When your teenager plans a party, you run headlong into the good-news/bad-news experience of life with adolescents. On the good side of the ledger, you can leave many of the details of the party to your teen's organizational skills, unlike the parties you planned for her in elementary school. On the bad side, you risk losing major brownie points if you offer too much advice. Balance your roles as the parental helper and an outstanding host.
Just the Ticket
Unless your teen asks for your help with invitations, anything beyond a subtle suggestion may earn you an eye roll and a heavy sigh. If she does solicit your opinion, suggest creating printed invitations that feature the details of her party arranged to fit the layout of an oversized theater ticket. She can design them on your home computer, print them out and distribute them at school. For save-the-date pre-invites and RSVP follow-ups, suggest email as a quick, convenient method that doesn't overshadow the invitations themselves.
The Party Scene
Movie-night themes can dress up a birthday or graduation party, or simply provide enjoyable entertainment for an otherwise routine sleepover. To carry the theme beyond the realm of the ordinary, help your teen plan decorations in the rooms that host the party, including your kitchen, her bedroom, the family room or home theater, and even the bathroom. Focus the decorations on the trappings of movie technology—using director's chairs, toy cameras, lights and microphones—or the glamor that accompanies a movie premiere. For an on-the-set decor theme, print out small custom signs that identify parts of your home as if they constituted parts of a movie set.
The Refreshment Stand
Just like your decorations, your teen's party food can carry out the movie theme from more than one angle. For a movie-theater look, set up a refreshment stand on a fold-up table, with snacks or finger food in easy-to-serve cups or boxes. The same table can serve as a food stand similar to the buffet service on movie sets, providing you with an on-set role as the craft service person responsible for replenishing the provisions. For a more formal occasion, dim the lights and set up a china-and-cloth-napkins dinner for your young star and her guests on your dining room table. Expect to run your microwave oven overtime making popcorn. For a new twist on beverage service, use the through-the-door carbonated water capabilities of a suitably equipped refrigerator in conjunction with your teen's favorite flavorings.
On the Silver Screen
Unless your teen insists on showing movies in her bedroom with a Blu-ray player hooked up to the TV, your main HDTV setup offers viewing room for her entire guest list to enjoy home theater surround sound. During the intermission between the two movies of a double feature, she can stream cartoons or other short subjects from the Internet on a connected Smart TV.
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