5 Awesome 18th Birthday Party Ideas

Birthday parties get trickier to pull off the older kids get – teenagers can be picky and their definition of “cool” can be different than yours. Choosing a theme can make or break your party. Here are some awesome ideas that any newly-18-year-old in your life will love! 

1. Decade Party

Decade parties are a pretty easy hit with people of any age, and teenagers are no exception. Choose your favorite decade: 20s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s...all are fun and easy to come up with ideas for theming around. Going with the 70s? Maybe do it at a roller skating rink. Have everyone dress up in their favorite 70s attire: tie-dye, afro wigs, big hoop earrings, bell bottoms. Jello was pretty popular in the 70s and you could find some vintage sodas to go along with it for a cool aesthetic.

Thinking 90s instead? Rent out your local arcade. Wear your favorite wide-leg JNCO jeans (with a chain attached of course), a punk rock band t-shirt, and some skater shoes like Airwalks or Converse. Snack on some Crunch and Munch, Fruit by the Foot, Dr. Pepper, and tacos or pizza. Whatever decade you choose, make sure your playlist is packed full of hours of music from that era. Offer some outfit accessories like sunglasses or chokers as party favors for an inexpensive and themed takeaway that people will love.

2. TV Show Party

Parties themed around TV shows are constantly trending on TikTok and the options are infinite. Most popular TV shows chosen for this one? The Office and Friends. Send your guests home with a Dundie award or a Central Perk coffee mug. Serve Stanely’s pretzels and Kevin’s chili or Joey’s meatball subs. Order posters or print photos of memorable moments from the show and place them around as banners, wall decor, and centerpieces on your tables. Play games with trivia from the show and offer prizes with items from the show or gift cards. If you have access to a TV or projector screen, have it playing on repeat in the background. Ask everyone to dress in theme for the TV show that you pick – encourage creativity and fun! They can dress in character or wear a themed t-shirt. Other ideas for shows include Game of Thrones, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, Breaking Bad, I Love Lucy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer...whatever you want! 

3. Movie Night

Another easy theme is movie night. Choose a teen-friendly movie – classics like Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, or Jaws are always good choices. Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and nearly any comic book movie are some other great options. Get some dimmers for your lights or some electronic candles to keep things dark but still allow people to move around if necessary for snack and bathroom trips. Make sure you’ve got plenty of comfortable seating and movie snacks like individually packaged candy, freshly-popped popcorn, hot dogs,  and nachos. Stock your fridge with an abundance of bottled or canned sodas and water to last throughout the night. If you're sending invitations, maybe make them look like movie tickets to get people excited about the event. Play a trivia game at the end with questions from the movie and offer prizes.

4. Mystery Dinner Party

Kids of all ages love solving mysteries! Amazon has some great mystery-themed party packs complete with clues and links to track progress, check leads, and receive the next clue until you solve the mystery. This party theme takes up a good bit of time, so plan on a couple of hours for it. Offer snacks or finger-food dinner items that everyone can grab and eat as they go. You can assign tasks and work together to solve the mystery or group guests to compete against each other – it’s a blast either way. 

5. Pool Party

Pool parties are without question the number one most common party theme in the south – and for good reason. They are popular and easy to pull off, not to mention inexpensive if you’ve got your own pool! Order some pizzas, open a few bags of chips, and put some drinks  sodas and water are a must – in some coolers with ice. Create a custom playlist with high-energy party vibes and set up a waterproof Bluetooth speaker to keep it going the whole time. Always have extra towels and sunscreen on hand and a clear path to the bathroom – signage is a plus for this one! Plan some water games like Marco Polo, volleyball, basketball, and sharks, and minnows. Make sure you have plenty of foam pool noodles and inflatable pool toys like beach balls, basketball hoops, and pool floats, etc. Done and done!

These party themes are easy to execute and don’t require a ton of time or money. Keep your teen in the loop and ask them for some input to get them even more excited for the big event.