Category Archives: Party themes

A tea tasting party theme for any occasion

tea-tasting-party

The tea party is one of the most popular party themes for parties and events of any occasion. Whether it’s a baby (or bridal) shower, a princess party or just a group of friends getting together: the serving and taking of tea will always be a popular accompaniment.

Why not take this enjoyable activity a stage further and host a tea tasting event.

Tea is becoming a very popular drink and if you research both variety and brewing\serving techniques your tea tasting party will be a huge hit.

For this to be successful I am not talking about putting several tea bags in your handbag (from work) and then dealing out these to your guests and asking “What do you think?”. No No, I am talking about doing research into the traditions and customs of making tea from around the world and then recreating the essence and taste of these customs.

The basic preparation

Only use real tealeaves (not bags), these can be purchased from either a Middle Eastern market (whole leaves) or as regular loose tea in supermarkets.

English tea tasting

Just get some old teapots and some varieties of loose tea and serve it up to your guests for a tasting.

Persian (middle eastern) tea tasting

My own favorite and the pots alone make a great party centerpiece.

You will need to buy a special teapot that can sit on a kettle or boiling pan.

Quick guide to making Persian tea

Boil water on the stove top in a kettle or pot.

In another teapot add loose-leaf tea, one teaspoon for each person, and then add two teaspoons of rose water (you can also add rose petals), just experiment ahead of time to get a taste that is subtle and not over whelming. When the kettle boils pour some of the water from the kettle (pot) into the teapot and sit the teapot on the kettle (lower the temperature on the stove) to keep the tea warm as it ‘brews’ on top of the kettle.

After a few minutes, half fill a clear glass with the tea from the teapot. The clear glass will allow you (and your guests) to judge the strength of the tea and this is also visually appealing. If the tea appears too strong for the individual pour some hot water from the kettle into the glass. If the tea is too weak, put it back in the teapot (which is on the kettle) and let it brew some more. In this way you can keep adding water, so the process is almost endless, although after a while the tea will become bitter as it is at its best when freshly brewed.

Tea sampling party

If you want more variety in your tea tasting party simply give your guests small teacups and then brew a handful of teas in small teapots and serve them one by one. You can ask your guests to each bring a small teapot (BYOTP – Bring Your Own Tea Pot), so you can serve several varieties quickly. You need to provide a bowl where the tea can be discarded, if the guests do not want to finish a given cup. As with other tasting events you should provide water so the guests can rinse their palettes between tastings. You can also ask the group to rate each tea (from 1 to 10) for taste and then review the results at the end of the tasting.

Standup comedy party theme for kids, teens or adults

standup-comedy-themed-party

Everyone has a story to tell, or at least a joke, and that is the concept behind the standup comedy themed party. Basically let your guests know ahead of time that they will need to prepare a short comic story or joke, which they will tell to the rest of the group. For teens and adults the comic story should be based on a humorous real event that happened to them. For younger kids the joke or comic story could be one given to them, by a parent or friend, or one seen on the internet or TV.

In order to get the guest ‘warmed up’ some suitable ice breaker games should be played. One great ice breaker that would be appropriate for this type of party is a game of comic conversations that I have previously posted on. The idea of the ice breakers is to get the guests used to each other before they go under the spot light, with their own stories.

After the party guests are ‘warmed up’, simply ask each of them to tell their story or joke to the rest of the party. This is not a competition and a guest who is shy should be encouraged to speak out as the main goal of this activity is participation.

To accompany this type of comic themed party suitable videos (DVDs) can also be shown. The video selections could be from TV shows or movies, whatever is deemed appropriate for the party guests. If the guest are younger and have not seen vintage Laurel and Hardy or Charlie Chaplin type of black and white vintage movies I would highly recommend getting a couple of those short films and showing them.

Another suitable activity for this party game, especially for younger guests, is the ‘keep a straight face’ type of party game. This game is simple, just have the guests try to sit ‘straight faced’ on chairs in a circle whilst one party member tries to make someone laugh. The person trying to get a laugh could make funny faces or tell jokes but if they do get a guest to smile (or laugh) then that person takes their place. This type of game was very popular in Victorian items, even being played by teens and adults. Also a feather could be used to try and get a reaction by using that ancient giggle making technique of ‘tickling’ under the chin or behind the ears.

Anyway the next time you are looking for a suitable party theme why not just ‘go for the laughs’ and host a comedy themed party!

Cooking themed party game ideas

the-master-chef-party-game

Whether or not you follow the numerous popular cooking shows, or just enjoy food, you and your guests will appreciate a home cooking style party.

Here are some party ideas based around the popular home Chef themes.

Safety first

Be very cautious with knifes and kitchen appliances, especially for younger guests. I would recommend pre slicing everything so that the guest does not have to cut anything (including themselves!). I would also monitor the ovens very carefully, possibly having the guests hand you their items to be cooked and you placing them in the oven (and removing them once cooked).

Pizza challenge

Simply get the pizza crust bases from a nearby super market and layout containers of toppings (cheese, pepperoni, mushroom, tomatoes, pineapple etc.) then have your guests work in small teams to produce the perfect pizza. Each pizza has to be’ named’ by the team creating it and everyone gets to share and judge. You need to figure out how many pizzas are needed and place them in the oven in batches, for this you might need to have teams of three or four depending on the size of the party.

Toasted sandwiches competition

Similar to the Pizza challenge but more can be fitted in the oven for grilling, so individuals can work on their own. Just lay out different bread types, that can be grilled, and provide the toppings. Each toasted sandwich should be cut into four and shared. As with the pizzas I would recommend the hostess is the only person placing and retrieving the sandwiches from the grill or oven.

The best burger competition

We are now getting down to some ‘real’ cooking (or grilling). For a burger competition you will need to provide various ground meats, vegetables, bread rolls and spices. Each guest makes their own burger with the raw ingredients and then hands it to the hostess to cook or grill. Having the hostess cook should prevent under cooking or kitchen accidents. When cooked the burgers are given back to the guest cook who then places it in a bun with suitable sides and garnish. The burgers are then cut into four and served to all.

The great clean up game

If you can get the guests to play ‘clean up’  then go for it!!

Minute to win it style party theme

minute-to-win-it-party-theme

The popular TV show, “Minute to win it” makes an entertaining party theme for guests of all ages. All that is required, from the hostess, is several prepared short games that can be played by teams or individuals. The teams can be of any size, but two to four is a good size. The games should all be dexterity style games that are age appropriate to the guests.

Here are some examples of party games that are suitable for this party theme.

Book balancing party game

Simply have each guest balance a book on their heads and walk a certain distance (and back) in a minute or under.

Hula-hoop or skipping type of activities

Just select an activity that will be challenging for the guests and have them perform the activity for a minute.

Ring toss

Get a traditional ring toss type of game and have the guests achieve a certain score within a minute

Ping pong balls in bottles, or small buckets

Have the guests throw ping pong balls into a vessel with the goal to get three balls in the container

Coin toss onto plates

Similar to the fair ground game, just arrange some plates and have the guests try to land coins on them, from about four feet away.

Rearrange paper cups

These ‘stacking’ type of games are very popular and the idea is to arrange a set of paper cups in a certain shape (such as a pyramid) and then re- stack them back into in a pile.

As you can tell from the examples above they type of game needs to be something physical and skill based  but not straight racing against each other (but the clock). Teams can be formed and a contest format could be followed but I would advise just playing the games for fun and have as many people participate as possible.

Water party game ideas for a kids and teens water themed party

water-games-for-a-party

As the better weather is coming, I thought I’d jot down some party ideas which involve water, for outdoor water themed parties. Water and kids go together well on sunny days and these ideas are also suitable for teens. For a water party make sure there of plenty of towels on hand and sun block. This way the party guests will be able to break, for snacks, and stay warm and protected from the sun’s rays.

The bucket relay race

This game involves splitting the party guests into teams of three or more. For preparation you will need a water source (small kids paddling pool or similar) then each team needs one large bucket, per team, and a small bucket for each team member. The idea is simple and that is to space the team members out, about four to six feet apart, and then have the first team member take water from the source with a small bucket and throw it to the next team member to catch in his or her small bucket. This continues until the last team member receives the water (in a small bucket) and transfers it to their team’s large bucket. The game can be timed (five minutes or so), or until the large bucket is full. The team with the most water in their large bucket wins after the set time.

The water pistol relay race

This is similar to the bucket water race but instead of throwing the water each team member fills up their water pistol (from the water source, for the first team member, or small bucket for the other team members) and squirts the water into their team mate’s small bucket.

 Water balloon toss blindfolded.

A simple variation on the classic water balloon toss party game but just blindfold the catcher and have him or her cup their hands and the thrower has to gently toss the balloon. Begin with very short distances as this is very difficult. You can also play conventional water balloon toss by having pairs throw water balloons to each other and after each successful catch they move further apart until only one pair is left with a balloon not burst.

Blindfold hose pipe tag.

If you have a hose pipe a simple game can be played by having one person hold the hose pipe and they have to squirt the other guests, who need to run past the person with the hose. The person with the hose should be blindfolded so they listen and point the hose. The guests running need to take turns running from one side to another. The hostess can blow a whistle to indicate to the person squirting when to start and stop squirting, so that all the other party guests don’t get soaked by the hose pipe person squirting all over the place all the time..

Slip and slide

If you have a hose pipe then the classic slip and slide game can be purchased as a centerpiece to a water party themed event, incorporating the above games.

Disney’s Frozen party game ideas

frozen-party-games

In case the picture is not clear, the above photo is of some ladies sitting on a giant Ice Cube, would make a great Frozen party invite.

Ok here is a post for some frozen party ideas, since this movie and party theme is just taking off.

Statues (Frozen)

Simple game to play, either play like musical chairs with people dancing when the music is on and when the music stops everyone ‘Freezes’. The ones moving or not freezing quickly enough are eliminated.

Also Statues can be played by one person (called ‘it’) having their back to the other guests, who are about 15 yards away. The idea is the other guests try to walk and touch the guest (it) standing with their back turned. If the person with their back turned suddenly turns around and see’s someone move that person is ‘out’. The game continues until all are out or someone touches the person who is it.

Frozen face

The guests sit down with a frozen face and one guest goes around the room trying to make the other guests smile, or move their face. If someone moves their face they take the turn of the person trying to make the other guests move their faces.

Who’s got an ice cube down their back?

A little more inventive, one guest goes out the room and the others stand in a line. The hostess then quickly puts ice cubes down 2 or 3 of the guests backs and the guest that is out of the room is invited back in to ‘guess’ who has the ice cube down their backs.

Who can keep an ice cube the longest in their mouths?

Just give each guest an ice cube and have them put it in their mouth, with their mouths open. The last guest who can keep the ice from completely melting wins.

Food and drink for these activities is along the lines of:-

Shaved ice

Slush puppies

Iced drinks

ICE CREAM

 

Make your own Headbands game for a themed party

headbanz-for-themed-parties

There is a great party game for kids called “Headbandz”, which is sold on Amazon. This game is similar to 20 questions, in that a picture is placed on a headband, such that only others can see it and the wearer has to guess what is on his or her headband by asking questions that can only be answered with a Yes or No.  This game is ideal for a 5 to 8 age group party and is easily adapted for teenagers and upwards.

All you need do, to adapt this concept, is to have someone ‘crafty’ make a set of custom headbands that are either themed based or specific to the party guests. For example lets say you are having a high school party and all the guests attend the same high school. In this case just have pictures of the teachers as the object on the headband. The idea is that each player has to guess with the ‘least questions’ possible, which teacher is on his or her own headband. This usually starts with is the question “Is the person a male?” and then the field can be narrowed with, “Do they wear glasses” etc. Other headbands can be custom made for a party theme, for example Hollywood stars or celebrities. Objects can also be incorporated, for example “Harry Potters broomstick”, although these will harder to guess. This game can be used for any party theme in an entertaining way, it just requires some research and preparation.

This type of game also makes a great ‘ice breaker’, in that when the guests have all arrived give out the ‘Headbands’. Then have each of the guests ask one question to every other guest, as they walk around the room, in order to guess the object or person on their own headband. The guests simply ask each other a question, and then move on to the next guest until they have guessed their own headband.

For preparation simply look at the original game to see how it is played then research themed-based objects or people to guess and make the sets of headbands. You will need to prepare a couple of complete sets of headbands to be able to repeat the game, should it be successful.

What’s the difference between a themed party and a fancy dress party?

Alva Vanderbilt at Fancy Dress Ball

Today many party hosts are opting for a party theme, such as Pirates, Great Gatsby, Princess, the swinging 60’s etc. Some of these themed parties are really just fancy dress parties called themed parties. This blog lists the differences between hosting a themed versus a fancy dress party and addresses some of the issues with planning and presenting a genuine themed party.

What is a fancy dress party?

A fancy dress party is one in which the dress options are stated but the party activities do not follow the style of dress. For example lets say you want to host a traditional kids party, with vintage party games such as musical chairs, and have everyone dress as either a Pirate or a Princess. This is a simple fancy dress party, in that there is no connection between what the guests wear and the other components of the party.

What is a themed party?

A themed party is one in which all of the party components (including costumes, games, food and décor) follow a basic concept or idea. For example let’s t say you want to throw the popular Great Gatsby themed party. The guests would need to dress in period costumes, the party décor would include components of the 1920’s and the food, games, dances etc. would also be representative of those of the period.

The problems with hosting a ‘true to theme’ party

Some themes will have issues with food and games, for example Pirates probably played games that are most likely inappropriate for today’s party activities! Also the food Pirates ate (including hard tack biscuits) would not be considered party food today. This is not an issue as the elements of a themed party do not need to ‘replicate’ the original elements of the theme but they only need to convey the essence of the theme. In this way for a Pirates themed party (as opposed to Pirates fancy dress party) some treasure hunting games need to be included and the party food should include a ‘fish stew’ or something else ‘sea like’.

The essential differences between a themed and fancy dress party

When you take into account that the themed party only needs to include elements that capture the essence of the theme (rather than try to accurately reproduce the actual theme elements) it is the party activities (games and dancing) that really differentiate a themed from a fancy dress party. If you are going to have 1920’s style dancing, 1920’s casino party games, 1920’s popular food included in your Great Gatsby party then this is a themed event. If you are having traditional food, dancing and modern games with the Great Gatsby party then this is a fancy dress party.

In conclusion, what does it matter: The impact of planning a themed or fancy dress party

The only reason it matters is that if you are looking to host a themed party, as opposed to a fancy dress party, you will need to do more research and planning around the games, food and dances. Also, after researching themed games, food and dances, you might well decide that a fancy dress party is more appropriate and the plan accordingly.

The bottom line is that a themed party takes more planning and preparation and in the end might not be appropriate for your guests, in which case plan the fancy dress party from the outset and select the most appropriate food and activities for your target audience.

The Great Gatsby party theme

the-great-gatsby-art-deco

Illustration – Club posters by Mads Berg, via Behance

The Great Gatsby theme is becoming one of the most popular for today’s parties, whether New Year, Sweet Sixteen or other memorable events the Great Gatsby theme seems to fit the bill. The appeal of the Great Gatsby theme is that it incorporates all the exciting elements of the roaring 20’s together with the decadence, elegance and decor of that bygone Art Deco period.  This period in history is looked upon as being filled with all night parties complete with flapper girls, jazz music, party streamers, gambling and cocktails: not to mention the gangsters and their ‘molls’ from this crime ridden prohibition era.

In order to recreate the atmosphere of the Gatsby era and the roaring 20’s, in a party, a number of elements are key but that said you do not need to live in the Hamptons or have a large budget in order to host your own memorable Great Gatsby themed party.

The following suggestions are taken from several accounts of successful Great Gatsby themed parties and convey the essential ingredients of what is needed to put on this, or the roaring 20’s, style of party

The Great Gatsby party theme decor

To begin with only a splash of the following decorations needs to be strategically placed around the room(s)or outside  in order to capture the essential ambiance of the period:-

Movie posters or photographs of 20’s movie stars, for example Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Gloria Swanson or Charlie Chaplin, can be placed on the walls and these need only be printed from the internet.

The lighting should be darkened to give the overall impression of either a moonlight terrace or a ‘speak easy’ style establishment. If you are lucky enough to be on an actual moonlight terrace then that is the perfect setting.

There should be candles providing much of the lighting, just place them in jars, as well as some old fashioned style lamps if you have them.

Large plumes of feathers should be used instead of flowers and if you have potted plants then place string lights around the base of them. This applies to both indoor and outdoor areas. Ferns and palm style plants typify the period floral arrangements.

If you can get large stick candles or candelabras, place these on the dinning or buffet table(s).

The Greta Gatsby party theme food and drink

There should be an area which represents a small Art Deco style bar, complete with large champagne or cocktail glasses, filled with marbles.  For the teen version of this party Ginger ale and root beer should be served together with other sodas. For adults then the famous ‘Mint Julip’ drink together with White Lady, Champagne and Cocktails should be served.

For refreshments both Italian and Chinese foods were ‘in vogue’ during the 20’s also salted nuts, popcorn, olives, shrimp cocktails and typical party food was also served. Deviled eggs, sandwiches (similar to a Victorian Tea Party) as well as fruits are also good choices, and in keeping, with this theme and period.

The Great Gatsby party activities

Set up some Casino party games

A dance area with informal lessons in the Charleston and Black Bottom (20’s dance). Find one or two of your party guests who can dance and ask them to be dance teachers for part of the event.

Hold an Auction party game

Karaoke

The Great Gatsby party dress code

Ladies: Either elegant gowns or flapper style outfits complete with a headband, feather and strings of long fake pearls.

Men: White shirts and bow tie (tuxedo optional).

Other considerations for a successful themed party

Have an area with some 20’s props, Art Deco ‘arch’ or banner (need not be expensive) where pictures can be taken. Have someone designated to take photographs of your guests.

A game of 20 questions for a themed party

20-questions-game-for-themed-parties

 

The game of 20 questions is a classic Victorian parlor game that is a kind of group trivia pursuit activity. The rules of 20 questions are simple, in that one person thinks of an object or activity (such as an Apple or ‘Washing the dishes’) and the rest of the party has to guess what it is by asking no more than 20 questions which can only be answered with a Yes or No.

The game is described elsewhere on the internet, in some detail, but this type of game makes an entertaining addition to any themed party.

All the host needs to do is research some facts on the party theme and then ask the questions herself during the party and have the guests try and guess the answers using the 20 questions format.

By way of example, let’s say you are hosting a ‘fairy tale’ themed party and you want the guests to guess various fairy tale stories. The story has to be well know to the audience (let’s say the first answer is Cinderella). The guests then need to ask questions such as “Does the story have a princess in it?” or “Does the story have a witch in it?” or “Does the girl marry the prince?” As the host you might want to assist the younger party guests in forming their questions as they will be tempted to shout out random answers of stories.

An alternative to this format, that is similar, is to give the party ‘clues’ about the object or activity. For example, in the case of guessing the fairy tale story, you could tell the guests – ‘This story involves a girl’, followed by’ This girl visits her Grandmother’ etc. until the party guesses: Little Red Riding hood.

For teens and adult parties using 20 questions

This format also works for teens and older themed parties, for example The Victorian Tea Party, The Great Gatsby or Vintage Hollywood. All that is needed is some prepared themed facts about people, places and customs which can then form an interesting 20 questions game.

For teens and adults the more obscure the question the better, one example I use in my Victorian Tea Party experience is the following question of Victorian etiquette:-

“In rising from a chair a lady must never – Do what?”

The sort of questions, that follow, could be:-

Does it involve her making a noise? – Answer No (thank goodness!!)

Does it involve her using a hand gesture? – Answer No

Anyway I am sure you can come up with your own themed obscure questions that will amuse the guests.

The correct answer to the above question of Victorian etiquette is:-

Use the arms of the chair to ‘push herself up’.

If your guests guess that answer, then they are playing the game well.