15 yr old birthday party ideas
November 8, 2010 5:52 PM   Subscribe

I have a 15 yr old daughter who is "freaking out" over ideas for her birthday party. Nothing elaborate mind you, just some idea that would involve her friends that would encourage interaction among them (eg rather than just going to watch a movie, etc.). Other than a sleep over, you guys have any ideas?
posted by america4 to Human Relations (34 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Cranium! Apples to Apples! Catchphrase! Three of the greatest group games ever invented. Always a hit among teenagers and college kids -- some of my best memories are of my friends and I playing those games all night long during parties. :)

Baking is also a great bonding activity if you have room in your kitchen to support a gaggle of girls. If you make roll-out sugar cookies, they can all decorate and eat what they make!
posted by patronuscharms at 5:55 PM on November 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seems a thing many 15 year old girls would like.
posted by zizzle at 5:56 PM on November 8, 2010

posted by amanda at 5:56 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

My teen son and his friends have had an awesome time doing cell-phone camera scavenger hunts at his last two birthday parties (this does require planning at least part of the party during daylight hours).
posted by drlith at 6:00 PM on November 8, 2010 [4 favorites]

How many friends is she having? 15 was sort of an age where I felt a little too old to do something "party" related. Maybe give her some cash and let her meet up with some friends at her favorite (reasonably priced) restaurant/pizza joint?
posted by windbox at 6:06 PM on November 8, 2010

For my sixteenth birthday party, I had a murder mystery party. I ordered a kit from somewhere like here: Dinner and a Murder (I think you can narrow it down by age, number of people, etc) - everyone had a blast. Mine was a twenties gangster theme, so everyone dressed up in suits with fake cigars and flapper dresses. I'm 23 now, and friends still talk about it!
posted by firei at 6:06 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

If they're crafty, maybe some kind of ceramic / jewlery making workshop? If they like mystery novels/games, maybe one of those mystery party games? Lazer-tag, if they're into that? If they're very girly, some spas will offer group pampering packages (massages, mani/pedi's, makeovers, etc). There will of course be some cost involved, but if you go to an esthetician/beauty school, often they'll offer great deals if you book far enough in advance.

(BTW, I would totally go to any and all of these parties that have suggested for a 15y/o. I'm in my late 20's. What does that say about me?? :D )
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 6:08 PM on November 8, 2010

Have a foreign film night and cook food that goes with the movie! Chocolat might be a good one (maybe I'm just having a chocolate craving now, though). You could do some french food like crepes, which you can get pre-made or even make ahead and then each girl can make her own (ham and cheese, mushrooms, spinach, etc.). Of course, ending with a rich chocolate birthday cake.

15-year old girls would probably love to hang out at the house, cook together (with a little help maybe), and then be left alone to watch a great movie. Combining two adult activities that are kind of mature but still comfortable and familiar can make for a really nice party.
posted by belau at 6:10 PM on November 8, 2010

I want to go to patronus's cookie party.

You don't say what the budget is, or if it is an at-home or out party. If you have the cash, or she doesn't have a ton of guests, here are my going-out parties: Roller skating at the rink? Expensive, but fun. The zoo? Maybe a little young, but that could be fun. Some libraries have passes to museums, zoos, whathaveyous, and that could be delightful for the type of people who enjoy that. Have them all dress up in their Homecoming dresses and go out for dinner, even at just the mall, could be fun. When I was in high school, a friend had a hotel party (with her mom present, of course, and no alcohol or anything) and it was fantastic to just run around and all that, plus there was a pool.

If they stay in, "spa" fun? DDR? Homemade pizzas? Rock Band? Scavenger hunt? And honestly, at 15, I wanted my parents to go away and let us make our own fun, rather than having "activities"...

....Don't let them play Truth or Dare. It never seemed to go well.
posted by jenlovesponies at 6:11 PM on November 8, 2010

At 16 my friends and I had a lot of fun doing a scavenger hunt. (this was a ...few...years ago, though, and it's completely possible that my friends and I are strange)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 6:14 PM on November 8, 2010

You guys are AWESOME. Thanks for all of the ideas!!!!!
posted by america4 at 6:22 PM on November 8, 2010

Bonfire in the yard and tell scary stories, roast marshmallows and hot dogs, make s'mores, listen to teenage music and talk about boys.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:26 PM on November 8, 2010 [3 favorites]

I 2nd the murder mystery party, did this when I was 16 and it was a blast.
posted by bluehermit at 6:28 PM on November 8, 2010

My daughter had friends over for roll your own -- sushi. We also did "tie-dye" rice. We had separate bowls of white rice in which we added food coloring, mixed and had 5 separate colors. Then we took a little rice from each bowl and put it in a bigger bowl and had "tie-dye" rice, natch. Lots of fun ending in a rice fight. (Advice for cleaning up rice: Do not try to clean while still fresh and moist. Wait until the morning when it dries and can be swept of brushed or even vacuumed up.)
posted by AugustWest at 6:38 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Roller derby bout!
posted by Lucinda at 6:38 PM on November 8, 2010 [1 favorite]

Spa night--manicures, temporary hair color, cucumbers for their eyes and facial masks, the whole deal.

Dance Dance Revolution/Guitar Hero/Rockband/American Idol competition, with trophies, etc.

Bunko or another fast-paced game that involves everyone invited, likes Apples to Apples.

Crafts can be good, and for 15 yo girls you might consider knitting, making holiday ornaments or gifts or (one I've seen that was cool, but this isn't the real season for it) decorating flip-flops.

I also know of a 16 yo girl who had a cell phone scavenger hunt as drlith mentions and it went over well.
posted by misha at 6:39 PM on November 8, 2010

About that age I went to a party where we all got to decorate our own birthday cakes. The mom baked little cakes (you can get the molds at a craft store) and bought a bunch of frosting from the local bakery. Then she gave us a bunch of sprinkles and candies and let us go nuts.

Add that to the sugar cookies and you'll have hours of sugar fueled fun. Maybe you could have the sugar cookie dough ready made (since it has to chill overnight) then let them do the rolling and cutting out, then while the cookies are baking and cooling you can let them do the cake decorating. When they're done with the cakes the cookies will be ready to be decorated.

Then they can take their treats and play some board games.

P.S. I also went to a party where we made millions of cookies and then took them down to the Fire Department. It was really fun to say thank you to our Civic Servants. The Fire People really loved us too.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:53 PM on November 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

Also did the murder mystery party when I was 16 - sooo fun!
posted by radioamy at 6:54 PM on November 8, 2010

Is it too cold where you are for a water balloon fight?
posted by galadriel at 7:01 PM on November 8, 2010

2nding lazer tag or paint ball as ideas for girls who aren't quite so girly-or just would like to try something different within a fun, safe event. Maybe playing pools or darts, if you have an appropriate place (and maybe teacher!) Bumper cars or the mini- auto racers, and mini-golf are also enjoyed by girls here.
posted by beaning at 7:56 PM on November 8, 2010


It would be a shame not to give at least a nod to this great tradition. Maybe virgin margaritas and make-your-own taco bar?
posted by cyndigo at 8:13 PM on November 8, 2010

there are a lot of great ideas here! but I'm just going to channel my inner 15 year old for a second and indulge the possibility that she's "freaking out" and saying "ugh I dunno!" at your insistence that she have activities. Is the freak out from her, or is it a response to you? Either way, let me say this - one of the coolest things my mom ever did was go out and RENT a karaoke machine for one of my high school parties... and one of the EVEN COOLER things she's ever done was to not pressure or react or guilt trip me or make me feel like a Hostess Failure when the karaoke never happened. Give her ideas and buy soda and snacks.... and then let her read the room and run the show without judgment.
posted by moxiedoll at 8:33 PM on November 8, 2010

My daughter's about to be 13 and she wants an ice cream sundae party, ala Pinkberry. Lots of sprinkles and whipped cream and maraschino cherries and smashed cookies, etc. We'll probably have cupcakes that they can stick the toppings on too. If I am feeling very adventurous, we might do make your own pizzas too. Sounds cheap and easy, so I'm very up for it. Although, there may be a lot of sweeping and mopping afterwards.
posted by artychoke at 9:06 PM on November 8, 2010

Medieval Times would be fun for boys and girls, although it isn't the girliest thing in the world.
posted by darkgroove at 9:26 PM on November 8, 2010

The make-your-own food that artychoke suggests is a definite win, especially if she has friends that don't know each other, are kind of shy, or somewhere higher/lower on the evil high school totem pole. Everyone has to interact! Besides pizza and ice cream sundaes, tacos/fajitas and crepes are great foods to make together.
posted by whatzit at 1:40 AM on November 9, 2010

Reptiles. You know this.

A reptile handler with some big lizards and a few snakes. Should be pretty easy to find one who does schools / parties.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 2:19 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

I did a digital camera scavenger hunt at the mall for my 17th birthday party and it was aaawwweessoommeeee.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 3:49 AM on November 9, 2010

Charitable work. Amnesty International letter writing, for example. Then a reptile mystery scavenger makeover.
posted by eccnineten at 3:50 AM on November 9, 2010

Give each other manicures/pedicures/hair and makeup fun?
posted by questionsandanchors at 5:49 AM on November 9, 2010

As a former 15 year old girl, one of the most memorable birthday parties I attended was a Holi party. Everyone came dressed in white clothes they were willing to destroy. We were provided large buckets of coloured water, water guns, water balloons, etc. All hell broke loose and we had variously coloured souvenir shirts at the end.

Of course this requires warm weather and a large outdoor space. If paintball had existed where I grew up that would have been fun too.

An imaginative scavenger hunt would also be great.
posted by tavegyl at 5:54 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

scavenger hunts are alot of fun for my daughter and her friends, but we live in a small town so they know lots of people to ask for stuff. fun idea (not mine) for teams - each teams wears a different disquise - clown noses, fake nose/glasses combos, masks.

we had a food fight for my 11 year olds birthday this year - squirt bottles, pudding, cake, jello, whipped cream. it was tons of fun.
posted by domino at 7:06 AM on November 9, 2010

Depending on where you live, maybe an all-ages concert?
posted by subgenius at 8:52 AM on November 9, 2010

My daughter had a yoga party last year, and it was a huge success. I hired a yoga instructor from a local studio who brought mats and led the girls in a 45-minute yoga session. These were younger girls (7), so for your teenager, it might work better with a dance instructor. The girls could get a personalized 1-hr hip-hop dance class, for example. It’d probably be easy to find someone to do this through Craigslist or a local dance studio.
posted by yawper at 9:09 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

high school scavenger hunts will be remembered forever.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:45 AM on November 9, 2010

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