How to Host a Teen Party

Two Parts:Planning the PartyDuring and After the Party

Hosting a teen party may seem daunting, but if you know what to plan for, it can be a blast! You want your child(ren) to have fun, but you don't want the party to get out of hand. Here are some tips and tricks to hosting a party your teen and their friends will remember.

Part 1
Planning the Party

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    Consider having a second chaperone. Monitoring a teen party without killing the mood is a balancing act that will require a good attitude. Having a second set of eyes will make you feel less frantic and allow you to cover more ground. If the party is co-ed, having a chaperone of the opposite gender will help you deal with any issues that may come up.
    • If you know a trustworthy older teen or twenty-something who can handle a crowd, recruit them to chaperone the party. Explain rules to the chaperone and party-goers and then head upstairs or into a room where the party isn't being held. Check in every once in a while by getting something from the fridge.
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    Decide on the budget for the party. Plan it out with your teenager so that they're involved. The good news is that sticking to teen-friendly food like chips, soda, hotdogs, and pizza should be fairly easy on your pocketbook.
    • How much should you spend on food and drinks? Decorations? Activities? Plan it out so that your budget isn't busted like a piñata after a party.
    • Luckily, a lot of teens are too cool for themed parties, so unless your teen has requested otherwise, your safest bet is probably to keep the party simple.
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    Find a place to host the party. If your teen is having a small party, your house would be suitable. If your teen is having a large party, consider setting up picnic tables and barbecues in the park (for outdoorsy activities) or renting a place such as a hall or recreation center (for more formal activities).
    • Be prepared for bad weather. If you are hosting your party out in a garden/backyard, make sure that you have a gazebo just in case the weather changes. Either that, or be ready to let the teens come inside your house.
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    Make a guest list. How many guests does your teen want to come to the party? How many can you comfortably handle? Come to a compromise with your teen so that both of you have a say in it; moreover, discussing and laying ground rules in advance will make it easier for you to deal with party-crashers if they show up.
    • Plan on accommodating a few more guests than you expect. Parties, especially teen parties, rely on word of mouth and can grow depending on which invitees are going or not going. Have a contingency plan.
    • Be sure to think about parking when planning the guest list. Just because your backyard can accommodate 20 people doesn't mean your driveway can.
    • Don’t let your teen invite anyone you aren't comfortable with.
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    Set a time and date. Knowing right when the party begins and ends will make it easier for you to kick out lingerers.
    • Set aside a soft end time and a firm end time. The soft end time is when your child or the chaperone is expected to start shooing people away. The firm end time is when the party must be completely over by.
    • Make sure that you plan the party in the beginning of the weekend or the holidays so that your guests don't have to worry about going to class the next day.
    • Also, be sure to find out whether other teens at their college/school are having parties around the same time; the last thing your teenager wants is having nobody come to their party because someone else is throwing one on the same night.
    • Be sure to let your neighbors know about the party in advance. This will make them more forgiving of the noise.
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    Let your teen send out the invites. Paper invites or e-vites aren't very cool if you're a teen, especially when coming from a parent. Let your kid send out the invitations via text, email, Facebook, etc., but make sure that they’re closed invitations so that not just anybody can see them. Be sure to require an RSVP so you have some sense of how many people to plan for.
    • Be flexible. Teens aren't known for their promptness or consistency, so don't be surprised of many more or fewer guests show up than expected.
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    Put away your valuables. If you're having a big party, remove all expensive or fragile items out of the party areas and into a room that nobody will enter. Teens are usually trustworthy, but just in case there are a couple that aren't, keep your valuables hidden so they won't get stolen or broken.
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    Set up the party areas. Ideally, the location should have a dancing zone, a drink and food zone, and activity areas (like a separate ping-pong table, Wii, and Guitar Hero area). If you have an outdoor firepit, it can double as an activity area and a way for the guests to cook their own hot dogs. Keep your teen very involved in this step, since he/she knows best what everyone will be interested in.
    • If your teen decides it’s acceptable to decorate, look in dollar stores or goodwill/thrift stores to find cheap decorations; those things can come with a hefty price tag.
    • Provide large, clearly-labeled trash and recycling bins. The fewer excuses they have to be messy, the better.
    • Invest in a dimmer switch. Dancing teens scurry faster than cockroaches when an adult turns the lights on. Since you probably don't want to have to deal with the consequences of keeping them turned off, a dimmer switch should make everyone happy.
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    Set up a music system. All you'll need for this are decent speakers and an Mp3 hookup. Don’t try to DJ for the party; every kid there will have hundreds (if not thousands) of songs with them on their phones and iPods – and even if they didn't, they probably don't want to hear your antediluvian jams.
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    Supply the food. Teens love grazing, so set up a buffet-style area where everyone can grab as much or as little food as they want. Chips, salsa, and pretzels always do well at buffets, though make sure to throw in a plate of veggies and dip for athletes and anyone who wants to watch their figure. Be sure to have some dessert, whether it's candy, cake, or chocolate.
    • Use disposables. Using disposable plates, cups, and utensils will make it easier to clean up the mess after the party.

Part 2
During and After the Party

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    Keep your head during the party. Be prepared for noise, spills, broken items, and tiffs. Although a teen party should always be chaperoned, avoid hovering. Try to let your teen have fun without worrying about being embarrassed.
    • Let your teen come to you if there's a problem. Tell him/her in advance that you're giving them the responsibility of alerting you if anything goes wrong.
    • There is always a possibility that alcohol or drugs will show up at the party. If you trust your teen and know that they hang out with respectable and responsible teenagers, this probably won’t be an issue. If it does happen, however, you shouldn't necessarily take this as a poor reflection on your kid’s character. Keep an eye on things and if you do see drugs or alcohol that you do not approve of, stay calm and politely ask those responsible to leave. If the teen resists, call the teen's parents or, if you are too worried, call the police as well as the folks just in case things might get out of hand even more than they did when you first approached them.
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    Avoid showing your child(ren) any obvious signs of affection during the party. You love your children, and seeing them interact and have fun with their friends might cause you to be sentimental. But obvious signs of affection – hugging, kissing, pet names, etc. – are the death knell to a teen's sense of independence. Keep it low-key.
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    Avoid any surprises the child is not already in on. If you're planning on inviting a mime to come and do an impromptu performance, then reconsider: kids usually have very rigid ideas of how they want their party to unfold. On top of that, they usually don't consider adult "surprises" to be all that exciting.
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    Let your teen clean up. This is the price of having an awesome party. Make the activity fun for them, if possible, by:
    • Offering to let them keep the cash collected by recycling any cans or cartons associated with the party. If it's a big party, they can clean up in more than one way!
    • Keep the music going, a movie in the background, or a few select friends around to help with the clean up. Six hands is always better than two.
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    Give your child an incentive to behave. Tell your kid that if they handle themselves in a mature way, you'd be more than happy to let them throw another party or otherwise increase their responsibility. Life is all about risks and rewards; your child understands these very well, even if s/he hasn't taken economics.


  • Make sure you don't run out of food.
  • Trust your teen, and remember that you were young once too. This is also a new generation, so you should keep this in mind.
  • Make sure younger siblings have a place to stay during the party; the last thing your teen needs or wants is to have to look after their kid brother or sister while their friends are having fun.
  • Parties don't usually go exactly as planned. Keep that in mind.
  • If you really want to jazz up your garden, then put up some indoor and outdoor lanterns or solar powered lights.
  • Remember that you're responsible for the mess your guests have made.
  • Make sure there is at least 1 chaperone at your party. Teens may get out of hand, so be somewhere in the house (but stay out of sight unless there's a problem).
  • If there are any fights between the teens, remain calm. Listen to both stories and find a solution. If the fighting doesn't stop, the best thing to do is call their parents.


  • If you're going to have a sleepover afterwards, be sure that you and your teenager agree on the amount of people, when the parents are coming to pick the teens up, and all those other details.
  • Don't put teens on a tight schedule. Have a starting time and an ending time, but mostly just let them come and go as they please. Teens don't need a schedule to have fun; they'll figure out something to do. If it gets too late, it's okay to kick the remaining party guests out.
  • FOR TEENS: People might fight during your party. If they do, say very politely, "Hey guys, you're wrecking my party. Please stop it." If that doesn't work, tell your parents.

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Categories: Teen Parties