailor the birthday party around her interests so she enjoys it.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Coloured paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Beads
  • Balloons
  • Ribbon
  • Christmas lights
  • Stereo system

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  1. 1

    Decide on a theme for the birthday party so you decorate the venue accordingly. While she may have enjoyed princess or fairy themes when she was younger, understand that your daughter is now older, and she knows what she likes and does not like. Ask her if she prefers a dance, slumber or beading party; movie night; or a themed party such as "American Idol," "Hannah Montana" or "High School Musical."

  2. 2

    Send invitations to the guests 10 days to two weeks in advance. Purchase invitations from the store, or make them at home, keeping the theme in mind. Ideas could include glitter and beads on pieces of coloured paper for a beading-themed party, a stencilled "Hannah Montana" cutout or the blue and silver "American Idol" trademark colours. Include details such as date, time (start and end), location and RSVP number.

  3. 3

    Decorate the venue according to the theme. Teens prefer plenty of legroom space, so try to include both the interior of the house and an outside area for them to walk freely. Unlike younger kids, who want plenty of colour, use single-coloured balloons to decorate the area, or offset a bright colour with silver or white balloons. Tie helium-filled balloons with long lengths of gold or silver ribbon that trail to the floor. Suspend streamers across the ceiling. Paste one or two murals according to the theme on strategic walls.

  4. 4

    Remove furniture from a room reserved exclusively for dancing. Dim the lights or decorate with strings of Christmas or strobe lights. Hook up the stereo to an MP3 player, or use CDs. Make sure the playlist includes your teen's favourite songs, and have an adult place a seat behind the music table so he can supervise.

  5. 5

    Hide gifts in your backyard for the scavenger hunt. Fill a piñata with "girly" accessories, or purchase make-up and ask the girls to dress each other up. You can also hire a professional make-up artist to give lessons. Make sure the parents are comfortable with this idea beforehand.

Tips and warnings

  • Thirteen-year-old boys love a camp-out party. Pitch rented tents out in your yard, and hand each guest an individual sleeping bag. Place a barbecue nearby and help them prepare dinner. Turn lights out early and let them have fun on their own. Give them torches for lighting and an MP3 player with speakers for entertainment. Make sure you seek prior permission from parents before hosting a camp-out.
  • Although teenagers do not feel comfortable about being supervised, leaving them on their own is not advisable, especially at a mixed gathering. Stay around to observe them.

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