Five great party themes

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It’s getting to that weird time of year when the nights get colder and darker but everyone still wants to go out and have a good time. The run up to Christmas is packed with excuses for a knees up, with Halloween, Bonfire Night and the big event itself usually accompanied by a gathering of some sort.

Instead of doing the same old boring spooky Halloween house party / fireworks and marshmallows on these long, dark nights, why not push the boat out a bit further and plan a themed party? People love something different and these 5 great ideas will make sure your social event is a roaring success.

Pirates

Who doesn’t love pirates? Release your inner Johnny Depp and don that tricorn hat, peg leg and stuffed parrot in this great general party idea that is surprisingly easy to do.

Finding a pirate costume is probably one of the easiest ones out there, but old clothes can be cut up to make them look more rugged and a fake beard or moustache here and there usually does the trick. You could even Sellotape a bit of wood to your leg, to get that signature peg-leg clonk as you roam around the house.

Decorations can be as elaborate as you want – chests, treasure maps and of course a plank can all be found fairly cheaply, but take the party from Yo-Ho to YOLO with some rum punch, ‘piece of eight’ (chocolate coins) and a hearty fish dish straight from the ocean. There’s even a Pirates of the Caribbean style playlist on Spotify, so you can really get things going with a few shanties on your soundtrack.

The Olympics

With the summer’s football now a distant memory, the good news is that the summer Olympics are now less than two years away! And what better reason to throw an Olympics-themed party.

Your guests / athletes must arrive in their team colours, with each group given a country that they now represent. Then, the evening will be filled with sporting activities, with medals given out at the end of the night. From the 15m sprint, or however big your garden is, to discus throwing (frisbees are much safer, especially indoors), there are tons of professional sports that can be adapted so that even the drunkest of idiots can enjoy with without injuring themselves.

If the weather isn’t playing ball, then you could opt for poetry and knitting (seriously, they were Olympic events at the first modern Olympics) or write an Olympics quiz to test out just how much your guests actually know about the world of sport. If it’s snowing, then great; Winter Olympics it is!

Poker night

Not every party night needs elaborate decorations to succeed, and poker night is a perfect example of a low-key evening which can be great fun.

All you really need is a deck of cards, something to use as big and small blinds, chips / coins / matchsticks and a flat playing surface. More committed poker enthusiasts can even pick up a full poker set online at bargain-basement prices.

In terms of food, drinks and decorations, you could go fully casino. Think green tablecloths, shiny stuff everywhere, and champagne, nibbles and whiskey for when it all goes wrong. Naturally, guests may need to a tuxedo or cocktail dress to be allowed entry, but jeans and t-shirts are ok too if that all sounds like hassle. And that’s the beauty of a poker night, it doesn’t take too much to set up the perfect home game.  

BYOFAD

Perfect for lazy people, or if you’re a bit short on cash, is to organise a Bring Your Own Food And Drink night. But, instead of just demanding that your friends or family feed themselves, task them with coming up with a particular cuisine, or stipulate the ingredients that they have to use.

If you’re feeling even more devilish, you could assign guests to each other, with the idea being that the other person has to cook or buy something that the other guest will like (a bit like secret Santa, but maybe more like secret Satan). 9/10 they’ll bring something lovely, but there’s always one who will bring an incredibly hot sauce or something exotic like eel or one of the challenges from the Bushtucker trial.

If this still sounds cruel, then ask your guests to an ingredient each and then cook up something incredible for them. You can still save the money and provide them with your sublime chefing skills and five-star table service. Or just dump the giant pot of curry on the table and go back to frisbee-discus.

The Oscars

Instead of boring old movie night, ask your friends to come as an Oscar winning film character. Then, you could just settle down to watch the film of choice or the ceremony itself, or you could make things more fun.

Challenge your guests to make a move using their phone and whatever props they can find around the house, with a time limit of one hour to film everything and finish editing. Then, everyone will watch each film and award an ‘Oscar within different categories’, for example ‘Best Actor’ ‘Best use of Props’ ‘Worst Joke’ or ‘Most boring film’. Then, the person who manages to make their acceptance speech last the longest wins the night overall!

With these simple but fun ideas you’ll soon turn your same-old house party into something totally unique and more importantly, exciting. Just remember to take extra care if you’re planning an Olympics night (carpeted stairs and tea trays are NOT a good idea for the bobsleigh event) and remember to make sure that all of your planning included everyone; your friend John who isn’t great with Jalapenos might need to dodge the bring your own food and drink idea.