Everyone loves a birthday party, teenagers included. However teenage birthday parties are a special challenge: too old for pin-the-tail on the donkey and too young for drinks at the bar. Take some extra time to plan a party for your teen
Of course, finances should be a major consideration when planning a birthday party. If money is tight, dinner at a favourite restaurant with a few close friends is more than acceptable. However, if you have a little time to save some pennies, splurge a little. Take the girls to a local hotel and have a girls' night in. Do up each other's hair and nails. Visit a luxury department store and try on the top-of-the-line outfits.
A guys night out can include a trip to a local outdoorsmen's store or a local sporting event. Go to a major- or minor-league game. (If you plan ahead, you may be able to arrange to meet the players.) A round of paintball would be a great idea for a fall birthday.
Consider what else is happening near the time of the party. If a major movie is being released, take the gang to the opening and come home for a themed party afterward. Check the listings to see whether a favourite band is coming to town and get tickets to the show. If it's near Halloween visit a local corn maze or haunted house (or create one yourself).
Depending on your region, weather can be a major factor in planning a party. In February, a snowball fight could be fun or a sloppy, muddy mess. A trip to the cider mill may be spoiled by rain or the first major snowfall. A trip to the beach can be spoiled by rain or excessive heat.
However, you may also use the weather to your advantage. Rugged individualists would love a "worst-case-scenario party." A hayride can end up a barn party or a bonfire.
Consider your teen's interests when planning a party. If she's vegetarian, maybe she and her friends would like to visit an organic farm or market and pick out items to cook for dinner. If he's into golf, an outing to the driving range, a miniature golf course or a local tournament may be in order.
If the guest of honour has reached a milestone birthday, be sure to play it up. If he is turning 13, on the previous night, go to a venue (such as a corn maze) in which admission is lower for children 12 and under and jokingly threaten to leave him if he doesn't come out before midnight. If she is turning 16, take her to get her driver's license and let her drive to her favourite restaurant. If he's turning 18, stop to let him buy a lottery ticket.
Many teens are very altruistic. Instead of going to a party, they may really appreciate the chance to give their time at a food pantry or recycling centre. Some even have parties at local shelters, serving cake and ice cream to the residents.
Make sure there is a reasonable amount of adult supervision at all times. No one wants to have someone breathing down his neck, but there should be an adult within easy reach.