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18th Birthday Party Ideas

Posted By Laurie Grant


An 18th birthday is the perfect time to get friends together to celebrate before heading off to college and out into the world. Check out this list of fun 18th birthday party ideas for a party to remember!

Inflatable Games Party

Here’s a throwback to childhood that everyone will enjoy! Rent adult-sized inflatables and relive your care-free childhood as you and your friends bounce the night away. Challenge guests to a bungee run or a Sumo wrestling match– your sides will ache from laughing so hard! If it’s hot outside, add an inflatable water slide to the mix to cool off afterward. If you’ve got enough outdoor space and you have friends who play music or DJ for fun, ask them to play a set or spin on the ones and twos. Consider a carnival theme, complete with chili-dogs, burgers, kettle corn, and a big birthday cake, of course!

Air Guitar Concert

Transform into one of your favorite guitar heroes with a little bit of imagination and a lot of passion! Even if you’ve never had a single music lesson, you and your birthday party guests can rock out to classic tunes by artists such as Tom Petty, Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Carlos Santana, or Stevie Ray Vaughan, to name a few. Use your imagination when it comes to costumes and props— get creative by turning a tennis racket or hockey stick into your very own axe! Play the part and dress like a rock star as you strut across the imaginary stage. Invite your guests to arrive dressed as rock stars or as dedicated groupies. Have an air guitar contest and award the winner his/her very own inflatable guitar. Your fans will be screaming for an encore after this rocking birthday party!

Tattoo Party

Temporary tattoo, that is! This 18th birthday party is sure to be a hit among the teens in your life. Whether you choose to use henna, air-brushing, or stick on decals, there are tons of options available and no limits to your creativity. Choose a party theme, such as “Morocco” or “Bollywood”, to give your 18th birthday party some flair. Gather decorations, like fairy lights, flower garlands, pom-poms, lots of cushions, candles, and lanterns. Hire a professional artist or have guests apply their own tattoos. If you opt for DIY application, henna kits are available at craft stores and often include a books with simple designs. Take it up a notch and get some body glitter and stone embellishments to add a special touch to the designs. Enhance the theme by decorating the birthday cake and cookies with intricate frosting designs. Music will help set the atmosphere, but make sure you enlist the help of your 18-year-old to make the music playlist. After everyone is inked, play the “pillow-passing” game, a more rewarding version of hot potato. Have guests sit in a circle and pass around a pillow or parcel with a gift inside. When the music stops, the person with the parcel unwraps the gift!

Pokemon Go Party

Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm— especially the teenage set. Join the craze and celebrate your 18th birthday with Pokemon Go! Set a meeting place such as a public park where you know there will be tons of Pokemon to catch. Enjoy walking through the park catching Pokemon together. Either rent a pavilion at the park or head back home after the hunt to continue celebrating with yummy food and drinks. The circular Pokemon shapes provide some great food ideas such as turning a cheese pizza into a Pokeball by using black olives to form the line across the center and circle in the middle. Pepperoni slices form the red half of the ball while the white side remains cheese only. Decorate paper lanterns with Pokemon character faces and hang a Pokeball piñata— yes, even teens still love a piñata full of candy and trinkets! Play Pin the Tail on Pikachu, and if you’re feeling really creative, transform your birthday teen’s favorite character into a deliciously delightful birthday cake.

Camping Party

Camp outs are perfect for teens who love the adventure of the outdoors.  Start your rocking camp party planning by sending out invitations shaped like tents, of course! Provide enough tents so that everyone has sleeping space, but have your guests bring their own sleeping bags. Some fun camping games and activities include catching lightning bugs in glass jars, sleeping bag races, and telling ghost stories. Roast hot dogs and marshmallows by the fire or on the grill. Sing campfire songs from the past or make up your own but remember to sing the most important song of the night, Happy Birthday!

Spa Party

Pamper your birthday teen and her guests by indulging them in luxurious spa party. You don’t have to book appointments at an expensive salon— you can do it all at home with a little preparation. Have your guests arrive in comfy yoga clothing and hand out hair bands to each young lady. Set up stations throughout the house: one for pedicures, another for facials, and one for manicures. Enlist a few moms to help work each station. Starting with the fancy feet station, fill a few square buckets with warm water and fizzing foot soap (a mixture of baking soda, corn starch, citric acid, and your favorite fragrance oil). After their tootsies are nice and clean, provide a variety of nail colors and paint their toenails or have them paint each others. For the facial station, set out bowls of a delicious-smelling mask mixtures and unused paint brushes. Have the girls paint the masks on their faces and rest their heads on rolled-up towels while they chill out to their favorite tunes. Place cucumber slices over their eyes for a cool refreshing feel. A fun manicure idea is to cover a large table with a plastic tablecloth and set out a variety of at least 10 different nail polishes. Have each girl select a color and seat them all at the table. Play music and then stop it after a minute or so and whichever color the girl is holding is the color they use for one fingernail. Continue this game of musical nail polish until all 10 fingers are painted. Serve dainty little blossom tea sandwiches by cutting bread and cucumbers with different small sizes of cookie cutters. Spread cream cheese on the bread, then top with a slice of cucumber, and a halved cherry tomato. Voila— a pretty little yummy treat!

Beach Party

If your 18-year-old’s idea of a great time is spending a day a the beach, but you can’t get there, bring the beach to your backyard! Transform your yard into a sandy retreat by filling inflatable swimming pools with sand. Add some shells and hide some trinkets in the sand for a fun treasure hunt. Fill one pool with ice and drinks for a handy and refreshing treat. Set up a volleyball net for some beach volleyball, or create a game of bowling by using a coconut as the ball and colored water bottles as the pins. Fill beach buckets with a variety of snacks and use the shovels as serving spoons. Fill a clear glass fish bowl with Goldfish crackers for an edible decoration, and make sand dollar cookies by placing 5 sliced almonds in a circular, flower-like arrangement on top of sugar cookie dough before baking. Provide plenty of beach balls, and don’t forget the sunscreen and a water hose for keeping cool! Play lots of beach tunes and if your feeling extra-beachy, have a Carolina-inspired Shag dance contest!

Anthony's Paintball Birthday

Paintball Party

You can have your paintball party at a commercial paintball field or in your own backyard.  Most importantly make sure that your  guests wear protective paintball gear to ensure their safety.  If your birthday honoree has never played before, gift them a paintball gun package that includes everything they need to play, such as a paintball gun, protective mask, hopper, and CO2 tank.  If it’s possible, host a ‘BYOPBG’ (Bring Your Own Paintball Gun) party. Let your guests know ahead of time that CO2 tanks and ammunition will be provided. If guests aren’t able to bring their own gear, having your party at a commercial paintball field is a great alternative. It’s also smart to stock up on several low priced paintball masks and extra hoppers in case guests show up without them or there’s a breakdown. Remember that protective eye wear is always mandatory. Instead of just releasing your group into the open wild, organize several paintball games that are suitable for your location. The most simple game is to divide your group into two teams and play simple elimination rounds. Most players enjoy using working strategies and communication skills with their team mates to conquer a mission. Consider playing games like Capture the Flag, where each team has to infiltrate the other’s base, capture their flag and bring it back to their home base to win. A game called All The President’s Men is also fun to play; 2-3 players must protect one another, while the rest of the group has to try to eliminate the target. You can even build makeshift bunkers for your guests to hide behind. Consider using stacks of old tires, barrels, barns, sheds, or simply a pile of wood! A field littered with big round hay bails makes a very good paintball battlefield. If you have a wooded hill, King of the Mountain is also very fun game to play; several players on top of the hill try to defend their position while being attacked by all the rest!

Totally 80’s Party

Relive the loud colors, extreme fashion, sky-high hair, and music of the 80s. To throw an 80s themed birthday party for your 18-year-old, you’ll want to include as many 80s ideas and items as you can. Make a playlist with songs and music by Michael Jackson, Madonna, Air Supply, Prince, Bon Jovi, and U2, to name a few. Have the teens dress in the 80s style by wearing legwarmers, spandex, dark sun glasses, side ponytails, high tops, excessive rubber bracelets, finger-less gloves, male earrings and shoulder pads. Award prizes to the teen with the funkiest outfit, loudest make-up, biggest hair, and most rubber bracelets. Some other fun contests are break dancing contest, lip-syncing contest, air guitar, and moon-walking contests. If you’d like to have some 80’s movies playing in the background, consider titles such as 16 Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Revenge of the Nerds and Breakfast Club. Your teen’s 80s birthday party is sure to be totally awesome!

Hawaiian Luau

Create your own tropical paradise right in your own backyard. Bring your Hawaiian luau to life by making a tiki hut or dressing up your existing outdoor area with grass skirt material, lanterns, fishing net, and other tropical trinkets. Ask your guests to arrive wearing colorful Hawaiian shirts and dresses and welcome each of them with a customary lei, of course! You can either buy your leis from a party supply store or have everyone make their own lei with fresh flowers as a fun party activity. Set the island atmosphere with the sound of ukuleles, marimbas, and some of Elvis Presley’s classic soundtracks from Blue Hawaii and Paradise Hawaiian Style, or singer Israel Kamakawiw’ole’s famous ukulele-kissed version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Feast on tropical delights such as ham and pineapple kabobs, crab rangoons, and ahi tuna. Everyone loves tropical drinks garnished with fruit and mini umbrellas. There are tons of non-alcoholic recipes for everything from Mai Tais to Blue Hawaiians and Luau Punch. Sing “Hau`oli Lā Hānau” to your birthday teen and remind him/her, “Ke ‘oi loa a koe, na’e hana hele mai”, meaning “the best is yet to come”.

Neon/Glow Party

Glow parties are all the rage these days and they are pretty easy to pull-off, too! Invite your guests to wear fluorescent clothing and glow-in-the-dark accessories. Stock up on supplies such as black lights and glow sticks in all shapes and sizes. Darken the room and fill it with vibrant decorations made with strings of glowing LED lights in a variety of colors. Fill a box with brightly-colored plastic sunglasses, bracelets, rings, and other accessories for fun party favors for your guests. If you want to take your glow party to the next level, consider painting yourself with glow paint and offering it to your guests. Glow-in-the-dark body paint is often available from specialty stores like costume shops, Halloween supply stores, and online. To create the look and feel of a “rave” at your glow party, consider playing classic house/techno or modern EDM (electronic dance music). You can throw a great glow party with almost any sort of playlist, as long as you’ve got great music! Try to have a playlist of music picked out before your party begins. Get together with your teen ahead of time and pick out songs for their party. Set your playlist to shuffle and have fun!

Laurie is a busy mother of four who loves travelling and spending time anywhere outdoors from the Blue Ridge mountains to the sandy white beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.

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