13th Birthday Surprise Pool Party

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My daughter Alyssa had her 13th birthday last week.  And of her closest friends, Cheyenne, also turned 13 just 5 days later. Cheyenne’s mom and I decided it would be fun to do a surprise party for our girls for their 13th birthday, and I’m pleased to say…they were truly surprised! It was a pool party of epic proportions! Really though, I just wanted to say epic proportions, but it was pretty fun, if I do say so myself!

13th birthday pool party treats

I love throwing parties for my kids, and have shared many of my DIY party ideas, but my preference is to do them at my home.  I like to be able to to start setting up a few days in advance.  Having the time to decorate slowly keeps me from stressing out!  And this time, not only was the party NOT at my house, it was a surprise party, making it extra tricky.

Since we were meeting at a pool, it took care of the party activities.  And the fact that I was splitting up the duties with my friend Janell also made it easier. She created a beautiful balloon arch and it was fun to see that come together for our pool party!  I have a bunch of party supplies already, so I didn’t buy a whole lot, just the candies/food.

My awesome husband and boys came over to the pool early with us to set up, and they were on “inflate duty.” Luckily Janell had an air compressor.  If you are having a pool party with a lot of fun pool rafts, an air compressor is a must have!

pool party inflatables

candy table for surprise party

How To Pull off a Surprise Party

Janell and I had discussed all week…what are we going to tell the girls to get them to the pool party?

We went back and forth on ideas, but ultimately we told them that there was a mother daughter pool party for our church congregation.  Our girls didn’t seem to think that was odd, so yay! It is always best to go with an easy believable story when you are trying to surprise a teenager.   Another piece of advice to pulling off a surprise party is to keep it a secret for as long as you can.  I didn’t even tell my daughter about the faux mother/daughter party until that morning.

Also, be careful who you tell!  And make sure everyone you do tell knows it is a surprise. I was very happy that my 9-year-old was able to keep the secret, I was worried!

It is also good to have a stall tactic planned.  Even  with all the rushing around that the pool party entailed, I was actually running early!  So when I picked up my daughter, I made a trip to another friends house and chatted with her on her porch to get us back on schedule.  My daughter waited in the car, suspecting nothing.

We picked up Janell and Cheyenne and headed to the pool.  Our husbands and sons were waiting at the pool with their friends.  And they were watching our every move on the LIFE 360 app.  I love that I can keep tabs of my family with that app!  Technology makes it a lot easier to get the big surprise cheer timed perfectly.

Walking into the pool, they had NO IDEA, and when their friends popped out, they were so confused why some of their school friends were at a church mother/daughter activity. You’ll have to watch the video. They were thrilled and excited!  We had successfully pulled off a surprise party for teenagers!

surprise party reactions

Pool Party Details


I love a fun and decorated table scape. It’s my favorite part of a party decoration.  And I like to center it all around a fun themed cake. Although I don’t love eating cake, I love the way a fun theme cake pulls the whole table together. It makes my heart go pitter patter.

13th birthday party decorations


pool party cake



We didn’t plan much in the way of activities. I looked up a few ideas, but ultimately, a pool does a great job of entertaining. Janell found some fun chicken fight inflatables and we had my giant flamingo and pineapple from last year.  Add in a few other pool toys like diving rings and the pool party activities were complete.

chicken fight inflatables

mother daughter birthday surprise

teen girls jumping into a pool

birthday girls posing with their cake

Photo Booth

I adore a photo booth.  It is a fun activity for teenagers, but also a great way to collect memories of the party.  It can get tricky with a big group but there were a lot of small group and buddy shots with the birthday girls (and boomerangs).party photo booth and decorations

Here are a few links about DIY party ideas for any age that I’ve shared in the past:

I sure love my girl, and it was so fun to surprise her! She is very easy going, and lately “feels bad” when I spend money on her, so it was fun to shower her with love and color and friends.


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