Teens want a party with grown up flair.

Catering a Teen's Party

by Cheryl Stephenson-Hearns

Teens love to socialize, and parties allow them to do just that. One of the main components of any party is food, and serving teens is not very different from serving adults. The key to successful food is variety, and you can achieve this easily with a buffet-style meal. Don't let catering a teen party scare you off. With a little preparation and a lot of imagination, you can easily serve food that teens will enjoy.


You can certainly serve the standards at your teen party, including water, soda pop and juice. However, why not try something ultra-sophisticated like non-alcoholic versions of your favorite adult drinks? You can find mixes at local food stores for strawberry daiquiris, pina coladas and for many more types of drinks.

Main and Side Dishes

Grab-and-go foods are the easiest items to serve at a teen party. Consider sandwich trays, meat and cheese deli trays, nachos with salsa and sour cream, chicken wings, mini pizzas, vegetable trays with dip and fruit kabobs. Barbecued meats including burgers and hot dogs also work well for teens. If you are going for a more formal party, offer lasagna and Caesar salad, which is easy to make ahead.


Miniature versions of desserts are popular in restaurants and let you to offer lots of choice to your teen guests. Make or buy miniature cheesecakes, pies such as key lime and lemon meringue, creme brulee and strawberry shortcake. The options are endless. Another fun idea is a do-it-yourself ice cream sundae bar. Offer several flavors of ice cream alongside fun toppings like candy sprinkles, chunks of fresh fruit, chocolate chips and cookie crumbs. Have chocolate, caramel and strawberry sauces available with whipped cream and cherries for finishing touches.


Teens are notorious for their near constant hunger. Lay bowls of snack foods in various locations throughout the venue for guests to grab as they pass. Choose from potato chips, nuts, caramel corn and nacho chips.

Special Touches

Consider renting a chocolate fountain or a punch fountain. These items can act as table embellishments and will give your party the wow factor you are looking for. Set up a candy buffet table and supply small brown paper bags for teens to fill.

Tips and Tricks

It is important to know how many teens will be at the party so that you have enough food. Make as much food as possible ahead of the party. This will give you time to oversee things on the day of the event. Make sure to keep food at the appropriate temperature; serve hot foods in heated buffet servers and trays of cold foods can be laid on beds of ice. Finally, don't fuss if something goes wrong. Chances are, the teens won't even notice.

About the Author

Cheryl Stephenson-Hearns works as a public servant in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labor, writing articles for several newsletters. She has also been writing children's books since 2005. Stephenson-Hearns holds a Bachelor of Arts in French language and literature from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Photo Credits

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