Do you love throwing parties but feel like you need even more control in order to ensure your guests’ enjoyment? Okay, maybe that’s just me, but go with it. I’m of the opinion that birthday parties should have themes, no matter how old you are. That’s really my inner control freak’s opinion, but I agree with it. I can’t remember a party I’ve thrown that didn’t have a theme, and since high school I’ve figured out a foolproof formula for a fun themed party that gives the theme prominence without micro-managing everyone’s fun time. Here are my five major do’s and dont’s.
1. DO announce your theme when you invite your guests (whether it’s on a facebook event or individual invitations). Set all of your guidelines (such as costumes, food to be brought, etc.) from the beginning, otherwise some people may not get the memo.
2. DON’T be wishy-washy about your theme. Once you’ve chosen, you cannot go back. Your guests may or may not love your theme right away, but if you seem unsure, they will definitely either dread its involvement or forget about it all together. I prefer coming up with themes I know I would enjoy and then basically asking my friends to humor me. Sometimes that theme is kind of odd and everyone will give you weird looks when you tell them about it (the theme of my Sweet 16 was England), but once they start going along with it, they’ll see how much fun it can be.
3. DO pick a theme that requires costumes. This one is tricky because if only a few people dress up, it might start to seem stupid. But like Rule #2, as long as you can get people to go along with it (it’s your party, and…you know the drill), it will suddenly become really hilarious. The best party I’ve ever thrown was hipster themed and I told everyone to come dressed like the most ridiculously ironic hipster; I still love looking at those pictures and can’t believe how much fun everyone had with each other as a result of their silly outfits.
4. DON’T plan more than two party activities related to the theme. (In fact, I’d say don’t plan more than two in general, because you don’t want people to feel like they’re on a schedule.) You don’t want it to seem like you are shoving the theme down everyone’s throats. Whatever activities you do plan should be simple and things that not everyone has to participate in if they don’t want to.
5. DO have things for people to do in case they don’t feel like dancing or just sitting around and talking. Most parties I’ve been at (whether they are mine or someone else’s) don’t end up needing these things, but they are always a good back-up, especially if the party is one at which alcohol is not being had and/or it is during the day, and/or your parents are home (as mine have been for most of my best parties). A piñata related to the theme is always a crowd pleaser no matter how old you get, as is some sort of Rock Band or Just Dance game on the TV that your guests can decide to play if they feel like it.