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New family theme party ideas

10 Feb

I see chocolate, butterscotch, and strawberry syrup.

Most of you know that my family has a 12-year long tradition of having two or three theme parties a year. At the end of each one, we draw the next theme out of a box. We usually have about 30 theme ideas in the box.

We recently added four new themes. We had trouble naming them (even though we’re usually so punny), so if you can think of better names, please let me know in a comment.

Here are our new theme ideas:

  • Chef Showcase: Each person bakes a dish from their favorite chef. Bonus points for costumes or impressions.
  • The Art of Food: Everyone brings food that looks like a famous piece of art. I wish I could do something awesome like reproduce Michelangelo’s David in cheese, but I’ll probably end up taking the easy way out and doing a Jackson Pollock piece with chocolate syrup.
  • Game On: Bring a board game and a dish that goes with it, like Apples to Apples and an apple pie. (Remember when my friend Maddie had some great ideas along those lines?)
  • Vaudeville: This was my mom’s suggestion and at first most of us were a little resistant, but now I think we’re all pretty psyched about learning to be ventriloquists. I might play the spoons!

You can tell we’re going for high-concept themes, rather than cultural or geography-based themes. This is because our favorite parties have been those that lent themselves to an interesting activity, like our Murder Mystery or our tableaux vivants from our Moulin Rouge party.

The possibilities are endless!


Theme Party Inspiration: Hawaiian Luau

25 Jan

The Hawaiian Luau theme party has a special place in my heart, because it is the party that started my family’s theme party tradition twelve years ago. I’m also a little bit obsessed with Hawaii, but who isn’t?

I started a Pinterest board for Hawaiian Luau inspiration. It includes ideas for drinks:


The setting:

And even how to do your nails:

Check out the rest of the images on Pinterest. I hope you get inspired.

Second Annual Top 10 Theme Party Ideas Inspired by the News

21 Dec

They're back! And 100% theme party-worthy.

I know you’ve probably been anxiously waiting for it, so here it is. The Second Annual Top Ten Theme Party Ideas Inspired by This Year’s Top News Stories and Trends.

  1. Muppet Madness. This year the Muppets were back, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Celebrate Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and the whole gang with songs, self-referential jokes, and open mouthed laughter.
  2. Complete and Total Trainwreck Party. This is in honor of the amazing gaffes and incredibly awkward moments during the lead up to the Republican primaries. Tell your guests to bring their best Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann impression. Serve pizza.
  3. Space Shuttle Shindig. This year marked the end of the space shuttle program, and while I believe bigger things are coming, I think it’s important to recognize the contributions made during the 30 year program. Build your own model rocket and drink some Tang.
  4. An Oprah Farewell. This lady was on television for a really long time! She interviewed a ton of celebrities and gave away a lot of stuff. To celebrate her legacy, how about taking some terrible medical advice. (Alternate party idea: A Reception for Regis.)
  5. Occupy This Party. Make signs. Bring tents.
  6. Beyonce Baby Bash. Personally I don’t believe the rumors that she’s faking her pregnancy (and, hey now, let’s not stigmatize surrogacy, k?), so let’s break out our best Single Ladies dance routines and celebrate our greatest living performer.
  7. Dining with the Dictionary. This year over 150 words were added to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. Instruct guests to come dressed as their favorite one. I can imagine awesome costumes for “bromance,” “crowdsourcing,” and “tweet.”
  8. Exoplanet Expo. NASA’s Kepler mission has now confirmed the existence of 33 previously undiscovered-by-us planets, two of which are Earth-like in size. It’s really pretty wonderful that we have the technology to explore in this way. Celebrate the possibility of life on other planets by watching E.T. or episodes of ALF.
  9. A Winning Wingding (wingding isn’t just a font, it’s also a synonym for party. Look it up.) Remember when Charlie Sheen went nuts? That was funny. Drink some tiger blood (Diddy tweeted a recipe) and say things that are crazypants.
  10. Arab Spring Fling. OK, I can’t do it. I can’t trivialize what’s happened in the Arab world this year. It’s just amazing.

Can you add anything to the list?

Theme Party Inspiration: Rainbow Party

13 Dec

You may have noticed I haven’t had too many theme parties to write about lately. My family made a conscious decision to cut back on our theme party tradition this year. There was a while there where we were having several a year, many on very short notice, and they were starting to feel a little rushed and even burdensome. We’ve decided to pursue quality over quantity, and make sure we put the necessary time and care into each one to make it memorable.

Since I’m not sure when our next one will be, I’ve decided to capture all of my theme party ideas by using Pinterest, which is a great online tool for sharing images. I’ll put together collections of photos that can serve as inspiration for a particular theme. In a way, this is going back to Everybody’s Invited‘s roots, since this blog has a rich theme party history. 🙂

My first theme party inspiration board on Pinterest is for a Rainbow Party. You can see the full board here, but here’s a sneak peek:

Photo courtesy of This Nest is Best

From Elizabeth Bonifield's Fun Food Pinterest Board

From Twig & Thistle

Don’t worry, not all of the images on the Rainbow Party board are of food.

This board is actually multi-purpose. It could serve as an inspiration board for not only a Rainbow theme party, but also a Rubik’s Cube Party, a children’s birthday party, or a Pride party.

Games People Play: Games Roundup

25 Mar

Games People Play is a series where I attempt to make the world a better place by encouraging more game playing.

I’ve got games on my mind this week. Here are some game-y things to do:
  1. If you are in New York City, participate in the Come Out & Play Festival in June and July. And it’s not too late to submit your idea for the Real-world Games For Change Challenge. (If you are reading this after April 15th, it is too late. Sorry to have misled you.)
  2. If you are anywhere, check out SCVNGR, a location-based mobile app that lets you check in at various places and complete challenges (examples include: tin-foil origami, riddles, physical challenges, etc.) It’s the game that travels with you!
  3. Host your own Minute to Win It party. For those of you who haven’t been able to watch a game show since Bob Barker left The Price is Right, let me explain that Minute to Win It is a game show where contestants complete short, physical challenges to win lots of money.  Party planner Abbie Jones, who recently hosted her own Minute to Win It-themed birthday party, says that the How To portion of the show’s website has all the information you need to host your own party. It lays out the rules and materials you’ll need for each game. Abbie says not to worry about not having a million dollar prize to motivate people. “It turns out that people will play for pride and for the birthday girl.”
  4. Another possible party theme: Old Timey Parlour Games. Check out Wikipedia’s list of Parlour Games. They’re mostly word games like Elephant’s Foot Umbrella Stand and The Minister’s Cat, but there are a few strangely physical ones like  Squeak Piggy Squeak (basically what it sounds like + one player sits in another player’s lap) and Snap Dragon (taking raisins out of brandy that you’ve lit on fire without burning yourself and while looking demonic).

Happy Valentine’s Day

13 Feb

My family had a Valentine’s Day party last weekend, since I was home for a couple of days.


An explosion of pink. Notice the Valentine mailboxes on the mantle. We exchanged homemade cards. (Just like Elementary School!)
Yummy Ratatouille au Gratin.
We have lots of pictures of my dad carving birds. See also: Dickens Christmas.
Dessert X2
A little dressed up.

This was our thirtieth theme party. To commemorate the occasion, I had this poster designed by a talented woman I found on etsy. Everyone in my family got a 18″ X 24″ color poster. A good conversation piece, don’t you think?

Top 10 Theme Party Ideas Inspired by the News

14 Dec

Everybody loves a top ten list! Especially me. I thought I’d have a go at my own version of the year-end tradition. Here we go:

Top Ten Theme Party Ideas Inspired by This Year’s Top News Stories and Trends

Are we supposed to ignore the obvious photoshopping?

  1. World Cup Recap:  Break out the vuvuzela, serve up South African and Spanish food, and bring your psychic octopus.
  2. An Eyjafjallajokull Affair: Enjoy Icelandic food (yogurt, lamb, fish, blueberries), and don’t travel anywhere.
  3. The Social Network Social: Invite real life friends, your second cousin, people you kind of knew in middle school, and that guy you met at a party once. Provide erasable markers so people can write on your wall. Like!
  4. The Wikileaks Feast: Everyone shares a secret.
  5. Chilean Miner Fiesta: A perfect theme for those with small apartments. Enjoy Chilean ceviche and empanadas in close quarters. Don’t forget to bring your mistress!
  6. The Double Rainbow Gala: Rainbow food, rainbow decor, and loads of enthusiasm.
  7. The Tea Party Tea Party: Drink tea. Don’t make any sense.
  8. An “I’m With Coco” Shindig: Start promptly at 11:35. Invite your funny red headed friends and tell your big-chinned un-funny frenemies to stay home.
  9. A Wake for the Triceratops: Mourn the loss of your favorite dinosaur by having a theme party at your nearest Natural History Museum.
  10. A Royal Ball: Go full on fancy to celebrate William and Kate’s engagement. Play polo.

Any other ideas?