Become my friend and you will quickly learn two things about me. The first is that I watch a ridiculous amount of TV. The second is that I love a good themed party. If I had it my way every party would have a theme and Halloween would be a monthly event. I’m not a huge fan of fashion and find that I’m much more comfortable socializing when dressed like a moron. Over the past few years I have both attended and thrown quite a few memorable parties with themes such as Tom Hanks, Jersey Shore, 8th Grade Dance and Gender Bender. I consider myself to be quite an expert in my field and here are my top ten tips for throwing a solid themed party.
1. Plan ahead. Themed parties, while awesome, require a bit more effort than your average gathering. Therefore, it’s important to give yourself a bit more time to prepare. I usually need at least two weeks. It’s also good to give your friends some time to plan their outfits and mark their calendars.
2. Don’t be too strict. Some people aren’t as down with themes as you might think. It’s key to create an event that encourages people to dress up and have fun, but doesn’t make people feel like they have to in order to attend.
3. Decorate. People will relax and get into theme easier if your venue is decorated to match. The Dollar Store is your best friend when it comes to themed party decor. Trust me, it might seem extravagant, but some simple streamers can go a long way.
4. Funtivities. Plan some activities related to your theme to encourage your guests to interact. For our Jersey Shore party we set up a video camera “confessional” in the bathroom. It was a huge hit as well as a great form of blackmail. Disposable cameras and name-tags are also lots of fun.
5. Have extra accessories. Some people are tentative to arrive in costume, but change their mind once they see everyone else having fun. Have some cheap extras on hand to include these people in the fun.
6. Make a killer playlist. Your music sets the tone and can make or break your party. Don’t just put your iTunes on shuffle and hope for the best. Make a fun themed playlist. It’s been two years and people are still raving about my 8th Grade Dance playlist. When in doubt, boy bands.
7. Don’t stress about the guest list. The best parties I’ve been to are ones where I don’t know half the people there. Unless you have neighbors who are prone to filing noise complaints, just leave the invite open. It’s more stressful to exclude people and worry about them finding out than it is to invite them and just not hang with them.
8. Themed snacks and beverages. Your guests will appreciate the effort and it’s another opportunity to play around with your theme. At one of my Ugly Sweater Holiday parties we served “Glen Cocoa” and yelled, “You go Glen Cocoa!” every time we handed one out. The people loved it.
9. Write a great invitation. I’m personally a huge fan of Facebook events. They’re a quick and easy way to spread the word and get people excited about your party. It’s important to make your theme clear, but also leave it open to some interpretation. The more puns the better.
10. Go big or go home. It’s your party and therefore your responsibility to set the bar. If you get into theme, dress like an idiot, create an awesome playlist and welcome all your guests with open arms people are going to have fun. Your guests are taking their cues from you and you better bring it!
The feature image is made up of three of the many, many, ridiculous things I’ve worn over the past few years. If you understand the one on the left we could probably be friends.