How to Create a Fabulous 18th Birthday Party

It’s such a special birthday, the 18th, isn’t it?  I’m sure we can all remember our own. Selecting the concept, decoration, and design of an 18th birthday party to remember, though, can be a daunting task. They might still be a kid to you but this is their grand debut into adult life and a more ‘adult’ party is required.  No more party bags and ‘Pin The Tail On The Donkey’!

Of course, while we are in Lockdown, the only party venues open to us in the UK are Facebook and Zoom but there’s no harm in planning for a fabulous ‘do’ for our teen once we are finally set free!

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Listed below are some ideas to help you organise the best 18th birthday party.

Get them involved

Whilst it’s tempting to organise a surprise party and catch the birthday boy or girl off guard, it’s probably wiser to get them involved with the party planning.  It is, after all, a pretty special occasion and you wouldn’t want to arrange something that failed to hit the mark. Let’s be honest – there’s an element of competition involved too, isn’t there?  You wouldn’t want to arrange a party which falls flat in comparison with their best mate’s do.

Reserve a great venue

House parties are OK, of course, but frankly who wants the stress, the mess and the cleaning-up afterwards?  For a special 18th birthday party, why not check our external venues to book or hire?

Stay calm but be careful

In the UK, of course, 18 is the age at which one can legally consume alcohol but if their friends have not yet reached this milestone birthday, they, of course, cannot – and you might find yourself in trouble if you allow it.

You might not need to go so far as ID inspections on the door but a quiet word with their parents to check their age would be wise.  And it will be up to you to keep a close eye on everyone at the party.

Life being what it is, though, teen parties will usually feature one or two who drink too much so there should be at least one or two responsible adults present.  The trick is to be there without cramping the birthday boy’s or girl’s style.  Ultimately, the decision to allow alcohol at the party is yours but do make an effort to make everybody enjoy the fun or manage the risk of becoming a killjoy parent!

Photo by Robert Anderson on Unsplash

Go for exciting activities

Even if it’s just putting together a great playlist and plugging an iPod into your audio system, try your best to create a party atmosphere. Why not have a theme and link your activities to that – for example a James Bond theme with a casino wheel (no money involved of course!) or get everyone involved in a game of Super Mario on the XBox or a Fortnite shoot-out?

If the party guests want to party the night away, you could hire a professional disc jockey or band for some live music. You can also hire smoke machines, disco balls and laser lights.

Another option might be to hire a magician or cartoonist – or even a comedian – assuming their humour isn’t too ‘blue’ of course. The entertainment you choose should match the type of people who will be coming so choose your entertainer judiciously.

Have some adult treat totes

Now, having said ‘no more party bags’, you could consider an ‘adult treat tote’ – depending on your budget of course. With appropriate contents, these can be quite a novel idea. Mix things up with a few funny items like face masks or a pair of glasses for everybody to put on at the ‘do, and light sticks are often popular too.

Based on your alcohol consumption policy, you may start adding some little alcoholic goodies, just like jello shots but you are probably safer including things like retro sweets and disposable cameras. Match your tote bag gifts to your party theme for an extra cool effect.

Photo by Robert Anderson on Unsplash

5 Unique 18th Birthday Celebration Tips

  • Surprise Celebration. An unexpected party is an exciting and comparatively simple option. The key is, it has to be surprising! Work with some help from two or three of your teenager’s close friends to gather a great list of guests, select a place, and have your youngster to go to the chosen location in the assigned time. You can maintain it simple but might need to toss along a taco bar or buffet to help make the party a bit more extraordinary. 
  • Film Night by the Pool. An outdoor video film night offers an 18th birthday celebration or school get together an additional twist. Include a swimming pool plus some goofy shark movies together with special birthday treats and have a menu for a good time. In case sharks are not your son or daughter’s thing, pick a theme that suits their most favourite movie.
  • Food Preparation Class. If your guest of honour is a Masterchef or 5-star baker in the making, why not throw a food preparation class party? Choose from ideas such as preparing sushi or pasta-making and take relatives and buddies along. Now you have a very yummy idea, and no one will be starving; also, you may send your guests home a personalized plate as a memento.
  • Hunter/ Scavenger. A scavenger party hunt for the celebrant is another idea to consider for some pre-party fun which leads them right to the venue. Personalise the clues so they are all about the party boy or girl for an extra special touch. These are exciting, lively, and cheap to set-up.
  • Adventure Party. If your teen is the adventurous type, then choose an outdoor or high octane activity for an adrenalin rush – anything exciting and enjoyable, such as water-skiing, trekking or perhaps skydiving. The sky’s the limit with this party theme but make sure you choose a professional outfit with full insurance and obtain your guests’ parents’ permission.

What was your 18th birthday party like?  I’d love to hear in the comments below.



  1. 26 May, 2020 / 2:33 pm

    My teen is 18 in September and I am really hoping things are a bit more normal by then. All she wants to do is go for a big family meal and then have a few friends over for a party in the garden. I can deal with that. I think. Eek!
    Great tips. x

    • linda
      26 May, 2020 / 3:30 pm

      I really hope so Kim – I’m sure you’ll make it fun but an 18th birthday in Lockdown isn’t the best scenario. It looks as if restrictions are beginning to lift though, at least in England. Here in Wales the instructions are still to stay home and not visit anyone.

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