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Hosting Safe Teen Parties

Your teen asks, “Can I have a party at our house?” And maybe even “Can we have alcohol at the party?”


As a parent, you can support your teen with planning the guest list to planning rides home after the party.

Here are some tips for how to plan and host safe teen parties.

Hosting a teen party? Even though they are not yet drinking age, your teenager may ask or want to have alcohol at the party. Reduce the risks of harm with good planning, supervision and fun activities.

1. Talk to your teen about how they see the party rolling out

Teen parties don’t always mean alcohol will be involved, but if your teen asks about and wants to have alcohol at the party, use the opportunity to have a conversation about moderation and social responsibility.

Get them to help plan out the logistics:

  • How many guests?
  • Who will supervise?
  • What activities will there be?
  • What time will it start and end?
  • How will guests get to the party and how will they get home?

Engage your teen in the process of risk assessment and management.

2. Explore the alcohol question

Consider different perspectives before deciding whether to allow alcohol at a teen party or not. On one hand, there are legal issues. On the other hand, saying “no” to a gathering that you could supervise, may mean your teen will go elsewhere to drink, somewhere with no adult supervision. If you agree to allow alcohol, discuss how saying “yes” to alcohol is not the same as saying “yes” to intoxication.

3. Consult with other parents

Contact other parents to introduce the party idea and let them know if you’re considering allowing supervised drinking. Involve them in the planning and try to reach common decisions. Be sure to discuss supervision, transportation and party size.

4. Ensure adult supervision

If you’ve decided to host a teen party where alcohol is involved, make sure at least one sober adult is present at all times during the party. If you’ve planned a large party, have other parents or adults there to help you out.

5. Control numbers

Develop a clear guest list rather than an open invitation. Using invitation cards can help keep a party to a manageable size - it could even double as entry tickets for a large gathering.

6. Offer entertainment

Come up with fun activities or game ideas to keep the focus away from alcohol. Offer to put up a dart board, card table or ping-pong table. Or rent some movies, video games or even a karaoke machine.

7. Provide food and alcohol-free drinks

Provide snacks throughout the party. Alcohol is absorbed more slowly when people have food in their stomachs. Focus on food that is not too greasy, salty or sweet since all can increase thirst. Be sure to provide water, soft drinks and juices. You might even get creative and serve blended “virgin” drinks. Stop serving alcohol about two hours before the designated end of the party.

8. Choose a “chill out” area

Think about having a place guests can go to step away from the music, loud voices or anything else they may need a break from. It could be a room or area with close adult supervision to ensure everyone feels secure and knows it’s okay to break away from the crowd if they want to.

9. Prepare for crises

Before the party begins, it is a good idea to have a plan in place in the event something goes wrong or a guest who’s been drinking insists on driving home.

10. Get them home safe

Take guests home yourself, or arrange to have them picked up by their parents. If these options aren’t possible, use a taxi service or be prepared for overnight guests.

When your teen’s grad approaches, keep in mind that you can help to plan and promote a “dry” after-grad party. The risk of alcohol-related hard is unusually high on grad night, planning a dry gran can help reduce the harm to the graduates and the community.

Alcohol-Free “Virgin” Drinks

Making tasty, alcohol-free drinks is an alternative you can offer. Here are a few popular options:



    • 2 oz. sour mix and a splash each of lime and orange juice


    • Blend with ice until smooth
    • Serve in a salt-rimmed glass
    • Garnish with a lime wedge

Pina Colada


    • 3 oz. pineapple juice and 2 oz. coconut cream


    • Blend with ice until smooth
    • Garnish with a pineapple wedge, whipped cream and a cherry

Strawberry Daiquiri


    • 3 oz. fresh or frozen strawberries, a splash of sour mix, and a dash of grenadine


    • Blend with ice until smooth

Resources & Links:

Teen Substance Use: Making a Contract With Your Teen
Here to Help: Hosting a Teen Party: How to Deal with the Alcohol Question
Here to Help: The Road Ahead: A Guidebook for Parents of Young Teens about alcohol and other drugs

Last Updated: March 31, 2015