Turning 16 is a huge event for most teens, as this birthday typically signifies the teen taking another step toward adulthood with new-found freedom and privileges, such as driving. Treat your 16-year-old to a Sweet 16 party that she will treasure and remember for the rest of her life. Making it a hit with her friends is icing on the cake.
Sweet 16 parties can take on any form, as long as it reflects the personality of your teen. Slumber parties are great for a tight-knit group of girls. Pool or lakeside parties can work for all girls, all boys or a coed party during warmer months. Formal dinner, dance or dining and dancing parties work for coed parties. Casual scavenger hunts can work for large groups or small groups and encompass the entire city, neighborhood or the local mall. Outings, such as amusements parks, bowling alleys or skating rinks, work for a group of teens without too much fuss.
Using a theme for your Sweet 16 party will help you choose invitations, decorations and favors that complement each other. Dance parties can revolve around a retro disco, glow-in-the-dark, princess ball, diamonds-and-denim, Hollywood or nightclub themes. Simple color combinations, such as lavender and silver or black and silver, work as well. Ask guests to wear a single color, such as white or turquoise for a color-inspired party. An all-night spa party or video game marathon could use a glitz-and-glamour or party, like a rockstar theme. Luaus or carnivals can be put together for an outdoor party during warmer weather. Use a car or car key theme if you plan to surprise the birthday celebrant with a new car or simply want to celebrate his driver’s license.
Hire a DJ or band to entertain the teens and keep them busy for a dance party. Show movies outside on a large projector screen for an under-the-stars camp-out. Crafting activities, such as designing T-shirts and pillowcases or making jewelry, work for an all-girl slumber party. Old-fashioned water balloon fights or water gun freeze tag work for a backyard, lakeside or park party.
Making It Memorable
Include elements to make the party memorable for the birthday celebrant and guests. For example, ask each guest to decorate a scrapbook page or write out a memory or wish for the birthday celebrant. Supply neon markers or gel pens for guests to sign a huge black paper for a glow-in-the-dark party. You can write “Happy Sweet 16” with the celebrant’s name in graffiti-style in the center. Include a candle-lighting ceremony if your child would like to recognize and honor 16 people who have special meaning to him. This would typically include parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends.
Sweet 16 parties are largely associated with girls, although some boys enjoy throwing a huge gala for their milestone birthday as well. Talk to your teen if you aren’t sure what sort of party is wanted. Chaperone the party without getting in the way, especially for a coed party. You should be able to keep an eye on the party without intruding or making your presence known. Send your guests home with party favors that reflect the theme of the party, such as small champagne bottles filled with candy for a formal party or nail polish and lip gloss for a girl’s spa slumber party.
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