Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

87 Killer Parties: teen programs from 87 Ways to Throw a Killer Party

So I’m sitting at my desk and the PR department sends me an e-mail: They’re putting together next month’s calendar and I need to tell them what teen stuff I want to add. I need a handy tool that I can grab something out of and run with.  Wait, what’s that you say?  87 Way to Throw a Killer Party by Melissa Daly.  Yes, I’ll take one of those thank you.

Sometimes, I just need the spark of an idea and then I can run with it.  I am not ashamed to steal – I mean borrow, I am a librarian, we lend and borrow – ideas from others.  And here are 87 of them for you.  You can take the basic framework presented and augment it to fit your library needs. Let’s examine a few, shall we . . .

Heroes and Villains Party (page 28)
This theme automatically makes me think of Comic Con, and I think every library should host it’s own Comic Con if they have the staff, space and budget.  First, you obviously need to invite your teens to wear costumes to this event.  If you can, set up a photo booth.  We have gotten the local high school art club to paint wooden photo stands with the holes cut out for guests to put their heads through as well.  (Actually, I have also made my art major husband do these for me to.  I mean asked – I asked.)  You can also mix up some Kryptonite punch (recipe included in the book) and have a “cage match” where attendees vote by applause who will win.

Want to expand it even more?  Put together a visual contest where your teens are asked to identify the heroes and villains from popular culture – and books of course.  You can do this as a simple one sheet contest entry form or put together a wall of pictures that teens examine and fill out an entry sheet.

Be sure and show some fun movies.  You can go with your basic superhero movie, or show something fun like Sky High.

You can also give teens the opportunity to make their own comic strips or graphic novel pages.  You can create a blank template in Microsoft Office and print them off for them to create their comics or use an online generator like those found in this Mashable article on 6 Free Sites for Creating Your Own Comics.

Don’t forget to do some super fun stuff like put together duels (I am a huge fan of play fighting with pool noodles), obstacle courses and relay races where the good guy versus the bad guy, and more.  You can even have mock Comic Con panels where you ask teens what super power they would want and why and present them with some either or type questions (break out old copies of the Ultimate Survival Game or Would You Rather for this portion).

Murder Mystery Party (p. 32)
I have hosted a ton of these and love them.  I have written several of my own, but you can also buy kits!!  Janet Dickey has a website devoted to them and I have used a couple of them; they work great.

Time Travel Party (p. 54)
Pick an era and go back in time with costumes, food, etc.  Or have a Science Fiction themed party and watch the Back to the Future movies.  Some ya titles that tie in with this theme include the Hourglass series by Myra McEntire.

Anti-Valentine’s Day Party (p. 62)
Everyone wears black – no red or pink allowed, thank you.  Make and then break heart shaped cookies to frost and decorate.  The broken hearted quiz, match famous dumpers with their dumpees.

Chinese New Year Party (p. 182)
Decorate a Chinese lanterns, decorate dragons, and make your own fortune cookies.  Bam, you are done!

87 Ways to Throw a Killer Party by Melissa Daly is a great tool for teens and people who work with teens to get some fun programming/party ideas.  I think it provides you with the spark and us librarians – we can really run with these ideas and put together a program that works within our space and budget.  Teens looking to put together their own parties will also appreciate the spark.  PS., don’t forget to put together booklists and displays for your party themes.


  1. Brilliant tips. Have shared them widely. Your blog as always is very helpful. Thank you

Speak Your Mind