If you are one of “those” parents who always tries to make birthday parties fun for your kids, you eventually start running out of ideas that can’t top the previous year. Last year, for Caitlyn’s 15th birthday party, I took her friends to an indoor paintball arena. It was a big hit but I woke up the next day with bruises. Note to Self: If you are a dad and walk into an arena of teen paintball players, you are the target.
How to Plan the Ultimate Sweet 16 Party
This year I ran across an easier idea that ranked 97-99% on the 16th birthday party poll. (Yes, I actually polled my daughter’s friends–I am that geeky!) The concept was a citywide scavenger hunt. Basically you invite a bunch of your kid’s friends over, give them a bunch of clues and a time limit, then have them take pictures of the answers for prices. If you have a big group, you can break them into teams to compete against one another or have them work together for a common goal.
I Googled and got some rules and help for this type of party. I went ahead and bought “About Town Scavenger Hunt” kit from Mystery Party. I paid $20, which I felt was well worth the money. I incorporated their ideas into my own to create the Ultimate Sweet 16 Party.
Steps for the Ultimate Sweet 16 Party
1. Create a “Theme” that makes sense for your birthday kiddo. Considering the group of my daughter’s girlfriends, I thought the theme should be–CANDY. After all it is a “Sweet 16″ birthday party, right? To add to their fun and promote the theme, SuperParentMom went and bought 16 different types of candy and a great basket to keep it all in. You need to buy the big boxes of candy, as they will be used for photo taking props.
2. Create a “Reward” for completed tasks. In the basic game, the girls would be racing around town completing items that require them to take selfies of themselves doing a task. But why not raise the bar and offer your teen $10 cash or money towards a car fund for actually completing the task? We opt for the car fund with a $50 bonus thrown in for the 16th task completed. The friends were further incentified to help my daughter complete at least 16 of the tasks.
3. Flock the Yard. There is nothing more exciting/embarrasing than arriving home to find birthday signs. I looked into companies that did this for you. Wow, way too expensive. A quick trip to the party store, followed by $5 worth of sticks and clips from Home Depot. Whoola! A flocked yard.
4. Rent an SUV. Since my daughter, nor her friends drive…yet, I decide to rent a large SUV for the day. SuperParentMom has a good size minivan, but what fun is driving in your own van. I rented a big giant SUV that would seat the girls comfortably and offered to drive them around town. Note: I made the girls tell me exactly where to go and where to turn. If they are going to be future drivers, they have to learn their way around town and give directions. This idea turned out to be lots of fun in and of itself.
5. Give them 15 minutes to Plan, Before the Trip Begins. So once each party guest arrived, they received a printed copy of the rules and a list of possible tasks. (Find a football field and take a selfie laying down on it. Find a political sign and take a selfie with your friends giving a thumbs up.) I incorporated 20-25 from Mystery Party pdf but also wrote my own. Let the teens sit around a table and come up with WHERE to go and which tasks they want to tackle before they load up in the SUV.
6. Have One Teen Text You the Pictures. Not only did they have to take a picture of each task they were trying to complete, they also had to include a picture of one of the candy props. To make the game interesting, they could not go to any place that shared a parking lot, nor spend more than $20 during the entire game. I had one teen with a smart phone text me each picture along with the task number completed.
7. Schedule in a Professional Photo Shoot. What is more fun than running around with your teen girlfriends taking pictures? Having professional pictures taken with your girlfriends. We scheduled a photo shoot at Target. We’re not talking a ton of money here, but rather about $20-$30 and had four pictures with props made with Caitlyn’s friends. The cool part is this provides a keepsake Caitlyn can give her friends later to help remember this Ultimate Sweet 16 Birthday Party.
All in all they had a blast. They completed 16 tasks and earned Caitlyn $215 towards her car fund. This was a simple and easy way to create the Ultimate Sweet 16 Birthday Party. The only problem is… what will we do next year?
What kind of parties have you throw? What additional ideas do you have for a great party?
Pictures courtesy of Fred Campos.