Traditionally, only young ladies had Sweet 16 birthday parties. However, now both young men and women are engaging in these events. Some are lavish and extravagant, and thereby costly. For parents who want to keep costs low, but still throw their children enjoyable parties, there are many possible options.
Slumber parties are inexpensive alternatives to a fancy party at a reception hall, particularly because the venue is the host's house and the food is light and casual. The night of the slumber party, serve pizza and cake or cupcakes to the guests. When they wake up the next morning, the girls or the parents can make breakfast in the kitchen. For a few extra dollars and less of a mess, bring in bagels or deli sandwiches. Either the night before or after breakfast, see if a local cosmetology school would offer discounts on facials, hair styles or manicures.
For the athletically inclined teenager, a party centered around sports is appropriate. These parties can take place in a backyard, or a local sports field as long as the town allows for such an event. Serve barbecue food, appetizers or pizza, as well as plenty of water, especially if it is a hot day. Have the birthday girl or boy select a favorite sport to play for the whole time or a couple of different sports. Relay races, tug of wag or water-balloon fights could be part of the day as well. Allow the guests time to relax in between meals and rigorous sports play.
Some exciting decorations such as seashells, message-in-a-bottle centerpieces and colorful leis are all that is needed to dress up a beach party. For a Hawaiian-beach-themed party, serve appropriately themed goodies like pineapple and mocktails. A party of this nature is relatively carefree, but adults must remember that they are responsible for supervising a number of teenagers near the ocean. Lifeguards should always be on staff during a beach party for youths. For those who want to retreat from the sun for a while, strategically place on the sand umbrellas and towels matching the color schemes of the rest of the decorations.