A party with no theme compounds social worries and leaves guests unsure of themselves. A good party theme provides a built-in icebreaker and an automatic topic of conversation. A recipe for success.
Think back to the last party you hosted. How did it go? Were your guest relaxed and having fun, or did interactions seem forced and awkward? If you were one of your guests, would you want to attend your next party? The difference between a party and a great party comes down a good theme.
Thanks to the rise in popularity of online social media, more people than ever before are suffering from social anxiety. The problem is compounded in real-life interaction. What should they talk about? How will they fill the gaps in the chatter? Consider the following party themes to choose one that’s sure to be a hit.
The holidays are a time to gather together with one’s family and friends to eat, drink and be merry. What does that sound like? A party! Hosting holiday parties is an excellent way to get more comfortable with hosting gatherings. Holiday parties come with a built-in theme, which makes them the easiest to put together. Pick a holiday and think of all the traditional foods, drinks, and activities attached to it. Instant theme.
Winter Holiday Parties
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the winter solstice, or something else entirely, there are wonderful parties to be had during the winter holiday season. Get out the decorations, turn on the holiday tunes, brew some hot cocoa, and consider the following themes:
Cookie decorating party theme
Bake several batches of your best sugar cookie recipe. Whip up (or buy) some colored icing. You have yourself a cookie decorating party theme! You can go traditional with holiday shapes like angels, Christmas trees, or menorahs. Or, shake things up with ugly holiday sweater cookies. You know your audience, so choose what you think they would enjoy most. Don’t forget the eggnog!
Sledding or snowman party theme
If the climate in your area provides an abundance of snow during the holiday season, take advantage. Bundle up and head outside for some fun building snowmen or sledding down the nearest hill. Playing in the snow brings out the kid in even the staunchest of adults. Just be sure to let your guests know the theme in advance, so they know they’ll need their winter gear. Also, throw together a batch of hot chocolate in the slow cooker before you head out into the cold. Your party guests will thank you when they come in to thaw out.
Gift exchange party theme
We all want to give gifts to our friends and family during the holidays, and receiving a present or two doesn’t feel too bad, either. There are many different methods to organize a gift exchange party. You could have your guests draw names ahead of time, play a game like white elephant, or narrow down the theme by asking that all gifts be ornaments (or any particular item you think your guests would like to exchange with each other). If you’re not into consumerism, you can require that all gifts be handmade by the giver. If you’re an Eco-warrior, ask that all gifts be used/recycled. You can tailor every party theme to you and your specific guests’ interests.
Who doesn’t love an excuse to dress up, have a drink, and eat candy? Host a fabulous Halloween party by decking the place out in scary decorations, playing creepy music, putting out gruesome snacks and drinks, and holding a costume contest. You’ll be shocked at how much fun people have crafting the perfect getup, casting their votes, and taking advantage of all the spectacular photo ops.
Pro tip: Put out a pile of cheap masks for those who thought they could get away with showing up to your party without a costume. This keeps it festive without directly calling out the party poopers.
The king of all parties is most certainly the birthday party. Birthdays are a bit different than other holiday parties in that the occasion itself doesn’t provide much of a theme. The only thing all birthday parties seem to have in common is cake. If you want to throw a hit of a birthday party, you’ll need to dig deeper for a theme. Find out the birthday boy or girl’s interests. Are they obsessed with a certain show, band, or sport? Use it as their party’s theme. If you’re stumped on how to make a theme happen, it is now possible to purchase a birthday in a box kit and have the work done for you.
People love a blast from the past. A decade party is a fun, affordable theme that your guests can run wild with. Choose a decade, send out your invites, and watch how creative everyone gets. Vintage clothes and accessories are available at thrift shops and consignment stores for great prices, which makes this theme perfect for those who may not be rolling in extra money. Just be sure to choose a popular decade and maybe provide examples, so your guests know the vibe you’re going for.
’30s party theme
The era of the gangster. Think pinstripe suits, suspenders, fedoras, pin curls, and silk or leather gloves. This theme pairs best with scotch in rock glasses or martinis, and jazz or old movies playing in the background. Bonus points for giving out cigars as party favors.
’70s party theme
Everybody needs a chance to dress up like a hippie once in their lifetime. Bell bottoms, tie-dye, denim vests, patchwork, and peace signs. The best part about a ’70s party theme is the music. Put together a playlist of legendary artists of the time, like Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, and you won’t be able to go wrong.
’80s party theme
Bring on the neon, spandex, shoulder pads, and Aqua Net. An ’80s party is all about the absurdity of the decade’s fashion choices. Put on a Brat Pack movie and watch people reminisce about their own embarrassing memories. Or, get really creative, and build this giant Jenga game. From acid-washed jeans to mile-high bangs, the ’80s is a decade for revisiting, if only to remind ourselves never to repeat our fashion mistakes.
Movie or Game Party
The best party theme for someone nervous about hosting is easily a movie or game party. Human beings love to be entertained. Choose a movie (preferably one with a sequel, or even a trilogy, to last the entire night) to show. Or choose a multi-player video game to play. Dig out the cards or board games (or even giant Jenga, like we mentioned above). Just make sure you have adequate seating and abundant snacks. Done. You don’t have to worry about whether people are getting along or facilitate conversations. Everyone will be busy watching or playing, and that takes the pressure off of you.
Food and Drink Party
Are you passionate about cooking or baking? Wine? Margaritas? Food and drink pairings? If so, a food and drink party theme is definitely the one for you. You can go as big or small as you want with a food and drink party. Offer a simple DIY taco bar with margaritas from a jug. Go big and prepare a multi-course meal with a different wine pairing for each course. You can even make the cooking or baking part of the party. Give your guests aprons and bake different varieties of cookies or brownies together (possibly while sampling wines). There is really no messing up a party with good food and drinks.
Don’t let your next party be a dud. Your guests need a gentle push in the right direction when it comes to socializing and having a good time at your gathering. A good party theme provides that push by setting them up with fail-safe activities and conversation starters. Choose a theme, invite some guests, and become the successful party host you always knew you could be.