5 totally not-uncool ways to celebrate a teen birthday


A teen birthday can feel like a total letdown when you’re a parent. Celebrating birthdays used to mean booking venues, choosing themes, organising cakes and getting revved up with maximum amounts of excitement.  But when your children get older, they suddenly don’t want want all the fanfare. 

The good news is, there are still plenty of festive ways to celebrate a teen birthday. You can still make it special and gather their friends without embarrassing them too much.

Well, maybe a little bit of embarrassment on your birthday should be expected.

Totally Not-Uncool Teen birthday party ideas

1. Host an outdoor cinema night

Hosting a movie night is a great way to gather friends. You don’t even need the full  outdoor projector and screen set up – moving the television outside is just as much fun.

In summer, you can do dinner beforehand while you wait for the sky to get suitably dark.  Grab a copy of a popular new release movie and you’re set.  Depending on your teenager’s age and enthusiasm level, you can also incorporate a sleep over. 

In winter, an outdoor night can still be on the cards – just provide an outdoor heater and lots of blankets and cushions for the kids to snuggle into. Watch this space, though, as it won’t only be the cushions the teens will want to snuggle…

2. Host a camping party

As kids become teenagers the biggest thing they want is space.  Hosting a camping party is a great way to host a sleepover away from the prying ears of the grown-ups (or is that just us? Ha!). 

The backyard is the perfect space to host the camping party.  Load the tent up with kids in sleeping bags and maximise room by storing in the house any personal belongings they don’t need overnight.

Depending on the age of your teen, you can style a camping party up or down to your heart’s desire.  Create a campfire in a drum and roast some marshmallows (check fire regulations), or create a few camp-themed games to keep them entertained. Keep in mind that games are best self-serve at this age – sadly your teen will not want you hanging around at the party as game master.

3. Host a colour run or colour party

Teenage party ideas - colour runOver the last five years colour runs have overwhelmingly become the people’s choice in fun runs.  With the opportunity to walk or run everyone can get involved.  They’re not called the ‘Happiest 5kms on the planet’ for nothing, so you can bet hosting your own colour run will make a great teen birthday party.

You can purchase party packs online which include ready-to-go party powder in the colours of your choice. Create a rainbow or select a couple of colours to create a theme, for example, your favourite sporting team colours. 

If running isn’t your child’s thing you can still celebrate with a colour party. Simply include a bit of music and have a set time to disperse the powder into the group.

Encourage everyone to come in white or opt to supply a range of white tees on arrival.  Best to pre-warn everyone that while the coloured powder usually washes out, wearing your favourite party frock is definitely a no-no.

Hosting a colour party is a great opportunity to get teenagers to let down their guard and have a bit of silly fun.  The pics will be totally Instagrammable too.

4. Host a pool party

A pool party is always (quite literally) cool!  Regardless of whether the guests are 13-year-olds or 17-year-olds, a get-together around the pool is always fun.  Okay, so the only problem here is you do need a pool to host a pool party.  But over summer it’s perfect for a group of teens and the local pool might be an option if you don’t have a pool yourself.

Order some take away, pump up the tunes and put some non-alcoholic drinks on ice.  Ensure there is plenty of seating around the pool to cater for the number of guests and you can create a relaxed vibe that is sure to create hours of fun.  The beauty of this teen birthday party option is that the pool does all of the entertaining for you. 

5. Host a glow dance party

Teenage party ideas - glow partyAs kids get older ‘just hanging out’ becomes the activity of choice.  And when it comes to parties it isn’t much different.  A dance party allows them to continue to hang out, but in a different environment. 

A glow party is a really fun way to add a fresh spin to a standard teen birthday party.  With a few black lights you can create a space destined to delight the kids.  Pick up some neon party paint and your guests can paint themselves neon, go tribal, go fun!

There are loads of other ways to incorporate a ‘glow’ into the party to really create a bit of excitement. Try sparklers, glow sticks, neon paint, neon cardboard or fluro anything.


Written by Mandy Ferry

Mandy is the founder of Party Remedy, Australia’s online Party Directory. A mum to three she’s hosted many parties over the years and shares loads of inspiration, recipes and DIY party ideas. You can join in the conversation at The Party Remedy Tribe, a Facebook group where we can all become each other’s party remedy, because let’s face it, life is worth celebrating!

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