Birthday Parties for Teens

Parent Q&A

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  • Venue for a sweet 16 party?

    (9 replies)

    Hi parents, my daughter wants a sweet 16 party and I am looking for a place to host it, any suggestions would be appreciated! Our "wants" are: space for about 50 kids to dance, and 6 or so adults to supervise 2) DJ is allowed and won't bother the neighbors 3) does not require us to use a caterer (she wants pizza) 4) in Oakland/Berkeley are 5) Has some outdoor space as well as it is in the summer. Thanks so much!

    The building at Lake Temescal is WONDERFUL.  I guess I'd look under parks and rec.  Also, have you checked out peerspace?  Some great spaces there.  Happy Birthday sweet 16!!


    You could try Joaquin Miller Community Center in Joaquin Miller Park. Sounds like a cool party!

    It is located in Joaquin Miller Park with lots of hiking trails. The Community Center has plenty of parking, a big room, an outdoor deck and a view of the bay.

    I'll recommend the Humanist Hall in Oakland on 27th St in between Broadway and Telegraph. It's an old school social hall type venue, with a modest kitchen space, a stage and a large outdoor backyard space with oak trees and a fire pit. It's not fancy, but it has all the elements you need and the owners/caretakers David and Florence are very kind and will let you decorate.  Good luck!

    I have rented space at the UU Church in Oakland, corner of 14th and Castro.  They have a big space where you can have dancing and tables and are not particular about what food you bring in.  Seems you can be as noisy as you like on a Friday or Saturday night. Also, I have attended two parties at St. Albans in Albany where there was a dj/band and dancing.  The size of their social hall might actually be better for a group the size you are considering.  It's a pretty space and my friends who hosted the parties told me it was reasonably priced.  Sounds like fun!

    Berkeley Yacht Club comes to mind. Or other area yacht clubs.

    I recommend the Arlington Park Clubhouse (which is technically in El Cerrito but not too far from Berkeley), or Live Oak Park. Both have indoor-outdoor and no neighbors too close by. I don't have experience renting from Oakland Parks, but they probably have the same types of rentals.

    Check out the Humanist Hall on 27th St. in Oakland's Uptown area.  It's an older but charming building with lots of windows, a stage, and a kitchen, and it does have a decent-sized outdoor area as well.  They allow you to bring your own food + drink, and they are very reasonably priced.  I had my 50th b-day there and it was wonderful.  Because it's very DIY, you can decorate as you like, so I think it would be great for a sweet 16 party as well.

    Berkeley tennis club?

    Sequoia Lodge sounds like it might fit the bill. It's a city of Oakland property and you can self cater (there is a kitchen onsite). There is outdoor space, and I've been to events there with enough room for a DJ and dancing without being so overwhelmingly large that the space would look empty with 50 people. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Turning 18 Birthday Party

Jan 2011

We would love ideas about a turning 18 Birthday Party for our daughter. She's still shy socially and isn't really comfortable yet with dating. Party ideas that include fun group activities or a fun place would be welcomed. Turning 18 is a big deal to her psychologically but we need something appropriate to celebrate. Thanks. Party Ideas

Waaaayyy back when I turned 21, my mom took me out (with my boyfriend at the time) to a place called ''El Morocco'' in Pleasant Hill. The food was very good (I vaguely recall eating with my hands which can be a great topic of conversation) but what made it a really memorable even after 20+ yrs later was this male belly dancer that came around to the tables (of course wearing a sexy type costume and looking for tips!). I was embarrassed by it all since I was quite shy also, but a REALLY good laugh all the same! Call first and see if they still have a male belly-dancer. fio

i recommend you do an all girls event. maybe book a hotel room in san francisco or the wine country for an overnight stay with 2-3 girlfriends. if you don't want an overnight, a trip to a spa with a couple of friends for a massage or mani-pedis is a treat. i've taken my teen girls to kabuki springs on a ladies only day where it is so good for them to see what real woman look like. sushi in japantown afterwards is great too. my eldest daughter liked to dress up and be taken out for dinner with a group of her friends (separate table for parents). we did this once at an italian restaurant in san fran where the girls had a table in the patio garden area while the parents ate in the restaurant. it worked very well. teen girls like to act like grown ups and dinner in a nice restaurant fills that need. judith

Here are a few ideas that you might consider for your daughter's 18th birthday.

There are pre-packaged mystery games for teens that involve sending out invitations letting the guest know who they will be at the party. They suggest costumes to wear and a little about their ''personality.'' That starts a buzz about the upcoming party. The food can be themed according to the mystery. Example: ''Chinese Take Out'' could involve Chinese food. ''Hot times at Hollywood High'' could involve just HS attire. The games are actually read not acted out so being shy wouldn't be a factor. If she likes Harry Potter, you could do a more mature Harry Potter themed party.

You could have a move night with popcorn and jammies!

Depending on budget, you could consider a Hornblower cruise around the SF Bay.

Good luck. I'm sure it's a birthday milestone she'll remember for a long time. Barbara

We just celebrated my daughter's 18th BD with a group of her friends at the Pt Reyes Hostel bunkhouse. It sleeps 20 (2 dorms with 5 bunk beds each) & has a huge living room with lots of couches. It's just down the driveway from the main hostel which has a kitchen & dining area. Limantour Beach is about a 30 minute walk & there are many hiking & other nature options in the park, of course. The Hostel has quiet hours but the bunkhouse is sufficiently removed that you can set your own. But you can't raid the fridge for a midnight snack! Let me know if any questions. mc

Special party for daughter's 18th birthday

Nov 2009

My daughter's turning 18 next spring and I want to plan a super special birthday for her that won't be expensive. In the past, she's had bowling parties, picnics, sleepovers. Any new ideas, fellow BPN'ers?? Dee

My daughter had a Kareoke party at a place in the Pacific East Mall near Albany Hill in Richmond.They had their own room and you can rent different size rooms.You can also order food, but we found it cheaper to have pizza and cake at home and then all go there together. They loved the place.It was on the same side of the mall as the grocery store. Ellen

Have a Henna party. I've had one for both my daughter's sixteenth birthdays and they and their friends loved it. You hire a henna artist to come and do the henna and then I bought Bindi's (indian stickers you put on your forehead) and body stickers. It's a lot of fun! Mom of three daughters

Ideas for son's 14yo birthday party?

Nov 2009

Ideas for a timid, rather nerdy 14yo boy b.d. party in Dec/Jan? His favorite occupation is anything electronic, ex Halo. Not into sports. Not into girls, tho he has a few platonic female friendships. Has a few friends. Signed, -Looking for ideas for nerdy b.d. boy

My son who just turned 14 really enjoyed a party at Q-Zar in Concord, a laser tag place. They make it very easy to host a party there, with pizza and drinks, and there are arcade games to boot. Hope that helps! Proud parent

If you don't mind going to San Francisco, the Hotel Tomo in Japantown has an awesome gaming suite. It has a Wii and PS3 and giant LCD screen. The room is open, spacious and really comfy; the anime/J-Pop decor just adds to the coolness. It's a really unique and fun experience - here's a link to their website: Have fun! Embrace the Gamer

16th birthday party for 40-50 kids

Sept 2008

My son is going to be sixteen and is a sophomore. He loves large parties and wants to have a large birthday party 40- 50 kids. It will be Early Oct. Does anyone have any ideas for a venue? Ideas, precautions, food recommendations, safety precautions; I have checked city rec centers and parks and they require security guards inaddition to rental fee. That is too much to pay. Am I crazy at this age to give him a party this size? How do other parents chaparone without being intrusive? What rules do you set up if it is at your home?Help! I need guidence. r

We hosted a Sweet Sixteen party for our daughter this last year with about 150 teens. We rented the Kensington Community Center, which worked out very well. It's not hard to find, but a little out of the way at the same time. We did hire a private security guard, in addition to having about 6 adults. The party was a great success, because we had taken certain precautions, as follows: (1) To get in, you had to RSVP and be on the guest list. Each teen was checked off at the door by the security guard. (2) Once in, there was no going in and out. (3) Nothing could be brought in, like a backpack, unless it was open to inspection. An adult was stationed in the coat room. Adults also (discreetly) watched additional exits. We had spent a couple of hours decorating with fairy lights, which lasted about 15 minutes into the party before they were unplugged because it was still too ''bright''. While there was enough ambient light remaining not to run into people, the food (pizza) went mostly untouched. Beverages, however, were in high demand. The room had a window opening to the kitchen, which we used as a bar and lined up small cups of soda and water identified by the soda bottles behind them. There was a trash can next to the window and kids would grab their choice of beverage, drink and toss the cup, so we didn't have half filled cups all over. We rented a music system and connected a couple of Ipods. If I were to do it again, I would look harder for a teenage DJ to run the music. Our plan worked out, but it took awhile to figure out the equipment, which we got working just in time. We didn't have any trouble with crashers, but since it was in Kensington I am sure we could have had rapid response from the local police if it had been necessary. This venue might be large for 50 kids, but if half the room were set up with tables it might be fine. The kids had a great time. The music was very loud; it felt like a teen club and everyone danced all night. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact me. mj

In my opinion, this is too many kids for a party for kids that age. Word gets around too quickly and easily to kids that are not your kid's friends, and you can lose control, and put your kid, their friends and your property at risk. If you have a party, make sure you can control who comes to the party. Make sure you now all the friends who are invited, and don't let in others, and discourage others from haniging around outside. If you can't control this, don't have the party. It's not worth the risk to the kids or your family. This is a good place to consider worst case scenarios and plan (or cancel) accordingly. Small Party Mom

Birthday Party Venue for 16 year old son

March 2008

My son will be 16 in late April and I would like to take him and around 10 friends out for a surprise dinner in/around the East Bay or San Francisco. I would appreciate some recommendations. As an alternative, if you have an activity that you/your son and friends especially enjoyed that would be great too.

T-Rex is a fun restaurant in Berkeley for birthdays. It's big and loud and accepts large group reservations. Food is quality BBQ, all meat/fish smoked on the premises with delicious side dishes. It's not super cheap (and definitely not low fat!) but portions are generous enough for teens to share and fill up on. Full bar for the grownups, too. It is owned by Haig and Cindy Krikorian who also own Fonda, Lalime's, Jimmy Beans and Sea Salt. Gilman and 10th with easy parking, 510-527-0099. (Disclaimer: my husband works there.) Finger-lickin' mom

If your son is at all sports-oriented then McCovey's Restaurant in Walnut Creek might be an idea. We were there when Willy McCovey was eating there, so that might be a treat. There is a lot of baseball trivia and teen-pleasing entrees and it is decorated with baseball memorabilia. Anon

Sweet 16 Birthday Party

Jan 2008

I would like to through my daughter a suprise 16th birthday party with out spending a fortune. Her birthday is the first week in April so weather has always been an issue to planning her partys. All my ideas seem to be childish. Does anyone have a few ideas for a indoor sweet 16 birthday party?? Sharon

My daughter will be 18 this October. For her sixteenth, she told me she wanted a Henna Artist. I found one online and she travelled to our house from the south bay.

The kids had a blast! The woman had several binders full of all kinds of designs, from Hello Kitty to Chinese symbols. She also did designs on request. Even the boys had ''tattoos'' done on their (hairy!) upper arms and lower legs. We had about fifty kids and we bought ''bindis'' (indian dots that stick on the forehead) for the girls and other fun stick on body art gems and stickers.

Eveyone had a great time. One tip, go easy on the food. I had enough food to feed an army and most of it was left over; the girls are worried about their figures and the boys are too macho to eat I guess.

I don't remember the details, but the henna artists charge by the hour and also for mileage depending on distance. The one I had was reasonable except for the fact that she was over 90 minutes late.

I had been worried how the kids would be ''entertained'', but they actually didn't even dance, just sat around and talked and listened to music. Good Luck

Spa Party for 13 year old girl

May 2007

Does anyone have a recommendation of a spa or other place to take less than 10 girls for a 13 year old birthday? I was thinking of taking the girls to a salon to get a manicure or pedicure and then home for the rest of the party. Thanks in advance! party mom

I threw a spa party for my daughter that included parrafin wax manicures (had several bottles of wild colored and not so wild nailpolish and each girl chose and kept one as part of parting gift) and I had them dip hands in the parrafin bath (target or walgreens) which they LOVED. I was the manicurist and gave them a polish (and a manicure kit from the dollar store). We then made natural body and face scrub and packed them in cute containers from Ichiban kan on San Pablo (essentially an asian dollar store). Recipes you can get on the internet but we made brown sugar body scrub and herbal facial scrub (this requires bran, mint tea (leaves only), and oats and you blend in cuisinart to create fine dry mix. it is then mixed with water for oily skin or honey or avacado for dry on an as needed basis and can be used as scrub and even left on for mask.) the dollar store also had loofas for the gift bags. good luck. m

Not sure how much you want to spend, but if you are willing to have the party on a Sunday and go into San Francisco, I can recommend Branchar & Lewis in the Marina. You can have the whole spa and have the whole party on the premises. They even have a small kitchen and refridgerator. The owner, Irma Lewis, is WONDERFUL and very accommodating. She loves to organize parties and spa events at her spa. 415-440-3303 Have fun! Keley

Adventure birthday for 18 year old

April 2007

My soon-to-be 18 year old is looking for something special to do with her friends to celebrate her 18th birthday. They will all be graduating about a week later and we will no doubt be hosting a graduation party, so we're not looking to do that twice in one week! Her thought is to go ''somewhere'' -- a ferry ride to San Francisco (we live in the East Bay near Berkeley), or possibly a BART trip. She wants to go somewhere accessible by public transportation if possible, but needs a destination that feels fun and festive, and not too expensive. Her older sister did something similar for her 18th -- her friends all took the ferry to SF and then walked to Ghirardelli Square for ice cream. Needless to say, younger sister wants her own plan and doesn't want to copy older sibling. Does anyone have any great ideas suitable for the 18-year-old set. Mom

Hi, I don't know if these ideas would appeal to your daughter at all, but your mention of the ferry made me think of Angel Island. If you've never been, it's a really lovely mini-getaway: you can bike or hike around the island, or just hang out at the grassy picnic area and sunbathe/throw frisbees/etc. OR-- take the ferry to Tiburon: there are a few restaurants right by the terminal with gorgeous decks overlooking the water. Could be a fun outing for a group of seniors, though I guess they couldn't enjoy Guyamas' margaritas!

In San Francisco, an unusual urban walk is to go from downtown (Battery Street, I think?) up the Filbert Street steps: you are walking up the east side of Telegraph Hill, and it's kind of a magical little adventure where you get to peek at neat houses and gardens as you climb these old wooden stairs. Then at the top you're in North Beach, with all of its delights: yummy food, pastries, views. And of course Chinatown is close too, if that cuisine/culture is more appealing.

Happy birthday to your daughter, and I hope she finds something wonderful to do! --To be eighteen again...

Birthday for twin boys turning 13

Feb 2007

My twin boys will soon be turning 13 (early April). I would appreciate any suggestions on a fun and memorable way to celebrate this special day. We live in the East Bay but would be willing to go just about anywhere in the Bay Area or stay close to home. They would like to have a girl/boy party at our house but I said no. I'm not ready to go there yet. Anon

We just celebrated our twin boys 2nd and our daughter's 7th birthday, yes all at once. Their bdays are 5 days apart so until any of the kids put up a stink we will be having one big shindig! I found a fantastic guy on the Web and hired him as our entertainment, so to speak. His name is Coach Nick from Not only were these kids sweating but boy did he have their attention. His activities included relays, hula hoop, jump rope, pillow polo hockey, just to name a few. You might say, ''I can do that''. That's what my husband said at first and quickly changed his opinion by the end of the hour. Coach Nick's background is that of a PE teacher and baseball coach. If your boys play baseball or have the interest he will conduct lessons for the full hour as well. It was simply refreshing to have the kids involved, active and not just sitting there while the clown or princess performed the same ol' tricks. There is also a combo pkg w/ jumper incld. What a deal! Check out the website. He comes highly recommended and I will definitely use him again!

Party for sweet sixteen birthday

Nov 2006

I would like to find a restaurant for my daughters' 16th birthday. There will be probably 8-10 teens. I would like dinner and some form of entertainment, band, dancers etc. Thank you alix

I remember having a sweet sixteen luncheon with my girlfriends at Benihana of Tokyo's. You may also want to look into a Moroccan restaurant. I think there is one at Broadway and Polk in San Francisco that has fun entertainment Susan

You might try La Taza De Cafe,, at 3909 Grand Avenue in Oakland. They have delicious cuban food and live entertainment with dancers several nights a week, and it would feel like a ''grown-up'' night out for your daughter and friends, while still being in a safe and family-friendly neighborhood Wish My Mom Had Thought Of That!

Decorating for a 16 backyard birthday party

Sept 2006

I would love some help planning a 16th birthday for my daughter. The party is in mid october and at our house/big back yard. Other than letting me know she'd like to have a henna artist over, my daugter is not much help. Oh and of course about 40 kids (boys/girls). The hours will be 5pm - 11pm. I looked on the internet for decorations and there really aren't that much out there, except of course pink and she hates pink! Any ideas for decorations, activities, entertainment etc. would be greatly appreciated Sarah

For decorating an evening party outdoors, I think your daughter might like lights. For instance, colorful paper lanterns or strings of lights. The strings could be the kind with tiny bulbs used during the holidays, but I've also seen strands of fun objects like chili peppers. If you have a theme or a color scheme you could work around that. My teen daughter loves candles but you'd have to be a lot more careful of those w/ a big crowd. Anon

Coed Hotel Sleepover for 16th Birthday Party?

October 2005

Hello, My daughter is turning 16 in a few weeks and has requested a celebration with her friends. Part of this to include a night in a hotel, where they would ''hang out''. The group would consist of 3 boys and 4-5 girls. There are 4 teens in this group that are dating. They would get 2 rooms. My immediate reaction was absolutely not for all obvious reasons. My daughter is trying to convince me that this is ok, and that this would not be about sex and booze, ''they can do that anyway, anytime, if they really want to''. I continue to think that this is entirely inappropriate, way too risky and a celebration that calls for supervision if an overnight is involved. However, I would like to hear other parents opinions as well as suggestions for ''special'' 16th bday celebrations. Thanks to all. anonymous

I would definitely veto a coed sleepover. Our daughter took a small group of friends rock climbing at Berkeley Iron Works (981-9900) followed by dinner at a local Japanese restaurant where they had a private room. Everyone had a great time with no parents around! anon

In response to the parent whose daughter wants an unsupervised night in a hotel with her friends: Her intentions may be innocent, but I for one would not let my kid attend such a party, no way, no how, even though she is as responsible as they come, and our family is pretty far on the permissive side when it comes to things like sex and alcohol. There are just too many ways it could go wrong, despite the best of intentions. 16 isn't grown up, and this is a very grown up idea your daughter has. Stick to a special meal in a nice place--that doesn't need to be supervised--and back home for hang out time. If she held such a party, how many of her friends would be allowed to come? anonymous

Your instincts are right on for a big NO to a coed party at a hotel for a 16th birthday party. This idea sounds like a set-up for failure. It seems to be the job description for a teen to make an outrageous request and call it normal, just as it's our task to say nice try, and let's keep thinking of other ways to celebrate. One of my daughter's friends had a group of 4 or 5 girls go with a parent to the Claremont Hotel where they had a great time celebrating her 16th birthday. The kids spent much of the following day (Saturday) at that fabulous and nicely heated pool and it was a wonderful celebration. Anon

Stick to your guns, Anonymous. A coed party for 6-10 unsupervised teens? Absolutely, positively not. No. No way. Your daughter may think it's not going to involve sex and drinking, and there's a slight chance it won't, but you are responsible for her and her guests, and Mommy, you can't take the chance. Sympathetic Mom 16-Year-Old Wants to Party in Hotel

I daresay you'll get plenty of responses saying this is a bad idea. I just think it's a silly one, and would say so if the party was girls-only as well. It's her 16th birthday, not the second coming. When she's a grown-up, your daughter may throw herself elaborate bashes, but it's not her parents' job to give her the jet-set treatment. (Did she perhaps get this idea from the increasingly elaborate high school prom rituals and expenses?)

(Oh, well, they all try things on. My daughter had elaborate plans, too, but ended up being content with pizza at the joint down the street with 9 friends, cake at home, a guest appearance by The Boyfriend, and 6 of the girls staying overnight. Some people tell me this was incredibly low-key, but everyone appeared to have a good time.) Melanie

To the parent requesting advice on unsupervised 16th birthday party in a hotel -- my advice is simply, ''no way.'' I realise that answer isn't helpful, but it is rock bottom. You think this is ''risky'' and ''entirely inappropriate'' and you are absolutely right. There will be many more birthdays and opportunities for your daughter to have fun in a more grown up environment. There is no reason to rush (and risk) at this stage. As mature as 16 years olds may be, they do not have depth and breath of experience to handle whatever may come up in this situation. Of course they could drink and have sex in many other circumstances, but this arrangement would be aiding, abetting and sanctioning that behavior. I probably sound harsh to some parents but I feel strongly that as adults with life experience it is important for parents to hold the line to some extent.
Far from perfect, opinionated mother of 16 year old and 20 year old.

Best advice - NO! Save it for Senior Prom night when the kids are 18, or closer to 18. As an aside, I know many teens watch MTV, and they have this show, My Super Sweet 16 -- it's too much to compete with a reality show that is not a true reality. - Anon

I think is pretty common nowadays although I wouldn't allow the co-ed version. I let my daughter do this with Girls Only and I stayed across the hall. I would say no way to boys coming and maybe she won't want to do it at all. I also did it in SF so it wouldn't be that easy for crashers to stop by or for them to sneak out somewhere. It was slightly nerve racking for me and I had to remind them to quiet down in their room a couple of times but the girls had a really great time swimming and goofing around and LOVED the breakfast buffet in the morning.

I don't care how responsible and mature an individual young person is. Put teens in a group without supervision, even carefully selected teens with no party-crashers, and you have a recipe for trouble. The parent who invented the hotel-overnight party for highschoolers did the rest of us no favors. I have heard of parties where the kids were in one room and the adult chaperone in another. That seems marginally better, especially if it's a single-sex party and stays that way.

Alternate suggestion, depending on time of year: Let your daughter organize a group day/evening event, with no parents. The local pizza parlor may be too boring-- what about taking BART to an elegant restaurant in the City or a concert at the Concord Pavilion or possibly an event at the Coliseum? Depending on your budget, what about flying down to Disneyland for the day? My own feeling is that a group of 16 year olds ought to be okay in those kind of public places. Alternatively, enlist her best friend for a surprise party or sleepover (girls only) and put some effort into the decoration and amenities. Albany parent

HI, My eldest daughter also will celebrate her 16th in a couple of weeks. My view on teen parties is that I will not take responsibility for other's people children regarding ''loaded'' issues. We can't control everything they do or be everywhere seeing what they are doing, but I can not have it, intentionally, on my watch.

I agree with your daughter that if kids want to drink and have sex they can figure it out any day of the week. I just wouldn't want the liability.

I had to kind of get my daughter excited about something else besides her original idea of a co-ed slumber party. My daughter is taking a co-ed group out for dinner at The Elephant Bar. Some of my daughter's closest friends are guys. Then we are having a girls-only slumber party in a hotel suite which INCLUDES me and my 2 best girlfriends. Me and mine will have our own room and the 6 girls will have the living area and the other room. So we will ''around'' but will go by the girls' lead as to whether they want us in or out of the action. We are having 2 esthetician riends come to do manicures and pedicures. She is having snacks, vidoes and crazy games. The big surprise is that in the morning, we have make-up artists and hairstylist coming to do them all up and they will have a professional photo shoot for momentos. They are all girly girls and love to go the mall and get photos done all they time, so that should be fun.

All of the parents will receive, in addition to the invites, a detail of what we are doing. If any of the girls' moms want to come, they are so invited!

It's expensive, but our whole family is pitching in. We are spending about the same as if she had a huge party. She just wanted her closest best friends. We are taking them in a limo from the restaurant to the suite in San Francisco.

My daughter really got into the planning and I have to say that I am looking forward to hanging out with my friends too.

Just my opinion. Good luck and congrats on your daughter turning sweet 16!!!
Mom of 16 yr old too!

To the parents wanting to know people's opinions about an overnight unsupervised coed 16th birthday party in a hotel: I think your immediate reaction was the right one (''absolutely not for all the obvious reasons''). I am the parent of two teenage daughters (16 and 19) and would have never agreed to this kind of a celebration. Of course your daughter is trying to convince you that this is not about sex and booze. And maybe it's not for her, but that doesn't mean it's not for some of the other kids. And then they're all in a difficult situation with no comfortable way out; hardly the way she, or anyone else, should spend a birthday. And if she's doing this for her 16th birthday, will all the others do the same, and then it's lots of unsupervised parties in hotel rooms at the age of 16. I can only imagine what they'll be doing at 17, or 18!! For the price of two hotel rooms, the group could go to Yoshi's on a Sunday afternoon to listen to music, or out to a fun restaurant for dinner and then a movie (think Bay Street perhaps). One of my daughters had a 16th birthday barbeque at the beach, with soccer and volleyball. The other invited her friends to our house and we served a fancy dinner and all the kids wore dress up clothes. One of my daughter's friends rented a banquet room in a hotel, hired a d.j., bought a bunch of munchies, and had a party for 4 hours on a Saturday night. Another took a bunch of kids to Santa Cruz for the day. There's a lot of fun stuff to do. Hang in there--it only gets more interesting!! anonymous

I would go with your instincts on this and not allow a co-ed hotel sleepover! Even though your daughter says sex and drinking can happen elsewhere, you don't want to be in the position of providing a venue for behavior that is against your rules (or other parents' rules).

How about a party at your house and then just the girls sleep over? I think it is much easier to supervise at your house (without being in the same room all the time). Or since it is a small group, a dressy dinner at a nice restaurant?

I hope you can find an alternative that your daughter likes! Deborah

This is for the parent that asked about ''Unsupervised 16th Birthday Parties'' and having hotel rooms for a co-ed party, and saying that they weren't sure if it was a good idea and that their daughter was trying to convince them to say yes. I have been working with teens and their families for over 20 years, and most of the time my advice to parents is ''If you feel uncomfortable with it, trust your gut and say NO''. If for some reason your daughter convinces you to go against your gut feelings, call the other kid's parents and tell them what is happening. My guess is, most of them weren't told that this was going to be unsupervised, or maybe not even told at all! With whatever you decide, remember that it's hard to keep balancing wanting to keep teens safe but also giving them some freedom without unnecessary risks. Fran Wickner, Ph.D,, MFT

No way. I let my daughter do this when she graduated high school and that was soon enough. Be creative. Find a luau restaurant like Trader Vic and suggest wearing Polynesian-inspired clothes; suggest doing one of those night-time boats on the bay like the Horner, etc. -- Let her have something to look forward to for graduation or who knows what she will request... anonymous

My gut reaction to your daughter's request for an unsupervised overnite party at a hotel is ABSOLUTELY NOT. No matter how ''good'' a kid she is, it's a green light for drugs, alcohol, sex and irresponsible behavior. And, if I were the parent of one of the other kids in attendance I would not let my child go(if I were informed in advance that it was unsupervised) and if I found out after the fact that it was unsupervised I'd be irate. There are plenty of options for celebrations.....nice dinners out for a group of friends...comedy clubs, concerts (drop them off and pick them up...there are venues that cater to under alcohol in SF and East Bay)a day trip to Santa Cruz boardwalk....anything but a nite in a hotel with friends. You'd feel horrible, guilty and worse if anything bad happened on your clock. Good luck PS-from my experience, you've got to be more than willing to tolerate your kids' disappointment. mom of 2 teenagers

Suggestions for 14-y-o party

Parents: Looking for ideas for a 14-year-old female's birthday party. I (her father) am struggling against *a dance*, and am looking for other ideas... Thanks. Peter

Believe it or not, my teenage daughter and her friends greatly enjoy coed bowling. Also popular is going to Lake Anza. I figure these are daytime activities (well, bowling, could be early evening), supervision is possible but can be subtle, and the kids are actually doing something which makes everyone more comfortable. Emily

I have a 14-year-old girl and understand your interest in avoiding a dance. Here are a few ideas: a swimming party/barbecue. Often community pools can be rented (a bit expensive sometimes). Or billards and pizza. Linnea

There have been a few parties my daughter attended this summer where dancing was part of the event. Mostly the boys didn't know much about dancing and the girls did some dancing together. At one party, the hosting dad (who was an excellent dancer) danced with a few of the girls and helped them learn the swing, which is cuurently of great interest among my daughter's peer group!! Good luck!

About a party for a 14 year old... Brushstrokes in Berkeley (place were you paint ceramic bowls and cups) + boom box (music) + pizza = party. Saraatje