When did birthday parties stop being fun? Nine out of 10 people say it’s important to celebrate your birthday. But as you get older, it’s easy to lose touch with your inner child — which can make planning a fun birthday difficult. Just what is “fun” for adults, anyway?
Birthdays don’t have to be a bore, so long as you have the right theme.
Here are 10 fun party theme ideas you can use.
1. The Roaring 20s
If you’re looking for a fun birthday atmosphere, then perhaps you should look to the era of wonderful noise. The Roaring 20s was a giddy decade of new fashions and new ways of living. Life was loud, so drink deep from the makeshift speakeasy while you talk about the rising stars of the silver screen.
The 20s were also full of iconic outfits. From gangsters to flappers, you can find costumes here that show off the full range of the decade.
2. Or Your Decade of Choice
Everything was better when you were young. Or at least, that’s the common thinking.
Most of us have a strong attachment to the decade(s) in which we came of age. Hark back to halcyon days with a themed party, whether it’s the swinging 60s, the disco years of the 70s, or the big bouffants of the 80s. Each has its own distinct style. You and your guests can even pool your memories of the decade to put your own stamp on it.
Maybe it’s even time to acknowledge the 90s are retro now? Bring in the baggy outfits, South Park shirts, and grunge to really make things extreme.
Cosplay used to be a fringe interest. But with every Halloween, it seems we see more movie characters and fewer ghosts and ghouls. We’ve all become used to dressing as superheroes and video game characters.
Lean into that by making your next birthday the most ambitious crossover event in history. If your party looks like that one scene from The Lego Movie, then you’re doing it right.
The best thing about this theme is you never know who’ll turn up. Will Darth Vader hang out with Gandalf? Will Wonder Woman and Captain America trade war stories over canapes?
4. Secret Agents
Class. Suits. Cocktails shaken, not stirred.
The life of a secret agent is a glamorous one. And who’s to say which master each of you serves, when you all turn up dressed to schmooze? A few party games to up the mystery will bring out the best in this theme, such as setting a challenge to find out each person’s secret identity.
If you’re ready for some high-class mystery, then a masquerade ball is a fun way to do a more grown-up style of dressing up.
Go decadent to really make this idea sing. Candles and candelabras will set the mood, and you should encourage your guests to go all-out on costumes. A lavish masquerade ball could prove expensive, but it’ll make it a party to remember.
Crank up the mystery dial with low light and you’ll soon set a scene right out of The Phantom of the Opera.
While we’re on the mature end of the scale, here’s another that’s not for kids. Watch Chicago on loop for inspiration, and be sure to stock up on jazz and liquor. A burlesque-themed party lets everyone indulge a little in their wild side.
Drape the room in decadent colors, rouge your knees, and pick your soundtrack carefully. Burlesque is a mood, and you need to cultivate it. The aforementioned Chicago is always good for some karaoke numbers, too, for those who really want to get into the spirit of things.
7. Devil’s Party
“Hell is empty, and all the devils are here!” Looks like a good turnout, then.
They say Hell is other people, so prove them right by theming your party on the fun side of being bad. This is one of those excellent themes that give you a complete aesthetic to work with, from the variety of costumes available to the deliciously devilish decorations.
It’s also likely to lead to a hell of a lot of puns and general outlandish behavior, as you all let out your inner wicked side.
8. Murder Mystery
It’s a party, alright, but whodunnit?
You can have fun party themes while still indulging in a classy, sit-down meal. It just might have to involve a little murder.
A murder mystery can take some organizing, but the payoff is huge. You’re sure to make some memories as you and your friends live out your Holmesian fantasies. It’s also a great reminder that when it comes to party themes for adults, fun doesn’t have to mean drunken japes — it can just mean trying something new and different.
9. Alice in Wonderland
Ready to go down the rabbit hole? If you’re looking for a madcap birthday, then an Alice in Wonderland theme could bring some weirdness into the proceedings.
Lewis Carroll gave us many weird and wonderful characters to inspires costumes. Provide the Eat Mes and Drink Mes, and you’ll be all set. It may get a little more raucous than a tea party, but that will only add to the delirious atmosphere Alice in Wonderland made so popular.
Game of Thrones has made medieval cool again, inspiring a host of other popular TV shows like the History channel’s Vikings. What once was the domain of LARPers and Monty Python is now a popular aesthetic.
A medieval theme designs itself. Rustic surroundings, goblets, firepits, and the occasional plastic sword are enough to conjure the mood. Costumes can range from the knights and nobles to the blacksmiths and peasants. If you want to go all-in, consider throwing a semi-authentic banquet and period-appropriate drinks.
Party Theme Ideas to Bring the Fun Back
These party theme ideas can bring the fun back to your next birthday bash. Even if you don’t use any from this list, there’s a good chance they’ve sparked a new idea for you. Have fun with it, it’s your day!
Looking for more ways to live your best life? Check out our cool vibes.