A bonfire is a festive event for people of any age, but it's a suitable event for teenagers in particular. Set up in a large outdoor space like a backyard or beach, a bonfire gives rowdy teens plenty of room to be noisy and have fun without being disruptive. It's essential to ensure everyone remains safe and that you have age-appropriate bonfire activities when planning a bonfire party for teens.
The bonfire serves as the centerpiece of the event, but teens will expect more than a roaring fire during the party. Choose teen-friendly activities and entertainment. Teens love music, so surprise them with a live performance during the bonfire. You don't need a full band; find someone with a decent voice and an acoustic guitar to play covers of some favorite teen songs. Or encourage teens to bring their MP3 players so that they can listen to their own playlists using portable MP3 speakers.
Teenagers have hearty appetites, so offer food at your bonfire party. You can turn the bonfire into a grill by putting hot dogs on skewers and letting teens grill their own dogs. Be sure to supply them with buns and plenty of toppings. S'mores work well as a dessert. Even teens enjoy toasting marshmallows and enjoying this sweet treat, just like they did when they were younger. For a more sophisticated bonfire meal, melt cheese or chocolate in a pot over the bonfire, and offer a bonfire fondue. You can provide easy-to-dip treats, from bread to fruit to marshmallows, for teens to dip in the cheese or chocolate. If you expect cool nighttime temperatures at your bonfire, you can serve up hot chocolate or hot apple cider for the teens to enjoy.
Assigning a theme to the bonfire can pique the teens' interest in the event; for example, encouraging them to dress the part gets them in the spirit of the bonfire before they arrive. For example, a camping theme works well for a bonfire -- teens can wear camouflage outfits, which they can find at a local thrift store, and you can set up camping chairs around the bonfire. Other bonfire ideas include a classic barbecue or luau theme. You can emphasize the barbecue theme with your food, from classic burgers and dogs to meat and veggie skewers grilled over the bonfire. Carry out the luau theme by handing out leis to guests, surrounding the bonfire with tiki torches and setting the mood with some tropical music.
A bonfire presents a few safety risks, mostly fire safety, but any teen-centered event has its share of other safety considerations. Make sure a few responsible adults are on hand to supervise the event. Chaperones for a teen party provide two benefits: They can make sure the fire doesn't get out of control and, just as important, they can ensure any rebellious teens stay well behaved and don't sneak away from the bonfire.
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