Last updated: April 25, 2023
Are you stuck on what to do for a party? Shake things up and create some unforgettable memories with a themed party.
Try out a new activity with your friends like:
- Game Night
- Karaoke Night
- Themed Party
- DIY Craft Night
- Murder Mystery Party and more!
Check out these 10 ideas for party planning and connect with your friends and neighbors.
Why you should listen to me: My name is Nick Gray. I’ve hosted hundreds of different types of parties. I wrote a whole book about it called The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. I’ve been highlighted by New York Magazine and The Wall Street Journal as a host of “culturally significant” parties.
You can have everyone over at your place with some games, some snacks, and a lot of laughs. Maybe it’s not as fun without the bar hopping and dinner out, but you can have an evening with close friends where you laugh and play. Here’s the full list of my thoughts on party games.
As of May 2023, these are a few card games that I like for parties:
- Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza: great for 3-8 players, easy to learn
- SET: 2-6 players, all ages, fun smart game
- Off Topic: 2-8 players, my family loves this
- MONOPOLY Deal Card Game: it isn’t necessarily a party game but still fun
Get a karaoke machine or app and set up a stage for guests to show off their singing skills.
Encourage your guests to wear costumes or silly outfits, and even have a competition with prizes for the best performances.
Keep everyone happy and full with snacks and drinks, and make sure to set the mood with fun decorations and lighting.
Choose a fun theme like a ’90s dance party, a color theme, a masquerade ball, or a superhero celebration. Decorate with themed streamers and balloons, and serve snacks and drinks that fit the vibe.
Take lots of pics to capture the magic.
Be ready for surprises that can make the party even better.
DIY Craft Night
Choose a craft theme, e.g. jewelry, scrapbooking, painting or knitting.
Have friends bring their supplies, but keep extras like glue and scissors available. Set up a crafting area with tables and chairs.
Share your projects with others and give feedback. Try new things and don’t worry if you’re not an expert.
Murder Mystery Party
Pick a murder mystery theme like a speakeasy, castle, or space station. Give roles and costumes to your guests, like suspects or detectives.
Create clues and puzzles to solve the mystery. Set up an area with tables and space to move around. Have a clear timeline and schedule for the game.
Pick a movie theme like a genre, director, or franchise. Choose movies that your guests will like. Make it cozy with comfy seating, cushions, and blankets. Serve snacks and drinks that fit the theme, like popcorn or soda for classic movies.
Create a schedule of the movies and their start and end times.
Pick some cool categories like pop culture, history, geography, sports, and science. Don’t forget to rate the questions based on how hard they are!
Next, give your teams some cool names and hand out paper and pens for them to write down their answers. Then, give them a bit of time to come up with their answers.
Keep score and update teams after each round. Prepare a tiebreaker question for ties. Offer prizes for winning teams, like a gift card or trophy, to add to the fun.
Assign each guest a specific dish to bring based on categories like appetizers, main dishes, sides, or desserts.
Don’t forget to consider any dietary restrictions or allergies your guests might have when assigning dishes.
Set up a spot for the dishes to go and label them, so everyone knows what’s what. Offer drinks and utensils.
Suggest a potluck theme and encourage recipe sharing. Have a backup plan in case someone can’t bring their dish.
Wine or Beer Tasting Party
Choose a wine/beer theme or region. Get a range of drinks for guests to sample with enough for everyone.
Provide tasting glasses and spit buckets. Give a brief overview of each drink.
Offer snacks to cleanse the palate. Use scorecards to rate and compare drinks.
Have fun and encourage guests to discuss their favorites.
Picnic or BBQ
Send out invites and ask your guests to RSVP so you know how much food to prepare.
Make the food in advance or ask your guests to bring a dish. Remember to bring a picnic or BBQ blanket, chairs, and a cooler with ice for drinks and perishables.
Set up the area with plates, cups, utensils, napkins, and condiments as needed. Make it even more fun by having some games like frisbee or cornhole for your guests to enjoy.
Pro tip: In case the weather doesn’t cooperate, have a backup plan such as rescheduling or moving the event indoors.
Here are some picnic planning tips from the time I hosted a picnic party:
- Be crystal clear in specifying where the picnic would be located
- Send 3 reminder messages
- Use name tags
- Do a round of icebreakers
- Buy a balloon to tie up and show people the location
Ultimately, the key to hosting a successful party is to create an atmosphere that’s welcoming, fun, and memorable for everyone involved.
Try any one of these ideas for what to do for your next party:
- Karaoke Night
- Themed Party
- DIY Craft Night
- Murder Mystery Party
- Movie Marathon
- Trivia Night
- Potluck Dinner
- Wine or Beer Tasting
- Picnic or BBQ
My name is Nick Gray. I wrote a book called The 2-Hour Cocktail Party that teaches you how to have a successful party regardless of whether it’s your first or hundredth time hosting. I’m really proud of it.
When is your party? Send me an email and I will give you some bonus tips, including a pre-party checklist that you can print out. Plus I’ll answer any question you have, free of charge. I love talking about parties and I’m on a mission to help 500 people host their first party.