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How to Host a Teen Halloween Party

Your teen is too old for trick-or-treating, but dressing up in costumes is still fun. Kali9/Getty Images

Halloween is coming up, and your teens are looking for something to do. They're too old to trick-or-treat, but you don't exactly relish the idea of letting them roam the streets with friends. So what about having a party at your house? Hosting a teen Halloween party can be a tricky task for many parents. Teens are notoriously too cool for school, so your idea of what constitutes a party may be very different from theirs. In order to have a party that everyone is happy with, you should include your teens in every aspect of the party, from planning to shopping, food prep and hosting.

 

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After you set the date -- ideally about four weeks ahead of time, so you'll have plenty of time to plan -- you'll want to establish how many people can come. If the number is a firm 20, then make sure you and your teen are on the same page about this, and that it will be his or her responsibility to stick to that limit. Then mentally put in place a plan for how to handle uninvited guests, because you're bound to get a few. Teens may not be hip to cutesy Halloween-themed paper invites or Evites, so don't insist. Let your teen handle the invitation with the communication method of choice: probably e-mail or text.

Make sure guests know that the party has a specific start and an end time. Also, be sure to set some ground rules: no alcohol, no inappropriate costumes and no spin the bottle. Depending on how many guests you invite, you may want to enlist a few other parents to help with the chaperoning. You don't want to embarrass teens by breathing down their necks, but you do want to remain close enough that they know you're looking out for funny business and will shut it down immediately.

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Teens may enjoy dressing-up for a costume party, or they may not. Whether you plan music, dancing or games, be sure to set some ground rules with your teen's guests.
Teens may enjoy dressing-up for a costume party, or they may not. Whether you plan music, dancing or games, be sure to set some ground rules with your teen's guests.
Michael Blann/Lifesize/Thinkstock

Now it's time to decide what kind of party your teen wants to have. Costumes or no costumes? Decorations or no decorations? Theme or no theme? Teens most likely have firm opinions on all of these items, so it's best to get on board with your teen's vision, as long as it's in the realm of appropriate.

Teens are less receptive to formal activities than kids are, so if you want to encourage planned activities, you're going to have to come up with something pretty cool. One activity that may lure even the most apathetic teen into play mode is a whodunit murder mystery game. You can buy a boxed game or make up your own using instructions from the Internet, and guests can come dressed as their favorite Clue characters.

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Since most teens are into music, perhaps a music-themed party would appeal to them. They could come dressed as their favorite rock stars, and you can set up Rock Band in front of a big screen or use a makeshift stage with a karaoke set. But don't be disappointed if they want to dial it down and just have dancing or a scary movie, sans the costumes. Remember, they are teenagers.

If your teen agrees to a spooky atmosphere, there are a few low-budget ways to get your house Halloween ready. You can drape black sheets on the walls, and a few black lights will definitely give teens some laughs. A fog machine and spooky music sets the atmosphere. Spiderwebs and plastic spiders in the doorways are fun props, and don't forget the severed hand on the food table. Speaking of food, teenagers are easy, so don't bother getting fancy finger foods or hiring a caterer. They're usually pretty happy with chips, pizza and sodas. And don't forget some sweet treats for them to snack on, because even though they probably won't admit it, they miss trick-or-treating.

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Sources

  • Hlmcdoma. "Halloween Party Ideas for Teenagers." LoveToKnow Corp. Oct. 13, 2009. (Sept. 2, 2010)http://party.lovetoknow.com/Halloween_Party_Ideas_for_Teenagers
  • MomsWhoThink.com. "Halloween Party Ideas." Sept. 3, 2008. (Sept. 2, 2010) http://www.momswhothink.com/halloween/halloween-party-ideas.html
  • U.S. Census Bureau. "Census Bureau News -- Facts for Features -- Halloween, Oct. 31, 2010." Aug. 31, 2010. (Sept. 2, 2010) http://www.forbes.com/feeds/prnewswire/2010/08/31/prnewswire201008310930PR_NEWS_ USPR_____DC57317.html
  • Wetmore, Koren. "Playing Halloween Hostess: Success Strategies for Party Planning." Disney. (Sept. 2, 2010)http://www.preteenagerstoday.com/resources/articles/hwparty.htm

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