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Party Down
35 Better Themes For Your Next Office Party
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Cori Agostinelli Kalupson,
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Events pro, writer, mom, chaser of dreams.
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Work parties aren’t just for the holidays. Getting the team together every couple of months for a good time is great for building relationships and relieving in-office tension. Tacking a theme on to your office party — from an afternoon pop-up to a swanky evening soiree — is a simple, fun way to keep the planning thoughtful and consistent. Can't think of a theme? Try one of these for your next get-together.

Daytime “just because” party themes.

These themes are a welcome surprise in an otherwise “normal” day.

1. Cookies and milk party

No matter that it’s a random Tuesday in February. A fresh-baked cookie is never a bad idea.

2. Pi day

Celebrate on 3/14 at 1:59 with math riddles and an assortment of sweet and savory pies. Nerds unite! 

3. Bring-your-dog-to-work Day

Invite well-behaved dogs to spend the afternoon at work with you. If it’s too much trouble to bring your own dog, enlist the help of the local animal shelter and have an adoption event.

4. Taco’bout a lunch break

Park a taco truck in front of the building and have an impromptu fiesta— margaritas and Cerveza optional.

5. Self-care party

Pushing through a tough project or wrapping up a busy season? Treat the team with chair massage and MTO smoothies.

6. Talk-like-a-pirate day. 

It’s a real thing! Dress the part, share pirate nicknames and stay in character…but don’t expect to get any actual work done that day.

7. Dress-like-you-feel party

Whether dragging in on a Monday or ready to party on Friday, anything goes…within the boundaries of office decorum.

8. Back-to-school theme

Chalkboards and backpacks, Bento-box lunch (reminiscent of the cafeteria) and a break for recess. Kickball or Four Square, your choice! 

Laid-back party themes.

These themes are perfect to say goodbye to summer and give autumn a warm hello.

9. Tailgate party

Center it around either college or pro ball, wear your favorite team colors and serve favorite weekend afternoon fare. Don’t forget pom-poms, fight songs, and cornhole.

10. Baseball game 

It’s America’s favorite pastime for good reason. Minor-league stadiums are all over the country; reserve a box, and bring on the hot dogs and Crackerjack.

11. Pool party

This is an all-or-nothing theme: seeing coworkers in bathing suits isn’t right for everyone. If you do go for it, have swimming and water volleyball all afternoon, a firepit and sparklers as the sun goes down, burgers on the grill and flavored lemonade. Bonus points if the boss is the grill master!

12. Carnival theme

Everything about this family-friendly concept is a crowd-pleaser. Rent a bounce house and dunk tank, play ring toss and the goldfish game and offer airbrush tattoos and a fortune teller.

13. Tiki theme party

Hawaiian shirts, pulled Kahlua pork, skewers of grilled pineapple and drinks with umbrellas. Add drums and a hula lesson and call it a party! 

14. Zydeco breakfast

Celebratory bagels are fine, but for a special themed breakfast, give it a Creole kick. Shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy and sweet potato fries with Zydeco music in the background sounds are the perfect way to start the day.

15. Happy hour

Don’t overthink this party theme: take the team to the local watering hole for a couple of hours and keep the nachos and beer flowing.

16. Rock ‘n’ bowl

Another great, family-friendly party theme: Invite the office to the local lanes and bowl a few frames. For non-pros, it’s an incredibly social and sometimes silly game…a perfect combination!

17. Barn dance

This theme mixes bluegrass and booze, hay bales and mason jars and, of course, lots of comfort food. Guests should arrive in their best boots and denim attire.

Twisty decade themes.

Everyone can tell when a decade party is an afterthought. Choose a fresh track and run with it!

18. I love the 80s theme

Neon is making a comeback! Embrace the theme with big hair, Flashdance-esque shoulders and glow-stick jewelry. Push it over the top: rent a room full of throwback video games.

19. 50s rockabilly theme.

The hairstyles alone are worth the effort!

20. 90s swing revival party

The 1990s brought a wide range of music to the forefront, including a rebirth of swing. Hire a live band and professional dancers to give swing dance lessons.

Interactive party themes.

Push your team out of their comfort zone in a safe, fun way by introducing them to something they may never have tried before.

21. Chopped: office edition 

Take over a catering kitchen, break the group into teams and present each with groceries and an obscure ingredient required to create a culinary masterpiece. It fosters teamwork and has a delicious ending.

22. Scavenger hunt

Give each team a list of obscure, creative clues and let them loose! Be sure to mix the cutthroat, competitive folks with their more easygoing, pragmatic colleagues to encourage teamwork and problem-solving.

23. Graffiti theme party

It’s paintball for Millenials! Find a wide, open space and bring your creativity. Create your own package with overalls, eye protection and drop cloths, or subcontract it to a professional (which means you won’t necessarily have to be the one to clean up).

24. Get physical

Take the crew to a local ropes challenge or put a team in the Color Run. Spring for matching tees and survival kits for each participant — water bottle, snacks for energy and a bandanna.

25. National Hat Day 

This is actually a designated holiday in mid-January. Celebrate with a Mad Hatter’s tea, complete with kits to design your own party hats, delivered to your event.

Punny party themes.

Things that are funny to you and your co-workers aren’t funny to anyone else. Roll with it!

26. Post-It party

Dress as a custom message. Be ready for good-natured teasing if you’re the one who is Post-It happy. 

27. Dress like the boss (or team leader or any colleague) day

You know how to do this… just keep it friendly and kind.

Hit-the-road themes

Pack up the team and go on an adventure. Remember that road trips are always made better with coolers of food and drink on the bus.

28. Wine and music festival

Summer is full of opportunities to sample great wine and all music is good if it’s live and in open-air. 

29. Amusement park party theme

Chances are, there’s an amusement park within a couple of hours of where you are. It doesn’t have to be Disney! Hand out matching tee-shirts and release everyone’s inner child.

30. Apres-ski

Rent a lodge for the weekend. Those who ski and snowboard can do so; have indoor games and a great library for those who prefer to sit by the fire.

31. Progressive dinner party

Okay, it’s not really a road trip, but it fits the theme because it requires that everyone do a little bit of traveling. Start with champagne on arrival, move to a rowdy spot for hors d'oeuvres, then dinner on small plates in a private banquet room, finished with dessert and coffee at a cozy location.

Fancy gala parties.

You have to have a few of these in your pocket. Even the swankiest party can seem stale, though. Keep it interesting!

32. Red carpet

Take a cue from the Met Gala and set the attire as “creative black tie.” Not everyone has a tux, nor should they need to rent one for the office holiday party. Personalities will shine through!

33. Walk on the wild side

Animal print is making a comeback. Instead of traditional black tie, encourage animal-print attire and accessories — the more outrageous, the better.

34. Casino night

There’s no better way to put it: winning is EXCITING! Invite the team for dinner, then unveil a room full of casino games. Hand over chips for gambling and have cocktail servers on hand for the full casino experience. 

35. Garden party 

Springtime is as good a theme as any. Soft colors, fresh wildflowers and cuisine that has light, bright flavors. Live guitar in the background blends with the gorgeous weather you’re destined to have.

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