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12 New Year’s Eve Party Theme Ideas

There’s so much pressure around New Year’s Eve! Everyone wants to make sure you’re doing it “right” — should you party down or spend the evening meditating on the upcoming year? A black-tie affair or a casual night with friends and family? When you’re the one making the plans, sometimes inspiration needs a little spark. Following are a dozen New Year’s Eve party theme ideas for every kind of party animal: those who will be in bed by 10, as well as for those who can’t wait to cut loose until dawn. Once you’ve decided how to celebrate, decide where to do so with Peerspace, a comprehensive guide to unexpected, exciting venues for parties, meetings, office retreats, and social events in metro areas across the country. 

1. Slumber party

Feeling wiped out by the holiday season? Host a cozy and warm PJ party! Encourage attire of snuggly flannel and adult-sized onesies, and spend the evening playing cards and board games. The menu doesn’t get any simpler: serve a combination of sweet and salty snacks, such as cookies, popcorn, and sweet, spiced nuts. A hot cocoa bar with stir-ins and toppings (spiked or not) is just the right special touch. 

2. Mystical New Year

Write resolutions on scraps of paper and release them into the night; burn sage to drive away negativity, open all of the doors and windows, and bang drums and gongs to let the old year escape. Are superstitions real? Well, does it matter? This is one of the most low-key New Year’s Eve party theme ideas.

3. Italian-inspired New Year’s Eve

Every culture has their own traditions about how to ring in the new year. An Italian New Year’s party theme is just one example of the many options! Of course it’ll be centered around food: lentils resemble coins, so eating soup made of lentils is thought to bring prosperity. Foods with rich flavors and a high fat content is a symbol of abundance. Throwing old things out of the window during your celebration is believed to help to make room for a fresh start in the new year. 

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4. Hollywood red carpet event

Rent a private venue through Peerspace and host the elegant New Year’s Eve party you’ve only seen in movies! Pack the dance floor with a live big band, delight them hand-passed heavy hors d’oeuvres, champagne, and fine wines, and offer a Viennese table as guests wrap up their evening. Attendees should express themselves in the most glamorous way possible: creative black tie (that is, tuxedos with personal, exciting touches) and floor-length gowns. Distribute Venetian masks and drop confetti and balloons at midnight.

5. Costume party

This New Year’s Eve party theme is different from the previous because it is more free-for-all and lighthearted fun! Consider it Halloween in colder weather, with less pressure and more time to think through one’s costume. Carry the theme further with interesting party fare that’s easy to eat while wearing full makeup: warm cheese puffs, shrimp gazpacho shooters, bacon skewers, fried ravioli or empanadas, and bites of caramel apples. Offer prizes for the best costumes in various categories!

6. Apocalypse party

Party like it’s the end of the world! Celebrate with your favorite foods, your most guilty pleasures, and checking things off of your bucket list (or making plans to do so). Zombies optional.

7. Mardi Gras

Of course it’s early, but feathers and beads are never a bad idea! Laissez le bon temps rouler as a New Year’s Eve party theme with hurricane cocktails and zydeco music. Choose your favorite N’Awlins-themed menu: jambalaya or gator with red beans and rice. Voodoo as an activity might be more of a commitment than you’re looking for. Instead, hire a tarot card reader or palm reader respectfully reminiscent of Marie Laveau.

8. Roaring ’20s

Gatsby is one thing; a Jazz Age-themed New Year’s Eve party for mere mortals is yet another. Ring in the new year with rouged knees and fringe, as well as stockings rolled down and long strings of pearls. Prohibition was alive and well, so guests should have a secret knock and a password to cross the threshold.

Once inside, your bar should be fully stocked with gin, whiskey, and absinthe for the truly adventurous. Be careful: Moonshine, though popular, is not for the inexperienced drinker and will change the mood of the party! Your authentic-inspired menu should include party snacks of deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, mixed nuts, cheeses, and olives.

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9. Superstitions party

What are the wackiest New Year’s traditions you’ve ever heard? Never hang a calendar before January 1. The first person to enter the home after midnight should be a tall man with dark hair, bearing gifts. Wear brand-new red undergarments to ensure fertility in the new year. Don’t eat crab on New Year’s Eve because they travel backwards. Fulfill them all and ensure a glorious new year!

10. Blacklight party

Attire: white tee shirts and a lot of energy! Provide bowls of glow-in-the-dark bracelets, as well as UV body and face paint. Decorate with glowing balloons and tableware. Turn on the blacklight and rave until midnight! This is undoubtedly among one of the most unforgettable New Year’s Eve party theme ideas.

11. Spiked bubbles

Bubbles set a festive, cheerful mood. Greet guests with a bubble-machine entrance to a room adorned with clear and pearl-colored balloons, reminiscent of champagne bubbles. Serve bubbly drinks with spherical ice cubes, assorted savory puffs, and gelees with tapioca beads for dessert.

12. “When in Rome” feast

No one celebrated debauchery and excess like they did in Ancient Rome! There’s no such thing as “too much” with this theme. Seat guests on soft furniture and pillows suitable for lounging or long, farm-style tables with wooden benches with greenery, marble, and touches of gilt to adorn them. Hire a harpist or strolling mandolin player to set the mood.

In regard to menu, decadence should be your guide: assorted roasted meats and fish, goat’s milk cheese, grapes, figs, fresh breads, honey, and poppyseed, all served on family-style trays and bowls with the intent to be eaten without utensils. Serve carafes of red wine in goblets, and offer warm towels for guests to clean their fingers between courses. Togas, of course, are optional.

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