BIG List of Sweet 16 Birthday Party Tips

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Are you looking for some fun Sweet 16 Birthday Party Ideas??

I received the following question from frugal friend Heather…  “Help! I need some DIY Sweet 16 birthday party ideas! Any suggestions? Thanks!!”

Here are just a few of the awesome ideas that were shared right here and on The Frugal Girls Facebook Page

Kristina said: “I have done Spa Parties for girls, you can pick up a lot of the things at the dollar store, headbands, etc..  They each would get a facial, pedi/mani.  If you have a friend or two that are talented or you are, you could do some fun hair and make-up, get boas and sunglasses, hats, things for props and do fun pictures.  You could do all of this at a great price, and serve grown up treats, finger sandwiches, fancy cut fruit, sparkling pink non-alcoholic drinks, decorate with flowers and tulle, make it very pretty.”

Fabulous Party Punch Recipes from TheFrugalGirls.com

Jennifer said: “You can contact a local cosmetology school and schedule inexpensive mani/pedis for the girls.”

Danielle said: “Spa Party! Have some friends pitch in or even the girls can do it themselves.  Do manicures, pedicures, shoulder/neck massages, and even up-do’s.
The outdoor theater is also a good idea.  Do an evening party, perhaps a BBQ and they can sit outside under the stars to watch a movie.”

Nicki said: “Bon Fires are great!  They are super easy, no decorating needed, and affordable.  Set up a table with snacks and drinks and kids can make their own hot dogs and marshmallows.”

Cookies and Cream Smores

Sheri said: “We are planning a “Prom” party for my daughter based on the new Disney Movie coming out.  We are having the girls dress up with sashes to wear over their fancy dresses at the theater.  We are getting one of those “Barbie” cakes with the huge puffy cake dress, and the favors are going to be real flowers in pots that will decorate the party room.  Good Luck!”

Erin said: “We did a Limo ride for my daughter and 9 friends to the movies, dinner, and then a swimming party/sleepover at a nice hotel.  The girls had a blast, and I didn’t have to clean my house 2 times!”

Tina said: “My daughter was 16 last year and we went to a hotel for the night.  The hotel had breakfast and happy hour snack time, so we just ordered pizza for dinner.  We went early so they could wander the mall and then just relaxed in our “own” room and they had a connecting one.  I think we got a good price at $59 each room, we had all the amenities, pool, hot tub, etc.  We stayed during the week, but there are decent hotel prices just about anytime.  I made small goody bags as “beach bags” and put in pool toys, funky sunglasses, etc., with most of the items coming from the dollar store or Big Lots.  I also brought popcorn and pop along for the mini fridge and microwave that were in the rooms.  Fun time for all, but they didn’t get much sleep!!”

Homemade Microwave Popcorn Recipes

Elizabeth said: “Do a “red carpet/Hollywood” party.  If weather permits, do an outdoor movie projected on a fence or the side of the house.  You could also copy an idea from the MTV “My super sweet 16″ shows, but scale it WAY down. :o

Molly said: “When I was 16, the popular thing to do was have a pool party (the fancier ones hired a DJ for a couple hours). Invitations were in the form of flyers, like you’d see passed out as concert promos. They are SUPER easy and cheap to make.  Food was pizza, chips, veggies, assorted dips and fruit, with soda and water bottles.  All the food was laid out on one table (usually at the back patio, adjacent to the pool).  No decorations, no fuss – just FUN.  17 years later and I have my own teenager; this is still the party of choice! :)
If you don’t have access to a pool (or cooperating weather), consider the birthday girl’s hobbies/interests.  Does she like to bake? Have a cupcake party.  Does she like art?  Have a DIY canvas party, where everyone paints a special picture for the birthday girl… a tie-dye party … OR a screen printing party.”

Pretty Party Water Bottles from TheFrugalGirls.com

Marci said: “Make cute cupcakes and arrange them in the shape of a 16.
For people who love tacos, make a taco bar: soft tortillas, hard tacos, refried beans, salsa, cheese, sour cream, etc.
Dollar Tree for all the decor and for favors.  Also, I always like to throw a chocolate bar in… especially when its teenagers. :D

Christy said: “Okay… I did the whole “Super Sweet Sixteen” but on a major budget.  I bought super fancy printable “wedding” invitations that I got at the dollar store and printed them with fancy script writing.  Then I ordered customized Chocolate lollipops from Oriental Trading with her picture on it.  She gave those with her invites @ school… she was the talk of the town.  Because it was a youth event, some of our local restaurants and stores gave us gift cards for giveaways we did after her glow-in-the-dark bowling party. Good Luck!”

DIY Paper Flower Poofs

Nancy said: “I did a Luau for my daughter’s 16th.  Since her b-day is in late Spring, I was able to get decorations, favors, etc. at the Dollar stores.  We did it in our backyard, with tiki torches and lawn chairs for seating.  Made palm trees out of butcher paper.  I didn’t do a fancy cake, instead made cupcakes, frosted in pink and white and put them in the number “16″ on a piece of foam board that I covered with a lime green shimmery wrapping paper. Walmart scavenger hunt (be sure to call manager ahead, ours wouldn’t let the girls use cameras, so we had an adult go with each team).  A fun game we did was “Blind Pictionary” – person is bind folded after reading what they are to draw, led to the paper (we used an easel from our children’s church area), and they had to draw the item.  That was the hit of the party!  Spent $75-100, but you only turn 16 once. When my daughter told me that this was exactly the kind of sweet sixteen party she could have wished for, I knew it was worth the effort!  Good Luck!”

Jenni said: “The scavenger hunt idea is great for teens.  Another idea is a poker run… we involved several parents/businesses and distributed playing cards.  The kids had to collect a poker hand and return to the house for determining the winners and the food — hot dogs, burgers, etc… was great fun!!!”

Hanna said: “For my sweet sixteen, my parents threw me an elaborate (but extremely cheap) mystery party.  Each of my friends had a character to play so we could figure out who took the jewels. The only cost was the finger foods, and the party was such a hit with my friends that they threw me another for my 18th!
The best part about the 16th was that it was a surprise! It took a lot of effort from all my friends and family to keep the plans quiet.
It does take a little work because you have to write the mystery and characters yourself so they are age-appropriate, but all my friends thought my parents were the coolest for such an awesome party.”

Tonya said: “For my niece’s sweet 16 we did a polka dot theme using brown (as a base color), lime green and hot pink (as an accent).  We used brown table coverings that we found a roll at our local party store for under $15 (covered 14 tables).  We then cut out different size circles from hot pink and green paper (found on clearance for $1 a roll).  These are placed randomly on table.  We made “matchbook” style mint holders.
Our biggest expense was balloons… but they make a room.  The helium was expensive, but check around with local places to see what you can come up with.  We ended up buying a tank and blew up 75 pearlized pink, green and white balloons.   Be sure to leave the strings long to hang down.  We put balloons on the food tables. 
We opted for a pot luck, since we included family, but made extra dishes to cover for the teenagers invited. 
We took a picture of her, and printed a black and white picture of her.  This was framed with a large mat board so guests could autograph it.  She still has it 2 years later hanging in her room.
We played music geared around birthdays and sweet 16. 
The plates were solid in color and so were the cups.  We used the hot pink for dessert, brown for dinner and green cups. We were able to find these at our local party store cheap. Best of luck!  We spent $75.00 total, but we split that between 3 people.  Think outside your box on people to ask for help.  Maybe a church member has a pool, or family have special talents.  Keep it simple.”

Sweet 16 Party Balloons

Jill said: “Get a roll of butcher paper.  Cut it to fit tables and have markers, crayons, glitter, pens, etc. for each guest to write a note to the Sweet 16′er.  Go to Dollar Store and get old fashioned plain flip flops, and then have an area where the teens can fashion their own flip flops, using glue guns, ribbons, sequins, buttons and whatever else you have around the house.”

Raeven said: “I just did a birthday party and got away cheap!  Go to Vistaprint and click on their freebies link!  All you pay is shipping!  Always choose the 21 day mail, all my orders shipped “early” within a week!  I got banners, invitations, thank you cards, gift tags for the birthday person to give, a t-shirt and hat, thank you cards, and so much more! All customized to the theme of my son’s party!  Check it out!  It’s an easy way to have a custom “couture” party without all the money!”

Martha said: “When my youngest daughter turned 16, she wanted to have a “kick ball” party!  It was not dangerous; it kept them busy; even non-athletic types could play; and it was ideal for guys and girls to play.  After they had worked up an appetite, we had burgers and hot dogs from the grill.  We didn’t decorate either, so the big expense was food and we kept it simple. Everyone said it was the best party ever!”

Kaylee said: “For my sweet 16 we rented a gymnastics building and I invited everyone I knew. It was a blast! Rope swings, sponge pits and trampolines! It was a huge hit!”

Do you have any fun Sweet 16 birthday party ideas?

Or any fun activities, themes, decoration ideas, or suggestions for food??

Leave a comment & share!

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11 Responses to BIG List of Sweet 16 Birthday Party Tips

  1. Erin N. says:

    One of the biggest purchases of parties are cakes. Buy different size round pans at walmart and make the cake your self! Use a plian butter cream icing and dye it your main color, after icing pat it with a slightly damp paper towel to smooth the icing, and then get the brightly colored gerber daisies and put around the bottom of each tier! Fancy cake cheap price! You can also find lots of tutorials for making any kind of cake you want online!

  2. casandra judge says:

    for my daughter’s 16th we rented giant hamster balls and had a slumber party glow in the dark style. we had glow sticks, jewelry, glasses, etc. and the cake was my daughter’s favorite animal, a giraffe! the girls still talk about it being the best party ever!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Tammy says:

    We celebrated in Febuary. Since space and money were both issues My daughter and I decided on the theme of candyland. I did alot of candy decorations and the prizes were candy related. So was her gifts from friends most gave her candy. Everyone who attended left from the party had a sugar high and enjoyed themselves.

  4. Shauna says:

    For my daughters 16 we have decided to have a tea party. But for fun the girls will be doing a photo scavenger hunt. Then they will also be alowed to canvas the neighborhood and ask for food donations to our local food bank. Instead of birthday gifts my daughter has asked that friends make purchases on the amazon wishlist of our local humane society.

  5. becca gonzalez says:

    My mom said i have to plan my own sweet 16. well we r on a very tight budget. and i want a big party. Any cheap ideas? my bday is oct.3. my mom doesnt want it at house cuz of her bf. so any cheap ideas would be nice. I am a person that will try just about anything.

    • Molly says:

      So I’m having my sweet 16th in November, and I’m in the same situation. What I am doing is having it at a park nearby, and rent a pavilion for during the day, then at night I would have a few friends to stay the night and camp. Overall it’s affordable. With food, there will besomecheappizza and homemade meals, and I asked guest to bring chips/snacks and sodas. For decorations, my themeis nautical, which I am in love with. I’m going to be using stuff from my nautical room, and then by balloons from the dollar store. Hope I helped!

  6. Elissa says:

    I turn 16 in August and I need ideas on what I should do.. I have to start planning so we can start saving money.. What should I do? Someone please help….

    • Daylin says:

      Okay, so I am in the same situation, but I was thinking that I might rent out a local club thing and fill it with black lights. I am probably going to have a DJ be a glow party with a bunch of glow sticks and neon streamers. There would be a big black paper in the front with neon painting which everyone could paint on. Then maybe a cool neon limbo sticks and even musical chairs because my friends all love that. I want my party to mostly be dancing, but I hope this helped you.

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