Turning 18 is a big deal. In most cultures, it signifies reaching adulthood in many ways. In the US, it means that individuals can now vote, join the military, and purchase tobacco. While not all of these privileges are advisable, it’s still a good feeling to know that one has attained a more mature status in the world.
When this happens, parents wonder if they should still throw birthday parties. They are, after all, on the brink of adulthood, but they’re also still your children. The general consensus is that, yes, 18-year-olds should have birthday parties, even if they haven’t had one in a few years. It’s such an important milestone, that most people feel it shouldn’t be overlooked. You can, however, do everything you can to make it memorable without being juvenile. Here are a few of the most unique 18th birthday party ideas to get you started planning.
What 18-year-old girl doesn’t love being the center of attention? Of course, you can use this idea for boys, too. A diva party is basically all about the birthday person. You can hang giant poster-sized photos of them all around the party area, have buttons made with their face on them, and even get a custom vinyl wrap for an ice cream cart set up outside. At 18, your son or daughter may not be too keen on playing dress-up, but you can hire a makeup artist to come and make the guests over or give facials. You might even take them for mani-pedis or a trip to the mall. It’s basically just all about making the birthday person the center of the universe for the day.
People of all ages love a good scavenger hunt, and there are several ways to pull it off. One way is to make a list of items around town that the teens can track down and photograph. For example, you might list “a bottle of Chanel cologne” as one of the items because you know they carry it at your local drug store. Or you might list “red lips” because you’ve seen some on a graffiti wall on Main Street. Once you’ve made your list, you’ll divide the group into teams and send them on their way. They will then message you photos of the items they find for points. Of course, the winners of the hunt should win a big prize, so make sure it’s age-appropriate and fun.
An elegant dinner party could be the perfect send-off for your teen who’s about to leave home. This is an especially great idea if their birthday falls shortly after prom when you can ask them to wear their formal dresses. Of course, Sunday best will do for the guys who probably returned their rented tuxes. For your dinner party, you’ll want to serve fancy hors d’oeuvres and signature mocktails. And if cooking isn’t your forte, consider hiring a caterer for the meal.
Glamping (or glamorous camping) is all the rage in the US. In fact, it’s projected to be about a billion dollar industry by 2024. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on a glamping party for your teen, of course. Even on a budget, you can turn your backyard into a camping haven, complete with a fire pit and glamorous decor. If you have a camper, you can certainly use it, but it’s usually just as much fun to pitch a couple of tents and trick them out with air mattresses and fluffy pillows. For entertainment, guests can roast s’mores, watch outdoor movies on a sheet with a projector, and tell ghost stories until they can’t stay awake. And if your outdoor space is lacking or if the weather doesn’t allow, you can even set up a glamping party indoors. Simply pitch some fort-like tents in a room with a lot of floor space and add trendy decor and lots of snacks.
An eighteenth birthday is a major milestone — one that should definitely be commemorated. Though it may seem like a difficult undertaking, given that birthday parties are typically harder to plan for adults than for kids, it’s essential to think out-of-the-box. Whatever you ultimately plan, be sure it is done with the birthday person in mind, as it is ultimately the thought that always counts.