Turning 18 is a major milestone that calls for a big birthday celebration. This important day marks a significant transition in a teenager’s life as he or she begins to enter adulthood.

To celebrate this special occasion, you’ll want to throw a birthday party the guest of honor will always remember. Whether you are just getting a few loved ones together or having a big blowout with a long guest list, there are plenty of 18th birthday ideas to make your party unique.

photo of 18th birthday ideas with group of friends celebrating a birthday

These eight ideas for an 18th birthday are the inspiration you need to organize a one-of-a-kind celebration.

Sophisticated dinner party

Skip the fancy restaurant and throw a dressy at-home party instead. Invite a handful of friends and family to dress up in their best formal wear. Set the scene with that seldom-used chinaware and complete it with an elegant floral centerpiece. The birthday boy or girl will feel every bit the adult with a fancy party like this!

Cooking class

For the guest of honor who loves cooking, host a cooking class at home. Use this as a chance to try something new or prepare something not usually made at home, such as seared tuna steaks or lobster rolls. You can even keep it simple and have a pizza-making party, with mini pizza doughs and a topping station for your guests.

Photo booth party

If your birthday honoree loves a good selfie, rent a photo booth. Photo booth come in all shapes and sizes, from standard models to inflatable types to ones that produce GIFs and videos. You can also hire a professional photographer and set up a “selfie wall” for guests to snap fun photos all night long.

Escape room at home

Does the honoree like to solve puzzles? Then turn your house into an exciting escape room. Sites like Escape Kit provide everything you need to transform your home, including instructions, certificates, and even a YouTube playlist to set the mood. Add in some additional decorations for ambiance, and you’ve got yourself one entertaining evening!

Backyard campout

If the weather cooperates, pitch a tent in the backyard and fill the space with camping gear, twinkling lights, and an outdoor movie setup for an enchanting night under the stars. Don’t forget necessities like s’mores and firewood. As a bonus, the house is right there for any amenities the guests may need.

Create a theme

A theme can make a memorable night even more fun and special. Consider setting a dress code and giving everyone a chance to pull out a unique outfit from their closet that fits with the theme — say, ’80s or beach party. Or keep it simple and tell everyone to wear their pajamas and eat cereal (or cereal-flavored cookies). Think of whatever theme best matches the personality of the birthday guest to show that you are creating a night just for them.

Host a game night

Games are a great way to keep the party lively and keep guests entertained. Choose from classic games, such as Twister and Pictionary, or modern favorites like Cards Against Humanity. Getting guests to actively participate in the festivities is one of the best ways to create a memorable evening.

Plan a scavenger hunt

Make the party more interactive by having guests search for items around the house related to the birthday honoree. This can be a photo of them together, something in their favorite color, or an article of clothing they’re known for wearing. Hunting for these items provides a fun, interactive game that keeps participants engaged, with the attention remaining squarely on the guest of honor.

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Rachel Kolman specializes in personal essays on wellness, technology, beauty, family, and self-care. Her writing has been published in Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, The Inquistr, The Tech Viral, Sinkhole, and others. She teaches English classes at Drexel University and is the editor of Rathalla Review literary journal.

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