Going from 12 to 13 is a big deal to your birthday boy or girl -- no longer a kid, but a teenager. The days of clowns and magic tricks are usually over for these new teens. Replace the kid stuff with a themed party based on their new interests and affiliations. Use your budding teen's tastes as a springboard for original party ideas.
Talk to your teen about his selection for the guest list. At 13, you may find he no longer hangs out with the same crowd he did in grammar school. Screen for potential problem friends and discuss the consequences of inappropriate behavior at the party. You should also decide whether the party is a sleepover or just a few hours long. If the party is a sleepover, gather the names and numbers of the guests' contact people. For a short party, determine where you want the party to take place, whether in the backyard, the house or another location.
Depending upon how many guests your daughter invites, choose the food according to her tastes and the ease of preparation. For just a few close friends, you may consider a sit-down dinner. If the house will be swarming with teenage pubescence, plenty of cold cuts and veggie trays work well. The cake is another issue to address. If the guests will tend to waste the cake and eat only the frosting, consider making an individual cake for the honored guest and a variety of cupcakes for everyone else.
Party games for a 13th birthday party must hold the interest of the guests. Charades don't cut it in the world of newly appointed teenagers. Activities like a scavenger hunt or crime mystery keep the kids entertained and add to the festivities. Create a scavenger hunt list with 13 generalized items in honor of the day. Instead of listing specific items, make the list ambiguous, such as "Something big," "Two green things" and "A furry (BLANK)" (they fill in the blank). Award points for the most original and creative items each team finds.
Every kid goes home with a treat bag at a little kids' party. For the teenage group, let them go home with T-shirts. Buy plain white shirts from a discount store. Supply the group with fabric paint, glitter and other embellishments. Let the guests decorate their own shirts in memory of the occasion. Suggest that each guest sign the shirts of the other guests as a token of something shared among the group.
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