Whether you’re throwing a birthday party, baby shower, wedding shower, or a party “just because,” one thing I’ve discovered that never fails is the “theme.” If your party has a theme, it will practically plan itself from people’s outfits to what kind of foods and beverages you serve. If you’re feeling uninspired for an upcoming celebration, I’ve got your back. Now is the time for you to pull out all the stops. Your guests won’t know what hit them.
When planning a themed party, think about the guest of honor. Do they have a favorite food, or are they planning a trip to an international destination? Do they have a favorite movie you can work with? Do some research on your guest, choose a theme, then list all of the possibilities that you can think of for décor, food, beverages, dessert, and entertainment.
A good theme can take your party from average to wildly fun and creative. However, one of the most challenging parts of planning a party is coming up with the perfect theme. So today, I’m sharing four of my favorite party themes! I’ve also included ideas for décor, costumes, and refreshments that you can build on.
1. Superhero Party
Costumes: Everyone can be a hero at your party! This theme isn’t just for little kids. This is a fun way to get your guests engaged in the fun. You can give your guests suggestions as to which superheroes they should come dressed as, or they can be their own, made-up superhero with their own special powers. Some guests may decide to come as villains, and that can make things a little extra fun.
It’s easy to dress up as a Super Hero or a villain, so this can be a great theme. The costume can be as simple as a cape or an eye mask, or your guests can go all out.
Food and drink: You can work with a caterer, or you can make the food yourself. But either way, think of fun food that that you can name something fitting. Here are a few ideas:
- “Super Girl Grillers” (hamburgers)
- “Mind-melting Melon” (watermelon)
- “Kryptonite Drops (spinach balls)
- “Bang-Pow Popcorn”
- “Robin’s Deviled Eggs”
- “Thor’s Hammer” (chunks of cheese with a pretzel or thin breadstick pushed into one end.)
The drinks can be just as fun. Non-alcoholic punch can be your Super Hero Power Drink, and your favorite mixed cocktails can be called The Hulk (apple schnapps or crème de menthe will add that green color), or The Antman (a shot of liquor).
Pick your favorite superhero and get creative!
Décor: Decorating the place can be simple or as complex as you have time and money to spend. You can either pull a little something from all of the superheroes you like or keep it more uncomplicated and focus on one or two theme ideas. You can do all sorts of creative things to show off your inner superhero by using streamers, balloons, webbing for spider webs, and colored tissue paper.
2. Western-Themed Party
Costumes: This can be a great theme not only because of its simplicity but because almost everyone has a plaid shirt in their closet somewhere (or can easily borrow one), a bandana (especially these days!), and a pair of boots.
They don’t even have to be cowboy boots to round out your costume. A cowboy hat is a bonus but not necessary to give your guests a chance to participate in your theme.
Food and drink: BBQ is often the simplest way to make theme-fitting food to make at this type of party. Ribs, burgers, and hot dogs are all good fare for the cowboy theme. Consider serving Bronco Bill Burgers, Hopalong Cassidy Hot Dogs, or Wild Bill Ribs.
Side dishes can look like Pistol Pete Potato Salad, Dynamite Dan Spicy Veggies, or Tall Texan Rolls. Have fun with the drink names! Try the Black Bart (Kahlua and cream), Billy the Kids Punch (punch for the under 21 crowd), or a Bubbly Wild Bill (this can be a beer of any kind).
Décor: Few party themes can be complete with a bale of hay or two and a few bandanas. If that’s all you feel like putting into your décor, it will do!
But there are many simple things you can do to make this party look amazing. A gingham table cloth, bandanas, wooden crates, cowboy hats, and cut flowers are great ways to decorate simply. You can also add little touches like putting a vase of flowers in a cowboy boot as a table setting.
3. Disney-Themed Party
Costumes: You can choose a specific Disney movie that you would like to theme your party after or open it up and let your guests choose their favorite character to portray. There have been so many Disney movies that it can make for a very interesting mix of characters if you let your guests use their imagination. But keeping it to one movie works well too!
Food and drink: With this particular theme, you can choose to serve any food you like and come up with a fun name to fit your theme. If you serve a mix of peanuts, pretzels, and other snack type foods, you can call them Tinker Bell Treats or Tarzan Treats.
For the main courses, you can go with Peter Pan Seared Salmon bites, The J. Wellington Wimpy Burger, or Pluto Dog for hotdogs and burgers. For drinks, you can do a Snow White Russian, Jasmine Tea, a Slambi Bambi (for the adult beverage of your choice), or Rapunzel Red and Wilbur White for your wine choices.
Décor: This will depend on which theme direction you want to go, but if you are choosing one movie in particular, go all the way! Watch the movie (again!) if you need to for creative ideas.
If you choose Little Mermaid, you can choose one area in your home or patio to decorate more than other areas instead of decorating all over the place. Try taping blue tissue paper to the windows to feel like your guests are underwater. Cut out starfish-shaped paper and attach it to the paper or window and draw air bubbles on the paper. Get creative!
* For Disney-Themed Parties for kids: Did you know that if your child sends their favorite Disney character a letter, they will receive an autographed 8 x 10″ photo?
Attn: “Your Favorite Disney Character’s Name”
Walt Disney Communications
P.O. Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040
And for a Disney-Themed wedding: When you send a wedding invitation to Mickey and Minnie Mouse, they will send you back an autographed photo and a “just married” button.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
4. Decade-Themed Party
Costumes: No matter your age, this themed party idea is a great one as there are tons of great ideas when using one of these themes. Here are a few to consider: The Roaring ’20’s, Wild ’50, A Groovy 60’s party, Disco 70’s party, or an Awesome 80’s party. Any decade will work, so pick the one you remember fondly or the decade you wish you had been alive during, and away you go!
Depending on the decade you choose, some people may have clothes from that era and can simply pull from their closets. Also, thrift stores are an excellent source for costuming for a decade party as well.
Food and drink: If you do an internet search for the decade you’ve chosen and look up the popular food, that can help you decide what foods to have for your guests. If you want to add a little fun to the party, you can even rename them to suit your theme, but it’s not necessary.
For a 50’s party, you could serve your favorite casserole, cheese balls, deviled eggs, meatloaf, and ambrosia. And serving cheese fondu, Swedish meatballs, party mix, and pineapple upside-down cake for a 60s party would be fitting. For your gnarly 80’s party, you could serve Sloppy Joes, spinach dip in bread bowls, tri-colored pasta salad, and quiche.
Décor: Doing a little research ahead of time will reveal many simple ideas you can do for décor to make your party. For the ’50s theme, think black, pink and white checkered table cloths and napkins, poodle skirts, high ponytails, ice cream sundaes, and old cars and sodas with straws.
Record players and records, especially 45’s, are a great way to decorate for the ’50s. For the 60’s think peace signs and psychedelic colors, VW Vans and anything tie-died. The 70’s themed party décor can be simple too. If you have a disco ball, that can be all you really need! If you don’t, consider bright colors, lots of daisies, multi-colored balloons, and lava lamps. The 80’s is a popular theme for parties, so for this decade, you can decorate with Rubic’s cubes, game boys, fanny packs, boom boxes, troll dolls, and anything video game-related. Things like cassette tapes, cans of Tab and Aquanet are also fun to have on hand.
Now it’s your turn to share…
Did you use one of these themed party ideas? Please let me know how it went by leaving a comment below!