Ideas for a 16-Year-Old's Birthday Party

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Celebrate your teen's 16th birthday in style.
Celebrate your teen's 16th birthday in style. (Image: yshawty/iStock/Getty Images)

Sweet 16 marks a major milestone in a teen's life; she's finally able to get behind the wheel of a car -- legally -- and gain a little independence. Even if your teen isn't going to receive a sweet ride for her 16th birthday, you can still celebrate with a party. Whether for girls, boys or coed, casual or a blowout, a 16th birthday party should be creative and memorable for the guest of honor.

Gal Pal Parties

If your teen prefers to hang with just the girls, set up a spa night for her 16th birthday party. Contact a local cosmetology school and hire one to two estheticians to do makeovers, and manicures and pedicures. Serve mocktails, such as sparkling cider with cranberry juice, and fancy appetizers. For an extra-special affair, host the party in a large hotel suite. For something a little fancier, celebrate her sweet 16 with a high tea, whether at your home or at a local upscale hotel. Ask each guest to dress up in her Sunday best and enjoy finger sandwiches and varieties of hot tea.

Just the Guys

Guys and cars go together like peanut butter and jelly, so it makes sense to host a auto-themed birthday party for your 16-year-old boy. Create invitations that look like driver's licenses, and host the group at a racetrack so the guests get a little time behind the wheel. Make it even more special by inviting a professional race-car driver to join the party to give driving tips and take photos with the guests. Other 16th birthday party ideas for just the guys include taking in a college or pro sports game or visiting a local amusement park to enjoy all the thrill rides they were too short for in previous years.

Sweet 16 Blowouts

Some parents like to make a big to-do of a child's 16th birthday; if you think this year is the time for an over-the-top celebration, host a Hollywood-themed party. Have the guest of honor invite all her friends and ask them to dress in red carpet attire, such as suits/tuxes and gowns or party dresses. Hire a photographer to take pictures of guests as they arrive; drape a red carpet along the walkway to your front door or the door of a rented party venue. Hire a DJ and caterer to make the music and food top-notch. An alternate, yet similar theme is a masquerade ball.

Low-Key Coeds

While special, 16th birthday parties don't have to be elaborate. Set up a bonfire in your backyard for a low-key yet memorable birthday party. Include a table that includes all the fixings for hot dogs and s'mores, and let the group stay up talking until the wee hours of the night. During the warmer months, host a pool party -- or, if lieu of a pool, a luau party -- complete with tropical decorations, a smorgasbord of tropical food on the buffet, and a speaker set up with the latest tunes.

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