For a Spectacular Birthday
The natural way to celebrate being on this earth for another year (and counting) is by throwing the best birthday party ever. Don't worry about going overboard: this is something to be remembered until, at least, the next bash. Start planning with three things in mind: birthdays are personal, weird spaces are the best, and it isn't always about the largest amount of friends you can gather!
Tip No. 1: It's OK to Make It All About You
If you're throwing your own soiree, forget about your friends for a moment—this will help you figure out what you want to do. Suggestions are always helpful, obviously, but you'll have a far better time if you focus on the things you like. So if you want to have a pizza-meets-tropical party, do it!
Tip No. 2: Outsource Cool (and Cheap) Locations
Location scouting doesn't have to be an enormous chore. Come up with a list of five spaces you love—yes, that includes your favorite local bar—and call or email to see if you can reserve a spot. This is often free (it's good for business, after all), but remember to do it at least three weeks ahead of time. And if you've got a friend with a cool home (uh, like the one with the roof access), ask nicely if you can host there for a couple of hours—just provide the food and drinks, of course!
Tip No. 3: Skip the Crowds
We're generally down with the old adage, "the more, the merrier," but sometimes more is just more stressful. If you thrive on that come-one-come-all rave vibe, then spread the word far and wide, but if not, feel free to keep the celebration limited to your closest friends and family. It can still be a crazy-fun time—just with more quality time and less chaos.
For a Touchdown Celebration
Quick, the Super Bowl is coming up and you don't have plans. You don't have to be a hard-core fan (or even like football!) to throw a Super Bowl party: if you have a TV and floor space and you like watching commercials, invite your friends over for the biggest sporting event of the year.
Tip No. 1: Have Dips on Deck
You can never go wrong with a good, warm dip. Treat it like the main course by cooking a huge batch of it in a slow cooker and complementing it with edible dippers like tortilla chips, tater tots, veggies, and of course, bread. Or go super-simple and buy a ton of chips and a huge jar of queso to layer with pre-made guacamole, salsa, cheese, refried beans, and sour cream for a dip that everyone loves.
Tip No. 2: Gamify the Game
The big game isn't just about the teams on the field. Engage your guests in a little competition based on who they're rooting for: if a team makes a touchdown, the opposers have to tell an embarrassing story. And if you're of age, then go the easy route and turn the fails and wins into a drinking game.
Tip No. 3: Binge-Watch Movies Instead
If you're only into the Super Bowl for the halftime performance, then watch a bunch of your favorite movies instead of tuning in for the entire game. You can still partake in the day's athletic vibes with a sports movie: some of our favorites are Remember the Titans, Space Jam, and A League of Their Own.
For a Sleepover That Requires No Sleep
You don't have to be in the fourth grade to enjoy a good old-fashioned slumber party with your buds. Be prepared for an all-nighter and get your phone ready for the slew of squad photos that will definitely ensue.
Tip No. 1: Bring Out the Board Games
This is for the Monopoly, Scrabble, Jenga, and Clue fans of the world! Or you can impress your friends with an out-of-the-ordinary game, like the highly interactive Cranium or the vintage tell-all, Therapy.
Tip No. 2: Have a Slumber-Party Swap
Tell your guests to bring over clothing they no longer want so you can have a mini clothing swap. It's a great way to clean out the closet and gives you the opportunity (free of charge) to add a new statement piece to your wardrobe.
Tip No. 3: Create a Mini-Spa
Relax without leaving the couch with a batch of cheap sheet masks, an array of nail polishes from your stash, and the (clichéd but still totally fun) slices of cucumber for your eyes. Since these can all be done while talking with your friends, you'll deepen your connections while giving your skin a boost—that's a win-win!
For an Intimate Dinner Party
Everyone loves to talk over a good meal with their closest friends, right? Get the gang together for a hearty meal at home, and you can linger without worrying about anyone waiting for your table. If you don't have a party-size table, there's no shame in lounging on the floor—just remember to have cozy pillows around.
Tip No. 1: Make It Potluck
Don't let all of the cooking fall on you, especially if you're not the greatest cook in the world. Keep the stress levels down and the sharing vibes up by letting people bring the complementary dishes to your main dish (and hint for the culinarily challenged: pasta is always good!). Make sure to find out about—and share—any dietary restrictions in the group, so the vegan or allergy-prone friends can eat well, too!
Tip No. 2: Curate the Perfect Playlist
It can be hard to choose between music that blends into the background and bangers you know your friends will love. Based on the guests coming, curate a mix of loud and quiet jams that fits the vibe of your group. Might we suggest some Noname, Kehlani, and Zayn?
Tip No. 3: Give Out Party Favors
Give your guests a little something they can take with them: whether it's a grab bag of candy or small, funky notebooks from the dollar store, any thought counts! Even (or especially) a handwritten note can bring joy.
For a Themed Extravaganza
Do you want to throw the costume party of your dreams? Of course you do. Now's the time to finally throw that '80s-inspired shindig. Here's how!
Tip No. 1: Streamline the Theme
Make sure your party has a clear theme so guests won't be confused about what to wear or bring. For instance, if you love horror movies with very scary monsters, just make it a Monster Party where people can come dressed as their fave nightmare-inducer.
Tip No. 2: Have One Statement Decoration
Instead of buying a ton of decorations that will end up in the trash the next day, find one major element in your theme that will be the standout piece. For example, if you're having a Stranger Things-inspired soiree, deck the wall out with string lights and the alphabet—it's relevant to the theme and cool to look at! You don't need Demogorgon statues or Eggos plastered everywhere.
Tip No. 3: Play Videos Instead of Music
Since it's easy to project videos from your phone (there are apps for it!), play fun music videos or movie clips that go along with the theme and project them onto your wall or ceiling. It's a move that will definitely engage your guests and you can create an easy playlist on YouTube, so you don't have to Google clips every few minutes.