How to throw an unforgettable sleepover party

For kids, sleepovers are a right of passage—a timeless tradition that turns a standard get-together into an extraordinary, late-night bash. Kids love sleepovers because they allow for a new and exciting adventure that’s different from their normal routine, while teens love sleepovers because they provide an opportunity to spend extra time with their friends and potentially doodle on someone’s face (reminder: hitting the hay early is so not cool). 

If you want to host a unique sleepover party for your kids that makes every other get-together look like a snoozefest, these sleepover ideas will help turn it into a slumber party extravaganza. 

 

How do you host a sleepover party?

Hosting a sleepover party looks a little different from hosting your average get-together. For one, they typically last longer and span different hours of the day. But along with preparing comfortable sleeping arrangements for everyone, you’ll also want to consider the snacks, activities, and theme you want for your overnight event. And as with all kids’ parties, parental or supervision from a trusted grownup is a must. 

Need some inspiration? 

Take a look below at our 14 sleepover party ideas for food, games, and themes.

 

Left: Children hold a bowl of popcorn. | Right: “Bucket of Popcorn” invitation by Paperless Post featuring an illustration of popcorn in a red and white striped carton.

Bucket of Popcorn” by Paperless Post.

 

Food

When hosting a sleepover, it’s important to remember that your guests are staying for an extended period of time. This means you’ll need to plan on serving them more than just your standard finger food and fun-size candy bars. 

But there’s no need to cook a full meal—especially when youngsters have a tendency to be picky. Try some of these easy yet yummy ideas to keep guests full and entertained:

 

1. Fancy popcorn

Who doesn’t love cuddling up to the buttery, salty taste of popcorn during a late-night movie? But rather than serving plain old Jiffy Pop at your sleepover party, get a little imaginative with your popcorn selection. Opt for an unexpected flavor that’s sure to please, like bacon-chocolate popcorn or kettle corn trail mix

You can even cultivate the best of all worlds by setting up a buffet table of various popcorn flavors along with toppings (such as chocolate syrup, M&Ms, or parmesan cheese) for a DIY popcorn bar. Guests can choose their favorites or mix and match options to send their taste buds on a thrilling adventure that may just rival whatever flick they’re watching. 

 

2. Personal pizzas 

Get your guests involved in the cooking process by inviting everyone to make their own personal pizzas. Not only does this serve as a fun party activity, but it also allows guests to choose the exact ingredients they want to eat, satisfying both picky and adventurous eaters. Plus, you don’t have to worry about choosing toppings that some guests may not like. 

If you and your guests have a sweet tooth, you can also end the night by baking a mouth-watering cookie pizza for dessert.

If all else fails (or if cooking time is of the essence), throwback mini pizza snacks never fail to delight. They’re practically a sleepover party institution.

 

Games

Left: “Player One” invitation by Paperless Post featuring a pixelated illustration of a video game controller and colorful confetti. | Right: Children play a video game.

Player One” by Paperless Post.

 

Having a few games on hand is another way to keep your sleepover guests entertained throughout the evening and encourage a little friendly competition. You can even reward winners with silly prizes like stickers, temporary tattoos, or plastic trophies. 

Some of the best games for a sleepover setting include:

 

3. Card games

Card games such as Cards Against Humanity, What Do You Meme, and Bears vs. Babies are some of the most hilarious and easy-to-learn options for group sleepover parties. Just be sure to avoid NSFW card games when hosting a sleepover for kids or teens—most games will give an age range in terms of appropriateness on the box. 

 

4. Board games

Games like Monopoly or Sorry are classics for a reason, providing a fun challenge to players of all ages. But it never hurts to mix up a party with newer board games, either. If you have time to learn and explain the rules, opt for a board game that people aren’t as familiar with to provide guests with a thrilling new experience. Settlers of Catan and One Night Werewolf are just two of our favorites.

 

5. Video games

Think video games are a solo hobby? Not so fast! Multiplayer video games create an interactive and exciting virtual experience for your slumber party guests. Some of the best options for larger groups include:

— JackBox – Players can use their smartphones as controllers to join in a variety of JackBox games, including drawing challenges, wordplay games, and trivia matches. 

— Mario Party – Scurry across a virtual board game and compete in mini-games with your favorite Mario characters, including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Toad. 

— Just Dance – For those looking to really get into the party groove, challenge your guests to a Just Dance dance-off. Things could get intense!

 

Themes

 Right: A child skewers marshmallows on a stick at a campground. | Left: “Sleepover Camp” invitation by Paperless Post featuring an illustration of a pink and purple tent draped with bunting.

Sleepover Camp” by Paperless Post.

 

In addition to food and games, a sleepover’s theme can help cultivate a particular party vibe and even lend itself to unique themed activities. Oftentimes, a host may center the party’s entire theme around a single activity, such as…

 

6. Pampering party 

For a posh night of luxury, opt for a festive pampering party complete with face masks, nail polish, and of course, plenty of makeup. Guests can even find fun makeup challenges on YouTube to try out for themselves, such as blindfolded makeup challenges (which are sure to leave your guests doubling over with laughter). And definitely, definitely don’t forget to take pictures. 

 

7. Adventure

If the weather (and location) permits, try adding a little adventure to your sleepover by bringing the party to the great outdoors. Under the cover of night, you can play games of manhunt, flashlight tag, or glow-in-the-dark Frisbee. For areas where it’s safe to do so, a nighttime nature walk, stargazing circle, or bonfire can provide the perfect end to an evening of adventure (especially if you throw some s’mores into the mix). Pro tip: Bring bug spray. 

 

8. Camping

Take your outdoor theme a step further by spending the night under the stars (or at least in a tent that’s under the stars). You can easily host a camping sleepover without taking a trip to the woods or a national park by setting up a tent in your own backyard. 

You can even set up camp in your living room in the event of rain or snow, or if you’re not a fan of creepy crawly guests who may crash the party. With a cute indoor tent, star projector, and fake campfire, you and your guests won’t even realize you’re not actually outside. Plus, microwave s’mores are just as tasty and less likely to catch on fire, making this slumber party theme a win-win. 

 

9. Scavenger hunt

Put your guests’ puzzle-solving skills to the test by transforming your sleepover into a full-blown scavenger hunt. Set up your clues before everyone arrives, then see who’s the first to connect the dots and find the secret treasure. Bonus points if you can take the time to turn each clue into a little rhyming poem.

 

10. Arts and crafts 

Let your guests unleash their inner artists with an arts-and-crafts-themed sleepover, complete with a fully stocked crafting area. Some fun sleepover ideas for this theme include making friendship bracelets, creating collages, or leading your own Bob Ross-style painting class. And for those who aren’t so skilled with a paintbrush, worry not: This idea is even more fun if you’re not artistically inclined.

 

11. Ghost stories 

If you think your guests can handle it, try giving your sleepover a spooky twist with a daring ghost story theme. Encourage guests to come prepared to share their best ghost stories—whether they’ve heard them through the grapevine or experienced them first hand. 

To take this theme a step further, decorate with eerie lanterns, serve ghost-shaped cookies, and queue up your favorite horror movie for the grand finale. While you can choose this sleepover theme for any time of year, it’s particularly to die for when Halloween rolls around. 

 

12. Karaoke

Invite guests to belt their favorite tunes with a karaoke-themed party. While a karaoke machine is certainly a plus, hosting a karaoke night can easily be achieved with YouTube karaoke videos, a smart TV (or an HDM1 cable), and a microphone. 

Don’t have a microphone? Not a problem. You can download a microphone app onto your smartphone, and plug it into the auxiliary port of a portable speaker. Once you’ve gathered all the necessary supplies, you’ll be ready for a night of singing, dancing, and very little sleeping. (Just be sure to warn your neighbors). 

 

13. A night at the movies

With a movie-themed sleepover party for teens, you can bring the theater to you. Print out fake tickets, hang movie posters, and set up camp in front of the biggest TV in your house (or for a true movie theater experience, a projector). 

Between Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, and all your other streaming services, you have endless viewing options to choose from. To ensure you select a film that everyone will enjoy, consider sending a poll to your guests beforehand. This way, you can gauge what genre everyone is in the mood for. 

Some popular options include:

 

— Teen comedies – Kick it old school with an ‘80s classic like “Pretty in Pink”, a ‘90s hit like “Clueless”, or a 2000s favorite like “Mean Girls” or “Bring It On.” You can also choose from modern teen romcoms, such as Netflix’s “The Kissing Booth,” or “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”—though there’s a good chance your guests will have seen those already. 

 

— Fantasy series – If you’re looking to host a movie marathon, opt for your favorite fantasy series, such as Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Percy Jackson, or The Hunger Games. 

 

— Romance – Sometimes, we all need a good cry with our friends. What better way to get the waterworks flowing than with a tearjerker of a romance movie? Pop on “The Notebook,” “P.S. I Love You,” or “The Fault in Our Stars,” and prepare for the emotional rollercoaster ahead. 

 

14. TV Watch party 

If your teenage guests prefer TV over movies, consider hosting a TV watch party sleepover for the newest episode of their favorite show. A watch party is also particularly exciting if the show you’ve been obsessing over is premiering their finale or the start of their latest season. 

To further lean into this theme, choose food, decor, and invitations that tie into your show of choice. For instance: 

 

— “The Bachelor”/”The Bachelorette” – Host a Bachelor-themed sleepover complete with roses, soda in champagne glasses, and a betting pool so guests can guess who’s getting sent home that night.

 

— “Riverdale” – It wouldn’t be a Riverdale watch party without classic diner decor, juicy burgers, and creamy milkshakes. You can also center decor around Riverdale High’s signature colors, blue and gold. 

 

— “Gossip Girl” – Make like an Upper East Sider and stream the new “Gossip Girl” reboot with designer-themed decor, pink macarons, and aptly worded invitations (e.g. “See you there, XOXO Gossip Girl”).

Sleepover party invitation wording

“Sleepover” Flyer by Paperless Post featuring a gif of young women dancing in a retro bedroom.

Sleepover” Flyer by Paperless Post

 

Sending invitations ensures that everyone has the correct information regarding your sleepover’s date, time, and location—and can also serve as another way to let your party theme truly shine. (P.S. If you’re worried some guests might overstay their sleepover welcome, you can always specify a pick up time for the next day.)

Wondering how to word your sleepover invitations? 

Take a look below at some of our favorite examples of sleepover party invitation wording. 

 

For a little one’s birthday

For a child’s birthday party, you can keep invitation wording fairly simple. Try starting with something like this:

 

“Christopher is turning six!

Camping Party

Join us outdoors

Saturday, July 15

7pm

459 Maine St.”

 

For a pampering party

For a themed party, such as a pampering party, consider incorporating specific themed elements into your invitation wording, like this:

 

“Beatrice is turning 7 & you’re invited to her

Pamper Party

(with optional sleepover)

Saturday, June 11

7pm

96 York St.”

 

For a movie night birthday party

Throwing a movie night sleepover party? Spread the word with personalized sleepover flyers with wording such as:

 

“Please join us for 

Nolan’s 13th Birthday

Movie & Sleepover

Saturday, May 15

7pm

2315 Ogden Dr.”

 

For a night of festivities

If you have an entire itinerary lined up for the evening, make sure to include all the festivities in your party invitation so that guests (and parents) know what to expect. For instance: 

 

“Jamie is having a 

Neon Movie Night Slumber Party!

Party like it’s 2007

S’mores, disco, dinner & a movie!

Saturday, June 10

Starts at 5pm, 10am pickup on Sunday 

101 Ocean Ave.”

 

For a camping sleepover

For a camping sleepover party, it’s helpful to let guests know what type of accommodations to expect, especially if you plan on sleeping outside. Here’s an example:

 

“Sleep under the stars

Please join Abigail 

To celebrate her 10th birthday

With an outdoor sleep-under

Saturday May 10

5pm

The kids can come dressed to impress in their PJs. They will enjoy snacks and treats and sleepover-themed crafts and activities.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about Covid precautions.”

 

Plan your next sleepover with Paperless Post

Naturally, invitations are the most effective way to relay party details to your guests and get them excited about the night’s events, but depending on the postal service to deliver your invites can lead to delays, and sometimes, even lost mail. Fortunately, you can always rely on Paperless Post. 

With Paperless Post, you can send digital slumber party invitations, customized to match your party’s unique theme and showcase your individual style. Choose from Cards or textable Flyers, and take advantage of our digital guest lists features to send invites with the click of a button (you can use a previously populated list or import one from elsewhere!), and easily track your RSVPs and message guests if needed. Sending invites has never been as easy—or as fun.

Start planning your next sleepover today, with Paperless Post!

 

 

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