Hot Themes for Cool  New Years Parties

 --Including All-Family Festivities--

 It's not too late to plan a New Year's Eve celebration or add surprising details to your existing plans without a lot of work or expense.  Take an easy theme, play it out to the maximum and you will be guaranteed a great turnout and a super successful event.

1. Fix Your Own Food Party This is the time to involve each guest in preparing his/her own pizza, tacos, subway and for dessert, extravaganza sundaes. Paper chef's hats and aprons, personalized with guests names are a great touch.  Plan games and entertainment to include references to food preparation. Pin the Pepperoni on the Pizza, Tasty Trivia, Treats and Tidbits (Treasure Hunt.) Match menu  items with a person, a song, a book or TV/movie title (ie. Kick it Up A Notch Noshes, Cookie Monster Munchers, Tutti Fruitti Frosties, Strawberry Shortcake, etc.) or dance the Mashed Potato.

 2. Costume Swap Party  Your party will be hilarious when guests bring outlandish outfits for each other. The creativity is boundless when another's embarrassment is at stake.  Award prizes for best (or worst) costumes, stage and video tape a fashion show for runway ruckus.  Show the video during refreshments for an incredibly successful finale.

 3. Treasure Hunt/Scavenger Hunt Create a treasure hunt in your backyard or near neighborhood.  Provide a super sleuth kit, complete with magnifying glass or pirate's gear for each guest depending on your hunt's theme. Each team goes on a different trail to collect their clues.  Suited to a costume event—mystery character or pirate.

 4. Theater Party Write a playlet or musicale, prepare costume effects, props and a set or two.  Guests draw for the parts and you are the director.  Include non-speaking parts such as animals, trees, statues, piano, etc. for youngsters that cannot read. Video tape the fiasco (and it will be one) for viewing during refreshments.  Awards at midnight, the highlight.

5.    Campout Sleepovers Weather permitting, plan this party in your backyard.  Start with setting up tents and a campsite.  Start a fire for cooking out, keeping warm and gathering around for singing and scary stories.  A pancake breakfast tops of the outing.  Take lots of photos for souvenirs.

6.  Star Search Party Borrow or rent a Karaoke Machine and throw a talent hunt party. Include the selected song list with the invitation so that guests can be ready to perform.  Gather costume effects like hats, boas, jackets, inflatable instruments for extra pizzazz. Make cassettes for favors. Again, the video taping will be a major hit.  

  7. Happy Birthday To Everyone! is a festive New Year's Eve party theme in which every guest gets to help blow out candles on a huge cake and open a gift to celebrate the New Year and getting a year older.  Planned around an old fashioned kids' party, with parlor games, traditional decor and party foods, it is a wonderful whole family or adults only event. Each guest brings a gift to exchange.

8.  Board Game Bonanza.  Set up tournaments and marathons in every room of the house, count down with competitions. At midnight hold an important awards ceremony with prizes for everyone!  The big winners receiving plaques or trophies that could be the beginning of a tradition— vying for the “passed-on-to-winners-each-year” awards. 


Winner Themes Adapted to New Year's Eve

Use the most popular themes ever to put together a fantastically easy party that will bring smiles to all of your guests when they see how simple it will be to attend in theme gear. 

Cowboy Countdown: Round up your party guests for a holiday hoedown complete with barbecue buffet, and other rodeo refreshments.  Big and little buckaroos will enjoy decor, activities and general wild and woolly fun. Total western party plan.

International Food Fest: Invite guests to celebrate their native lands with a contribution of a traditional dish for your worldly buffet.  Decorate with flags, banners, country colors and foreign language signs.  Add more festivity with native dances, music and games.  

 Hula The Hours Away: Take  your guests on a trip to the tropics, even in snowy weather. Create a paradise party with typical luau details, so easy to find.  Food, drink and party pastimes will carry the "islanders" straight into the New Year.  Total Tropical Party Plan    


Bonus:  Total Party Plan

Ring in the New With the Recycled

(Recycle left-over party goods and more for an earth-friendly theme.)

This theme spoofs recycling and incorporates some reckless and silly reuse of paper, glass, plastic, aluminum and cardboard. Those materials pretty much take care of every phase of your party plan, except the food and beverage. Note: We do recommend that all of your consumable items be ones served for the first time, unless it is an extremely impromptu gathering and you’ve raided your refrigerator for leftovers.

**Cardboard cartons, covered or not will be stunning as accent pieces and if sturdy enough, serving boards for brand new snacks. Check your supermarket for discarded boxes used to ship wine, chips or other snack foods to keep in the "party" theme.

**Cover the tables with old newspapers sporting headlines from the past year. (Cover with clear plastic.) Include leftover party goods from every past holiday including Easter, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, or Halloween to pay homage to the past year.

***Use sparkling clean frozen dinner trays to add to your ecological motif--and guarantee a thousand laughs.

***Serve condiments using the packaged portions from fast food restaurants you've had stuffed into purses, desks and glove compartments.

***Drag out the themed glasses you've collected from festivals, sporting events and restaurants. 

***Offer a collection of napkins, glasses, dishes and serving pieces you've tucked into a closet or cabinet because you no longer have a complete set.

Note: All of the above party plans should include 1) themed invitations 2) casual food, 3) singing or dancing if applicable. Big and little kids of all ages love to sing and dance to the hits of the day, rock and roll nostalgia favorites or party dances like the Hokey Pokey 4) teenage helpers at family parties to "wrangle" kids.

Success Secrets for Family Parties

**Make very special arrangements for the children: food, activities, decorations and gifts. Designate a TV viewing room, supply it with its own snack bar, comfy seating (pillows on the floor, etc.) and show short,  popular films. Avoid full-length features since most young children will not sit through them.

 **Give teenagers the task of taking party photos with a one-use cameras or instant photos for a build-as-you-go collage.

** Let children decorate cardstock instant photo frames for souvenirs and favors.

**Video tape a self-introduction and New Year’s message with resolutions from each guest to be played that night and/or at a future event and then saved for posterity.

 **Plan pot-luck events to allow guests to share expense and effort.

 **Plan an adults' bar and one that is tended by a teen-aged or older child, for kids.  Stock the kids' bar with smaller, sturdy plastic cups/glasses--one for each child with his name printed on it in permanent ink, plenty of napkins and straws.  Serve soft drinks, juices, garnish like cherries and fruit, cocktail umbrellas and silly-shaped ice cubes. (Note: if serving punch make two colors, clear or light non-alcoholic and pink for spiked.  Use clear glasses to prevent any mix-ups for children.)

 **Include a bus, car caravan or limo tour of the holiday lights, to kick off the party.  Upon returning to the party conduct a “Can You Remember” game in which teams (adults and kids mixed) have to answer questions related to the light displays they have just seen.


Other pages for planning spontaneous parties:

Munchies in a Minute

Party Favors and Gifts

Endless Party Links (good game sites)

More Holiday Links

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