Category Archives: Parties

Throw an ‘80s Theme Party (How to Do It in 6 Simple Steps)

80s theme party - Robert Palmer girlsAdd an ‘80s theme party to your entertaining – and you’ll be guaranteed an epic night for an epic decade.

Big permed hair, neon leg warmers, Cyndi Lauper…

Rubik’s Cubes, Top Gun, the original Transformers toys…

The A-Team, Knight Rider, Miami Vice, breakdancing…

…are some of the many things associated with the 80s.

In particular, the music and over-the-top fashion.

It’s apt that the 1980s are back, in modern times – with sneakers, mullets and skinny jeans in vogue.

Give old friends and new the chance to time travel back to the ’80s with this theme party idea. In 6 simple steps.

Step 1, decide on your ’80s theme party invites

Let everyone know you’re all leaving behind the 2010s, by setting the scene with the following cards:

• You in the 1980s — Scan a photo of you or your friends, to be the backdrop of ’80s theme party invite. Print and glue onto white card.

• Spirit of the Times — What was your ’80s like? Write down 5-10 things you loved about the decade – then create a collage using images from the web. Ask your local print shop to make the collage into an invite.

Let everyone know they must come in fancy dress.

Also ask people to bring a photo of themselves from the ’80s. This will be used in a Guess the Photo game later on.

Step 2, let everyone know it’s a fancy dress night

Dressing up 1980s style for this ’80s theme party is A LOT OF FUN – and a must. You can’t throw an 80s party without this.

Think leg warmers in neon colors, fingerless gloves (a la Michael Jackson), jumpsuits, stonewashed denim, mini skirts, mullets…

Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran, and Grace Jones were all the fashion icons at the time. As were many TV shows and movies.

Take inspiration from ’80s music videos. Robert Palmer’s famous video ‘Addicted to Love’ is the reason why the girls on the top are dressed that way.

To help your guests find what they need, don’t forget to enclose a list of thrift shops and costume hire in your invitations.

Step 3, decide on your ’80s theme party decorations

Everyone’s got their own take of the ’80s, so you may choose to decorate according your own experience. Alternatively, you may want to evoke a general feel of the decade, with these decoration ideas.

  • Dress your tabletops and walls in neon colors
  • Play music from the ’80s
  • Cover your walls in posters in ’80s icons. Think Bananarama, Prince, Beverly Hills Cop
  • Create an ’80s memorabilia table. Ask friends to bring their favorite 80s thing, be it photos, toys, fashion accessories. Be protective of what’s on display, especially if an item is rare (like, say, an original Care Bear)
  • Scatter Rubik’s cubes. These make great conversation starters.
Step 4, decide on your ’80s theme party activities

Get ’80s Dancing — Make your ’80s dancefloor the centerpiece of your party. If you’ve got the budget, bring a DJ, otherwise you can create your own playlists.

Keep everyone on their feet and cheering to familiar songs, by including tracks such as these:

  • Every Breathe You Take – The Police
  • Walk This Way – Run DMC
  • Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper
  • Don’t You Want Me – Human League
  • The Look – Roxette

Do You Know Your ’80s Songs? — Find out with this ’80s music trivia quiz.

Set Up an ’80s Games Table — From Battleship to electronic Simon Says, Connect 4 to ’80s Trivial Pursuit.

What Was the 1980s to You — Encourage guests to share their ’80s nostalgia by creating a series of question cards.

Buy a pack of index cards and on each card write two questions. Here are a few examples:

  • What was your favorite ’80s song?
  • What kind of hair did you have?
  • Who did you most admire in the ’80s?
  • Share one favorite memory about the ’80s.

You can play this activity in a group.

These cards are also an excellent icebreaker. Leave a few scattered about the room for people to pick up and starting yapping about.

’80s Fancy Dress Contest – Who looks the most ’80s? Who’s wearing the best mullet? Have everyone vote each other, with the best dressed getting a prize.

Guess Whose Photo – Remember you asked everyone to bring a photo of their ’80s self? Make sure everyone hands theirs in to you as they arrive.

  • Then, hang these together on the wall, numbering each one, but leaving off who the number belongs to.
  • Leave it to your guests to try and work them out. The person with the most correct answers wins.
Step 5, decide on your ’80s theme party food

Serve up regular finger food, but why not name them after ’80s song titles, just for fun? For example:

  • Eternal Flame[d] Chicken (the Bangles)
  • Poppadum Preach (Madonna)
  • When Smokey [Bacon] Sings (ABC)
  • I Get Weak [for Potato Salad] (Belinda Carlisle)
  • [This Chilli’s] Hot in the City (Billy Idol)
  • [Milk]shake Your Love (Debbie Gibson)
  • [Chocolate] Pleasure Principle (Janet Jackson)

For drinks menu, you could serve – pink champagne, lemonade, shandy, beer and a neon-colored fruit punch.

Step 6, decide on your ’80s theme party favors

Send everyone back to present day, with a few reminders of the neon decade they’re leaving –

  • Rubik’s Cube key rings
  • CD compilation of 80s music
  • Neon-colored bangles
  • Cheap ray bands
  • Give everyone a DVD of an ’80s movie (buy from discount stores in advance).

Image: davidpbrown

How to Plan an Italian Party Theme 
(“Benvenuti alla mia festa”*)

Italian party theme - a table of food(* Welcome to my party)

Choose an Italian party theme – and you’re choosing a night of great food, high energy and noise.

Italians love life, to talk, joke and laugh, usually over a big meal and wine (like in the photo here). They’re also very welcoming, as my own travels in Italy can attest, with many a party with complete strangers.

By throwing this Italian theme party, you’re offering your friends the chance to taste a bit of Italy.

Italian party theme invites

You can opt for an Italian flag invitation – but why not try these creative ideas:

The Face of Italy

You’ll need several blank postcards, glue, scissors. Make a list of famous Italians, e.g. Gianni Versace, Sophia Loren, Da Vinci. Find their faces on the web, print, cut out and glue to the card.

  • If you’re inviting 20 people and have the time, you could create 20 individual cards.
  • To save time, create only 4, in this case, and have your local print shop do copies.

Italian Icons

Create your own holiday postcard, as a collage of images from the web. Icons can include buildings (the Leaning Tower of Pisa) to people (Luciano Pavarotti). On the backs of your invites, use Italian in your invitation wording, like:

“Ciao a Tutti” — Hello everyone
“Benvenuti alla mia festa” — Welcome to my party
“Cosa ti piace fare festa?” — Do you love to party?

Alternatively, just send your invites in Italian wording, with your party details (in English) on the back.

Italian party theme decorations
  • Hang up a map of Italy. Pepper your walls with interesting country facts, like the ones listed here.
  • Pin the Italian flag to your ceiling.
  • Go overboard on the color scheme, with balloons, table ornaments and streamers in green, white and orange.

Also hang up banners filled with famous Italian sayings. Examples I love include:

“Amore è cieco” — Love is blind
“Parla bene, ma parla poco” — Speak well, but speak little
“Belle parole non pascon i gatti” — Fine words don’t feed cats

Place bowls of olives on the main table, for finger food and table color. Complete with a vase of cut flowers. Add classical music and opera in the background.

  • If you’re partying outside, reproduce everything above, with dining around a long wooden table.
  • Drape twinkling lights in the bushes, for when the dusk sets in.
Italian party theme heart and soul

The food!

Seriously, there’s so much to choose from. And with regional variations, the food on its own can provide endless Italian party themes.

To help you, check out this Italian recipe site.

Whatever you decide to go with, the food is traditionally served in the following order:

  • Antipasti (aka appetizers), plus Italian cheeses and cold cuts;
  • Primi piatti (first main), either soup, pasta or pasta dish like lasagna;
  • Secondi piatti (second main), usually a meat dish;
  • Then dessert, like fruit, pastries, tiramisu.

Keep bread, wine and water available and flowing throughout your meal.
Alternatively, if a sitdown meal ain’t your thing, buffet it. Organize your dishes so they follow the above order. Label each one, so people have an idea of what they’re enjoying.

Oh yeah – wine!

As endless in choice as the food.

Check out Winefolly for a comprehensive list of Italian wine, as well as how to go about choosing.

Italian party activities

Pepper your Italian theme party with a few games, to help everyone bond as well as digest from all the food.

Drop in a few icebreaker questions first, to warm people up.

Italian Charades

Before playing, come up with a list of famous Italians, from alive to dead, entertainment to politics. Cut the list into strips and jumble in a jar. Each player mimes the famous person for everyone to guess. They can also use “rhymes with” and “sounds like”.

Know Your Italians?

This time, make picture cards of famous Italians, downloading their mugshots from the web. Look for photos that are not too recent.
Hang up your mugshots, each one with a number next to it. Guests write down their guesses during the party. The person with the most correct wins.

Learn the Language of Love… in Italian

Learn how to connect to Italian culture with a simple language lesson. Start out with the basics/greetings, then move onto a few Italian love phrases. Always fun to try and who knows where they’ll lead. Try these:

“Facciamo l’amore” — let’s make love
“Ti penso sempre” — I’m always thinking about you
“Sono dipendente dei tuoi baci” — I’m addicted to your kisses

Dance the Tarantella

Shake off the food and get everyone moving, by teaching them this folk dance:

Italian party favors

End your Italian theme party, with a few foodie favors, like:

  • Small bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • A jar of colorful pasta
  • A bottle of Italian wine
  • A slice of Torta Claudia each (an Italian layer cake).

Godersi la festa!*
(* enjoy the party)

Image: kimberlykv

Victorian Tea Party Ideas (Throw a Party in 5 Simple Steps)

Victorian tea party - 2 women in tradtional garbAdd these Victorian tea party ideas to your entertaining – and you’ll be surprising your guests with this unusual theme.

Unlike other themes, a Victorian party brings friends together over hot drinks, biscuits and cakes (instead of alcohol).

  • You can hold it in the day, too, as well as in place of a regular coffee or tea morning
  • And, you give everyone the chance to dress up Victorian style

Start planning your Victorian tea party today, with these 5 simple steps.

Step 1, decide invites for your Victorian tea party ideas

Set the scene with these ideas:

Tea Bag Invites — Write your party details on a piece of white card. Then punch a hole in the top left hand corner and tie a tea bag to it – Earl Grey or Lady Grey. Mail in a padded bag.

Cup of Tea Invites — Download a photo of a cup of milky tea. Then add the words “Fancy a Victorian cuppa?”, with party details on the flip side.

  • Victorian names are fun! Give everyone a name, based on the initial of their first name
  • So if there’s a Claire, she’s now a Constance. A Luke? He’s now a Lucian
  • Make sure you add the new name to that person’s invitation.

Victorian Tea Party Details — As well their Victorian name, add party time, date, venue and contact info to your invites. Got guests with dietary needs? Ask them to ring you.

Step 2, decide on Victorian fancy dress

This might be a daytime party, but that’s no excuse to have a bit of fun with dressing up, Victorian style.

  • For the ladies – think bonnets, ankle-length skirts and corsets
  • For the gents – Think neckties, waistcoats and top hats
  • Moustaches, side burns and beards were also in vogue for guys back then.
Step 3, plan food and decor for your Victorian tea party ideas

Create a relaxed atmosphere in your party room, by moving the tables and chairs around. To encourage mingling, arrange your seats in a circle, with serving tables to one side.

  • A Bit of Sparkle — Hang up fairy lights to give your room a sparkle, like sugar cubes
  • Serving Tables — Set up two tables, both in a white tablecloth. Use doilies as place mats
  • The tea table – Arrange a teapot, sugar, lemon, milk and a pitcher of hot water. Also include cups, saucers and teaspoons, napkins, and your box of teas
  • The food table – Stock this with scones (with jam and cream), muffins and cucumber sandwiches

Ask a friend or two to man the tables, if partying with 10+ people. That way, you can host, while your friends can sort out drinks and replenish the food

A Spot of Victorian Reading — Second-hand bookshops and flea markets are your best bet for finding Victorian novels.

Place them in a reading area or just on display. Try:

  • Our Mutual Friends – Charles Dickens
  • Vanity Fair – William Thackeray
  • Silas Marner – George Eliot
  • The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

The Sounds of Victoriana — Play a selection of soundtracks from movies set in the Victorian times – for example, Oliver! The Musical and Mrs Brown.

Step 4, games for your Victorian tea party ideas

No Victorian tea party is complete without Victorian parlor games. I LOVE these games, as none need props.

Although the Victorians invented them for Christmas, you can play them any time of the year.

  • Throw a Smile — Select one player to be “it”. They’re also the only person allowed to smile. Everyone else? Keep a straight face. The “smiler” now tries to do everything they can to get someone else to smile. As soon as someone does, they become the “it”. The player who holds their straight face the longest wins.
  • Lookabout — Show everyone a small object quickly, then ask them to leave the room. While gone, hide the object. Now everyone must try and find it. When they do, they must immediately go to the center of the room, sit down and say nothing. The last person to spot the object loses.
  • The Sculptor — Nominate a person to be your sculptor, while everyone else stands still. The sculptor now moves between players, putting them into difficult poses. Players must maintain their pose without laughing, moving or breaking it. Anyone who does is knocked out. Last person standing wins.

Need more Victorian games? Check out these parlor games for Christmas.

Step 5, plan your Victorian tea party activities

Watch the Victorian times in Action — From Hell, Around the World in 80 Days and Great Expectations are all movies set in Victorian London. Play these in the background or watch together after your parlor games.

Learn to Speak Victorian — I love introducing friends to period slang. Teach yours to speak the Victorian way with a trivia quiz. Here’s a taster:

A. What are lamps?

  1. Breasts
  2. Ear rings
  3. Eyes
  4. Bruises

B. I’m buzzing, which means I’m doing what?

  1. Lying
  2. Stealing
  3. Begging
  4. Spying

C. A crusher is a what?

  1. Prostitute
  2. Robber
  3. Pimp
  4. Policeman

Answers: A. 3. Eyes / B. 2. Stealing / C. 4. Policeman

Image: Visit Cape May

All the Movie Theme Party Ideas You’ll Ever Need

Movie theme party ideas - crowd watching a filmAdd these movie theme party ideas to your entertaining – and you’ve got a homemade movie theater idea on your hands.

With Netflix, Lovefilm, instant movie releases a few short months after showing in theaters, having movies at our fingertips is a joy.

And watching them with your mates is even better!

With these movie theme party ideas, we’ll help you transform a night in front of the box into your very own fancy movie theater event. In only 7 simple steps.

Let’s get started.

Step 1 – movie theme party ideas for your attendee list

Decide on how many people. The more people you invite, the more seating and larger viewing room you will need.

How many people also affects other factors – food, snacks, how many movies to show.

And how you choose the movies. Will you already decide what to show in advance? Or will it be a group vote? More than 10 people can make group voting harder, so watch out.

Step 2 – movie theme party ideas for your theme

Movie theme relates to the genre of movie you’re showing. You can use these as a cue for how you decorate.
Take a glance at these examples:

  • Movie theme party based on cities, e.g. London (Sliding Doors), Paris (Amelie)
  • Old black & whites, e.g. Buster Keaton
  • An animated movies night – and from different countries, too
  • Movies about overcoming the odds, e.g. Patch Adams, Field of Dreams
  • Romance movies
  • A kung-fu night
  • All the Star Trek movies. A Star Trek versus Star Wars night?
  • Movies by a specific director or actor
  • Movies based on books, plays or comics

How many movies you watch will depend on how many hours your party will run for. So choose wisely.

If you’ve got favorites you’re dying for everyone to see, make these the first 2-3 movies you watch (in case you run out of time).

Step 3 – movie theme party ideas for invitations

Once you’ve decided your movies and guest list, start inviting your friends. A way to invite people is by creating your own movie ticket.

Admit One Invitations — Do a web search for an ‘Admit One’ image. Once found, print and glue to white card, writing your party details on the flipside.

  • Then ask your local color copier shop to create copies of this double-sized invite. Ask guests to bring their invites on the night, to be “let in”.
Step 4 – movie theme party ideas for decorations

Decorating your movie party has endless potential.

You can create a movie theater and ask guests treat it as a night out at a real one.

(Or you can theme it, based on your movie theme – e.g. a Harry Potter night).

Treat your guests to a movie theater vibe, complete with box office and candy counter.

Comfortable watching — With your TV the star of the night, make sure people can see it, by arranging your seats in a horseshoe.

  • Unless your TV screen is gigantic, you may need to project your movie on a larger screen. Hanging up a white tablecloth is the cheap way to do this; using a plain white wall is another option.

Box office — Make this a separate room (like in the kitchen), where guests “purchase” their movie tickets, by exchanging their original ‘Admit One’ invite.

  • Hang a banner that says ‘box office’, made from construction paper and marker pen.

Cardboard usher — Hire a lifesized cardboard cutout of an usher to greet guests as they arrive. Add one or two cutouts of movie stars behind curtains or outside your toilet, for fun.

Create a candy counter — Set up a table for drinks, candy jars and savory snacks. Use small brown paper bags for guests to carry their snacks. Include a napkin in each bag.

Keep your movie room dark — Turn off all the room lights – but leave a string of fairy lights around the room exit.

Hang up posters of your favorite movies or stars along your walls.

Step 5 – movie theme party ideas for games

During intervals between movies, give everyone the opportunity to stretch their legs (and refill their drinks and food) with a few games.

Who Am I — Write out the names of movie stars and tape one onto the back of each guest. Guests now wander around the room, working out who they are by asking only Yes/no questions, like “Am I alive? Am I a singer?”

Movie Trivia Quiz — Make a quiz related to the type of movie you’ve chosen. If your movie was ‘Back to the Future’, the trivia could be: time travel movies, Michael J Fox movies or films from the 1980s.

Step 6 – movie theme party ideas for food

Here are a few food suggestions for a movie theme party:

  • Hotdogs, hamburgers, chips
  • Chicken wings, meatballs, quiche
  • Celery and carrot sticks also good for dips
  • Potato and vegetable salads
  • Microwaved popcorn, both sweet and salted
  • Homemade pizzas

For drinks, think soda and Slush Puppies. Serve these in clean plastic drinking bottles (with lids), to stop anything from spilling in the dark.

Step 7 – movie theme party ideas for favors
  • A gift voucher to purchase a DVD or discount to see a movie
  • Fresh popcorn (mix up salt with cheese with sweet, or in separate boxes)
  • A drawstring bag of candy and jelly beans
  • A CD compilation of movie theme songs – like the ‘Jaws’ opening music or “My Heart Will Go On” from the 1997 movie ‘Titanic’.
  • 3-D glasses

Image: Canadian Film Centre

Throw a Circus Theme Party
 (and How to Do It in 5 Easy Steps)

Add a circus theme party to your entertaining – and you’ll be giving everyone the chance to show off and be silly.

It’s not everyday we get to run away to the circus. Only this time, we only have to run as far as our front doors.

Use these 5 easy steps to give your friends an energetic time. On with the show.

Step 1, plan your circus theme party invites

Get the show on the road with these suggestions:

Clown’s Nose — Send in the clowns, by first buying a bag of red noses for your local toy or gift shop. Make sure each one has its own elastic

  • Write your party details on a piece of attractive card, piercing each one with a hole. Tie each card to their own nose and mail
  • Make sure everyone knows to bring their noses on the day.

Circus Collage — As this is a circus theme party, clowns don’t have to be the only attraction. Get everyone inspired with an invite made up of circus images

  • Think elephants, ringmasters, fire eaters, jugglers and more. Glue your pictures to white card, with party details on the back.

Make sure everyone knows this is a fancy dress party.

Step 2, plan your circus theme party decorations

Everyone loves the circus, but decorating doesn’t have to break the bank.

You can create your own Big Top, with a little imagination and patience.

  • Arrange your chairs in a circle, so guests can mingle in the middle
  • Make sure your food and activities areas are separate. Add a candy floss making machine to the food section
  • Scatter your party space with toy elephants, red noses and jars of candy. Got your own dumbbells? Add these too, for guests to try and lift
  • For the Big Top tent, hire one, if you’re partying outdoors
  • If partying inside, you can create your own Big Top tent using long sheets of fabric (like bedsheets)
  • Choose red and white colors and tie one end of both to a central ceiling light. Then take the other end and pin to the wall.
Step 3, plan your circus theme party activities

Who hasn’t dreamt about joining the circus at some point in their lives? The circus fancy dress, the traveling life, the feats of incredible skill!

Taste a bit of that life with these ideas.

Feats of Strength

This is your version of a talent contest, with guests performing their feats of skill.

Play for fun or get people to vote out of 10 what they like.

Arrange your chairs in a circle, with a performance area in the center.

If you know you’re going to have this activity, arrange things in advance with guests. They might need to bring guitars or props.

Some ideas I’ve seen include:

  • Singing love songs on a ukelele
  • Balancing a spoon on your nose
  • Turning balloons into animals
  • Card tricks

Use your dumbbells here, for feats of muscle brawn!

A Circus Fancy Dress Contest

  • Who’s the best looking? Who’s wearing the brightest outfit? Marks out of 10, everyone!

Circus Dancing

Create your own playlists, picking tunes with the word “circus” or suggest it in their names. Try these:

  • Acrobat – U2
  • Send in the Clowns – Frank Sinatra
  • Circus – Lenny Kravitz
  • Enter Circus – Christina Aguilera
  • Psycho Circus – KISS
  • Oompa Radar – Goldfrapp

Hire a Juggler

Teach your guests how to keep their balls in the air, with the help of a juggling friend or professional.

Animal Face Painting

Set up a face painting booth, lined with waterproof tablecloth and face paints.

  • Leave it up to guests to paint each other, or choose a person to be the Painter
  • Also leave a picture book of animals for inspiration

Hula Hoop Relay

Split everyone into two even lines, facing each other.

  • Each player needs to complete three proper spins around their waist. They must keep going, if they’re successful or drop the hoop.
  • Once done, the hoop is passed to the next player. Fastest team wins.

Hula Hoop Endurance

  • Love the hoop? Then challenge your players to see who can hula the longest.
Step 4, plan your circus theme party menu

Here are a few circus party menu ideas:

  • Hotdogs and hamburgers
  • Chicken wings, deli platter, meatballs
  • Microwaved popcorn of all types (salt, toffee, cheese, chilli)
  • Toffee apples, candy floss
  • Homemade cakes, apple pie with ice cream
  • Peanuts and candies scattered over tables
  • Pitchers of homemade lemonade
Step 5, plan a few circus theme party favors

Send everyone back to their urban lives with a few circus mementoes, for example:

  • Rubber clown’s noses
  • Chocolate animal-shaped biscuits
  • Kazoo, whistles
  • A bag filled with different flavors of popcorn
  • A toffee apple
  • A colorful wig