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The Ultimate Guide to 13th Birthday Party Ideas

6 Unforgettable 13th Birthday Party Ideas

As one of the most exciting (and dramatic) age milestones, every parent wants to make their 13 year old’s birthday party perfect. This, as parents who already have teenagers know, is a near impossible feat.

Every child (I mean, new young adult), has different styles, hobbies, and preferences. Fortunately, at least one of these 13th birthday party ideas for girls and even boys are sure to please even the pickiest teenager:

1) Neon after Dark Party (For Boys or Girls)

A neon themed 13 year old birthday party is a fun way to turn a back yard into a glow in the dark party zone. Kids can begin the night inside, prepping for the big night by making their own glow-in-the-dark outfits (packs of socks and white tee shirts of different cuts and styles can be purchased on the cheap at Target or Wal-Mart). For girls, glow-in-the-dark nail polish and hair accessories are another fun idea.

Set up a dinner table outside with glow stick necklaces lining the perimeters of plates and cups, and use light up centerpieces to increase visibility at the table. Cotton candy served on long glow sticks makes for a fun dessert idea. If you have a card table with a long translucent tablecloth, add a lantern underneath to add even more glow and magic to the scene. Fun outdoor game ideas include touch football with a light-up ball, glowing ring toss, or light up bowling using glow sticks in water bottles for pins.

2) Live Band Karaoke (For Boys or Girls)

13th birthday party ideasFor musical kids who love to watch television shows like Glee or The Voice, a live band karaoke party is a 13 year old birthday party idea that will top the charts. Hire a local band in the backyard or reserve the back room of a local bar for a special event. For parents on a budget, renting a karaoke machine is always a winning idea for music lovers too. Set up a screen behind the machine (using a projector and a white sheet) to play the music videos in the background!

To make it a sleepover, bring the kids back to the house for a viewing party of the karaoke footage or an American Idol/Glee/Voice etc. television marathon. And of course, don’t forget the music themed cake.

3) For Small Groups of Close Friends, Try a Time Capsule (Works Better With Girls)

13th birthday party ideasFor the sentimental type, for this birthday party idea for 13 year olds you will have a time capsule themed party would be a fun idea for a small group of lifelong friends. These 13 year old birthday party ideas works better for girls than boys, considering girls tend to be more sentimental at an early age.

Use stationary or scrap booking paper for party goers to write letters, or come up with fun surveys for kids to fill out about their favorite stories and dreams for the future, celebrity crushes, favorite foods, etc. Set up an Instagram hashtag for party goers to post from the event, and print them out for the time capsule as well.

Have each friend bring a small token (i.e. concert wristband, stuffed animal, ticket stub, old shirt from a shared sports team, etc.) to contribute to the capsule.

If dirt’s not really your thing, “bury” the time capsule in a large re-purposed glass planter filled with sand, or create an indoor terrarium with the time capsule placed at the bottom. This cool looking party gift can decorate your new teen’s bedroom, where it can wait to be opened for the next milestone birthday or graduation party.

4) Instagram Scavenger Hunt (For Boys or Girls)

13 year old birthday party ideasOne the best 13 year old birthday party ideas; While the list of things to find may vary depending on whether or not the party is for girls, boys, or co-ed, the concept remains the same. Begin a cool Instagram hashtag for the birthday event and have a list of things (depending on the setting- works great in a mall, neighborhood or amusement park) that party goers will have to find.

The upside for those on a budget is that the teens won’t have to purchase all of the scavenger items- the proof is in the pictures! If the party is taking place at home, programs like allow users to live stream the photos from an event onto a television or a projector in the middle of the party.

And of course, the best part of a scavenger hunt is the prizes. So make sure to have gift cards on hand from stores and restaurants that are popular among your child’s circle of friends (iTunes gift cards are always a win)- and of course, a screen printed photo from your teen’s Instagram feed would make for a great cake idea.

5) Outdoor Movie Night in the Backyard (Boys or Girls)

13 year old birthday party ideasFor dinner and a movie under the stars, consider one of my favorite 13 year old birthday party ideas; Set up a picnic table with a classic barbecue dinner and a movie-themed cake. Mason jars purchased from the dollar store and pinstriped diner straws will add to the wholesome “drive-in” atmosphere.

A candy buffet (pro-tip: buying the candy in bulk will save money) and a rented old-fashioned outdoor popcorn machine will fill the backyard up with the smell of melted movie theater butter. Find a spot in the yard (ideally between two trees) to hang a white sheet to act as the movie screen. Cutting holes in the sheet for bungee cords to wrap around the trees usually works best to keep the sheet pulled taut. Rent a projector and some popular movies (genre is left up to the birthday boy or girl), and make sure to have a sound system hooked up to some outdoor speakers.

Of course- don’t forget to line a tarp up underneath the blankets if it has recently rained, and depending on location, keep those mosquito Tiki lanterns burning at full capacity all night long.

6) Paint Balloon Party with Spray Paint Station (For Boys and Girls)

13 year old birthday party ideasThis 13th birthday party idea is a concept that both kids and parents will love. Party goers can bring anything white that they are willing to paint (can be clothing, a canvas, furniture, bookshelves, or beyond). Fill water balloons with different colors of paint and have kids stand at a distance and throw the balloons at their objects to create a fun splattered paint effect. It should go without saying, but this activist should definitely be done outside and away from anything in the backyard that does not want to be splatter painted.

While kids are waiting for more balloons, a face paint station (with washable, non-toxic paint) and a spray paint station are fun ways to pass the time. Use duct tape as a paint stencil to create spray paint designs and patterns. Best part- each party goer will have a unique party favor to take home and use that will add a fun pop of color to a room and last for many memories to come.

For parents, 13th birthday party ideas for girls and boys do not have to be a headache. Dare to break out of the bowling alley and laser tag rut, and try something truly unique. The only thing your new teen will have to worry about is how to top their birthday party same time next year…

tween birthday party ideas

Tween Birthday Party Ideas

Parents of pre-teen children may struggle to come up with tween birthday party ideas. The difficulty in planning party games for tweens is the awkwardness of the age. Tweens are too old for simple cake, ice cream and party hats but are still too young for a true teenage get-together. The following list can help parents find fun and appropriate tween party ideas.


Spa Theme
One of the best tween girl birthday party ideas is a spa day. Each guest brings slippers and a bathrobe to set the mood and then rotates through nail, hair and facial stations. Nail polish and colored emery boards make great party favors. This is one of the easiest tween party ideas.

Pizza Party
Parents looking for birthday party ideas for tweens need look no further than pizza. Pre-teen children will enjoy playing games like pizza twister or completing an obstacle course, while carrying a pizza box. Having the kids make their own pizza is instructional and fun. Pizza is always a hit when it comes to party games for tweens.

Mall Scavenger Hunt
Tweens love the mall and will love hunting for items, while competing with their friends. After finding all the items on the list, the kids can have dinner at a mall restaurant and talk about the search. Parents who are at a loss for tween birthday party ideas can find scavenger hunt lists on the web. Some tween girl birthday party ideas include hunts for clothes and shoes.

Fashion Show
Among the top tween girl birthday party ideas is the fashion show. Girls enjoy dressing up and trying makeup and accessories, and giving them a walkway to show off makes them feel glamorous and grown-up. Handing each girl photos as a party favor is a classy touch, and adding a music CD makes the party memorable. Fashion is a hit when it comes to birthday party ideas for tweens.

One of the unusual tween party ideas is scrapbooking. Most tweens carry a smartphone and love taking pictures of themselves or others. The kids can experiment with poses, locations and angles. After sending the pics to a computer, they can be printed off and placed in scrapbooks, which are taken home as a party favor and provide a momento for years to come. Of the many party ideas for tweens, scrapbooking is something that can be passed on.

Animal Shelter
Unique party ideas for tweens can include a trip to the local animal shelter. Instead of gifts, guests can bring pet food, treats and toys. Once at the shelter, the kids can play with the cats and dogs, or volunteer for bathing, walking and cleaning cages. This will teach love and compassion, which will stay with children forever. Life lessons can be the best birthday party ideas for tweens.

Decade Theme
Pre-teens who want to step into the past will enjoy a birthday party that features clothing and music from a particular decade. This could be the funky 70s, the big-hair 80s or the grungy 90s. Among the many party games for tweens is karaoke, which is perfect for playing old songs and singing along. Parents can teach the kids popular dance moves and serve food from the chosen decade, which is what makes a decade theme one of the best tween party ideas.

Crazy Socks
Crazy socks is one of many tween girl birthday party ideas that can leave a lasting impression. Each girl brings a gift-wrapped pair of crazy socks and draws a number from a bowl. The girl who draws number one picks a package of socks, opens it and leaves it at her feet. The second girl can either take a package or the socks of number one. This goes on until everyone has the socks they want. The concept can be used with party favors or other small gifts to bring extra fun into tween birthday party ideas.

Tween Idol
Imitating American Idol or other sing-off competitions is among the most exciting party ideas for tweens. This party is easy to setup with a karaoke machine and CDs. After nominating a guest as the judge, each contestant will sing karaoke and then be voted off in rounds. The winner receives a video of his or her performance, along with a trophy. Parents looking for popular birthday party ideas for tweens will find a big hit with tween idol.

Both boys and girls enjoy celebrating birthdays with friends, which are made even more fun with party games for tweens. Parents who are having difficulty thinking up tween birthday party ideas can find plenty of help online with specialized websites and advice from other families on party ideas for tweens.


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