>U Mom Knows Best: How to Throw a Terrific Themed Party

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

How to Throw a Terrific Themed Party

You don't have to choose a theme in order to throw a great party, but having a central idea to tie things together always enhances the fun. Whether you pick a holiday, a movie, or a location, you can easily make almost every aspect of your party on-trend.

Choosing Food and Drink

 A table spread with treats should be a central part of your shindig. Start with specific items that fit your theme. For a Sex and the City party, obviously, you’ll need a Cosmo drink, while an Oktoberfest bash requires pretzels and sausages and a Mardi Gras celebration calls for gumbo and a pitcher of Hurricanes. You can get creative with Halloween witches’ brooms and Valentine’s Day bacon roses, or you can save time by buying pre-made snacks.

 Once you’ve got the must-haves, start thinking more generally. Choose foods and beverages that come in relevant flavors and appropriately colored packaging even if there’s no actual reference to your theme. Make sure your overall spread is balanced and varied: proteins such as cheese, nuts, or charcuterie as well as carbs, a range of non-alcoholic drinks in addition to an assortment of alcohol and mixers, fresh fruit and veggies along with chips and cookies. Fruits and vegetables can be arranged to form an Irish flag for Saint Patrick’s Day or a US flag for July 4th, or you can simply buy based on color (purple plums, gold pineapple, and green grapes for Mardi Gras, or rainbow baby carrots for a tropical tiki party).

 Tableware should also fit your theme. If you’re serving chili or stew, choose coffee mugs rather than bowls because the handles make them easier to hold and a spoon can rest securely inside rather than balancing precariously on the rim. Before you rush to buy brand-new items, check thrift shops for reusable mugs and serving dishes; you might even find unopened packages of disposable plates or napkins in the perfect color or pattern.


 Here you’ll also want to start theme-specific and then use color. Paper cut-outs for windows, garlands over doorways and along mantlepieces, and confetti or miniature shamrocks or seashells scattered over tables make easy and attractive decorations, but don’t stop there. Your Valentine’s Day guests will be impressed by details such as a bar of heart-shaped soap and a rose-printed hand towel in the guest bathroom (especially if you use a pink or red plastic bag to line the wastebasket). A pumpkin-shaped soap dispenser at the kitchen sink works for both Halloween and Thanksgiving, while a clear dispenser can be filled with liquid soap in any color or scent. Washable or disposable tablecloths and pop-up disposable trash cans make clean-up easier while providing yet another opportunity to emphasize your theme.

Being a Good Host

 Always keep in mind the comfort and enjoyment of your guests. While guests’ clothing can help enhance your theme, make flexible suggestions rather than demanding a specific dress code. For a tiki party, for example, go with “if possible, please wear bright colors or tropical patterns” rather than “women wear full-length muumuus and men wear aloha shirts.” Provide wearable favors such as fabric leis for tiki parties, beads, and masks for Mardi Gras, or a mix of costume accessories for Halloween. If children will be attending a mostly adult party, put out some small toys or have a TV showing kid-friendly cartoons. Ask guests in advance about dietary restrictions; while you don’t have to make your entire menu vegan or gluten-free, it’s easy to provide a few specialized foods or to set aside a mug of chicken jambalaya for your shellfish-allergic friend so there’s no chance of cross-contamination from the seafood gumbo.

 A theme is an excellent way to upgrade your party and to make the planning even more fun. Get creative and have a blast!

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