Coming up with original party entertainment ideas for your next party gets challenging the more parties we do.
When you’re so invested in giving your friends a good time, the more creative you become. But the more stressful the work becomes. After all, no one wants to repeat themselves. You want to try and create something new and original.
The pressure is also immense. You’ve got selfies to worry about now, photos of your party ending up online. It’s hard to create parties that are constantly memorable. All this pressure can make you dread planning your event and keep you from starting.
The best party entertainment ideas start with a feeling
One of the ways I look at parties is by treating them as ‘people-experiences’.
When people leave at the end of the night, they tend to remember things they saw and did more than the food or the decoration. They want to feel loved. They want to feel you’re paying them attention.
I like to play with the concept of an experience, and use this as an opportunity to surprise or startle my guests.
To start this process off, I think about the type of people I’m planning to invite. I then think about the type of experience I want these people to have, and what I can realistically afford cost-wise to pull it off.
The first two points help me form the heart of your party. From there, I then work out how to fill the party, and then advertise the party as a concept.
If you’re inviting music lovers, for example, and you want everyone to experience different music, you can get people to dress in their favourite era of music as a starting point.
If you’re inviting friends who have different nationalities and are planning a movie night, you could create a home cinema and ask everyone to help you furnish it, with food from their home cities, film posters in different languages.
What a party actually is
What makes a party work is not so much the theme but what you fill the party with.
A party is simply a string of different activities linked together.
How you decide the order of these activities is up to you. The goal is to keep your party moving and everyone there happy. The more unpredictable you can be, the better. Being unpredictable keeps your original.
Activities don’t have to be too outrageous. You can take something simple and build from it. And that’s where these tips for party entertainment ideas are going to help you.
None of these need a lot of money to pull off. They’re a starting point for you to create a new idea from and can work with any time of party.
When you’re stuck for ideas, including games will almost certainly nudge you out of your stupor. We love party games – from silly party games to fun adult party game ideas – they form the heart of any party. They also stop the flow of it from going stale and they’re also the least expensive form of entertainment.
When deciding games, try to choose a mixture of solo and team games and keep them nearby during your party. For physical games, make sure to take into account any guests who aren’t so mobile. You can pivot any party easily when you include games, but let people opt out of participating if they don’t want to join in.
Teach something unusual
You can also use your party entertainment ideas as an opportunity to educate your guests. We’re not talking heavy education here, there’s no homework for anyone.
For example, why not try an activity like line dancing or learning Tai Chi or gonzo dinner making? You can sign people up to an online class or project the videos against a white screen. You can also use a fun conversation starter game, to encourage people to learn more about each other.
Most people won’t be expecting this kind of activity at a party. So if you go down this route, you’ll be keeping your party memorable in their minds, long after it’s over.
Mini talent show
This is where guests provide the entertaining. Once you’ve got a confirmed list of guests, ask round if there are any willing entertainers.
If there’s some reluctance at first, try and throw in an incentive like a bottle of wine to get people to take part. You may only need 3-5 people (depends on your party size).
Then create a performance program, that you’ll hand out as people arrive at your party. Talents could be anything like:
- Singing with a guitar
- Double dutch skipping
- Their own performance poetry
- Teaching friends how to body pop
- Telling a scary story
The simplest party entertainment ideas include well-known radio songs, drinking songs, Christmas carols, campfire songs, and chants.
A guitar or piano player isn’t always necessary although they’ll help encourage people to sing. Even a harmonica will do it. If you’re choosing obscure songs, provide lyric sheets. You’ll never know when’s the best time to start a singalong, so just play it by ear. You may also want to take your singalong into the streets.
Plan these a day or two before your party, including prizes. If it’s an indoors hunt, be creative with which items to include.
An outdoors hunt won’t require too much planning, as it’ll rely on players’ imaginations, but make sure to set a distance limit.
A successful hunt also needs preparation including copies of the scavenger lists, pen, paper, and having a stopwatch to time the game. Players will need a digital camera or smartphone so let people know in advance to bring.
This is the easiest of party entertainment ideas. A party without any music is a party everyone leaves quickly from. (Don’t be that party!)
If you can afford it, you can hire a DJ or rope in a friend whose good with decks. Make sure you brief them in the style of music you want for the night.
For a more personal touch, creating your own playlists can be more fun for you and more rewarding for your listeners. The only downside to creating your own music is you’ll need to schedule time to do it. You also need to make sure you don’t get carried away when making them, as choosing music can be an involving process
It’s important to create an interesting playlist, one that’s unpredictable. Not only will this keep guests dancing, you’ll want to intrigue them too, so mix in some popular songs alongside obscure ones, musical scores, songs in different languages.
You know you’ve mixed a great setlist, when you’re asked “What’s this song?” I’ve never heard anything like it or “Where can I find that song?” Make copies of your playlist for friends who ask for it.
When you’re feeling stuck for original party entertainment ideas, using this list will give you some guaranteed pointers to help you break free. We all get trapped into wanting our next event to be more memorable than the last. I wish you success with your current party plans.