Tips for Throwing a Surprise Party Your Teen Will Be Thrilled With


Teens can be difficult. Raising a teen is a balancing act between being a parent and being a friend; balancing trying to solve their problems for them and deciding when they can learn to solve their problems for themselves and make mistakes to grow from. And as silly as it may sound, planning a surprise party for your teen can be like navigating a minefield – giving them what they want without letting them know what you are up to is hard, and if you don’t do it right, you could make them seriously upset. So here are a few tips to help you throw a surprise party that your teen will absolutely love. 

Guest List and Invitations

The guest list may be the most important aspect of throwing a successful surprise party for your teen. Having the right people there will make your teen thrilled, meanwhile having the wrong people there, or missing important people to your teen on the guest list can create a major problem. You should obviously be inviting your teens closest friends, the ones they hang out with regularly and talk about frequently. But figuring out the rest of the list, that is the real challenge. It may be smart to ask your teens closest friends to figure out the guest list for you, ask if they are the ones “in the know” on who your teen is friends with and who they are not. This can help avoid major faux pas on your part on the guest list. 

Party Themes

A surprise party is not complete without a killer theme to tie everything together. There are a lot of great options for a surprise party that any teen will love. A pajama party is always a classic. Pajama parties allow for comfort, creativity, and fun in dress for the party which is always great for teens. Another option is a costume party, which also allows for tons of creativity for teens. As with anything relating to your teens’ surprise party, though, you should try and incorporate their interest where you can. If your teen has a particular interest, then you should cater to that in your teens party theme to show them that you pay attention and care. 


Appetizers and Snacks

Then, of course, you can’t have a party without snacks. And when you are throwing a party for teens, the hungriest people on planet earth, appetizers and snacks can often be the most important aspect of the party. Not only are there tough decisions to make about what to serve – you can never go wrong with things like pigs in a blanket, popcorn, chips, nachos, and other easy to grab and snack on foods – but also how to serve them effectively for a large group. 3.5-inch fancy toothpicks are best for appetizers and similarly sized foods since they make it easier for guests to pick up what they would like while creating an unforgettable presentation for your food. Serving food with a toothpick is a great idea for your teens’ surprise party. 

Party Activities

A party with nothing to do is no fun for anyone. Planning a few awesome fun activities can keep the party going and guests engaged as time goes on. The best way to plan activities is to tie them into the theme. For instance, if you go the costume party route, having a costume contest can be tons of fun for participants, and up the ante for how creative people get with their costumes. Or if you decided to go for a pajama party, you could do a game of hide and seek, or a movie screening, or a pillow fight room. Whatever theme you have gone with, tie in some fun activities for a memorable evening. 

Picking Music

You are going to need a fantastic playlist if you are going to throw the perfect surprise party for your teen. The first way to go about putting together a playlist is to go with your theme. Let’s say you went for a disco theme, then packing a playlist with 70’s disco hits is a great place to start. Or maybe you went with a theme that has less of a music aspect to tie into, this is okay too! Try to include your teens favorite songs in the playlist, if you know their Spotify account you can view their favorite playlists and see what to do. Consulting their friends is also a smart move, as they will be able to put something together that won’t embarrass your teen. 


A party isn’t a party without a little bit of decorations. But decorating can lead to a few minor issues. For one, if you go overboard with generic birthday decorations, or any sort of decoration that is too childish, then your teen is liable to hate it and get embarrassed. You could also go too conservative and try not to make a big splash and risk having something boring. We suggest going with decorations that are cool, fun, and stylish. Don’t overdo things that are birthday themed and instead go for decorations that are related to your theme instead. 

Get it On Video

You will love to have the video of your teen being surprised forever. And your teen may want it to post on their social media accounts as well. Make sure that you put yourself in a good position to record the surprise for your teen so that they can keep the memory. You can send the video around to your family as well, but don’t post on your own social media without consent from your teen! 

Stay Out of It!

The planning may all come down to you, but once the party is in swing, you should let your teen have the space with their friends and stay out of it. Your teen probably doesn’t want you hovering around their friends during their party so do them a favor and let them take over. Planning is all up to you, but the party is for your teen, not you, so let them enjoy it how they want. 

There are a lot of things to consider when throwing a surprise party. This only gets more complicated when throwing a surprise party for your teen. But if you can follow these eight tips, you’re setting your teens’ surprise party up for success.

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