Party Themes For Dummies

Area 51

Search Alien Decorations To Find Tons Of Options Under $10

I’ve only been to one Area 51 themed party and I can honestly say that I would love to go to one again. It is something that is super easy to decorate for and the outfits are always so unique and funky. Need some fun ideas that can be used to execute this theme for super cheap? Try these!πŸ‘‡

  • Dye all of the drinks green or purple using a cheap pack of food dye from the grocery store to give your party that alien-like vibe
  • Use a pack of aluminum foil to create a backdrop that is super reflective and add some lights to spice it up
  • Use any excess aluminum foil to make hats and headbands (normally for the guys who cant dress up in the same ways girls can)
  • Grab some super cute alien decorations from Party City without breaking the bank

Great Gatsby

This theme is likely the most difficult and expensive to execute on this entire list. This is mostly because the 20’s theme requires a lot of decorations to make it clear what the theme is supposed to be.

The cheapest ways that I have seen people decorate for this theme is by folding up small cardboard boxes and taping or gluing alcohol labels onto them (as seen in the image above). You can also use boas and felt boards to create jazz/murder mystery inspired photo ops. I would also recommend purchasing cheap, plastic flutes for your guests to drink their beverages out of. This gives off the classy vibes of the 1920’s without you having to buy glass flutes that people will no doubt break by accident during the party. Finally, you can pick up white, gold, and silver beaded necklaces at any party store. The white beads mimic pearls and the gold and silver beads match the aesthetic of the 20’s in a super cheap way.

Besides the decorations, the outfits are key to making this theme work. It is definitely worth it to ask your guests to make sure that they dress to impress in order to tie the whole theme together.

80’s In Aspen

This theme is a great one to use during the winter seasons. Many themes require outfits that would be much too cold to wear during the chillier months but this one is PERFECT for just that. You can layer as many bright pieces as you want to fit the neon look of the 80’s while still being able to stay warm all night long.

St Fratty’s Day

Because this holiday is also my birthday, I know that people often have no idea what to wear for it. EVERY single year, someone says to me “Ciara, what do I even wear for a Saint Patrick’s Day Party?”. my best answer is to just wear something green and accessorize with cheap earrings, face stickers, and beaded necklaces from 5 Below, CVS, or any drug store in your area.

If you cant think of a cute green outfit, college fashion did a piece on different possible outfits you could wear. I will link it here for you guys to check out!

American Pie (Frat Themed)

This theme is your standard “college themed” party and is SOOOOO easy to execute. All you need is some empty alcohol boxes that you can hot glue together to create cool decorations for your space. You can also string a pack of $5 red solo cups together to create more decorations and can hang them wherever you want. You can hang them in a door way (as pictured above) or even attach them to a wall to create a fun, themed backdrop for photos that everyone will love.

As far as outfits are concerned, you likely already have all you will need in your closet: an oversized button down, sunglasses, sneakers, and a snapback.

Foam Theme

The main thing you need for this is a foam machine. You will definitely want to start this machine up roughly 25 minutes before the party starts so you can get the entire room filled the way you often see in photos online (like the one above). The cheapest machine I have seen is from Party City and is just a little under $40. The bubble juice is sold separately and this is something you are going to want to buy A LOT of. There is nothing worse than throwing a foam party and running out of the solution that helps the machine create the bubbles.

Another cool addition to parties like these is having mini bubble wands to give out to everyone who attends. You can get a 12 count of them from Party City for only $3. This is a cool way to get everyone involved and make everyone feel like their inner child!

Toga Party

Toga parties are probably one of your cheapest options if you are on a budget. All you need is access to a white sheet and you are good to go. Having said that, I will say it is really hard to make a toga outfit look cute and you are going to want to keep in mind that togas fall off super easily, especially when you are drunk. So long story short, WEAR SOMETHING CUTE UNDERNEATH!

Fire and Ice

Fire & Ice is such an easy theme to pull off and is really just a red and blue themed party. I’ve seen fire and ice parties where the girls are required to be Ice and guys are required to be Fire and that way the party is normally pretty evenly split between blue and red. However, you can totally do it however you want! You could just have everyone wear black and then have the decorations be red and blue or you could just let people wear whatever and see who gets super festive with it.

Neon Jungle/Blacklight

If you are going to do a neon jungle theme, PLEASE think about investing in a TON of blacklights and some blacklight paint. In almost any Pinterest photo of a well organized blacklight party, there will be tons of people covered in blacklight body paint. It makes the photos look so much cooler and is honestly just a super fun addition to any party.


A Luau themed party is really similar to a beach themed party. The only difference is it is more tikis and floaties than mermaid and beach towels. Luau parties are normally more “A Day In Hawaii” than they are “A Day At A California Beach”. Either way, you can never fail with a pool-side party filled with fun drinks and positive vibes.

If you are planning a Luau themed party, would recommend wearing a Hawaiian shirt, a lei, and a bathing suit. You can also wear pool floaties with Hawaiian patterns on them to add to your themed costume.

As far as decorations go, I’ve seen people buy tiki torches to stick in the ground (these also double as a cool way to keep the party going all night long because they provide a little bit of heat and a lot of light). I’ve also seen people just buy a ton of leis, cut them in half, tie them all together, and hang them up as a garland on the walls.

It is also a good idea to serve beach/tropical themed drinks. I’ve seen people serve fruit punch or jungle juice (with or without alcohol depending on the kind of party) or just some mixed drinks with a little bit of green and blue food coloring in them to look like the ocean.

Angels & Devils

As you can tell, the Angels & Devils theme is pretty close to the Fire & Ice theme in terms of a color scheme. The thing that really differentiates the two is that Fire & Ice is about the red and blue decorations while Angels & Devils is much more focused on the costumes.

What I mean by this is that it often isn’t enough to just show up in red to an Angels & Devils themed party; You will normally need devil horns or some other accessory to complete the look. So, if you are the host or hostess, just keep this in mind when thinking about how much money you have to spend on things like costumes and decorations.

Ho Ho Hoing Around The Xmas Tree

Christmas In September Birthday Party

Christmas themed parties are so easy to throw and are basically cost free because everyone and their mother owns Christmas decorations. Don’t hesitate to ask around to borrow some extra lights because, even if it is the holiday season, almost everyone has at least one set of lights that they aren’t putting out that you could borrow for one night.

School Spirit

Does This One Really Need An Explanation?


The 2000’s were filled with some of our favorite childhood icons, some of which are still icons today.

Whether you want to dress up as a specific celebrity from the early 2000’s or you just want to pull up in a Y2K inspired outfit, this super fun, trending party idea has so many options for costumes.

Some good examples of celebrities for women to dress up as include: Britney Spears, Avril Lavinge, Nicole Richie, Christina Aguilera, Lindsay Lohan, or even Paris Hilton.

Jersey Day

While these πŸ‘† girls from Pinterest make the Jersey theme look so good, I have to say, from experience, it is one of the harder themes to make look cute.

It is definitely an easy theme to execute (because, like, who doesn’t own a jersey of some sort) and is a good conversation starter for people who like sports and see someone else wearing a jersey for a team that they love (or hate)

…. it’s just REALLY hard to make these outfits look cute. You cant go too dressy and wear heels because that just looks weird so you need to get creative with your ideas of how to make sporty look sexy.

Cowboys & Aliens

I don’t know how to express how much I love this theme. I’ve only ever been to one party like this and it was with the agriculture fraternity (which is full of cowboys who know how to line dance) and all the girls dressed up as space cowgirls or aliens and it was so cute. This theme is so colorful and fun and the pictures are ALWAYS top notch.

The inflatable aliens you see in the Pinterest photos above are a pretty common staple decoration for this theme (as well as the Area 51 theme from earlier in this article) and can be found online for super cheap here.

Wine Is My Valentine

Valentines Day themed parties are the best. I have never seen anyone, guy or girl, struggle to find a sexy, yet theme appropriate outfit for these parties. All you have to do is wear something white, black, red, or pink and you are good to go. Even better, there are so many cool ways to decorate for this theme and it is so easy and cheap. Here are some ideas that I have seen done that I loved.

  • Make banners with all kinds of fun slogans like “Wine Is My Valentine”, “All The Single Ladies”, “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off”
  • Buy a few dozen roses and give single roses out to a bunch of your guests
  • Sprinkle a pack of heart shaped confetti around on different countertops (keep in mind, this looks super great in photos but is ridiculously hard to clean up and definitely will require a vacuum)
  • Cover a wall in heart shaped post-it notes and hang a few pens from the ceiling and let people write on them who or what they love
  • Lay red and pink balloons all over the floor and even add in some cheap helium balloons (ideas linked here, here, and here)

Cops & Robbers

Cops & Robbers is a really cool theme to do if you have a group of friends that love to dress up. There are quite a few options when it comes to dressing up. You can obviously be a cop or a robber but people will often also come dressed just as prisoners (either a white and black stripped outfit or an orange jumpsuit). It is also a good theme even if you have a few people that were invited super last minute who didn’t have time to get a costume. All they would need is a full face robber mask of some sort (can make these by cutting holes in winter hats) and they will be good to go. Below are some Pinterest photos of girls wearing cute robber outfits.

When it comes to decorating for this theme, you can easily set up a DIY mug shot backdrop for people to take photos with. For props, you can create a bunch of signs for them to hold that say things like “Mobster”, “The Boss”, “Bad Bitch”, “Hot Mess”, “Can’t Be Tamed”, “Accomplice”, “Guilty”, etc. Some of these, such as “Mobster” or “The Boss” can be reused for a Great Gatsby/20’s themed party.


While many of us know of the HBO hit TV show, some of us may still be a little confused on how to host a Euphoria themed party.

My first recommendation is to start with the color scheme. Most of Euphoria is based around a blue, silver, and purple color palette. The goal of these colors, along with all of the other decorations, is to mimic the experience of being under the influence in a room lit by only LEDs. For this reason, my Euphoria part starter pack would have to include purple and iridescent foil curtains to hang on the walls, LED lights of any kind that change color, and black lights. Anything silver, glittery, star shaped, or iridescent will also fit the theme just as well.

Avoid filling the party with “glow” items such as glow sticks as this isn’t entirely on-brand for the Euphoria theme. While things like glow sticks can be incorporated, overdoing their use will make the party seem more glow/neon themed and take attention away from the theme you were trying to go for.

Beach Party

Everyone you know will be showing up for this theme! Mermaids, sailors, lifeguards, and tons of girl in bikinis will be in attendance and their outfits rarely disappoint. I’ve seen people get super creative with this theme. Some have showed up with floaties, flippers, and even scuba masks on and it just adds so much character and positivity to the environment.

In terms of decorations, having beach balls in circulation as well as themed drinks (like a blue dyed punch bowl as seen above) can make this party all the more fun for everyone involved.

The only downside to this theme is that it is normally only held during the warmer months and the host usually owns a pool or a beach house of some sort. While those things aren’t requirements, they greatly add to the beach theme as a whole.


The 90’s was such an iconic era and provides us with so many different types of costumes to wear at a 90’s themed party. Solo costume ideas could include Snoop Dog, Madonna, or even Christina Aguilera. If you have a group of friends you always party with, there are so many cool group costumes you could do. Some ideas include The Spice Girls, The Backstreet Boys, Nirvana, Green Day, or NSYNC, etc. If you love watching 90’s films and reruns of 90’s TV shows, then you know that the possibilities are endless. More well known ideas from film/TV would include Fresh Prince Of Belair, FRIENDS, The Nanny, Saved By The Bell, Full House, Family Matters, Seinfeld, Baywatch, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Animaniacs, Dexter’s Laboratory, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, And SO MANY MORE.

Mathletes & Athletes

Another name for this theme is Jocks & Nerds but I personally live the name Mathletes and Athletes. It is always really cool to see who decides to show up as what. While girls normally go as Mathletes because they can wear school girl costumes, and guys normally go as athletes because they already have a million jerseys, sometimes people switch it up and surprise you.


70’s themed parties were probably the most common during my freshman year of college. Luckily, a lot of our current fashion trends (bell sleeves, bell bottom/flare jeans, funky sunglasses, front tie crop tops) are all inspired by the fashion of the 70’s so it shouldn’t be too hard to find something you already own that would work for this theme.

I would normally recommend staying more towards warmer, floral patterns because they match the aesthetic of the 70’s better but honestly you can do whatever makes you feel like the hottest person in the room. The most important thing really is the bell bottom pants because, regardless of what top you wear, the bell bottoms are an emirate giveaway that you are dressing for a 70’s party.

Other popular 70’s trends include chunky heels, round glasses (normally colored), flower crowns, and general accessories that may reference LSD. Rainbow prints, large floral print, and tie dye were also extremely popular during that decade so you could wear those with your bell bottoms to really drill home the theme.

Champagne & Shackles

If you aren’t familiar with what Champagne & Shackles is, it is basically a party where everyone either comes with a date or is paired with a partner and they are shackled to them (either with handcuffs or zip ties). Once the host says to start, you and your partner pass the champagne bottle that you either brought or were provided back and forth, taking turns drinking from it until you have finished the bottle. Once you have finished your bottle, you can get un-shackled from each other and continue partying.

This set up is great for three things. First, it is great because it is one of the only themes that requires no decorations. Second, it is a great way to meet new people 9if you got randomly paired up with someone) or get to know your date better (if you brought someone you already knew). Third, it is a FANTASTIC way to get everyone tipsy very quickly. The game brings out the competitive side of most people and makes you want to drink as much as you ca, as fast as you can.

*Please note that you should always go to the bathroom before you get shackled unless you want to pee in front of the person you have been shackled to. It isn’t super common that an excuse such as “I need to pee but I don’t want to pee in front of person x” will get you unshackled early*

Sweet Home Alabama

Sweet Home Alabama Theme is basically a bunch of people dressed up in popular southern stereotypes. People often show up in farming outfits, hunting gear, or Sunday church attire. Mostly, it is just a room full of people wearing plaid shirts and crosses. This is the least common of the themes and has recently become more political (people show up wearing MAGA hats, etc.) but it can be a cool theme if your friend group is more quirky and has a good sense of humor.

Risky Business

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, please stop reading and go watch it. This is such a popular Tom Cruise movie and an even more popular theme for college parties. The girls who got the most respect from the fraternity that night were the ones who dressed the part and knew what Risky Business was when they were asked.

To make this iconic Tom Cruise outfit look sexy, all you have to do is wear an unbuttoned button up white long sleeve shirt, some matching lingerie, and your Air Force 1’s and you will be set. For guys, you can just stick to any variation of the original outfit from Risky business (white button up, boxers, and sunglasses).

Party Animals

Every girl owns something that could be worn to a Party Animal themed event. With the growing popularity of cow print, leopard print, and cheetah print, this theme has become more and more easy to get involved with. And even if you don’t have any of these prints, you can pick up some cat ears at any party store for under $10 and draw some whiskers on your face with black eyeliner and BOOM… you have an instant cat costume to help you unleash your inner party animal.

Rock N’ Roll

While a Rock N’ Roll themed party is always cool, everyone there is basically wearing the same outfit so I wouldn’t expect to stand out in a crowded room at a party with this theme. Inflatable guitars, fishnet gloves, ripped denim, chokers, and cropped band t-shirts pretty much cover the bases of what everyone and their mother will be wearing. Definitely an easy party to dress for and even easier for someone, like myself, that owns a lot of dark colored clothes.

Playboy Themed Party

These photos were taken at one of my FAVORITE parties in terms of decorations and execution. All of the guys in the fraternity had dressed up as Hugh Hefner and a bunch of the girls came in lingerie and it just made the night such an amazing experience to have everyone involved in the theme.

My favorite part of the party had to have been the insane number of places where the boys had set up Playboy themed backgrounds to take photos with. On the left, you can see that one of the guys painted the Playboy logo on a spare sheet and then hung it on one of their walls for girls to take photos with. On the right, you can see another massive backdrop that they created by going online and printing out dozens of the covers of past Playboy magazines. They then surrounded them with lights which tied the whole thing together and just really emphasized the whole Playboy aesthetic of the night.

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