Teenagers are notoriously hard to please, but we think we have come up with some teenage birthday party ideas that will be cool enough for even this tough audience.
Please note: While you're looking for teenage party ideas, please check whether leisure activities will be open post-lockdown, as this will vary from business to business.
It will have been a few years since the 14-year-old guests were allowed on a bouncy castle. Surprisingly though, this idea is increasingly in demand for teen birthdays. Plenty of hire companies have bouncy castles designed for adults, and they are popular at weddings, too. If you want to go one better for their birthday party, look out for one with a disco dome style, which includes lighting and a music system too. Other inflatables that will appeal if you have an active crowd are inflatable assault courses (bear in mind you will probably want some adult 'spotters' to watch for accidents or injuries).
Glow In The Dark
Any night-time birthday party becomes a bit more exciting with some glow-in-the-dark accessories added. Depending on how much time you have, pick up some glow in the dark accessories - glow sticks, lantern etc, or go the whole hog and get a blacklight. This will make all kinds of things glow - including some make-up, tonic water and even ketchup (who knew?). Invest in 80s-style neon accessories - boas, hats, glasses, t-shirts etc and let them play! Teens may baulk at the idea of party games or contests, but if you can get them to take part, try attaching glow sticks to arms and legs, down the centre of the torso and around their face and turn off the lights. Let the dance contest begin!
Teens can get surprisingly engaged in escape rooms. The competitive element and the fact that you have to work against the clock really get the adrenaline going. Escape Rooms have been closed during lockdown but should be set to open soon, but many have pivoted the business to run online escape rooms, suitable for small groups. If your teens would rather have a real-life experience for a teen birthday, you can print off all the clues for an escape room, plus fun themed decorations from online companies, or buy a box with everything that you will need. Just provide the party decorations and the refreshments. If you're creative, you could put together your own themed escape room.
Looking for fun, active teenage party ideas? Less painful than paintballing, laser tag is a great way to run off some energy, have fun with your mates and get competitive. During lockdown, several laser tag companies have been offering set up at your home address or in a local woods, so look out for that. But many laser tag venues will be open in July. Take plenty of drinks as they will get thirsty and then pick up their choice of fast food on the way home. You could finish off the birthday party with a film or some gaming - hopefully, they'll be too tired to make much noise!
Bath Bomb and Cosmetic Making
If you want fun party ideas for teenagers, not many would turn down the chance to make a deliciously scented bath bomb or some other cosmetic goodies. Lush is the shop for organised parties, but if they are not available by the birthday party date, you have some other options. You can find a party provider who can supply everything you need (and themselves), or you can buy some kits that contain all you need. Alternatively, look no further for safe recipes for bath bombs and edible face masks! Decorate the party room with plenty of colourful and fun streamers, or combine with a spa night for the ultimate in relaxation.
Lovely combined with a birthday sleepover. If you're planning pedicures, arrange some chairs, each with a bowl in front with some soothing foot soak and a magazine on each chair. Or set a table up with mirrors, nail varnish, stick-on nails, nail stickers etc. The teens can have fun either doing each other's nails or you can enlist help from older friends and relatives.
A night at the cinema and a sleepover is one of the easiest party ideas for teenagers. Cinemas will be open in July, but if you want to save money on cinema tickets, set up an outdoor movie in the garden. Follow the example of touring outdoor cinemas and provide comfy giant cushions, beanbags or sun loungers, and have a gazebo to hand in case of rain. Throw in a basket of cosy throws and blankets for snuggling up. Set up an outdoor movie screen - you can buy projectors quite cheaply now (or borrow one from a friend!), and you can use an old sheet or buy a projector screen to set up in your garden. Decorate the garden with fairy lights, pick up some fun popcorn cartons online and pop a huge pile of popcorn.
Need outdoor-loving teen party ideas? Rent a bell tent so that everyone can sleep in the same tent. Decorate inside and out with bunting and lights. Make sure there are torches for spooky storytelling, a campfire for toasting marshmallows and ideas for easy barbecue grub includes hot dogs and burgers.
Hosting a music festival party in your garden is one of our favourite party ideas for teens. Ideas include temporary tattoos, funky face paints and stick on jewelled face designs. Have a giant screen with recorded live performances of their favourite bands. Picnic blankets and picnic hampers crammed with goodies. Glow sticks and light-up flower crowns will add atmosphere as it gets dark.
Who says scares are just for Halloween? Make it a birthday party with a difference. Decorate with spooky characters and decorations. Have a table of fake blood, scars and other gory designs for guests to decorate themselves with. Get them competing in teams to scare each other, and finish off with a scary movie.
Organise some crafts for the party, making sure they are grown-up enough - pottery painting or a paint-along evening maybe? How about glass painting on Mason jars to create a cool tealight jar for their bedroom? Combine with a buffet or pizzas, and a sweets table.
The TV show Stranger Things has sparked some great retro birthday party ideas for teens. Ask guests to come in neon legwarmers and rara skirts, or supply your own. When you are party planning, think about decorating the party room with neon colours, printing out posters of Madonna, Adam Ant, Wham and other 80s bands, and of course, organising a full 80s playlist. Set up a fun photo booth with neon glasses, curly wigs, hair bands and other 80s paraphernalia!
Organise a trip to a VR gaming venue, or hire in equipment to get the experience at home. Find out what games the teens can play and organise your party decorations to match the theme. Nothing more to do to add to the fun but supply copious snacks and drinks for hollow-leg teens!
Murder Mystery Party
Make sure all the guests come to the party at the same time and discover a body as they come in the door! Enlist willing friends and family to act out the mystery, then let the teens loose in teams to have fun as they discuss motives, look for clues, and finally come up with the identity of the murderer.
UK teens are raised on the kind of teen birthday party you see on American TV shows and films, and will have seen plenty of beach parties but may never have been to one. It's a colourful theme, so go wild with skirting on the tables, decorate with tropical colours such as hot pink, orange, turquoise and lime green, pink flamingos, coconuts, umbrellas and decorations in the drinks and lots of lovely fresh fruit. You could make it a pool party, or alternatively set up a mini beach with fun inflatable palm trees and so on. You can find our guide to making an indoor beach here.
Mum of one teenage boy, near Leighton Buzzard, Beds. Born and raised in the Home Counties, Naomi has explored much of London, along with Beds, Herts and Bucks, with her son and husband. When she’s not driving to various skateparks around the UK, Naomi loves finding somewhere new to explore or a new activity they can all try.