November 15, 2014


Dear Brandon,

I will be celebrating my 12th birthday in three weeks and I need help!

I have both girl and guy friends that I plan to invite to my party. However, I’m really nervous about how to make it fun for everyone.

The last thing I want is for the girls and guys to sit on separate sides of the room and ignore each other.

Can you suggest some fun party themes, food, activities, etc. that will make my party a big success?


Party Pooper

Dear Party Pooper,

As someone who’s been to more than my fair share of awkward boy/girl parties and dances, I can definitely help you with this!

First, a list of things NOT to do:

  1. Put on cheesy slow dance music. (You might as well draw a chalk line down the center of the room and write “boys” on one side and “girls” on the other.)
  2. Play games that could embarrass people. (Like Truth or Dare – if you do, someone will end up pouring ketchup on their head while doing the Chicken Dance, and they won’t be happy!)
  3. Let your mom plan any activities. (Unless you actually want to sit in a circle playing the telephone game – moms seem to forget there are 7 years between 12 and 5.)
  4. Choose a theme that’s more for one gender. (You may be all about The Spiderverse, but odds are the girls won’t have an Spider-Man costume lying around.)
  5. Force group activities on people. (Any time you have to say, “Everyone, shhhh, listen up! It’s time to play…” you’ll probably annoy people.)

Now that we have that out of the way, here are some fun activities and ideas that could make your party a huge success:

  1. Run a funny selfie or group photo contest – with prizes. Kids are going to take out their phones to text or look at Facebook. It’s just the way it is. Instead of trying to fight it, give them something to do with their phones. Buy a gift certificate to your local pizza place ahead of time, and then have everyone vote on the funniest picture.
  2. Play the celebrity game – for anyone who wants to play, tape a piece of paper on their back with the name of a celebrity. Then they have to ask other people questions to try to figure out who they are. It’s kind of cool because you usually end up talking to lots of different people before you figure it out.
  3. Download the Heads Up app (if you have an iPhone or iPad) – This is a really cool game that lets you act out words, hum songs, or do accents for other team members to guess. If you don’t have an iPhone or iPad, charades is just as fun! (But remember: don’t force people to play. Let the kids who don’t want to play just chill and watch if that’s what they want to do.)
  4. Ask everyone to come up with one activity idea, and then have the group vote on which ones to do. You know they’ll like the activities then – they’ll be their ideas!
  5. Set up an ice cream sundae bar – This is something your mom might have thought of, but this is the one thing 5-year-olds and 12-year-olds have in common. Who doesn’t like making their own sundae with a huge selection of toppings?

I hope this helps!