When you get 13-year-olds out of the house and put them in a party atmosphere without a lot of adult supervision, trouble can quickly ensue. There are two major ways we recommend mitigating this risk–one is proactive and one is reactive.
Proactive Mitzvah Security
Proactive security is anything that is going to keep the kids occupied, engaged and, therefore, out of trouble. This includes things such as having dance motivators to keep the kids on the dance floor, extra novelties (like a photo booth, arcade games, foosball and the like) or other entertainment (airbrush shirts, glitter tattoos…). Kids will be so busy having fun that they won’t even think to suck the helium from the balloon decor or use the votive holders as shot glasses.
This can also include setting expectations in advance with parents. In an email, you can let parents know how special of a day this is for your child, what you will be doing, how you anticipate your child’s friends behaving, and what kind of attire they should wear.
Reactive Mitzvah Security
Reactive security is hiring security guards to keep the kids in line. Certain venues require security guards either by their contract or by their unique needs. For instance, I always recommend security for a venue that is typically open to the public such as a restaurant, bar or concert venue. In that case, security will keep nosy passersby out of the party and keep kids in the party. Parties in urban environments with lots of things to do nearby could also benefit from a Mitzvah security guard. You don’t want kids to wander outside the venue and cause trouble!
Depending on the group, a combination of the two works best. I hate to generalize by gender, but we’ve found that having more security for parties that are boy-heavy is needed. You know your child and their friends best, but we’ve seen that even “good kids” test the limits when they are given the freedom to attend this type of party.