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Denver Public Schools recently joined a growing parent initiative called Be the Influence which seeks to reduce our teen’s use of alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, and other drugs, in part by encouraging parents to make a simple pledge to only host supervised teen parties that are free of alcohol and drugs.

But the kids will get bored.”

“Nobody will show up to that party.”

“Kids are going to drink anyways, I would rather them do it at my house.”

These are the excuses that many parents have when the topic of alcohol free parties emerge, but the truth is that it is possible to have a FUN party without alcohol, you just need to do a little bit of planning first. Here are some tips for creating an alcohol free event that teens will actually be excited to attend.

  1. First, set some ground rules. The Be the Influence website has an amazing list of boundaries to set for the party, and we encourage you to check them out.
  2. Music can set the tone of the party. You don’t need a DJ or anything fancy, but consider working with your teen to create a playlist in advance.
  3. Create a theme for the party. Make sure to have plenty of activities for the guests. Nothing kills a party faster than boring downtime.

Ideas for fun themes and activities for your teen’s party

  • Grill out and play yard games. If you have a yard, set up some lawn games, such as corn hole, ladder golf, etc. You could also set up a fire pit and provide s’mores. Do not forget to set out plenty of chairs so that the guests have a place to sit and talk.
  • Have a poker night. For ideas on how to go all out (or in J) check out this moms blog.
  • Set up a movie night. Throw pillows and blankets on the floor, and pick something outrageously silly, totally scary, or a ridiculous spoof. Even better, rent a projector and show movies on the lawn outside. Don’t forget the popcorn!
  • Host a fantasy football draft party.
  • Have a photo scavenger hunt. Make a list of crazy things to find/do with teams, then set the timer and GO! Make sure to have a fun prize for the winning team.
  • Celebrate a weird holiday. Check out daysoftheyear.com to see what holidays are coming up. Trust me; there is something ridiculous to celebrate.
  • Set up a fun photo booth with entertaining and engaging props
  • Have “interactive” food. For example, invite guests to build their own pizza, or have a sundae station, or a taco bar.


Have you hosted a fun party for teens that was free of alcohol and other drugs? We would love to hear about your experience in the comments!

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