Looking for a great idea to celebrate your tween or teen’s birthday celebration? Make it a sleepover party! Slumber birthday parties are simple to set up and get a thumbs-up from most youngsters who have outgrown the Barney-and-balloons stage. Here are a few great themes for your child’s sleepover.
Happy Birthday! The Basic Sleepover Rules
A sleepover party can take place at any time of year and for any occasion, but a birthday sleepover is extra-special.
- Send invitations at least two weeks in advance of the big day and let guests know that the party will be a sleepover so they’ll show up with nightwear and a change of clothes for the next day.
- Make sure you have cots, blankets and/or sleeping bags for each guest. If you’re short on these supplies, state on the invitation that guests should bring their own.
- Let the birthday girl or boy lead the way with sleepover choices such as what movie to rent/watch, what games to play and what snacks she’d like to have available for guests.
- Always state on the invitation what the following morning’s pickup time will be so you don’t have revelers still dragging their feet the following afternoon!
Picking a Party Theme
Sleepovers work much better when there’s a little planning involved. Choose a theme for the party and make choices based on that idea. Here are some of our favorites:
A Night at the Movies
Movies are the obvious choice for any sleepover. Set up a “theater” in the living room or family room by arranging cushions for guests to lounge on during the production. Announce that movie time will be at 7:30 (or whatever time works for your schedule) and have the guests sit in front of the TV promptly at that time.
Ask them to visit the “snack bar” ahead of time. Have popcorn, Twizzlers, chocolate bars and other movie theater food available. Buy inexpensive theater-style popcorn boxes to really make things authentic.
If the movie is long, or if you’ll be showing more than one movie, have an intermission in the middle so guests can stretch their legs and visit the restroom.
Note: If you’re unsure whether the movie your child has chosen will be suitable to other families, ask the parents in advance. Every family’s policies on this matter are different.
Camping Outdoors…or In
A camp sleepover can be loads of fun. If you’re uncertain about having a group of giggling preteens sleep outside without your protective eye, have an indoor campout. Yes, it sounds like an oxymoron – but this theme is novel and will thrill the guests and the birthday boy or girl.
Set up a tent in the sleeping area. You don’t need to go wild and spend $200 at a sports store for this; string a laundry line from one end of the room to the other (using strong, stable objects as the support on each side) and hang a sheet over it. Then fan out both sides of the sheet and pin all four corners down with something solid but unlikely to hurt anyone should the “tent” suddenly tip over in a bout of fun.
Have camp-style foods available – like hot dogs, s’mores and chips – and even set up a “Camp Rock” singing contest for an added bit of campside fun.
You can also sing campfire songs and, near the end of the night, hand each reveler a flashlight, turn off or dim the lights in the room and tell deliciously chilly ghost stories.
One guaranteed way to make any birthday party sleepover a hit with preteen or teen girls is to have a pampering party.
Set up “stations” around the living room or family room. Have a facial station with gentle face-cleansing wipes available (make sure you buy the type for sensitive skin just in case). At another station, have gentle makeup guests can experiment with to their hearts’ content. Another station can be for hair styling, and so on.
Make sure you choose only hypoallergenic products and that all makeup is easily removable.
The End of a Great Party
Have a definite party end time for the following day (see above, “Happy Birthday!” — The Basic Sleepover Rules”). Rather than cooking breakfast, you can opt to have donuts, fruit and cereal ready for guests to munch on as they get up. Just make sure everyone is clean, packed and ready for parents to come collect them at your designated time.
Have the birthday girl or boy write thank-you notes within the week. This will add a touch of maturity, letting your child know her birthday parties are growing up…just like she is.