As far as the typical adults-night-out setting goes, the bar has been a culturally ingrained social space for years (think Cheers, How I Met Your Mother). But the standard bar scene can get boring if it's the only setting on your social calendar, and trust us, there are plenty of fun things to do at a party other than hit the bar. For example, you could host a themed party at your home occasionally.
Before you let out an audible gasp, think about how fun it would be to have your friends show up in '90s gear for a dance party featuring hits from the decade, or to have them scattered around your neighborhood looking for clues during a scavenger hunt. Not only will these get-togethers be memorable, but you'll likely learn more about your group's dynamics than you would waiting for the next round to arrive.
Here's our list of 20 fun things to do at a party to spark your creativity.
Have a Themed Dance-Off
Choose a decade, whether it's the '60s or the '90s, and create a playlist of hit songs from the era. Tell your friends to show up dressed in clothes from that time period, and have a dance party using historically accurate moves. For instance, if you choose the '60s, make sure everyone does "The Twist."
Throw a Pizza or Cheeseboard Making Party
Buy enough ready-made pizza dough for each guest, and set out a range of toppings—even unexpected toppings like peaches or fennel work. The person who creates the tastiest pizza gets bragging rights.
Set up a DIY Bar
Instead of stressing about making cocktails for all of your guests, set up a bar that allows them to mix their own drinks. Make sure the bar has everything a mixologist would need—like a cocktail shaker, fresh citrus, and glassware—and it's sure to stand out.
Throw an Ice Cream Social
If you'd rather throw a booze-free party, coordinate a classic ice cream social instead. Ask everyone to bring a pint of ice cream, and set up a table of different toppings. Don't forget root beer, either, in case someone is in the mood for a root beer float.
Create an Outdoor Theater
Set up a projection screen in your backyard, which may just be the side of your house, and showcase a classic movie. Bonus points if you have a popcorn bar with sweet and salty mix-ins, too.
Set up a Backyard Carnival
Yes, we know this is ambitious, but it also isn't impossible. A pyramid of decorated empty cans and a tennis ball is suddenly the classic milk bottle game, just as a few hooks and plastic rings can stand in for a ring toss. Get creative with your options—you can even give away tickets—and you'll create a memorable night.
Organize a Clothing Swap
Instead of meeting your friends for a regular shopping trip, ask them to bring pieces of clothing from their closets that they've grown tired of wearing. The clothes should all be clean and in good condition, and once they're laid out, everyone can take turns swapping pieces. It's an easy way to update your closet for free, especially if you envy your friends' style.
Host a Book Exchange
If you have a collection of titles you know you'll never read again, then offer to trade them for the books your friends are finished with, too. This may even lead to an impromptu book club meeting.
Have a Wine Tasting Party
Do a little research to find some under-the-radar labels to try, and then have your friends share their thoughts on their favorites. Who says you need to go to a winery?
Instead of heading to a karaoke bar, rent a machine to sing songs in the comfort of your own home. After all, it's easier to belt out Robyn when strangers aren't watching. If you're feeling ambitious, give awards at the end of the night a la Grammys for "Best Pop Vocalist" and the like.