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Fun Party Themes for Teens and Tweens

Updated on March 15, 2014

Planning a birthday party for a pre-teen, tween, or a teenager can be a lot of fun if you plan ahead and concentrate on a chosen theme. They absolutely love themed parties. Themed parties are growing increasingly popular and the decorations and supplies available nowadays make planning a themed party even more fun.

I've assembled some fun themed party ideas that I'm sure the birthday teen, tween, or pre-teen will enjoy. Many of them I have hosted myself over the years and can tell you first-hand that they were a lot of fun.

Have some fun with these ideas. Add your own style and flair. Personalize the party your way. Don't be afraid to be creative. It will make your party more memorable. Be sure to take lots of photos and/or video to remember the event for years to come.

In my opinion, the party themes below can actually be used on any age group, including adults. They aren't just limited to teens. Make adjustments where necessary to make the party age and gender-appropriate.

Let's Party!
Let's Party!

The Hawaiian or Luau Theme

Decorations and costume choices could include:

  • Grass skirts
  • Coconut bras
  • Sunglasses
  • Coconut-shaped drinking cups
  • Tiki torches for outdoor parties
  • Umbrella straws
  • Garland flower leis
  • Sea shells
  • Palm Trees
  • Gilligan-style sailor hats
  • Captain's hat
  • Flip flops
  • Bring in some sand, particularly if you've been thinking of adding some sand to your yard

My thoughts: This is extremely popular with girls. The grass skirts worn over bikinis with flip flops is fun. My daughter has had several luau parties with great success. You can find all sorts of party decorations locally at Wal-mart or the Dollar Stores and online.

If using tiki torches be sure there is plenty of adult supervision.

The Pirate Theme

Decorations could include:

  • Pirate hats
  • Pirate eye patches
  • Parrots
  • Invitations in a bottle
  • Treasure chest with gold coins and beads
  • Palm trees
  • Goblets and fake wine bottles
  • Fake gold coins or foil candy coins
  • Fake telescopes

My thoughts: I would take brown plastic table clothes and create a portion of a ship. You could include a plank. Then take white or off-white plastic table clothes and make sails. You can include a skull and crossbones on it.

Bonfire Theme

This is a great party idea if you happen to have an unrestricted outdoor area to do it in and the right weather conditions. With my daughter having an early November birthday, it is always difficult to predict the weather. For her 17th birthday, we had a Bonfire party. I bought the wire rods for roasting marshmallows and wieners. It actually turned out warmer than we expected so the kids didn't sit around the fire like we thought they might. They really only ventured over to it once they wanted to roast a wiener.

Since my husband at the time was from England we incorporated The 5th of November Guy Fawkes Bonfire celebration into her party and explained a little British history to the guests. Each of them then got a scarecrow I had purchased in the after-Halloween sales and burned it in the fire. For more about this tradition click here.

The kids told ghost stories and just generally gossiped about school events.

Please remember that an open flame needs to be strictly supervised by a responsible adult and extinguished completely. This is not recommended for a rowdy bunch.

Items to buy: Hot dog fixings, marshmallows and maybe s'mores

The Patriotic Theme

Decorations could include:

  • Flags
  • Banners
  • Balloons in red, white & blue
  • Curling ribbon
  • Stars
  • Cutouts of Uncle Sam, Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, ex-Presidents
  • Eagles

My thoughts: This makes a great summer party near the fourth of July. The availability is good then for anything red, white and blue. In keeping with the theme you can serve foods that include fresh strawberries, blueberries and Cool Whip.

The 60s Theme

Decorations could include:

  • Plastic/cardboard/vinyl records
  • Peace signs
  • Psychedelic colors
  • Bell-bottomed jeans
  • Tye-dyed fabrics
  • Lava Lamps
  • Incense
  • Long-haired wigs
  • Bandanas in your hair
  • Flowers in your hair
  • Beaded curtains
  • Blow up guitars for the Woodstock feel

My thoughts: This theme provides lots of leeway to be a hippie and say things like "groovy" and "right on" and "peace". Kids love it. We have even had tie-dye parties where the kids bring a white t-shirt and we dye them at the party.

The Oriental Theme

Decorations could include:

  • Strings of paper lanterns
  • Dragons
  • Buddhas
  • Tassels
  • Chopsticks
  • Fortune cookies

My thoughts: The reds and golds are a pretty combination and the guests can practicing eatting with chopsticks.

The Fiesta Theme

Decorations could include:

  • Strings of jalapeno pepper lights
  • Tissue paper flowers
  • Cactus
  • Sombreros
  • Brightly colored tablecloths
  • Maracas
  • Pin the Tail on the Donkey

My thoughts: This party is fun and allows you to serve fun finger foods like tacos and nachos where the guests can make their own. The colors are simply beautiful and look good in the summer or the fall.

Food-Themed Party

This is a fun interactive party idea where your guests enjoy making their own food. This theme works well for kids that like to experiment with cooking or maybe the kitchen/dining area is the roomiest part of the house to have the party.

Below are a few party ideas using food as the theme:

  • Pizza Party-have all the ingredients for making homemade pizzas. You can buy ready-made cheese pizzas, ready made crusts, or even buy box crusts that you add water to, to create the base for your pizzas. Then have a variety of toppings that you know your friends will like such as a jar of ready-made pizza sauce, pepperoni, ham, pineapple, chicken, crumbled hamburger meat (prepared beforehand), chopped onions and bell pepper, and more grated cheese.
  • Banana Split or Ice Cream Sundae Party-have all of the ingredients for making banana splits or ice cream sundaes. You might have a couple of flavors of ice cream, bananas, and a variety of toppings and sauces. You could have chocolate syrup, strawberry preserves, maraschino cherries, canned whipped cream, nuts, etc. You can even provide a variety of sugar cones or waffle bowls.
  • Taco Party-have all of the ingredients for making tacos. You could have ground seasoned hamburger meat (prepared beforehand), grated cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, pico de gallo, jalapenos, and salsa. You can have crunchy taco shells, taco bowls, flour tortillas, corn tortillas, tortilla chips, or even Frito corn chips for placing the ingredients on.
  • Hamburger Party-have all of the ingredients for making burgers. You could have prepared hamburger patties, sliced cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle slices, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, buns, etc.
  • Chip and Dip Party-have all sorts of dips and chips. This theme works well to ask your friends to bring their favorite chips or dip. Unlike the other themes if someone doesn't bring something it doesn't affect the rest of the food. At this party you could purchase all of the ingredients to make a 7-layer dip and then assemble the dip as part of the party.
  • Cupcake Party-For this party you could make a variety of cupcakes beforehand that are ready to frost. Then, you provide a variety of frostings and toppings. Each guest makes their own cupcake. Toppings might include: sprinkles, chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, fruit, gummy worms, crumbled Oreos, miniature candies, etc.
  • Hot Dog Party-have a wiener roast and provide all of the fixings like chili, cheese, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relish, etc.

Casino or Poker Theme

Decorations could include:

  • Poker chips
  • Shapes of card suits (diamonds, clubs, spades and hearts)
  • Cut-outs of slot machines
  • Visor caps
  • Playing cards
  • Red and black decorations
  • Dice
  • Paper money

My thoughts: This theme is more popular with the older boys more so than girls.

The Beach Theme

Decorations could include:

  • Beach towels
  • Beach umbrellas
  • Drinks with umbrella straws
  • Flip Flops
  • Beach volleyball
  • Sandcastles
  • Sea shells
  • Buckets and shovels for playing in sand
  • Kiddie pools for playing in
  • Lawn chairs
  • Tiki Torches
  • Palm trees
  • Sunglasses
  • Cutouts of the sun

My thoughts: Probably one of the easiest themed party ideas. Have guests wear their swimsuit under their clothes for easy changing. You can incorporate water activities by using wading pools, water guns, homemade slip'n'slides, or a simple lawn sprinkler.

Our cut-outs of Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum
Our cut-outs of Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum
The Alice in Wonderland Party Table
The Alice in Wonderland Party Table

The Alice In Wonderland Theme

  • Mad Hatter hat
  • Cutouts of all the characters
  • Playing cards
  • Red and black decorations
  • Tea cups (you can buy really cheap plastic teacups and decorate them yourself)
  • Beanie hats with flags or propellers like Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum wore
  • Decorate cupcakes with "Eat Me" on them
  • Place tags on the cups saying "Drink Me"

My thoughts: We did this for my daughter's 16th birthday. We actually created a rabbit hole at the entrance with black and brown plastic. We punched holes in an entire deck of oversized playing cards and hung them from red and black curling ribbon from different heights all over the dance floor of the hall we rented. We created cutouts of all the characters. We created life-sized cutouts of Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum that they could stick their own faces through for pictures. We got three dozen plastic coffee cups from the dollar store and hand painted them to look like antique tea cups. Each cup had a tag on a string attached to the handle that said "drink me". We had cupcakes with red and black lettering that said "eat me". We had red and black napkins that were in the shape of the suits (diamonds, hearts, spades, clubs). Everyone loved it!

My daughter having fun with the Masquerade Theme Party
My daughter having fun with the Masquerade Theme Party

The Masquerade Ball Theme

My thoughts: The decorations are rather difficult on this one. Many times people just use the same type of decorations used in the Mardi Gras Theme. I would personally rather use a different color scheme if I was doing it. I'd lean towards a vanilla cream, burgundy, golden brown, etc. The colors are completely your choice.

My daughter attended a 16th Birthday held as a Masquerade Ball. She chose to make her mask and then borrowed a friend's older sister's old prom gown. This is a great opportunity for prom gown dress-up for girls not yet old enough to go to prom but can fit older friends' dresses. You can often find really inexpensive prom dresses at thrift shops and garage sales.

Mardi Gras Theme

Decorations could include:

  • Masks
  • Gold, green, purple beads
  • Gold, green, purple decorations
  • Streamers
  • Comedy and tragedy masks
  • Feather boas
  • Silly hats

My thoughts: This can be a fun party if you're fond of the color scheme. This party is geared towards girls.

The Hollywood Theme

Decorations could include:

  • Director's chair
  • Director's clapboard
  • Megaphone
  • Fake Oscar awards
  • Reels of film
  • Red carpet
  • Guests could come dressed as their favorite actor/actress
  • Serve popcorn and peanuts

My thoughts: Teenagers love to play dress-up. This is a fun party to act like movie stars and pretend to be their favorite actors and actresses. You can combine karoake with it and call it an Academy Award Party.

Cute cow-print decorations
Cute cow-print decorations

Western Theme

Decorations could include:

  • Cowboy boots
  • Cowboy hats
  • Bandanas
  • Cactus
  • Cutouts of saloon doors
  • Barbed wire
  • Horses
  • Cutouts of barrels
  • Hay bales

My thoughts: I think girls and boys both like this one. It is also a good party idea in the fall or winter where other party ideas are more suited for the summer. Music for this theme is easy. Who doesn't like to "Cotton-Eyed Joe"?

Cute boxes of animal crackers-perfect for a circus theme party!
Cute boxes of animal crackers-perfect for a circus theme party!

The Circus Theme

Decorations could include:

  • Clowns
  • Cutouts of lion tamers, master of ceremony, animals
  • Elephants
  • Serve popcorn, peanuts, animal crackers and cotton candy
  • Balloon animals
  • Clown noses
  • Balloons
  • Create a bigtop tent with red and white tablecloths draped from the ceiling

My thoughts: I actually saw this theme at a office luncheon party. They took red and white table cloths and hung them from the ceiling, alternating them and starting in the center of the room, then draped them to the end of the room making the illusion of a circus tent. It was so simple, yet so elegant. The hosts and hostesses wore clown outfits and had bicycle horns. They had the little circus boxcar boxes of animal crackers on all of the tables. There were bright colored balloons everywhere. It was so festive. Some teenagers may feel this is too kiddie...but we were adults having a ball with it.

My Favorites from the 1975 Billboard's Number One Hits

Angie Baby - Helen Reddy

Please Mr. Postman - The Carpenters

Laughter In The Rain - Neil Sedaka

Fire - Ohio Players

You're No Good - Linda Ronstadt

Pick Up The Pieces - AWB

Lady Marmalade-LaBelle

(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song - B. J. Thomas

He Don't Love You (Like I Love You) - Tony Orlando and Dawn

Before The Next Teardrop Falls - Freddy Fender

The Hustle - Van McCoy/The Soul City Symphony

One Of These Nights - The Eagles

Jive Talkin' - Bee Gees

Get Down Tonight - KC and the Sunshine Band

Fame - David Bowie

That's The Way (I Like It) - KC and the Sunshine Band

70s or Disco Theme

Decorations could include:

  • Leisure suits
  • Disco ball
  • Polyester shirts
  • Colorful party afro-style wigs
  • The Village People (Police cop, Indian, construction worker)

My thoughts: I personally think the 70s theme party is more about the music than the decorations. It really is a dance party theme. The 70s had such great dance music like anything by the Bee Gees, KC and the Sunshine Band, Donna Summer, etc.

Top 10 Themes for a Sweet 16 Party

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