Oh, that all birthday parties for daughters could be pink and sparkly. When my daughter was young, planning her parties was a delight. She adored it all: pink fairy cakes, pastel décor, easy princess games.

Now that we're in the tween years, my daughter's tastes have grown up. She's harder to please, which may be why planning her 12th birthday party took every ounce of my patience. After days of haggling, we finally agreed on some fun, age-appropriate party games.

If you're throwing an at-home tween or teen party, plan something more memorable than pizza and a movie. I've found that the following activities require little money and preparation, but they're big hits. These games could be used for an all-girl guest list, but most work for boys, too.

Scavenger hunt

Divide the partygoers into two groups if they'd like to compete, or have them all stick together. Provide each group with a list of random items to collect, and send them around your neighborhood to doors that you feel comfortable with.

One idea is to have the guests collect items for "ugly makeovers," which would be the next activity. Unwanted scarves, glasses, jewelry, or any accessories could be part of the list.

Ugly makeovers

A fun twist on the traditional, make-me-pretty makeover, the object of this makeover is to look nerdy or scarily clownish. Encourage the guests to be heavy handed; don't hold back! Provide miscellaneous makeup and tacky hair accessories like headbands, barrettes, hair clips or ribbons. Don't forget to take pictures.

Dress-up relay

Divide the guests into two teams. At one end of the room, provide two laundry baskets filled with an equal amount of random clothing - gloves, shirts, pants, scarves, hats, boots, shoes or sweaters. Have each team select a person to be a mannequin and stand next to their clothes basket.

When you say go, each team member will race to their mannequin and dress her in one item at a time, then run back to tag the next person in line. The team that dresses its mannequin first is the winner.

Whipped cream and gummy worms

Seat everyone around a table with a plate of gummy worms for each guest. Pile whipped cream on each plate, and instruct the guests to eat their worms without using their hands.

Question and answer game

Have everyone sit in a circle and write a question on a piece of paper. Toss each paper into a pile. Next, have each guest take a paper and answer the question on the reverse side, then return it to the pile.

Have the first guest take a question and read it out loud. The next person in the circle takes a paper and reads the answer. Continue this pattern. The result is senseless but funny.

DVDs and pizza are great, but with little effort you can plan a more memorable night. Enhance your growing daughter's party with games that will keep everyone engaged and laughing. If your budget is tight, these ideas will help your birthday party planning.

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