Tips for throwing a successful theme party


Entertaining a diverse groups of friends or even family members may challenge party hosts to find methods that encourage their guests to mingle. One of the most effective ways to break the ice is to give a party its very own theme.

Themed parties have a built-in conversation starter: the theme itself. Socializing can increase when other games or themed components are included in the festivities. Here are some ways to make a theme work for you.

■ Introduce the theme with the invitations. Let guests know that there will be a party theme by mentioning it on the invitations. In fact, the invitations may tie into the theme. For example, palm tree invitations can indicate a Hawaiian barbecue. If costumes or specific clothing is suggested, be sure to indicate that on the invitations so guests can plan accordingly and decide whether or not to participate.

Coordinate the music. Guests will feel more comfortable if you have a steady amount of music playing in the background. Find music that fits with your theme, such as music from the 1970s for a disco party. Keep the volume moderate while guests are arriving and getting to know one another. Later on, the volume can be turned up for dancing.

Arrange seats for conversation. Avoid lining up a bunch of seats along a wall or in a straight line. Instead, group a few chairs around a snack table facing one another so that guests are encouraged to chat instead of spending the night as wallflowers.

Lead by example. If you want others to get involved and have fun with the party theme, you should lead the way. Be sure you are dressed for the occasion and participate in any games or activities that you have planned. If you want guests to get up for a round of karaoke, be the first person to belt out a tune.

■ Decorate the home or venue. Ensure guests know there is a specific theme by decking out the party space with the right accessories. The decor can add to the fun factor and give guests even more opportunities to converse over clever knickknacks, signs or elaborate backdrops.

Don't forget the food. Tie your food choices into the party theme, offering foods that are theme-specific or renaming foods so they coordinate with the theme. Cheese-and-crackers platters can get fun makeovers if you use cookie cutters to cut the cheese into shapes. By thinking creatively, you can find even more clever ways to keep guests smiling and satiated.

Theme parties make it easy to tie various elements together and break the ice when guests are invited to mingle.