Dinner Party Theme Ideas

Try a theme idea when planning a fabulous dinner party.

Here are some ideas for dinner party themes:

MARDI GRAS: Use the colors of green, gold, and purple for a Mardi Gras party; decorations could include lots of beads, masks, feather boas, and plastic crowns. Music should be Zydeco, and the menu should include Cajun and Creole dishes such as gumbo, shrimp and other seafood, etouffee, jambalaya, or muffaletta and po'boy sandwiches.

WESTERN: For a western theme, use the colors of red, brown, and white. Have the party outdoors so you can use hay bales, old Western boots, spurs, chaps, branding irons, or other cowboy paraphernalia as decorations. Set up a chuckwagon and serve Texas-style barbecue, pinto beans, cornbread, cole slaw and potato salad. Play country-western music and have a hoedown under the stars.


Use bright tropical colors such as pink, turquoise, red, and green. For decorations, throw up nets, strings of patio lights, tiki torches, and papier mache parrots, piñatas, or huge paper flowers. Play reggae or calypso music, and have jerk chicken, seafood, fruit, and rum drinks on the menu.

ELVIS: Use lots of black, gold, and white for an Elvis party. Instruct guests to come either as Elvis or Priscilla (big hair stage), and for decorations, put up some big white capes, huge Elvis-style belts, and old records. Play Elvis music, of course, and serve some of Elvis' favorite recipes- peanut butter and bacon sandwiches, Southern cooking, and other hi-cal dishes.

PATRIOTIC: For 4th of July or other summer holidays, use the colors of red, white, and blue; put up bunting, flags, and red, white, and blue star patio lights. Have a menu of typical American food such as fried chicken, hot dogs, apple pie, and ice cream. Play patriotic, upbeat music and have guests wear red, white, and blue to the party.

DISCO: Use bright, neon colors; decorations could include records, flashing lights, and a glittering dance floor. Play disco music and have guests come in 70s attire. Have a dance contest, and serve lots of appetizers and drinks popular in the 70s.

SIXTIES: Use a black light and hang decorations in psychedelic colors; a big Austin Powers cutout, Peter Max posters, fake fur and lots of love beads would be fun. Play 60s music and have guests dress like hippies.

MOROCCAN: Drape your party room in lengths of opulent fabric; add hanging lanterns and lots of flickering candles. Have guests come in robes, caftans, or belly dancer-style outfits, and serve kabobs, a tagine, couscous, dates, nuts, and oranges.

AMERICAN IDOL: Rent a karaoke machine and let your guests perform. Appoint three of your guests to be Randy, Simon, and Paula and to come in character. Decorate with American Idol posters and CDs and serve up some Hollywood food.

PROGRESSIVE DINNER: Have a traveling party. Appetizers are served at one house, the entrée at another, and dessert at the last. Have the guests meet at the house serving the appetizer, then travel to the entrée and dessert houses. This is fun for the same group to do each month; the food assignment can be rotated so everyone has a chance to cook.

COLOR: Choose a color as the theme and then have all the decorations in that color and tell the guests to wear that color. Have at least one food of that color on the menu.

TRUMP: Dress the host as Donald Trump, with big fake hair and a power suit. Decorate with fake money, gaudy jewelry, and a poster of the Donald. Serve fancy food and use your best table settings and china.

HOLLYWOOD: Have guests come as their favorite stars and decorate with film posters, spotlights, and a red carpet. Make some videos of the stars walking down the red carpet greeting their public. Serve food fit for a star or something on the Brown Derby's menu.

RENAISSANCE: Guests can dress like Renaissance characters, and decorations can include a castle façade, swords, a suit of armor, dragons, and unicorns. Have roasted chicken, mead, fruit, and home-baked breads on the menu.

SURVIVOR: Divide guests into tribes and give out headbands; have games of skill similar to those on the TV show. Decorate with palm trees, a banner over your front door with the name of your island, and tiki torches. Make guests win a contest before eating the delicious menu.

TAILGATING: Have a few guests drive their trucks in your backyard or on your driveway and serve grilled food from the tailgates. Decorate in your team's colors and show videos of the team in action. Have the party in the parking lot of a night game for a real tailgating party.

MILITARY: Have guests wear camo or military outfits. Decorate with camo fabrics, recruiting posters, and use army boots as vases for some silk flowers in camo colors. Serve guests MREs as appetizers before the actual meal.

TACKY: Decorate in bad taste, and tell guests to come wearing tacky clothes.

Use mismatched table settings, torn tablecloths, and paper napkins. Make a tasty dinner to compensate for all the bad taste.

FIFTIES PROM: Have guests come in prom dresses or dinner jackets popular in the 50s. Play 50s music and decorate in pink and black, posters of stars from that time period, and a disco ball. A skating rink would be a good place for this party.

CINCO DE MAYO: Have this party around May 5. Decorate in bright colors and use piñatas, serapes, and sombreros as decorations. Serve a Mexican dinner and hire a mariachi band or play some appropriate music.

ITALIAN: Decorate with posters of Italy, wine bottle candleholders, and plants on plaster columns. Have guests bring their Italian photos or watch a film set in Italy. Serve an Italian dinner with wine.

EIGHTIES: Have guests wear 80s outfits. Decorate with posters of Madonna and other stars from that time period. Have a lip sync contest to 80s music; ask guests to all bring their favorite 80s tunes.

WILLY WONKA: Send guests a "gold ticket" for an invitation. Decorate with lots of chocolate and brown; have someone dress as Willy Wonka and Umpa Lumpas. Play music that has candy in the title. Have lots of chocolate on the dessert menu.

STAR WARS: Have guests come as their favorite Star Wars characters. Decorate with silver, posters of space, light sabers, and Star Wars cutouts. Name the dishes on your menu for Star Wars characters.

GOLF: Decorate with buckets of golf balls, clubs, and golf magazines. Have guests wear their favorite golf attire. Serve a typical country club menu.

CASINO: Set up casino games for your guests to play. Decorate with large dice, chips, and fake money. Serve a buffet and let the guests cash in their chips for prizes.

TOYS FOR TOTS: Have a dinner party for charity; tell each guest to bring a new toy to be given to a local toy bank. Decorate with stuffed animals and other toys, and provide a nice meal for the charitable guests.

ORIENTAL EXPRESS: Decorate with lots of red fabric, Chinese lanterns, chopsticks, and black lacquered boxes. Use elegant table settings; play Oriental music as the guests dine on a lavish Chinese menu of several courses.

WINTER WONDERLAND: Decorate with lots of white and silver, fake snow, little flocked trees with twinkling lights, and glittery paper snowflakes. Use elegant table settings and serve a delicious meal, topped with a white cake.

ALL AROUND THE WORLD: Decorate with objects from and pictures of places around the world. Have guests bring their travel photos to share. Plan a menu with dishes from many different countries, coordinating tastes, of course. Have several international desserts, drinks, and coffees.

DINNER AND A MOVIE: Imitate the popular TV show; watch a movie and plan the menu around the movie's theme. If the movie shows food, serve that dish. Decorate with posters of the movie's stars or the locale of the movie.

© High Speed Ventures 2011