College Party Themes

College students partying; copyright Yuri Arcurs at Dreamstime.com

Partying is a part of college life. It doesn't matter if you live in a frat house or the dorms, at some point you will want to throw the most talked about party on campus. Get some great theme ideas and tips to bring your party to life!

Ten Fun Themes for College Parties

Choose one of these themes to get your party planning started. Once you get into the mindset, you'll be surprised at all the additional ideas you'll come up with on your own!

Spring Break Party

April showers got you down? Stuck in the Midwest during May? Why not bring spring break to you?

Tips:

  • Try decorating with bright, sunny streamers and balloons. Cut out a fake paper sun and hang it in the corner, potentially having people pose in front of it for photos.
  • Ask everyone to dress in their best beach garb, complete with beach towel and sunglasses.
  • Why not try a luau-style party? Roasting a pig on a spit might be overkill, so try making snacks with cocktail sausages and pineapple. If all else fails, order a bunch of pizzas with Hawaiian-style toppings.
  • If you're going with the Hawaiian theme, fake grass skirts can be bought in party stores year-round.

Christmas Party in July

A Christmas party in July? Sure. Everyone loves Christmas!

Tips:

  • Visit your local grocery store to buy plain sugar cookies and tubes of icing in red and green. Go crazy decorating cookies like it's December!
  • Red and green streamers are available at party stores any time of year, as are colored light strands. Decorate a tree in your yard just like it's a Christmas tree - palm trees are particularly hilarious decked out in twinkling lights.
  • Consider renting a Santa suit and have someone dress up to hand out presents, or perhaps set up a photo booth where guests can have their photo taken with summer Claus.
  • How about a Christmas pool party? Two words: Speedo Santa.

Goth Party

Goth; copyright Paulbroad at Dreamstime.com

Just because you're not a Goth doesn't mean that you can't express your emo dark side. Exorcize your inner demon by dressing in black velvet and white lace.

Tips:

  • Visit a party supply store and pick up some clown makeup so that your guests can paint their faces white. Don't forget the black eyeliner.
  • When it comes to food, make it as black as you can with a little red thrown in. Dark chocolate cookies, black and red licorice, blood red drinks.
  • How about a Goth contest? Prizes go to the most depressed Goth, the most industrial Goth, and the sexiest Goth. Prizes should be, of course, depressing and emo.

Toga Party

Toga parties have become a part of college history, like the one thrown by the Delta Tau Chi fraternity in the 1978 film Animal House. While your toga party probably shouldn't be taken to the extremes shown in the movie, you can still have a lot of fun with the idea and not get anyone kicked out of school or wind up in jail.

Tips:

  • For food, think Mediterranean. Grilled lamb cab be expensive, so think Gyros for the college crowd, as well as bread, grapes and cheese.
  • Decorate in primarily white and gold, just like Caesar's palace. Fake ivy from the craft shop will make a great garland to hang around the room, and it can be used to make head wreaths, too.
  • Visit the local thrift store to pick up an assortment of extremely cheap bed sheets, which you can then give to your guests to create their own togas. You don't have to stick to white sheets - in fact, let your imagination go crazy with funny prints and kitschy styles!

'80s Prom Party

Nearly every town has a thrift store that sells tacky taffeta prom dresses and ugly, outdated suits, so why not take advantage of your local bad fashion resources? An '80s prom party is sure to be a great time, with everyone decked out in their most atrocious party-wear.

Tips:

  • Just like in high school, your prom should have a theme. Under the sea? Riverboat casino? Whiny hipster alternative rock? The sky's the limit.
  • A photo booth is a must for this theme. Set up a corner of the house with silly banners and an archway so that everyone can pose for their prom picture.
  • Hit up a local florist for ribbons and cheap carnations, and have a table set up where guests can pick up corsages. The tackier, the better.

Mardi Gras Party

Mardi Gras party goer; copyright Daniel Raustadt at Dreamstime.com

For some people, Mardi Gras is the ultimate party of the year. Let the good times roll!

Tips:

  • Check out online party supply shops that stock the typical green, purple and gold decorations of Mardi Gras all year long.
  • Make sure you get plenty of beads to give your guests as favors.
  • Serve traditional Mardi Gras foods like muffuletta sandwiches and king cake.
  • Play New Orleans jazz CDs or hire a live band if you have the funds.

Hollywood Night

It might not be the wildest party ever, but a Hollywood night party can still be cool!

Tips:

  • Bring your favorite movies and create a your own "movie theater."
  • Alternatively, you could rent a projector to show movies outdoors on the side of a building.
  • Encourage people to come dressed like their favorite movie stars.
  • Rent a large popcorn machine, and offer traditional movie snacks like nacho chips, sodas and soft pretzels.
  • Advertise ahead of time that you're having a contest for the best scene; this is where people perform a specific scene from a famous movie. Offer a four-pack of theater tickets as a prize for the winners.

Costume Party

It doesn't have to be Halloween to throw a costume party. If you want to do something different, pick a theme.

Tips:

  • Back to High School: Guests get to dress up as if they were in high school again. Pull out the old cheerleading, band, or football outfits or give the girls an excuse to rewear an old prom dress. You can also return to an old fad that went out of style four years ago.
  • Favorite Movies: Dress up to represent characters from your favorite movie.
  • Out of This World: Aliens are the main feature at this party. See who can have the craziest extraterrestrial costume.
  • After College: Graduation comes all too soon. Dress for your future career, perhaps as a doctor, nurse, coach, or lawyer.
  • He Said/She Said: Dressing up as the opposite sex can be fun. Trade places for the party and see who has the sexiest legs.

Pajama Party

Remember how much fun slumber parties were when you were a kid? Who says you can't still have that same kind of fun at college.

Jello cubes; copyright Tracy Hebden at Dreamstime.com

Tips:

  • Ask everyone to wear their pajamas to the party.
  • Decorate the party space with pillows, blankets and teddy bears.
  • Serve slumber party stand-bys like pizza, ice cream, French fries and soda.
  • Play old favorites like truth or dare and spin the bottle. Better yet, have a good old-fashioned pillow fight.

Jell-O Party

Sure, it's a strange theme. However, it can also lead to a lot of fun.

Tips:

  • Hold a contest to see who can create the most interesting Jell-O mold.
  • Fill a kiddie pool with Jell-O for some wrestling fun.
  • If you're serving alcohol to the over 21 crowd, make Jell-O shots.

All in Good Fun, but Keep It Safe

It's great to cut loose, and sometimes the party can get a little wild. No matter what your theme is, keep everyone's safety in mind. If you're serving alcohol, make sure you have a few designated drivers for anyone who needs it. That way you'll all be around to party another day, and probably with another great theme.

College Party Themes