Dinner parties are great, but why not spice up your next gathering by adding a special twist or theme. We all loved themed parties as kids so there’s no reason the fun needs to stop now!
Here are a few ideas to bring the themed party out of children and into adulthood. Now you don’t have to wait for the holidays to decorate the house, dress up and have some fun with your family, friends, and neighbors.
If your friends are the dramatic or theatric type, let them show off their acting chops by staging a murder mystery party. It’s like an elaborate, live action game of Clue. There are several websites where you can purchase or download pre-written murder mystery plots featuring a wide range of themes, settings, and number of players – getting one of these makes it much easier on the host.
To make the evening extra fun, pre-assign your guests a role and encourage them to dress the part. Then prepare appetizers or even a full meal that matches the theme of the game. These events can take a few hours, so having food and drinks on hand will help keep everyone energized. Having food and drinks that match the story will keep everyone in character!
1920s Dinner Party
Fans of a traditional dinner party can shake things up by giving their sit down dinner an era theme. Send out invitations that highlight the theme – extra points if you go era-appropriate and send mailed invites instead of an evite or Facebook event – and encourage people to dress like they’re going to dinner in your chosen year. Then to go town on decorating your house. With many themes you’ll find plenty of useful “decorations” at a thrift store. Do what you can to match the meal and cocktails to the theme as well.
One popular era right now is the roaring ‘20s. To host the perfect 1920s dinner party look up some prohibition era cocktail recipes, hang a “no coppers” sign on the door, and decorate your table with pearls and crystal-like glasses from your local thrift store. Through on some jazz and you guests will feel like they stepped back in time into a speakeasy!
This one is an oldie but goodie – who doesn’t love a backyard bar-b-que turned luau! While you’re likely not going to roast a whole pig in your backyard, you can definitely make the event feel tropical. Set up some tiki torches and hand out sunglasses and (plastic) grass skirts as guests arrive. To add even more color to the occasion encourage your guests to wear their favorite Hawaiian shirt!
When planning your menu, keep the theme in mind. Stick with drinks that lean toward tropical and citrus fruit flavors (great for both cocktails and non-alcoholic drink options). You can still serve backyard favorites like hamburgers and hot dogs but grill up some sliced pineapple and even some sliced spam to add as toppings. A tropical fruit salad will make the perfect side dish for your luau!
At-Home Tasting Menu
A tasting menu at a fancy restaurant is a lot of fun, but it can also be expensive. To keep the fun but save your wallet, host a tasting menu party at home.
The possibilities are nearly endless when trying to decide the theme of your tasting menu. You can opt to highlight a specific cuisine, a certain flavor, or a broader theme like your personal favorite recipes or childhood classics. The beauty of this type of party is that while you’ll need to make six or more courses, all the portions are one or two bites, so it’s not quite as much work as it sounds like. Still, if you don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen, decide on a theme with some friends and have everyone bring a small dish for the tasting.
This is a great and fun alternative to a wine and cheese party and is perfect for smaller gathers.
“All the Holidays”
Throwing a party at the height of holiday season can be stressful. You have plenty of parties to go to already, you’re fighting other parties for guests, and you need to get all the right recipe ingredients before they’re sold out – the party’s fun but hosting isn’t always. To stop the stress, ditch the traditional year-round holiday parties and through one big annual “all the holidays” party.
Pull out all your decoration boxes and go to town! All of them! New Years, Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, whatever holiday decorations you have, use them! The beauty of this party is that you can plan a menu by featuring all of your favorite holiday dishes or you don’t have to match the theme at all! It’s such a mix and match theme that pizza and chips will fit in just as well as a more elaborate spread.
As the final touch on your All the Holidays party, have your guest come dressed for their favorite holiday – whatever they’d wear to celebrate their favorite holiday is perfect. You’ll likely end up with an amusing mix of ugly holiday sweaters, swim trunks, “Kiss me I’m Irish” shirts and full-blown Halloween costumes!