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16 yr old boy - surprise party- Ideas?

LonghaulLonghaul Registered User Posts: 2,509 Senior Member
edited October 2011 in Parent Cafe
My son isn't much of a birthday party person, but I am considering throwing him a surprise 16th. I want it OUT of my house which is too small to handle it. I'm looking into the standard bowling/laser tag.

My guest list ideas range from 30-50 people depending if I include extended family and his big outside school EC.

I'm willing to consider something with only 8-10 core boys only if I could find something special.

Birthday is mid-December

I'm in the NE Phildelphia/Central NJ region.

Anyone have suggestions?
Post edited by Longhaul on

Replies to: 16 yr old boy - surprise party- Ideas?

  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    Um- my youngest isn't a birthday party person either- I think she would have died if I had thrown her a surprise party. ( But killed me first)
    Even for her 21st, she just had a couple friends from high school ( who were out for the summer), come up to her college & they went to dinner- no big event

    I gave her money to do something with her friends for her 16th birthday- it wasn't a big memorable event as far as I can tell- but one that was better suited to her personality.
    ( & we also had a very small family dinner)

    I don't know your son, but I would worry that a surprise party may not go over the way you hope.

    If it was summer, I would suggest some sort of adventure- like a ropes course or rafting trip- what about something tied to his interests?
  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 12,548 Senior Member
    In my experience, parent-organized parties involving bowling or laser tag are mostly for kids considerably younger than 16.

    16-year-olds may still enjoy these activities -- indeed, so do many adults -- but they tend to make their own arrangements with friends rather than participating in organized birthday parties.

    I think that a surprise party might work well for a 16-year-old if a couple of his friends made the decision to host it, but there's a possibility that he might be humiliated if his parents made the arrangements.

    One of my kids rarely attended birthday parties at that age and did not want them for himself. The other one -- and her friends -- usually arranged their own parties, which typically consisted of a movie and a meal at a restaurant within walking distance of the cinema, with no parents present except to drop off and pick up those kids who didn't drive. Most such events were arranged by the birthday person, but in a few instances, friends set it up as a surprise.

    Both of my kids would have removed some of my more valued bodily parts if I had set up a birthday party for them at 16.
  • mamabear1234mamabear1234 Registered User Posts: 3,522 Senior Member
    Agree. I wouldn't do a surprise party for a 16 year old. My S would have been unhappy; my D's organized their own bowling, pizza, or dinners by that age (which I paid for).
  • BatlloBatllo - Posts: 3,047 Senior Member
    Are you friends with your son's best buddy?
    Maybe have him get a group pals to kidnap him for a 2am breakfast with you picking up the tab for all the guys.
    No 30-50 people party.
    You know your son, it's about him, not you making a grand unwanted gesture.
  • nj2011momnj2011mom Registered User Posts: 2,885 Senior Member
    How about a minor league or college sports game? (also agree a surprise party for 16yo might not go over well unless this kid is major social butterfly and would love this. If you really want to go ahead, I would go for the smaller group and get 1-2 few close friends to help with the details & be part of the story to get him where ever. )
  • leftrightleftleftrightleft Registered User Posts: 318 Member
    While I haven't thrown any of my kids a surprise party @ 16 they all were invited to them- many thrown by parents. Perhaps make all arrangements including payment ahead of time and then just drop him off to enjoy his night/day out with his friends. I don't live in your area so cannot help out w/your question for suggestions but my now 16 year old also likes to bowl/laser tag.
  • leftrightleftleftrightleft Registered User Posts: 318 Member
    Batlo....a 2 a.m. breakfast?? Around here kids would be picked up for curfew violation. Not to mention I would not let my 16 year old out at that time.
  • DougBetsyDougBetsy Registered User Posts: 5,830 Senior Member
    How about concert tix if his favorite band is touring? Rent a limo to drive the core 8 or 10 boys.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    now some kids may be different- for example one of my daughters friends had a tea party ( high tea?) for her 16th birthday & she and her friends took it very seriously- they dressed up- used china & the whole schmear.

    D2 loved that- but it was for someone else's birthday- plus, it wasn't a surprise, the girls arranged and managed the whole thing.
  • siliconvalleymomsiliconvalleymom Registered User Posts: 4,461 Senior Member
    I don't think I would surprise a kid who doesn't really like parties to begin with.
    I like DougBetsy's idea of a fun outing with a core group of friends.
  • BatlloBatllo - Posts: 3,047 Senior Member
    My bad, forgot that some cities have curfews for teens.
    Never mind the late meal, then.
  • LonghaulLonghaul Registered User Posts: 2,509 Senior Member
    Thanks all.

    To clarify - he doesn't mind be the center of attention - he dressed in drag last week as the center of the homecoming pep rally. He enjoys parties - just not his own. It is a combination of him being a spend thrift and the time of year (when younger, many kids couldn't attend due to family holiday events).

    We do have curfew here and in all surrounding towns. But I like the meal idea. We have some great sports bars that are more like restaurants than bar -- maybe talked to his friends and I'll pay for a meal -- with limits -- these kids can eat :)
  • fauxmavenfauxmaven Registered User Posts: 1,786 Senior Member
    How about a vampire party ? It's around Halloween . When my 3 sons were that age we had an indoor rock climbing party and it was very popular and well attended .
  • fauxmavenfauxmaven Registered User Posts: 1,786 Senior Member
    December ..........scratch the vampire idea . Also , no surprise parties .
  • 12rmh1812rmh18 Registered User Posts: 1,905 Senior Member
    I organized a surprise 18th birthday party for S2 & his best friend, who share the same birthday. We invited 10 friends (girl/boy mix) + 2 birthday boys = 12 total, divided into 2 teams of 6 with a birthday boy as the "captain" of a team. We told the guests when/where to show up but did not tell them what they would be doing. The birthday boys were completely surprised.

    The party was a digital scavenger hunt built around an "Amazing Race" theme. Each team was given a packet containing a list of items & exhibits to find in our local museums (the Smithsonians), a map of the museums, R/T tickets for public transportation, $21.01 for snacks & incidentals ($1.01 was the fee for squashing a penny, one of the items on the scavenger hunt list), and a digital camera to photograph themselves at the exhibits. We dropped off the teams at a Metro stop - so no one had to drive or park in the city - and they had 3 hours to complete the scavenger hunt before the museums closed.

    When they returned, we had taco dinner ready & waiting. After dinner, we hooked up the digital cameras to our TV & had a slide show of the hunt while the parents of the birthday boys tallied the scavenger hunt scoresheets. Each item was assigned a point value, but some things were valued higher than others. For example, they had to visit an exhibit to answer the question "What time is the clock in Julia Child's kitchen?"

    Everyone got a small "goodie bag" containing gift cards to Starbucks & some treats. The winning team got an additional gift card to Five Guys Hamburgers. Let me tell you, the competition between the teams was fierce! By the time we served cake & ice cream, the kids had uploaded the photos to Facebook & were "tagging" each other.

    By all accounts, the party was a hit & the kids said they hadn't had so much fun in a long time.
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