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Tween Birthday Party Ideas

Posted By Lissa Eckert


Tweens are a notoriously tough age to please. If you’re in need of a little party inspiration, check out our tween birthday ideas for a guaranteed good time!

Art Party

An art inspired party is the perfect way to celebrate the Picasso in your life. Think colorfully for the decor— blow up balloons in red, yellow, orange, green, and blue; tape them in a cluster to the ceiling above the cake table. Add a little artistic flair to your snack table with “paint chips” and rice crispy paintbrushes. Use a popsicle stick as the handle, then dip the first half of the treat into melted white chocolate dyed with different food coloring. Serve up a cake in the shape of an artist’s palette, or if cupcakes are more your style, buy a real artist palette and paintbrush. Frost cupcakes in red, orange, yellow, green, and blue, and arrange them on the palette to create art you can eat! Give the artist in your life the palette and brush as an after party gift. Set each guest’s artist station with a smock (save some money and create them out of old t-shirts and ribbon), canvas, paint brushes, and paint. Hire an artist to come in and teach a class, or let their imaginations run wild. Make sure you have empty gift bags ready to go so your guests can take home their new supplies.

Movie Night Slumber Party

Does your tween 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 bucket of popcorn 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

Fashion Show/Project Runway Party

If your child is a mini-fashionista or maybe even the next Coco Chanel, this is the party for them! Hit up your local thrift store for some fashion forward staples on the cheap. You’re guaranteed to find a few funky pieces; just plan ahead for wash and dry time! If your tween is more design-minded, but just starting out, the thrift store finds can be a great way to learn the ropes by taking apart and remastering gently used pieces. If your designer has more experience, head to your local fabric store for bolts of fabrics, buttons, thread, and plenty of needles! For those guests just starting out, try kid-friendly plastic needles or set up stations with DIY beginner sewing kits from stores like Michael’s or AC Moore. Have runway props handy like feather boas, costume jewelry, and Mom’s high heels. After they’ve created their signature look, have them model on a faux runway complete with chairs, a red catwalk, and white lights lining the edge. After all that exhausting work designing and modeling, those mini-fashionista will be hungry! They’ll need the carbs, so order pizzas and serve high heel cupcakes and dress-shaped cookies alongside a sparkling punch.

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 tween’s birthday falls on the calendar, they’ll love a pool party! No pool? The excitement of staying in a hotel will be enough! Decorate the room like you would for any party, with streamers and balloons in the birthday boy or girl’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.

Color Party

Is your tween a fanatic for all things their favorite color? Plan a color-themed party! Have the attendees arrive decked out head-to-toe in the guest of honor’s favorite hue. Make sure all the decorations keep to the theme— create a fun ombre balloon-scape by stringing a needle through the tied off ends of balloons so that they can hang upside down from one end of the snack table to the other. Use food coloring to dye cupcakes and frosting the theme of the party, then decorate with matching sprinkles and candy. Make the rest of the food join the party as well— dip pretzel sticks in white chocolate dyed with food coloring, put matching candies and fruits in colored jars, and serve appetizers that match. (For green, think veggie tray and guacamole. For pink/red, try tomatoes with roasted red pepper ranch or cream cheese stuffed strawberries. For orange, buffalo chicken pinwheels or coconut shrimp would be big crowd pleasers!) Send the guests home with a bottle of nail polish or sunglasses that match the day’s theme.

80s Theme Party

Despite being born several decades later, your tween 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 other’s make up in true 80s fashion— 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!).

Tye Dye Party

If your tween is a bit more crafty, host a tye dye party! Set up your tye dye stations outside, but if weather doesn’t permit, head to the garage, or lay down a plastic tarp to save your floors. Check out your local craft store for the traditional dye kits, but put a new spin on it by using squeeze bottles for even funkier (and cleaner!) designs. Print out idea templates ahead of time for fun design ideas by different placement of rubber bands. It may have been a while since your last encounter with tye dye, so get a little practice ahead of time by dying tablecloths for the snack and present tables. Twist colored streamers together to create the perfect backdrop for photo ops with the party’s finished gear. Keep the food in theme by serving rice crispy treats made with Trix cereal, tye dye cupcakes, and rainbow sherbert punch. Your guests are in for a psychedelically good time!

Classy Tea Party

A classy tea party may be just the fancy affair your tween requires! Check out these ideas to plan your party to a T-ea! Let guests know when they RSVP to wear their favorite garden party attire, and have white gloves ready for each little lady or lad to put on when they arrive. Set up a long table with tea cups and plates placed on top of white doilies, fresh flowers in vases, several bowls of sugar cubes and lemon wedges, and vintage-inspired tea pots. Serve tea cakes, finger sandwiches, and thumbprint cookies. Decorate shortbread cookies to look like teaspoons and individually wrap them for a sweet take-home treat. For the final celebration, serve a raspberry and earl grey infused cake. They’ll be sure to toast you for throwing such an extravagant event!


Turn roughing it outdoors glamorous by going glamping! Have all the luxuries of home at your fingertips by hosting this slumber party in your backyard. Plan to spruce up the tent by bringing colorful sheets and throw pillows for the bed, placing soft rugs along the floor of the tent, and even borrowing a lamp or two from inside— just make sure you’ve got extension cords handy! Set up a fire pit for roasting marshmallows for s’mores, but kick it up a notch by adding fresh raspberry sauce. For breakfast, roll up cinnamon rolls on long wooden skewers and roast them by the morning fire. Enjoy with cold orange juice– straight from the fridge inside! If the weather or season doesn’t agree with your glamping trip, set up indoors. Create makeshift teepees and make s’mores dip in the oven with a cast iron skillet. Have your tween and their friends turn the lights off to tell ghost stories by the glow of their flashlights only. Serve hot dogs and trail mix, and make matches out of pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate, just add red sprinkles to the tips for a realistic touch. Make signs that say, “Don’t feed the bears” alongside Teddy Grahams and “Campfire Flames” with the Cheetos. After a party like this, your tween and her crew are sure to fall in love with this glamorous spin on camping!

Ice Cream Social

Forgo the traditional birthday cake and instead host an ice cream social! Send ice cream cone shaped invites out to your tween’s closest friends with the “scoop”. Get recyclable plastic tubs of ice cream in all their favorite flavors, and place them in galvanized tins filled with ice. Play ice cream parlor classics from the 50s and 60s to get the right vibe, and decorate with ice cream cone garland created from brown and pastel colored construction paper. Make a bouquet of ice cream cone balloons by cutting large construction paper into a rounded edge, rolling them up, and then taping a balloon right-side up inside! Place the usual topping favorites in the crockpot to keep them warm: hot fudge, caramel, marshmallow, and strawberry sauce. Set up a station complete with cups, cake and waffle cones, and TOPPINGS! Don’t forget any of the fan favorites: nuts, Oreos, M&Ms, rainbow and chocolate sprinkles, maraschino cherries, strawberries, gummy bears, and bananas. Your guests are sure to SCREAM for this ice cream!

Lissa is the Site Content Specialist at Custom Ink. She hopes to create content that engages and inspires customers. Lissa loves to see ideas of hers brought to life by customer's orders!

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