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Ultimate List of Party Theme Ideas

Having a party and want to try something different? You’ll find an idea you love in this Ultimate List of Party Theme ideas.

This is a general list of party theme ideas. It doesn’t include calendar holidays. For those ideas, please see the bucket list for the specific holiday.

If this list feels overwhelming, focus on the category that interests you & your crew the most.

Food Themed Parties

hot chocolate bar party

A food bar party theme

When we refer to a “bar”, we mean a serve-yourself buffet style party focused on one particular food or beverage. The food is usually set up on an island in the kitchen or a buffet table, decorated in the party theme.

  • baked potato bar: serve with all different toppings including chili
  • chili bar
  • hot chocolate or hot cocoa bar
  • sundae bar
  • parfait bar
  • berry bar
  • candy bar
  • bagel bar
  • color themed candy or cupcake bar
  • bratwurst bar
  • fantasy themed dessert bar (mermaid, unicorn, etc)
  • freakshake/milkshake bar
  • nacho bar
  • taco bar
  • burger bar
  • popcorn bar & movie
  • martini bar
  • mojito bar
  • margarita bar
  • dessert bar – can even narrow it down to all same color.
  • mocktail bar
  • pizza bar and beer
  • burrito bar
  • pancake bar
  • panini bar
  • soup & crackers bar
  • sushi bar
  • cookie bar
  • cupcake bar
  • churros, dip & toppings
  • hot dog bar with lots of toppings
  • burger bar with toppings and sides
  • health food bar
  • bloody Mary bar
  • sushi bar
outdoor wine and cheese foodie party

Foodie Party Themes

  • Appetizer party
  • Bloody Mary Brunch
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s – fancy dress brunch
  • Beer tasting party
  • Charcuterie board
  • Cheese board
  • Cheese fondue
  • Chocolate fondue
  • Chocolate tasting party
  • Chili cook-off
  • Clam bake at beach
  • Coffee tasting party
  • Cookie exchange party
  • Cookout with backyard games
  • Cupcake party
  • farm to table: go to the local farmer’s market, buy fresh and cook dinner.
  • Fruit and chocolate fountain
  • Grill and Chill: BBQ with sundae ice cream bar dessert
  • Ice cream social
  • Macaroons
  • Olive Tasting Party
  • pasta night
  • picnic
  • pie bake-off
  • Sangria Brunch
  • signature drink & dessert
  • Tea party – dresses, hats & tea in the flower garden
  • Watermelon Fiesta
  • Willy Wonka & Chocolate Factory: send golden tickets as invitations, chocolate food bar
  • wine tasting
costume party themes ideas

Costume party ideas

  • ABC (Anything But Clothes): recycling at it finest.
  • Alice in Wonderland: how many Mad Hatters do you think will show up?
  • Aliens and astronauts: halve the group to be either aliens or astronauts. Half the food is astronaut food (freeze dried ice cream for dessert) the other half “alien food”. Capture the flag game at night with glow in the dark gear, etc.
  • Alien Abduction: everyone is dressed like an alien and party room is their mothership. Anyone who shows up not in costume is the abductee! (This is not permission to torture them for not playing along.)
  • Alphabet inspiration: Choose a letter and the color scheme, costumes and entertainment all revolve around that letter. This could inspire 26 parties. Alternately, have a general alphabet party with kindergarten letter banners and guests dress as something that begins with the first letter of their name.
  • Angels & Devils: you could ask couples to have one dress as each and singles dress as either. Separate room and decorate one side as heaven and the other as hell. (Use a fan to make flames look real.)
  • Animal PJs: everyone wear plush onesies of their favorite animal. You can narrow it down to forest, African animals, etc. to make it easier for decorating & food.
  • Anime: can choose one series or dress as favorite, serve pop culture Japanese food
  • Apocalypse Now: dress as if the apocalypse happened today. Who will be the zombies, zombie hunters, fallout shelter people.
  • Back to Prom: music from the era you graduated high school, dresses, finger food and dancing. Vote for the King and Queen!
  • Banksy R Us: Everyone wears a white shirt and they all write messages and make drawings on each other’s shirts. Show a YouTube video about Banksy.
  • Black Light party: this never gets old. Everyone wears white and neon colors, lamps and lights have black light bulbs.
  • Carnival: dress up in costume and have groups perform acts! Carnival games for prizes & bouncy castle for adults.
  • Color party: choose a color, any color. Everyone comes dressed as that color. All the food & decorations are that color. You could have a party every month a different color. Easy, breezy.
  • Cops & Robbers: 1/2 the group, have an item difficult to find/get to and have them compete.
  • Cowboy & Cowgirl: western wear, line dancing, Tex-Mex food.
  • Director’s Cut: choose your favorite movie director and ask everyone to dress like a character from one of their movies.
  • Elvis: everyone dresses like their favorite era Elvis and lip syncs 1 or 2 of his songs from that era. Peanut butter, banana & bacon sandwiches.
  • Enchantment Under the Sea: dress like anything you’d find under the sea like mermaids, sharks, fish, octopus.
  • Fairy: create a fairy wonderland and serve little appetizers
  • Fairy Tale: everyone dress as their favorite fairy tale. Hostess is Mother Goose, of course.
  • Fright night: everyone dress the scariest that they can. Prize for best costume. Watch scary movie, eat “bloody” food.
  • Goth costumes & party room.
  • Hats: this can be a fast & easy party. Text your friends tell them to grab their hat and come over. Hang hats on fish wire from the ceiling. Put serving bowls in hats. (You’re gonna need more hats!)
  • Havana Nights pool party: Cuban attire, food, music, salsa dancing and maybe swimming.
  • Heroes and Villains: have 2 people dress together, one as the hero and the other as that hero’s villain & have a superhero party.
  • Hollywood Game Night: have everyone dress as their favorite actor & keep it a secret. Guests have to guess who they are. Then play games like the game show at Jane Lynch’s house.
  • I Love Disney: dress as your favorite Disney character & eat food they feature at Disneyworld.
  • Jocks & Cheerleaders
  • Las Vegas night: Everyone wear their glitter outfits. Karaoke singing. Casino games.
  • Lip Sync Battle: ask guests to dress in costume to go with a song or two that they are going to lip sync sing. Prepare a couple of well-known children’s songs with props for the ones who show up without preparing!
  • Luau: Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts. Tropical drinks and hula dancing.
  • Masquerade: Venetian masks, jewel colored gowns, and capes.
  • Mermaid & Merman pool party.
  • Murder Mystery: there are kits set up to host a murder mystery dinner. Everyone has to be there, so don’t invite anyone who is the type to back out at the last minute. Play actors are best for this one, not the shy.
  • Paired: have 2 people come to the costume party dressed as things that go together like bacon and eggs.
  • Pajama party: Everyone shows up in their comfy PJs and binge watches a show or movie series.
  • Pimps & Hos Dance Party: play dance games that make people mingle
  • Pirates of (your town): Talk like a pirate, dress like a pirate, serve finger foods to eat with your hands. Drink like a pirate in a wooden or metal tankard.
  • Popstar costumes & karaoke
  • Robots
  • Shipwrecked: at the beach, everyone wear zombie type apparel, drink out of coconut shells, eat “scrounged” themed food. (Everyone else at the beach will wish they were at your party, too.)
  • Spy with My Little Eye: have everyone dress as their favorite spy and give them a quest.
  • Tinsel, glitter, sequins & confetti
  • Trolls: Wild hair, who will fart glitter?
  • Tux & Tiaras: princess party for adults.
  • Ugly sweater: go to the restaurant for this one! lol
  • Wigs: This is a fun and easy costume party to have for those who are shy about costumes. Everyone wears a wig of their choosing. Have the party ideas revolve around hair.
  • Wizard of Oz: need a yellow brick road, watch movie (old, new or both?)
  • World Traveler: have a series of parties, each night features a different country. Everyone dresses up from the country and have a dinner party with music and traditions from that country. Fiesta, Italian wine & dine, Asian, German lederhosen, etc.
  • Zombie Version of Famous Dead People: eat brains, decorate with distressed apocalyptic versions. Guests guess who everyone is supposed to be.
20s flapper party theme


  • Joan of Arc: girls knight out.
  • Toga: permission to wear a sheet in public, drink from chalices and lounge like the ancient Romans.
  • Medieval Times
  • Disco: ABBA music, Saturday Night Fever dancing, disco balls
  • 90s Rap
  • 80s Rockstar
  • 80s Exercise
  • 70s Hippies at Woodstock (which happened in ’69)
  • 70s Tie Dye: have everyone bring a white t-shirt to tie dye together.
  • 60s Grease Lightning
  • 50s Sock hop
  • 20s Flappers & Gangsters
  • Time Travel: divide party room in sections and assign people to a different time period. They are required to dress, decorate and supply food for that era. Or, it’s a costume party where they can dress from any era they like the best.
game day food buffet sports party theme

Sports & Hobbies

  • Book exchange: party for avid readers. Bring your all-time favorite book gift wrapped. Wine and dine, then number stickers on all books. Guests pick a number from a hat and take that book home.
  • Yoga class & smoothies bar
  • Tailgate party while watching the big game
  • Gamer party: rent the local theater during the day and play games on the big screen!
  • Bob Ross Painting party: watch one of his shows and everyone paints a canvas to take home.
  • Poetry Jam: everyone write a poem and reads it at the party. They they feast!
  • LAN party for gamers
  • Touch football
  • Scrub baseball
  • Quilting squares
  • Ping pong competition
  • Craft project together
  • LEGO night: challenge everyone to make a version of the same thing (bridge, moonscape)
just for fun party themes jenga

Just for fun

  • Glow in the Dark night
  • Daily holiday or national day of that day
  • Camp in the backyard or rec room – tents required
  • Board games
  • Spa Day with pedicures & manicures
  • Magic Day
  • Reality TV group: pick your favorite reality TV show and watch it together with awesome snacks
  • TV Show Reviewer: choose your favorite TV show and binge watch with themed food.
  • Outdoor movie night.
  • Color run of your own.
  • Flamingo pool party
  • Alphabet game: in a mall or a flea market divide guests into groups. Give each group the same amount of money and a set amount of time to buy one thing for each letter of the alphabet.
  • Unicorn & rainbows
  • Party games party
  • Bonfire & S’mores
  • Ice Skating
  • Comedy Improv
  • Backwards Day
  • Trivia Night: the secret is to make the questions from all different areas so teams/players have a chance to get some right or it’s not fun.
  • Cooking class & then dine together
  • Minute to Win It challenges
  • Escape room: the room goes with a certain theme (Egyptian, nautical, space)
  • Jurassic Park: party room in a jungle with dinosaurs
  • Fort Night: make epic forts throughout the building – need lots of tarps, blankets, pillows, etc.
  • Llamas
  • Nerf gun battle
  • Emojis
  • Teddy Bear Picnic
  • Trampoline Party
  • Truth or Dare
  • Funeral for Your Childhood/Youth: Photos from the past, coffins, graveyard,

Need help choosing? See our article on how to decide on a party theme.

How to Decide on a Party Theme

Simple questions that will help you decide on the best party theme for you, your guest of honor and guests. The best party theme reflects the reason for the party, their preferred style and your party goal.

Step-by-step guide to party planning.

Party Planning 101 for best party ever

Make Your Party Memorable with These Party Planning Ideas for Adults. Here’s how to plan a party that runs smoothly, thrills your guests and amazes even you as host! This step-by-step party guide goes beyond the what-to-do-when reminder & helps you add wow to create a party they’ll never forget. (And one you can afford without regret when the credit card statement comes.)

See our other party planning ideas.

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