How to Plan a Themed Party – Eight Easy Steps

So you want to (or have to!) plan a themed party but you don’t know quite where to start? We know, it can feel a bit overwhelming with all the things you have to consider. Don’t worry, in this step by step guide, we’ll show you how to plan a themed party so that you won’t overlook anything.

We’ll take a lot of the stress out of all the planning. As we explain in our introductory about us post, that is our mission, after all! And hopefully, you won’t lose any sleep or hair during the planning process!

We’ll cover both kids parties and adult parties. That makes sense since a themed birthday party for kids should be handled differently from a themed party for adults. As we go along in this post, we’ll use examples from a Fortnite birthday theme for a kids party vs a Super Bowl party theme for adults to show the differences.

For the kids Fortnite themed birthday party, these are the articles in our Fortnite series that we’ll be referring to throughout this post:

  1. How to Recognize Fortnite Birthday Supplies (It May Not Be Obvious)
  2. Looking for Fortnite Paper Plates and Napkins? Don’t Forget the Cups
  3. The 3 Best Fortnite Party Game Ideas
  4. Where are the Fortnite Party Supplies Stores?

Here’s a general outline of topics that we’ll cover at each step of the way as we plan our themed party. We’ll break it down further with details and examples in each section:

  • Step 1: Who is the party for (kids vs adults)?
  • Step 2: What’s the occasion?
  • Step 3: How to pick a party theme
  • Step 4: What party supplies you will need and what you won’t
  • Step 5: Where to Get Supplies
  • Step 6: Where will the party take place?
  • Step 7: How to come up with party game ideas
  • Step 8: What type of food will you serve?

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Who is the Party For?

We’ll start off easy with step 1 by asking a very simple question: who is the party for? It’s an easy question to answer but it’s an important question to ask since it will influence all the following steps.

It’s also important to ask because it will help remind you that the party isn’t… for you. So each step of the way, with every decision you make about the party, remember: you’re doing this for… someone else. And that means choosing things you may personally find silly (football snack helmets?) or you may not understand (a llama pinata?) but, hey, if that’s what they’re into, that’s what you give them.

So we’ll deal with two situations:

  1. If the party is for a child e.g. your son
  2. If the party is for an adult e.g. your husband

Easy peasy! Let’s continue!

Step 2: What’s the Occasion?

Why are you throwing this party? What’s the occasion? Surely, you’re not throwing this party simply because your’e in a good mood (although that would be awesome!).

So let’s continue with our example and assume the answer to that question is as follows:

  1. The party is for your son’s Fortnite birthday party

    How to plan a themed party - Fortnite theme
    Let’s plan a Fortnite themed party!
  2. The party is for your husband and his buddies to watch the Super Bowl (Go Bills!)

    How to plan a themed party - Super Bowl theme
    Let’s plan a Super Bowl party!

Obviously, things will be different in the two cases because one party is for a child and the other one is for an adult. Some of you who have planned a Super Bowl party may argue that both those parties are for children but… that’s a topic for another day.

The occasion is important to consider because, for the child party, if it’s a birthday party, you’ll need a birthday cake and party favors. If it’s party to celebrate a religious event like first communion, the cake is optional and the party favors are not needed.

Step 3: How to Pick a Theme

Obviously, in the examples that we’re going through, we’ve already picked a theme: Fortnite for your son and Super Bowl for your husband.

But it’s not always so straight forward. If the party is for your son’s birthday… how do you know what kind of themed party he wants?

The easiest thing to do is ask him. “So, what kind of birthday do you want?” A lot of times you’ll be answered with a very helpful, “I dunno…”

If they’re having trouble deciding, just look at what they are into or obsessed with. Sometimes it doesn’t occur to kids right away what they want for their birthday party but we do know they’ll want one, that’s for sure. Look at what they spend most of their time doing, what kind of graphic designs they have on their clothes, or what kind of key chains they hang off their bags.

It will probably be something like princesses or dinosaurs or a Disney movie, etc. In this case, let’s assume your child is consumed with Fortnite. Once you have an idea for a theme, if they haven’t decided yet, just propose that theme and your child will most likely agree. Some kids prefer it when someone else makes the decision and all they have to do is approve it.

If the theme ends up being something you’re not overly familiar with, it’s best to get at least a feel for the theme. For example, for Fortnite birthday supplies, you may want to read something like the first article in our Fortnite series just so you can understand the theme a little bit and know what to look for when you look for Fortnite party supplies.

Step 4: Which Party Supplies to Get

Now that you’ve settled on a theme (Fortnite / Super Bowl), you have to set the theme via theme related party supplies. It’s not really a theme party if all you have are generic white plates, napkins, and cups. You have to create an atmosphere!

At a minimum, we recommend tableware to set the theme. We think this is more important than decorations, if you had to choose between the two. Depending on where you have the party (see step 6 below), you can’t even have decorations.

We believe tableware is the minimum because everyone will get their hands on and get to touch and feel and inspect the themed plates, napkins, and cups (and cutlery) up close. It will be a point of discussion, however, briefly, as people are waiting for the food.

Decorations like banners or other decorations that you hang or stick on your walls, are, in contrast, intended to be in the background. They’re… just there. But because they are in the background, they can get forgotten once the party starts.

Plus, if you’re having the party at you home, some people don’t like sticking things on their walls for fear that the paint will come off when you take the decorations down. That may sound silly but a few of the parents here never stick decorations up on their walls. They refuse to mess with the paint job!

Background decorations with plain tableware is a different feel from tableware with no background decorations. After all, when the tableware is laid out on the table all set up neatly… they serve as pretty nice decorations themselves!

So for a kids Fortnite party, you definitely need tableware and decorations are a nice to have. So you’d get the tableware after reading something like the second article in our Fortnite series to get an idea of what’s out there.

For a Super Bowl party, you don’t really need background decorations at all. It’s all about the food and drinking and watching the game (and second guessing every call the coaches make). But just because they’re adults, doesn’t mean that tableware can’t add to the atmosphere of the party. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, just imagine walking into a house with no decorations but then seeing the table laid out like this:

Super Bowl Party Supplies - Patriots
This makes me want to cheer for the Patriots!

Let’s go! Super Bowl Party! Game time! Let’s have some wings!

It almost makes you feel like cheering for the Patriots! Okay, we may have gone too far…

Regardless, it just sets up the main event (i.e. the eating, more than the game) a little bit more.

The “decorations” for the Super Bowl party will also be different from the kids party. No balloons or banners but what about football snack helmets? Set up two, one for each team that is playing in the game and have fun watching others avoid the chips that they want because they’re in the helmet of the team they’re not cheering for. That’s pretty cool, right? That’s the type of non-traditional decorations you can find for a party with adults.

For the Fortnite party, you’ll need additional accessories like party invitations and party favors for loot bags.

For the Super Bowl party, you don’t need invitations, just text everyone the time and place of the party. The full bellies and lasting smell of barbecue wings on the guests’ fingers will be considered the guests’ party favors…

Step 5: Where to Get the Party Supplies

This is pretty straight forward. If you’re comfortable shopping online, Amazon is the most convenient way to shop and will, in all likelihood have everything you need. If you’re a prime member, you’ll get free shipping too.

If you want to visit a local store and do some hands on shopping, you can usually find party supplies at Walmart or Target or Party City. As we showed in the fourth article in our Fortnite party series, just make sure you check their online stores first. They may not have what you are looking for. Our Fortnite article shows a great example of this. Doing this first could save you a trip or two and some valuable time.

Step 6: Where Will the Party Take Place?

The location of the party is important since it can influence the planning.

If the party will be held at your home as will likely be the case of your Super Bowl party, then you can decorate your house as much as you want! Go crazy! Stick stuff on the walls if you want to!

If the party is a kids party held at a venue like a party room at an indoor playground or a laser tag facility, then you probably only have access to the room for the two hours or so that you have the room rented. You likely won’t have additional time beforehand to set up any type of decorations. In those types of parties, the time is usually pretty tight as the party facility tries to get in the next party as soon as you leave. In those cases, forego the decorations. The themed tableware will be enough.

Step 7: How to Come up With Party Game Ideas

Party games will most likely only apply to the kids Fortnite party in our examples. For the Super Bowl party, there are no party games, there’s just… the game!

Using the example of Fortnite party game ideas, how do you come up with party game ideas? Well, this might take a bit of work. You’ll have to do some research to see if it’s possible to find games that are based on the theme. So, for the Fortnite birthday party, you’ll read an article like the third article in our Fortnite party series to learn what special games are appropriate for the theme. It will give you an idea of what game prizes are appropriate as well.

That article is also good to show how an indoor vs outdoor party will impact what games you can play. Even though outdoors is preferable for the Fortnite Nerf obstacle course, the article gives ideas on how you can modify the game to suit your indoor environment.

If the party is at a rented facility like an indoor playground or a laser tag place, then the games are taken care of for you. No need to worry about this step! It’s one of the advantages of renting a room at party places.

Step 8: What Kind of Food to Serve

For the Super Bowl party, this question is pretty easy. Super Bowl is, after all, the unofficial chicken wing day each year, with 1.4 billion chicken wings expected to be eaten during this year’s game between the Chiefs and 49ers. Chips and dips are traditional food for this type of party as well.

For the kids party, if you’re renting a room, pizza is and usually the most practical. You have two to three hours and sometimes the only thing that you’re allowed to bring in from the outside is a cake or cupcakes. Anything more than that will be a hassle, anyway. Plus, kids are always fine with pizza. They really are.

If the party is at home, you have more flexibility in what you can serve. You should try to match the food to the theme. If you can’t think of matching food (for example, there is no such thing as Fortnite themed food), you can always accessorize the food to match the theme. For example, you can put cake toppers of a Fortnite theme on the cake. For the cupcakes, you can draw icing designs that look like dancing silhouettes

A cake topper or icing design like this is great for cakes and cupcakes
A Fortnite character doing the Floss

or the Fortnite llama

The Fortnite llama as an icing design is great on cakes and cupcakes
The Fortnite Llama

Try and be creative with it.

How to Plan a Themed Party – Now You Know

Now you should know how to plan a themed party. It’s similar for adults vs kids parties. There are slight differences but the general approach is the same. We hope this post helps you create a fun and special party!

In our next post, we’ll answer the commonly asked question, “how much does a birthday party cost?”. It seems appropriate to answer that question now that you have an idea of what it’s going to take to plan for one.

Happy planning!

The Parents

Questions? Comments?

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