150+ Themes for Adult Parties

Ever wonder why kids get all the good parties?  Parties with costumes and games and creative foods and decorations?  Why do all adult parties seem to be variations on the same two themes: either "beer & chips" or "appetizers & conversation"?  Not that these are bad parties, but they sure do get repetitive over time.

Hubby and I are lucky enough to possess an eclectic group of friends who enjoy each other's company and, moreover, are more than willing to try new things.  One thing we especially enjoy is taking turns inventing creative parties and gatherings.  Yes, these parties often require a little more work then just throwing out nachos & beer and inviting everyone over to watch the "big game."  But the extra work is worth the reward - so much laughter, so many new experiences, so many great memories!

Where do we come up with most of our ideas?  Answer: NOT the internet!  Have you ever tried to use the internet to brainstorm themes for adult parties?  Frustrating!  Online lists typically possess one or more of the following faults:
  • Suggested themes are too childish for adults (seriously, adults are going to have a Dora the Explorer party?)
  • Composed by party supply companies, their suggested themes include only those that the company can actually supply
  • Suggested themes are too shallow - for instance, a "Black & White Party" makes decorating easy, but what are guests actually supposed to do once they get there?
Have therefore decided to compose & post my own list, cobbled together from various online sources, personal experience, and a little bit of imagination.  The list is pretty diverse, but that's deliberate: all groups of adult friends have their own dynamics, so party ideas that seem lame or "out there" to you may be just right for someone else.  Plus, a diverse list may push you towards considering ideas you never would have considered otherwise. 

Go ahead - take a chance!  Throw a themed party and see how much fun you've been missing!

Traditional party themes.  Because some traditional themes never get old, and there's an element of "safety" in starting off with a party theme that's withstood the test of time.
  1. Hawaiian party.
    1. Hawaiian luau
    2. Tacky tiki party.  
  2. Toga party.  
  3. Redneck/white trash party 
  4. Pirate party.  OPTION: Coordinating your event with Talk Like a Pirate Day (19 Sep)?
  5. Dude ranch/Western party.  OPTION: Pair with a BBQ cookoff, chili cookoff, or backyard BBQ (see below).
  6. Dog/cat party ("plus ones" must be of the furry variety)
Holiday-themed parties
  1. Valentines Day party (14 Feb).  Consider pairing with an all-chocolate buffet!
    1. "Naughty" Valentines Day party.  
    2. Nice Valentines Day party.  
    3. Anti-Valentines Day party.  
  2. Groundhog day/spring party
  3. April Fools Day party (1 Apr)
  4. Mardi Gras party
  5. Easter party/easter egg hunt
  6. Earth Day party (22 Apr)
  7. May Day party
  8. Mothers Day party
  9. Fathers Day party
  10. Juneteenth
  11. Patriotic party (Independence Day, Flag Day, Veterans Day, Memorial Day
  12. Christmas in July party
  13. Halloween party
    1. Pumpkin carving party
    2. Zombie party
    3. Horror-able fil festival
    4. Day of the Dead party
  14. Christmas party.  So many versions of this classic, they deserve their own blog post
    1. Children's craft party
    2. Adult craft party
    3. Holiday movie party
    4. Holiday pot luck party
    5. Holiday baking party
    6. Cookie exchange party
    7. Ornament exchange party
    8. Gingerbread house decorating party
    9. Happy Birthday to Jesus party
    10. Giving party
    11. Dickens Christmas party
    12. Retro Christmas party
    13. Caroling party
  15. New Years Eve party
    1. Come as your favorite decade party
    2. Through the Decades party.  Celebrate a different decade each hour.
  16. National __________ Day party.  Congress has given just about every special interest its own day.  Peruse a calendar, pick out a day that catches your fancy, and host an appropriate celebration. 
Around the World parties
  1. Mexico
    1. Mexican fiesta
    2. Cinco de Mio party
  2. Great Britain
    1. St. Patrick’s Day Party
    2. Burns Night party/banquet (Jan 25)
    3. Guy Fawkes Night party
    4. Scottish games/kilt party
    5. The Queen’s Birthday (21 Apr)
  3. Bastille Day party
  4. Oktoberfest
  5. Italian dinner party
  6. Down Under Australian party/Australia Day Party (Jan 26)
  7. Chinese New Year party
  8. Jamaican party
Masquerade parties
  1. Carnival/Mardi gras party
  2. Beaux Arts/black & white ball
  3. Halloween party
  4. Come as your favorite literary character
  5. Come as your favorite artwork party
  6. Come as your favorite scientist party
  7. Hippies vs. hipsters
  8. Drag queen ball
Elegant parties/celebrations/balls
  1. Casino night
  2. Formal tea party
  3. Prom redux
  4. Elegant lawn party/gay 90s party
  5. Breakfast at Tiffany's party
  6. Formal dinner party
  7. Formal ball (you pick the era)
Drinks parties
  1. Mad Man party
  2. Wine tasting party
  3. Wine pairing party
  4. Whisky tasting party. Cigars optional.
  5. Mimosa buffet.
Food parties/banquets
  1. Tapas party
  2. Progressive dinner
  3. Pot luck dinner
  4. Beer & bacon
  5. English pub party
  6. Wine & cheese
  7. Desserts party
  8. Ice cream social
  9. Mad Hatter tea party
  10. Clambake
  11. Dim sum party
  12. Midnight buffet
  13. Cooking party
  14. BBQ cookoff
  15. Chili cookoff
  16. Blackout dinner.  Everyone eats in a room with no lights.  Besides being funny, it's supposed to heighten your ability to appreciate the food.
  17. Make your own pizza party
  18. Pancake breakfast party
  19. Fall harvest buffet. 
  20. Spud bar party
  21. Fondue party
Movie/television-themed party
  1. Hollywood party
  2. Downton Abbey party
  3. Binge-watch party
  4. Awards ceremony party
In the news party
  1. Political parties
    1. Election night party
    2. Political scandal party
  2. Stormy Weather party.  Throw a party during a storm - just make sure you've got a backup plan if the power goes out!
  3. National Spelling Bee party
  4. Back to School party. Celebrate that empty house
Let's Put On a Show! party
  1. Broadway Musical party. Everyone come prepared to perform a number from a musical.
  2. Stand-up comedy/Saturday Night Live party. Everyone come prepared with a standup act; or, once everyone arrives, assign them skits/commercials to prepare; or, write ideas on slips of paper and challenge your guests to an improvathon
  3. Burlesque party. Guests come prepared to perform a burlesque act – ventriloquism, comedy, animal act … perhaps a naughty dance or two?
  4. Karaoke party.  Come prepared to sing.
  5. Murder mystery party. Buy a prepared murder mystery party kit or create your own.
  6. Rock 'n' Roll fantasy camp party.  Everyone come prepared to jam.
  7. 1001 Nights party.  Typical sleepover, except everyone has to come prepared with amazing stories to share.
Crafts parties
  1. "Create a ________" party.  Pick a single craft (ex: knitting, crochet, screenprinting, tie-dye, etc.) and stock up on supplies.  Guests get to create their own
  2. "Create a _________-themed craft."  Pick a holiday/theme (ex: Christmas, summer) and invite guests over to create items related to the theme.  You provide ideas, supplies, food; they supply the creativity
  3. "Learn to __________."  Either invite an expert or model one of your areas of expertise (ex: cake decorating, flower arranging, jewelry making). Guests learn and get to try their hand at the activity.
  4. Sewing/quilting bee
Games parties
  1. Old fashioned parlor games party
  2. Game night
    1. BINGO party
    2. Monopoly party
    3. Trivial pursuit night
    4. Scrabble/puzzle night
    5. Bridge/poker party
    6. Charades/tableaus party
  3. Game show night
    1. Minute to win it party
    2. Survivor party
History/Retro parties
    1. Ides of March/Roman party (Mar 15)
    2. Medieval party/banquet
    3. Renaissance party/banquet
    4. Colonial party
    5. 20s party 
      1. Great Gatsby party
      2. Speakeasy/Jazz party
    6. 40s/50s party
      1. Mad Men party
      2. Ballroom dancing party
      3. WWII Dance hall party
    7. 60s party
      1. Hippy vs. hipsters party
      2. 60s sock hop/diner party
    8. 70s Disco/Studio 54 party
    9. 80s party
    10. College fraternity party.
Novel/book parties
  1. Jane Austen party
  2. Harry Potter party
  3. Alice in Wonderland party/Mad Hatter tea party
  4. Come as your favorite literary character masquerade party
  5. Murder mystery party
  6. Sherlock Holmes party (Jan 6)
  7. Twelfth Night party (Jan 6)
  8. Dickens Day party (Feb 7)
  9. Oscar Wilde Day party (Oct 16)
  10. Release Party.  A party to help the hours before the release of your favorite book; afterwards, everyone piles into cars to head for the nearest bookstore
Science parties
  1. Pi day party (14 Mar).  
  2. Eclipse/asteroid shower viewing party
  3. Come as your favorite scientist party
  4. Chemistry/Breaking Bad party.   
Nerd parties
  1. Steampunk party
  2. Dungeons & Dragons/fantasy cosplay party
  3. Superhero cosplay party
  4. Video game cosplay party
  5. LOTR cosplay party
  6. Star Trek/Star Wars party
  7. Freaks & Geeks party
Outdoors parties
  1. Old fashioned picnic
  2. Campfire party
  3. Lake party
  4. Regatta/boat party
  5. Pool party.  Host this at your neighborhood pool, your own backyard pool, or buy a few cheap kiddie pools from the local dimestore
  6. Beach party
    1. Frankie & Annette Beach Party bash
    1. Jimmy Buffet “Cheeseburger in Paradise” party
    1. Beach Olympics/games
    1. Beach banquet
  7. Dancing under the stars party
  8. Gentile Southern BBQ picnic
  9. Glamping/safari party
  10. Outdoor Olympics party
  11. Summer camp party
  12. Fishing camp party
  13. Scavenger hunt/geocache party
  14. Snow party.  Wait for a snowy day, then invite guests over for snowman-making contests, snowball fights, adn snow ice cream sundaes.
Novelty destination parties
  1. Bowling party
  2. Barn party/hoe-down
  3. Vineyard party
  4. Skating rink party (ice or roller)
  5. Nighttime pool/hot tub party
  6. Zoo party
  7. Movie theater party
  8. Pool hall party
  9. Pub Crawl party
  10. Restaurant Crawl party
  11. Bar crawl party
  12. Ropes course party
Sports parties
  1. "Big Event" party.  Gather around the television to celebrate that "big game"
  2. Tailgate party
  3. Olympics party
  4. Kentucky Derby party
  5. America's Cup yacht race
  6. polo party
  7. rugby party
  8. Baseball fantasy camp party
“Children’s” parties.  Parties too good to be reserved just for children
  1. Slumber party
  2. Carnival party
  3. Dr. Seuss party (Suess day = Mar 2)
  4. Come as your favorite children’s book character party
Just for adults parties
  1. ABC (Anything But Clothes) party.
  2. Twisted Disney party
  3. Drag party.
  4. Seven Deadly Sins party
  5. Pajama party
  6. 50 Shades of Grey party.  
Other novelty parties
  1. Come as you are party.  People have to come dressed the way they were dressed when they received your invitation. Consider slipping them under people's doors so they find them in the morning, while still wearing their jammies.
  2. Come as you were party.  Dress like you dressed in high school; or, dress like your high school clique
  3. Round the world party

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