13th Birthday Party Ideas & Themes
The tween in your life is about to graduate to teen! This is a milestone birthday, so celebrate them in style. Our 13th birthday party ideas are sure to get those creative juices flowing.
Boho Chic Party
Throwing your teen-to-be a boho chic party is a great way to celebrate the big 1-3! Lay down tapestries and rugs in your backyard, throw big cozy pillows down on top, and then move your coffee table outside for a table at just the right height. Invite the teens to sit criss-cross-applesauce around it as they sip on fresh lemonade and iced tea. Place fresh flowers in glass jars around the food tables and outside sitting area to really set the scene. To keep with the chic affair, serve veggies and dips alongside charcuterie boards complete with a spread of meats, cheeses, nuts, and berries. Instead of the traditional cake, opt for a naked cake with fresh whipped cream and berries. For another fun alternative to the birthday cake, serve a tower of donuts on a cake stand. Have the party guests create fresh or faux flower crowns; you’ll just need a tape measure, floral wire and tape, pliers, and the prettiest blooms you can find. After everyone has their crown perfectly in place, have them take selfies in front of a white tapestry photo booth. This 13th boho-day is sure to please your teen!
Emojis are all the rage right now! Get invitations together that let guests know “it’s time to get emotional” about your teen’s 13th birthday. Because of the popularity of emojis, your local party store is sure to have everything emoji— from balloons to photo booth props! Set up a photo booth, complete with a poster board cutout of a giant Polaroid, and have your teen and their friends pose. Create a fun hashtag honoring the guest of honor, and with each parent’s permission, upload them to Instagram. For a throwback nod, take pictures with an Instamax Mini 8, have a scrapbook ready with colored pens, washi tape, and scissors, so guests can post their photos and write messages to the birthday boy or girl. You’ll take the current craze back a few decades, and guests will be able to bring home Polaroids as a favor! After all that posing, the crew will be ready to eat. Load them up on Smiles fries (found in the frozen food section) and sliders. Instead of cake, serve cupcakes with emoji cake toppers or make heart eyes Oreo cake pops with melted white chocolate dyed with yellow food coloring, heart shaped sprinkles, and black icing.
Throw the sweetest pineapple themed party to date! Real pineapples make great decorations— to kick it up a notch, use foam brushes and funky paints like lilac, lavender, and teal to paint the green crown of each pineapple. Once they’ve dried, set your art up on the food and present tables. Don’t worry about being wasteful— after the party is over, cut up the pineapples in chunks and throw them in the freezer for smoothies later. For the backdrop behind the snack table, get gold balloons that spell out ALOHA, but leave the “O” out, and use a pink flamingo in it’s place. If you have the space, get a few blow up palm trees to really set the scene. Pineapples are really popular right now, so check the store for pineapple pool toys and floats— they’ll make great oversized decorations that your teen can take to the pool or beach later. Don’t forget to set up a smoothie bar— your guests will love making their own tasty drinks! If the guest list it too big, man the bar yourself and have two signature smoothie flavors to choose from, like peach mango banana and strawberry pineapple. For another fun spin, empty out coconuts and serve dips right out of the shells. Instead of a birthday cake, try a pineapple cheesecake— it’s sure to hit the spot!
Movie Night Slumber Party
Does your teen fancy themselves the next Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorcese? Maybe more of a Johnny Depp or Julia Roberts? Make a movie night to remember with all the biggest stars! Send invitations on ticket stubs encouraging guests to bring their favorite pillow and blanket. If weather and space permit, set up a projector for a movie night under the stars. Opting for a cozier night in? Arrange your couches and chairs for the optimal viewing party. Play movie classics, like The Wizard of Oz, or go with timeless summer blockbusters, like Jurassic Park. For decorations, set up a faux concession stand complete with hot dogs, popcorn, and candy favorites, like Junior Mints and Red Vines. Make a popcorn bucket shaped cake with birthday cake flavored popcorn spilling out of the top. To really set the scene, decorate with faux film strips and ticket stubs. If a store nearby has a dollar bin of movies, grab a few to tie together with the boxed candy as favors for more fun later!
Mad Hatter Tea Party
Put a spin on the traditional tea party and channel Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter! Have guests RSVP for the “very important date” on playing cards you include in the invite. Head to a craft store for filato paper and fake moss. With the filato paper, create giant oversized flowers for decorations. Arrange the moss going down the center of a long table, with playing cards and golden keys strewn along it. Check your local resale shops for mismatched tea sets— the stranger, the better! If you can find a Cheshire Cat, place him in a tree overlooking the tea party. Set clocks to tea time and place them around the yard. Serve tea cakes, finger sandwiches, and thumbprint cookies. In place of a traditional birthday cake, try a whimsical raspberry and earl grey infused cake! After the tea party has wrapped up, bring your guests inside for an Alice in Wonderland viewing party. Send guests home with a copy of the book or a goodie bag of different flavored teas.
Your teen won’t have any reason to pitch a fit after they see how fun a camp themed party thrown in their honor is! Send invites out letting guests know where the “campsite” is located for Camp (Teen’s Name). Set up the food table as though it’s a makeshift campsite complete with pine cones, moss, and wooden slabs. For the perfect cozy campfire feel, set up a hot chocolate bar! Make your hot chocolate ahead of time and keep it warm in a crock pot with all the best toppings ready to go: whipped cream, white and milk chocolate chips, and marshmallows, of course! For a different spin on the birthday cake, make homemade oatmeal cream pies. If you have a backyard to take advantage of, hang jars from the trees with tea lights inside for a subtle glow. Get a fire going for roasting marshmallows, but add a fun twist by using chocolate graham crackers and drizzling caramel or raspberry sauce on top! When the sun goes down, have the group play truth or dare or tell ghost stories by flashlight. Send everyone home with a sweet favor: s’mores pops (marshmallows dipped in chocolate and rolled in graham cracker crumbs).
Master Gamer Party
Is your teen-to-be a master gamer? Throw them a party honoring their favorite gaming system! X-box or Playstation? You know where they stand. For an X-box party, go with black and lime green decorations. Is your teen loyal to Playstation? Choose the color they customized their system in, or go with all black! Send out remote controller shaped “GAME ON” invites. Set up a power station with gamer friendly snacks that can be enjoyed quickly or with one hand. Make sure there’s plenty of pizza and candy for the hungry gamers— we wouldn’t want a lag! Set up a popcorn bar with different toppings, like nacho cheese and white cheddar shakers, and tasty fixings, like M&Ms and peanuts. Have mini paper bags handy to throw their snacks in so they can get back to the action as quick as possible! Hire a game truck that’s already stocked with all the latest systems and games, or bring a few TVs together in one room to maximize playing time. Have one of the guest of honor’s friends bring their system over to double the fun. Make sure they keep it fair and take turns by setting up schedules or by planning breaks to refuel and recharge. After this party, your teen is super to say you leveled up your party game!
Hotel Stay Party
Who doesn’t love a good staycation? If you have a little more room in your party-planning budget, a hotel slumber party is a great idea. When researching your local options, you may be able to find one with an indoor pool. It won’t matter where your teen’s birthday falls on the calendar, they’ll love a pool party. No pool? The excitement of staying in a hotel will be plenty. Decorate the room like you would for any party, with streamers and balloons in your teen’s favorite colors. Play all the best sleepover games like Twister or Would You Rather?. Since food can be a little tricky in a hotel, pick up all the best snacks ahead of time, but opt for ordering pizza in. Instead of worrying about room service for breakfast the next day, plan a fun spread all your own! Put donuts on wooden skewers inside a vase for a bouquet of tasty treats. Set up a DIY parfait bar complete with granola, assorted berries, and their favorite yogurts.
If your teen is obsessed with soccer, this party is sure to score some goals! Have guests ready to kick up some fun by wearing their favorite soccer star’s jersey to the party. Send out faux tickets as invites that resemble a stub from a soccer game. If you have the option, host your party at a soccer field nearby for a quick game. If it’s not possible to get outside for some action, rent a Foosball table and have everyone take turns dominating. Set up your snack table with a green “grass” tablecloth and black and white balloons. Use soccer balls of varying sizes as decorations and make sure the napkins are yellow to resemble penalty flags. Since a soccer star’s feet stay busy, set up a walking taco bar! Get snack-sized bags of Doritos and Fritos and set up all the toppings: ground beef and chicken, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, and salsa! Crunch up the chips, add your favorite fixings, and enjoy! For dessert, bake chocolate cupcakes and use a candy scoop to take out the middle. Drop in a tiny soccer ball and then use a piping bag and green frosting to make the grass around it. For a fun twist, make tasty referees out of Nutter Butters— just add eyes, hair, mouth, and the referee shirt with black and white icing. Have all your teen’s friends sign a soccer ball for you teen to have as a keepsake.
80s Theme Party
Despite being born several decades later, your 13 year old will love this 80s throwback! Encourage guests to come decked out in their take on 80s fashion— the bigger the hair and the brighter the clothes, the better! You can’t throw an 80s party without the hits of the era, make a playlist jam packed with the best of Michael Jackson, Blondie, and Wham!. Decorate with strictly neon: yellow, green, orange, and pink, create cassette tape food labels, and use slinkies as table decorations. Serve 80s faves like Pop Rocks, Bugles, and Kool Aid. Set up a DIY headband or legwarmer station with tons of decorations, like tulle, glitter, and neon fabric paint. Have them do each others make up 80s style— bring on the blue eye shadow and frosted lip gloss! Set up old-school video games, like Pacman and Tetris, or get them moving with a game of Four Square. Send your guests home with slinkies of their own (just keep in mind they may need a lesson on what a slinky is first!).