Throwing a Pre-Teen New Year's Party

by Zora Hughes

New Year's Eve isn't just for adults and preteen-aged kids aren't just going to fall asleep early. Instead of sitting around watching the ball drop on television, let your teen invite friends over for a festive, age-appropriate New Year's celebration. Choose a theme, break out the non-alcoholic beverages and let the kids have a blast ringing in the New Year.

You could have your preteen's friends come over in their regular, everyday clothes, or you could make a theme for the New Year's bash, such as a pajama party, allowing the kids to come over in their comfy wear, or a dressy affair , requiring the kids to get dolled up and glitzy for the evening. A pajama party will be a little more relaxing for the kids, but if your preteen loves the glitz and glamour of dressing up, there is no better night to do it than on New Year's Eve.

Visit a party store to pick up decorations with plenty of gold or silver glitter, including many confetti and table decorations. Hang streamers around the party area if indoors. String outdoor decorative lights between trees when hosting an outdoor event in a warm climate. A glittery disco ball is also ideal if you have a dance floor. Purchase plenty of noisemakers for the kids to use when the clock strikes midnight.

Plan snacks based on how casual or how formal the event is. Preteens at a more casual event will be happy with pizza and finger food snacks, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks and cupcakes. If the kids are getting dressed up for the event, plan to have appetizers that are little more fancy-looking to fit the occasion, but use ingredients that will appeal to kids. Ideas include mini hot dogs wrapped in crescent roll dough, crostini and chocolate-covered strawberries. No matter what type of party, you can also serve mocktails to the tweens, which are non-alcoholic versions of adult cocktails. You can serve sparkling cider with raspberries in plastic champagne flutes to the kids to toast the New Year, as well as mudslides made with vanilla ice cream, heavy cream and chocolate and caramel syrup.

Make room for the kids to dance to age-appropriate hits from the year that is ending. Include an option for karaoke. Play trivia games with the teens related to events that occurred during the year. Ask questions related to major news events, required books they read for school, life events among the kids and their families, such as a new baby and pop culture happenings. As the countdown begins, have the kids grab their noisemakers and glowsticks, and bags of confetti to throw over each other. Feel free to use pots and pans for noisemakers as well. You could also have the preteens write their New Year's resolutions on little notes, attach them to biodegradable latex balloons filled with helium and have a balloon release at midnight.

About the Author

Zora Hughes is a screenwriter and novelist who has been writing since 2004. She has written news releases, public service announcements and website copy for the Chicago Mayor's Office of Special Events. She won the S. Randolph Edmonds playwriting award. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.

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