Seventeenth Birthday Party Ideas & Themes

Updated February 21, 2017

While 17-year-olds can be pickier and harder to please than younger children, you can host a memorable and creative party centred around themes and activities suitable for this age group. Teens can indulge in their vampire or rock star fantasies, or enjoy old-fashioned dress-up fun with interactive party themes that will thrill even the most reluctant teenagers.

'Twilight' Party

The "Twilight" books and movies serve as the inspiration for this party theme, probably most suitable for teen girls. Buy inexpensive red T-shirts at the craft store and print "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob" on them (referring to the male protagonists of the series). Give each girl one of the T-shirts; this serves as their team for the evening. Your party guests can play "Twilight" trivia games, plant a kiss on Edward (print a poster out of the character and let girls put red lipstick on and kiss him) and vampire taste test a variety of red foods (spaghetti sauce, strawberry jelly, ketchup, etc.) while blindfolded to see who can correctly identify the different food items.

Rock Star Party

Invite teens to come dressed as their favourite rock star for a rock star video game party. Video games, such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band offer a sure fire way to please boys and girls. Let teens form bands and compete against each other for an array of fabulous prizes (order some inexpensive trophies and other awards). Offer pizza, sodas and plenty of snacks to help fuel their creative energies.


A luau makes a perfect party theme, indoors or out, in the summer or winter. During warmer months, invite teens to come dressed in Hawaiian shirts or grass skirts and ready to party. Hold a limbo competition, in which teens take turns dancing under the pole and a hula hoop contest, to see who can hula the longest. Serve plenty of non-alcoholic tropical drinks festooned with umbrellas and munch on fruit salad and veggie and meat kebabs.

Prom Night Party

Teen girls love to put on the glamour and glitz and wear formal gowns. Scour garage sales and thrift stores for a selection of gently used prom dresses. You will want to purchase at least a few per girl so that they can choose the ones they like best. Once they pick out a dress, let them work on each other's hair and make-up. Take the girls out for dinner and/or a movie; a limo offers a nice, but not essential, touch. You could even give a corsage to each girl and host a dance at home, after the movie.

Scavenger Hunt

Organise teens into several teams, give them a Polaroid camera and encourage them to scour your neighbourhood collecting (or taking pictures of) a selection of items. The losing teams get to serve cake and punch to the winners. If you want to avoid annoying your neighbours, you could also hold this party at the mall.

Decades Party

Focus on a decade, which appeals to your teen, such as the '60s, the '80s or the '90s, and ask guests to come in a costume that fits that decade. Make sure that the decor and invitations fit the decade chosen. Play music from the time period and teach them period-appropriate dance. As a finale, let them watch a movie related to the time period, such as "Saturday Night Fever" for the 1970s or "Grease" for the '50s.

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About the Author

A former children's librarian and teacher living in Dallas, Erin Carson loves to share her knowledge of both literature and parenting through her writing. Carson has a master's degree in library science and a bachelor's degree in English literature. As a freelance writer, Carson has published numerous articles on various websites.