Tips for a 13th Birthday Party

by Kate Bradley
Mind the details early so you can relax and enjoy the party.

Mind the details early so you can relax and enjoy the party.

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Entering the teen years is a big milestone that can be marked with an appropriate celebration. You'll need to make the guest list, pick a venue and, of course, make a wish list. However, small, creative touches can make your 13th birthday party the envy of all your friends. Don't expect your parents to do all the work -- you can pull of a well-planned, exciting party with ease by following a few simple tips.

Food

At 13, boys are ravenous bottomless pits, while girls may have become too aware of their bodies to enjoy snacking on cake and candy at a party. Provide a variety of food; for example, pizza and cookies for the non-calorie conscious and more healthful options, such as sliced fruit or a gourmet cheese and wheat cracker tray for those concerned about their body image. Add hummus or a few low-calorie dips to help liven up the healthy choices.

Venue

This may be the first year that your parents' presence in front of your friends is uncomfortable, so have your 13th birthday party away from home. Your parents can watch quietly from the "sidelines" while you experience the freedom of a public venue. Choose a bowling alley, the cinema or even a rented gathering room at a hotel. In addition to giving you a more grown-up party, it will eliminate clean-up for your parents and allow them to chaperon discreetly and leave unwanted younger siblings with a sitter. Check that the venue stays open sufficiently late; the last thing you want is a party cut short by closing time.

Activities

You're 13 now, so you're probably ready to dispense with the traditional kids' party games, but that doesn't mean you can't still play. Choosing a venue with a variety of entertainment options, such as a bowling alley with an arcade and a billiards area, means that guests can pick what they want to do and still be part of the party. It also cuts down on planning and eliminates the childish obligation of remaining with the group at all times. At 13, your guests may feel too grown-up to participate in silly group games.

Standing Out

As a newly minted teen, the last thing you may want to do is stick out, but you can score major cool points and credit for creativity by giving your 13th birthday party a fun twist. Anyone can host a cookout party, but not everyone will think to rent a big screen and projector and give guests an outdoor movie experience. Do something to distinguish your party from others, whether it's an unusual theme, costume or activity. Don't feel constrained by notions of what a 13th birthday party "should" be. You turn 13 only once, so make it memorable, awesome and personalized.

Other Tips

Unless you really want a daytime party, plan an evening/nighttime party. You and your guests will feel more grown-up, especially if you get to break curfew. If your party goes into the late hours, be prepared to turn it into a sleepover. Corral all your guests and head back to your house for movies, late-night snacks and sleeping bags on the living room floor. If you want to enhance that grown-up feeling, save the big birthday cake and gift-opening scene for family. Welcome your guests graciously, direct them to the refreshments and encourage them to enjoy themselves. As much as your friends may like you, they don't want to spend half an hour watching you open presents. Turn your 13th birthday party into a reason to celebrate, not an excuse to be the center of attention and load up on gifts.

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