Want to host an event that will be talked about all semester? Here’s a list of our favorite college party themes with ideas for decorations, costumes, activities and more. If the party title is underlined, click on the link to find out more about it.
1920s Party — Gansters and molls, flappers and dandies, jazz singers and starlets… Turn your event into a speakeasy straight out of the roaring 20s. Get everyone to dress up, dim the lights, and serve your favorite mixed drinks and bathtub hooch.
80s Theme Party — Come as a big haired headbanger or a buttoned up preppy for this “totally awesome” college theme. Decorate using neon colors. There was some great music in this decade that can set the tone for a radical night of dancing.
ABC Party — This is the classic “Anything But Clothes” college party theme. Make sure you specify on your invitation that your guests are encouraged to use their creativity to come up with appropriate attire. Serve a lot of alcohol and you probably won’t need too many activities for this event.
Academy Awards Party — Want an excuse to dress up and watch TV? Host an Oscar viewing party! Spice things up by making up your own award categories for your guests like “Best dressed” or “Most Likely to Wake Up Somewhere Random” and play the Awards Night Drinking Game to keep everyone involved.
Amazing Race Party — An Amazing Race party is a fun and fast-paced idea and makes an awesome college party theme. The Amazing Race is a television show where teams of contestants travel around the world on a global scavenger hunt, performing challenges at “pit stops” and gathering clues to keep them moving along on their quest to be the team to finish first. You can host your own Amazing Race party on a smaller scale by adapting your travel area to include stops at different places in your town or city.
Arabian Nights Party — Drape fabric from the ceiling and scatter pillows on the floor to look like a Moroccan tent and set up a “magic carpet” dance area. You might even set out a few hookah pipes to complete the look. Have the ladies come dressed as harem girls or belly dancers and the guys as sultans or genies. For activities, you might set up a henna body art station, or hire a fortune teller to predict people’s futures.
Around the World Party — This is one of the best college party themes that involve lots of drinking. Decorate every room in the house or dorm as a different country (or every floor as a different continent). If you are a host, dress according to your region. Serve different drinks and foods from around the world in each room. For example, mix up some drinks with tequila from Mexico, vodka from Russia, and sake from Japan.
Beach Party — This is great for warmer weather. Bikinis and bathing suits are the mandatory attire. Set up baby pools to get some water into your decorations, and if you can bring in sand, even better! Some great activities for this event include volleyball, wet t-shirt contests, limbo, and squirt gun fights. Decorate to make things feel tropical, and scatter some beach balls around for fun. You might also include some tropical drinks and island music.
Black and White Party — If you’re looking for an idea that’s a little more formal, consider a black and white event. Decorations and attire should follow the theme, and you can serve some great drinks, such as martinis served with black olives and white onions, black and white russians, and Dewar’s Black Label scotch.
Black Light Party — Rave on with a classic black light party. Replace all your lightbulbs with black lights, have everyone wear white, and pass out neon markers so people can write messages on each other’s clothes. Hand out glow in the dark jewelry and serve your drinks in glow in the dark stadium cups. (Tonic glows under black light, so you might think about offering a signature party drink that includes this mixer.)
Charlie Sheen Party — “I have tiger’s blood and adonis DNA.” Looking for a timely, fun, and slightly inappropriate party theme for your next college co-ed bash? We’ve got tons of Charlie Sheen ideas to make this one “winning” party.
Costume Party — Tap into your inner fantasy by hosting a costume party. Costumes can help turn a good celebration into a great one. You can adapt a costume party to fit a wide variety of college party themes. Here are some of our favorite dress up ideas to help you host a fabulous event!
Crush Party — This works especially well for a sorority or fraternity. In a crush party, each of the hosts anonymously sends their crush an invitation with instructions about what to wear, and then at the party the guests find their match. For example, one person might send their crush an invite that says “dress as a robber.” Then at the party, the guest would look for a cop. It’s really fun because it can incorporate a variety of college party themes into one.
Cinco de Mayo Party — Cerveza, margaritas, and sangria, ole! Throw on a sombrero, hang a pinata (you can fill this as creatively as you wish), set out some chips and salsa, and you have a ready-made party theme! A fiesta is a great end to the spring semester.
Duck Dynasty Party — Drape your place in camo, have everyone wear beards and sunglasses, serve your own variety of tea. This is a great theme sure to get everyone happy, happy, happy!
Halloween Party — Think orange and black, dark and scary, and great costumes, and you’ve got yourself the start of an awesome Halloween party. Fog machines by the door and dry ice in the punch can be great decorating touches, and jello shots with gummy worms sticking out of them are a fun drink/snack option for this college party theme.
Heaven and Hell Party — Champagne served on the top floor, beer on the main level, and hard liquor in the basement. Use red and black for decorations below and gold and white up above. Have everyone come dressed as an angel or a devil and let the festivities ensue.
High School Stereotypes Party — Were you a geek, freak, sporty or chic? Invite your friends to an event where everyone gets to dress as their favorite high school stereotype. Then turn on some music that brings back your favorite high school memories, break out the tater tots and jello shooters, and let the partying commence.
Jersey Shore Party — Love the Jersey Shore? Get ready to go hard and fist pump like champs with a Jersey Shore theme party! We’ll give you lots of Jerseylicious party ideas, plus great Jersey Shore quotes and the T-Shirt Time song to inspire your planning.
Karaoke Party — Put out the word that an epic Battle of the Bands will be taking place and invite all of your loudest and wildest friends to come participate. Rent a karaoke machine, set up a stage, serve some signature cocktails, and get ready to rock all night as everyone takes turns putting on their best show.
Letter Party — Choose a letter of the alphabet and set up everything in your party to relate to that letter. For example, if you choose the letter “B” you might decorate in blue and black, dress as bikers and bimbos, and of course, serve lots of beer. Let your imagination run wild.
March Madness Party — Ready to celebrate the NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament? Invite over some friends and cheer on your favorite team at a March Madness party!
Mardi Gras Party — Nothing beats the winter blues better than a Mardi Gras party. Decorate with the classic colors of green, purple and gold, and be sure to have lots of beads on hand to wear and toss. You might hand out masks or have a costume contest. Play some great jazz and zydeco music, and serve up some hurricanes and Mardi Gras punch. Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Minute to Win It Party — This popular game show makes for a great college party theme. Set up some teams and have them compete in 60-second challenges like the ones on the show. Some examples might include “junk in the trunk” where ping pong balls are contained in a box with a small opening, and then attached to the contestant’s back. The contestant must get all of the balls out of the box without his or her hands touching the floor. Another fun game is “the chocolate unicorn” where contestants have to try to stack seven ding dongs on their forehead. There are lots of fun options to choose from!
Mustache Bash — Do you admire the pencil thin or envy the lush handlebar? Invite all your friends to come sporting their favorite variety of lip spinach, be it painted on, stuck on, or real. The ‘stache bash is a hot new theme sure to evoke lots of laughs.
NASCAR Party — Do you love fast cars and beautiful women? Then you must be a NASCAR fan! Why not host a NASCAR theme party and buckle up for some good times.
Nightclub Themed Party — Dim the lights, pour the drinks, and play your favorite dance music. Set things up to look like a nightclub by hanging a disco ball, making some lounge-style seating areas, and setting up a great bar. A great addition to this soiree is an ice luge that shoots your favorite drinks!
Oktoberfest Party — Grab a beer, Oktoberfest is here! This is an awesome theme for gathering lots of people to kick off fall with some grilled brats and beer. You can host this party either indoors or out, and because Oktoberfest is all about eating, drinking, and dancing (much like college itself), you and your guests are sure to have a great time!
Olympics Party — An Olympics party is a fun and active college party theme. Pick your favorite activities, choose teams, and let the games begin! This is a party that can be set up in stations around your house or dorm. Divide up your guests into teams and give out t-shirts in different colors for each. Then keep track of how each team does and award a gold, silver, and bronze medal at the end of the night. Some activities you might include are volleyball, bocce, darts, tug of war, jello wrestling, and of course some drinking games like beer pong, flip cup, and constructing beer can pyramids.
Outdoor Movie Party — Want an easy party idea for a lot of guests? Hang a sheet from the top of your dorm or frat house and call 1,000 of your best friends to watch a movie under the stars!
Red Cup Party — A red solo cup is the best receptacle for barbecues, tailgates, fairs, and festivals! It also makes a fun, classic college party theme. Use red cups for your party invitations, in your decor, and of course, for lots of different games. Here are some of our favorite red cup party ideas. Proceed to party.
Rock Star Party — Come as your favorite rocker! This theme will definitely reveal which of your friends are the hidden extroverts. Set up a stage and a karaoke machine, serve lots of alcohol, and just wait to see who will expose their inner rocker. A great way to get the crowd going is for the hosts to present a few numbers throughout the night. This can be full on karaoke or lip syncing to your favorite tunes.
St. Patrick’s Day Party — Another of the great college party themes which focuses on drinking, a St. Patrick’s Day party is fun and easy to host. Everything is green for this celebration…green beer, green jello shots, and green clothing (preferably with a catchy slogan that encourages kissing). The guys should wear lots of green beads to pass out to the ladies, and you might even set our some green face paint to decorate your guests.
Superbowl Party — The Superbowl is a great excuse to gather your friends on a Sunday for some football, beer, and lots of snack food. Show your team spirit by wearing your team’s colors and supplying some face painting supplies and party beads for your guests. Then set up some TVs where everyone can watch the game. Keep everybody involved by putting together a football pool where they have the chance to score some money or prizes.
Tea Partay — Bust out your white pants and argyle sweaters and party like a New England gangsta by hosting a tea par-tay. Serve up some Smirnoff, raw tea and finger sandwiches. Check out this tea partay video for some more inspiration.
Toga Party — The most classic of all college party themes! If you need ideas for hosting this event, we suggest renting the movie, “Animal House.” Lots of beer, and everyone in bedsheets. That is pretty much all there is to it.
Ugly Christmas Sweater Party — Challenge your friends to wear their best, brightest, and undoubtably ugliest Christmas sweaters for a party with a kitschy, yet hilarious twist. Make sure to have your camera ready (as well as some great holiday beverages!)
Vampire Party— This goth college party theme is great around Halloween. Think costumes, lots of red and black, fangs, and some great specialty drinks.
White Trash Party — Fluff up your mullet, brush your tooth, and channel your inner redneck. There are lots of options for costumes, decorations, food, and drinks that go with the white trash theme. As long as it’s cheap, tacky, and fun you are on the right track!