Theme Parties, Plus a Prize!

[youtube=]Last year, The Beloved and I hosted a Ken's Korny Corn Maze party.  Everyone had to bring a dish that contained corn.  We had everything from corn chowder to corn dogs to candy corn, and it was Loads of Fun.  In a couple of weeks, we're having a Thanksgiving in July party.  We've been in The Beautiful House for just over a year, and we're thankful for our new friends and neighbors.  So, we're inviting them over for a special Thanksgiving meal.  We're providing happy turkey, dressing and a Dessert (more on that later), and everyone else will bring their favorite Thanksgiving side dish.  We're even going to play Alice's Restaurant, since that is the Thanksgiving Theme Song.

A few days ago, I was talking on the phone with Cousin Ken, and I told him about our upcoming Thanksgiving meal.  He told me about a party that he and his first wife hosted:  everyone had to bring a dish from the home culture of their maternal grandmother.  They ended up enjoying a wonderful multicultural meal, from pierogi to Parmesan.

This got me thinking about theme parties in general.  I think we've gotten away from having theme parties, and it's time to bring them back.  Theme parties don't have to be dusty affairs from the 1970s, and they don't have to be cheesy or hokey.  Unless you're having a cheese party.  Or a Hoky party, for that matter.

If you are Dead Set against the theme party as a viable option, please think again.  For your edification, I present unto you Some Theme Party Ideas.

Some Theme Party Ideas

  • Color theme:  orange foods, red foods, etc
  • Sneaky foods:  foods that are masquerading as other foods: a scoop of mango sorbet on a pool of coconut cream looks like a fried egg
  • Local foods:  made only with foods grown locally
  • TV theme:  foods from Seinfeld or another favorite show.  Marble rye and Junior Mints, anyone?
  • Ingredient theme:  everything must contain (insert ingredient here)
  • Fondue!
  • Diner party:  burgers, dogs, onion rings, shakes.  You know: diner food
  • Favorite band theme:  All the foods must appear in the artists' body of work.  ex: Beatles--strawberries, rice, crackers, marmelade, marshmallows, etc.
  • Scattergories party:  all the foods have to begin with the same letter
  • Elvis party:  self explanatory
  • Grill party:  take it outside--all courses grilled, from apps to desserts

Okay, that's just a few.  I'd love to hear your ideas.  And I know you have some Amazing Ideas.  Or, use one of the themes I've listed and tell me what you'd make for that theme.  I wanna know what you're gonna make for Sneaky Food night!

In the spirit of our Thanksgiving in July party, I would also like to thank you guys, my readers.  Without you, I'd just be throwing wee pebbles down a bottomless well, figuratively speaking.  So, for the reader/commenter with Coolest Idea (chosen by the Impartial Beloved), I'll send you a copy of one of my favorite quirky cookbooks:  The Surreal Gourmet Entertains:  high-fun, low-stress dinner parties for 6 to 12 people. Check it out. I'll be taking submissions through July 31st, and The Beloved will make his decision on August 1, so comment away and tell your friends.  And thank you all again for being so keen.

Anyway, that's about it for today.  I'm off to work on my Riveting Video of How to Make Bread Even if You Don't Think You Can.  You're welcome.


  1. says

    I love theme parties! The very last one was when I rec’d my US citizenship. I sent out invites in which I took the liberty of rewriting the Declaration of Independence (turned out much better than it sounds). Of course, it was all very red, white and blue. I cleaned out the local CostPlus/World Market of July 4th ornaments and decorations (it was in September); I gave the ornaments as party favors and a friend who was taking Wilton decorating classes made a lovely RWB cake. Sigh. Such fun that night. 😎

    Love the maternal grandmother idea but I’d have to give it a moment or two to come up with something as interesting as the ones listed here! Can’t wait to read others’ suggestions. 😎

  2. says

    A friend had a Halloween party where people brought “spooky” stuff… Witch fingers (carrot w/ radish “nails”) kitty litter cake, Dirt pudding, Hot dog mummies, spiders, eyeballs and crazy stuff.
    Another party invited everyone to bring something with the first letter of their name… i.e. MJ ~ Marshmallow Treats.
    MJ Schrader

  3. Dianne Davis says

    We did a party earlier this spring with the avocado as the center of attention. Of course there was guacamole, sliced avocado toast (our favorite snack!), avocado and citrus salad (my mom’s favorite), cold spring rolls made with avocado and whatever else they wanted in them (asst’d fillings and herbs), another friend brought a Jamaicain avocado salad with a KICK to it (jalepenos), but the most surprising thing we had was a pizza using a Boboli crust (I didn’t have time to make a pizza crust), roasted red pepper sauce, monterey jack or mild cheese of your choice, shredded chicken, then topped with fresh avocado slices once it was baked. Delicious!

  4. says

    I love theme parties! I’d like to see a beer-themed party. No, not like that – I mean a Cooking with Beer party. Beer-battered shrimp, carbonnade (beef braised in Belgian ale and onions, Stout ice cream floats for dessert…

  5. says

    I’ve done many themed parties – usually for my kids. Our faves? We had an “old lady” party where everyone walked with canes and walkers and dressed, um, appropriately. My husband and I dressed in hospital scrubs and served a pureed supper of spaghetti, green beans and mashed potatoes. We played BINGO and gave away dentucream, prune juice, magnyfiers, etc.

    Another good one was the “Come as a vegetable” party. We had teen girls dressed as an eggplant, an ear of corn, a mushroom, and a “couch potato”.

    Then there was the time machine party where everyone came dressed from a different time period. It was very fun! For the kids I had them build a time machine out of a refrigerator box and various crafty items. But for adults you could have them bring foods from different eras or countries.

  6. says

    I have 2 ideas, one for food theme, one for party them.

    Food theme: One-bowl recipes – can only use one bowl to make your dish.

    Party theme: Ugly sweater party (everyone has to go thru their old clothes (everyone has something in the basement hidden somewhere) from the 70-80s and find an ugly sweater they had once worn or someone else bought them or your parents wore, etc. It makes for a hilarious party with awesome pictures! You can also bust out accessories too, like leg warmers, old coke-bottled eye glasses & head bands. 🙂

  7. Roberta says

    A take on the maternal grandmother idea would be to have everyone bring a favorite family dish or something common where they grew up.

  8. says

    Two from the wife:
    State dishes — everyone is assigned a state and you have to make something native to that state. And not Washington where you can do cherries, of Pennsylvania were you can do cheesesteak. I’m talking Utah, Delaware, Montanna.

    Texas — everything is bigger; or go Tex-Mex; or anything Texas related. We did this for a cookout and it worked really well.

  9. Sandra says

    There’s a whole lot of interesting recipes in the medieval corpus that would fall under your “sneaky food” theme. They call them subtleties (in various spellings, of course): meatballs that look like apples or eggs, huge eggs made of several dozen eggs cooked together (yolks in a bag, then put in the middle of the whites in another), that sort of thing. One I’d love to try would be a cockentryce, based on the mythical animal, made with the front half a chicken or turkey (with head) sewed onto the back end of a suckling pig, then roasted. I suppose you could make another with the other halves!

    • drewkime says

      Cockentryce? Feh, rather do a turducken. But that giant egg thing sounds awesome. What kind of “bag” do you use?

  10. Jane Field says

    Hi Jenni, lots of great ideas in this post. Some folks are sooo creative. We used to do a St.Patrick’s Day dinner with Irish Stew, and for dessert Cheese cake made with creme de menthe topped with chocolate cutouts of shamrocks. Of course the vegetable was green peas….lots of fun…Love, Mom

  11. Roberta says

    Here’s an idea. Initials. Everyone has to bring a dish that starts with the same letter as their name.


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