New Year Party Themes

Come New Year and it’s a time of frenetic activity and hectic partying.  We at iJugaad thought we’d give you a few ideas to liven up these dos – make it a tad different during the festive season. 

I guess we’d all welcome festive gatherings of a different sort. To that end, we’ve rounded up some refreshingly different party ideas. From an intimate guest list of a few close friends to a large gathering of friends, associates and assorted beings we’ve put on our thinking caps and put forward some ideas. Enjoy!

Celeb Party 

Today’s in-thing seems to be celeb watching. Page Three parties, the antics of the Kardashians, Taimur, Kate’s outfits – they all fascinate us and we lap up all the info like hungry poodles. What better way to kick off the season than with a celeb party. Don’t know any celebs? Don’t worry. Have a celeb party theme where your guests and you can spend an evening rubbing shoulders with Pink and Justin Beiber or Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh or Sunny Leone (let’s see who is gutsy enough to come in their bare minimums to the party!) The celeb party is a costume party with oodles of attitude.

There are so many ways to go about it – it could be ‘dress up as any celeb’ or you could get down to specifics – Hollywood, Bollywood, wacko music stars…the choice is yours. Most of us must still nurture the childhood fantasy of fancy dress competitions. The idea of donning a new persona for the night is exciting to most and the wackier ones add an element of fun. First and foremost, decide what it’s going to be. Depending on the crowd you are inviting, you could decide how staid or wild you want it.


When inviting people be sure to clearly describe the rationale behind the evening and give people a few days to get back to you with who they would like to impersonate since this would give them time to decide the character they want to be. As people revert, make a list of the guests and the people they’ve chosen, being careful to make sure there are no duplicate celebrities. (It will have to be on a first come first serve basis.) Tell people that they should prepare themselves with some options.


Decorate your home or garden according to the theme you have selected. For instance, if it is Bollywood – you could put up kitschy posters of Bollywood stars in all their various poses (the tackier the better!). Have strobe lights, some lavish set, cover your sofa set, divans and table with silky, shiny satin or velvet in maroon, deep red or yellow, have strings of light and play loud Hindi music. You want to go the whole hog – hire a dance troupe to enact some of the songs. Your guests will be entertained for sure! Or get someone to do a ‘Helen’ impersonation for a few dances – nothing like some raunchy cabaret to get the party going! As the liquor flows and spirits get higher, you could even introduce some party games – do the bhangra, act out a drunken scene a la Bollywood, do an item number…just use your imagination.

If it’s Hollywood, give the whole place that feeling of opulence that Hollywood is associated with – hang gold and silver stars, lots of candles in ornate candle stands, you could have a red carpet, lots of bowls overflowing with flowers, champagne flutes and high-end hors-d’oeuvres – canapés, caviar, etc. Have a table groaning under the weight of the food – everything should look good – think showy, think lavishness, think variety. Play some old-fashioned jazz to go with the old-world décor.


If you decide on a music star theme just go wacky with your décor – really, anything goes! You could even try replicating Neverland complete with rocking horses and a merry-go-round! Just make sure that you have plenty of music. Have the money? Hire a live band and get all the guests to sing at least a verse of some song done by the star they have dressed up as. Or, set up a karaoke bar and have them dance and sing!  Basically get people to let their hair down and party hard – dance, rock and sing along with the music.

What will really make a celeb party tick are your creativity and your guests’ ingenuity and sense of fun. If you have friends and relatives who are out for a wild time and have no problems getting into kooky characters, the party will be a blast!

Casino Night

New Year is a time for revelry. So why not a Casino Night? Even if you have friends or relatives who don’t like gambling, they could dance or just watch the fun. Or get paper money and get everyone into the spirit of the evening.

After all, for pulse-quickening excitement nothing can match the sights and sounds of a casino floor. It’s vibrant, it’s throbbing, and it’s pulsating with energy and life! It’s an invigorating sensation with universal appeal. We all favour Lady Luck – we secretly, and not so secretly, hope that she will grace our lives!   So get your guests to check out their relationship with Lady Luck for the evening!


Let your invitation be funky enough to raise curiosity levels and also enthuse guests to attend the party.  Attach a playing card to the invite, or tie a pair of dice (instead of tassels). Alternatively, include plastic or metal coins or include chocolate coins (poker chips) with your invitation to start the evening off on a sweet note. You could even send a set of Feng Shui coins to give them a lucky start! Tell your guests that it’s a formal evening and ask them to come in their best designer wear – think old-style balls, think Las Vegas!


Ideally, have the party catered by one of the swanker outfits in town and have liveried waiters floating around the place to add that formal evening touch. When guests arrive, give them a bag of funny money – wrap it in drawstring bags made of gold cloth with gold tassels. There’s plenty you can do in terms of décor. String playing cards around the room instead of streamers. Get posters of places like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Reno and Monte Carlo and place them about your casino site. Put up gaming tables around the designated area – have some games for the serious gamblers and some fun ones for those who just want to participate but are not too keen on really gambling. Have flashing lights, twinkling lights and maybe even those disco balls to enhance the ambience.


You need some good music to go with the fun. Ideally, get a live band and request them to come all suited and booted; if there’s a female crooner in a sexy red gown – wow! It will get the party going! Have a designated dance floor so people can head there and boogie when they want a break from the gambling.


Have plenty of finger foods and canapés – and ensure that they are circulated constantly. Those in the throes of playing are not going to be too keen on jumping up to get themselves something to munch. The same goes for the liquor – have waiters to ply guests with their choice of drinks. You could lay out a buffet table or alternatively, make it a canapés, kababs and finger food party.

And finally, since it is a Casino Night, everyone should go home feeling lucky! Gift guests something – it could be a box of exotic chocolates, a bottle of champagne, designer candles…something posh and exclusive. They’ll go home feeling good (even those who’ve lost money at the gambling tables!). This way, everyone will feel they have hit the jackpot!

Retro Night

An all-time favourite party theme would be a 60’s and 70’s retro night. Great music, funky costumes, some psychedelic décor and the evening will just rock and roll! Go back to the time of the hippie revolution, flower power, beads, platform shoes, kaftans, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Beatles, Elvis and the Bee Gees.


With a theme like this, the sky is the limit as far as your imagination goes. Think wild! After all it was the era of dreaming, imagining and chilling out. First things first. Make out some freaky party invites with peace signs, or doves. Make sure to inform guests that the dress code is 60’s-70’s. They could wear anything from bell-bottoms to frayed jeans, kaftans and beads…they could also have Afro hairdos or style their hair in those freaky styles of the era. Make the invite punchy and funny to inspire your guests to really get into the spirit of things.


Now get your house to reflect that hippie era. You could have lots of floor cushions strewn around with colorful ethnic covers, lots of dhurries for people to sit down on. Cover your lampshades with colorful paper – marble paper will be great – so that it throws a kaleidoscope of colors (shades of the psychedelic) all around the room. Place some decorative hookahs on side tables to add to the hippie feel!


Start the evening with some soft music till the party gets rolling – try Simon and Garfunkel, CSNY, The Seekers, The Beatles’ love songs, Carole King, Joan Baez… As the party starts rollicking, switch over to some good old rock n roll – Beatles, Elvis, Shakin’ Stevens. Play some funky pop – Bee Gees, Abba, Boney M. Then transform the mood of the party by moving onto some slow romantic music as the evening wears on – Barbra Streisand, Simon and Garfunkel, Carpenters. Catalogue the music in advance – slow, rock n roll, disco, country…this way you won’t be hunting for songs.


Don’t worry about the food – there needn’t be a select theme. Everyone will be so busy boogieing and tripping out on the music and ambience that any food (as long as it’s tasty) will be welcome!

Masquerade Party

Why not spice up the festive season by hearkening back to a bygone era. Think opulence. Think grand. Think romance. Think handsome masked strangers and beautiful masked damsels. The aura of mystery, the underlying thrill of romance and the bewitching attire of all the assembled guests…all this cloaked with a subtle but pervading sense of wickedness and excitement. Think masquerade party!

Sure, you won’t be able to see the face of who you are talking to, but that’s half the mischief and fun of a Masquerade Party.  Either way, it’s a great way to have an evening of   mystery and curiosity.  It will be fun for one and all and opportunity to dress up formally.


Kick-start the excitement and thrill with a snazzy invite that really seduces your guests. Embellish it with feathers, sequins, gold or silver paint. Make it extravagant and elegant.  Request that each guest customize their mask to match their party attire, and wear the mask to the party.   Also, request them to dress formal – to dress to kill. That adds to the glamour and feel of the party – having elegantly dressed men and women floating around!


Before you decide on your decorations, select a color theme to work with. You could go in for the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. Choose colors that scream opulence!   For a masquerade theme, opt for one solid color, and complement it with either silver or gold.

Let everything glitter and sparkle. Either go in for glittery curtains, or embellish your existing ones with sequins, rhinestones, or gold or silver tassels. Paint all your flowerpots in gold or silver to add more drama. Cover lampshades too with sequins or some glittering material. Why not buy a horde of gold or silver balloons and hang them up in clusters everywhere? For a really dramatic look, outline a dance floor or the border of a room with balloon strands. It will look lovely.

Have twinkling lights in your garden to add a fairytale effect. Hang up lamps draped in gold and silver gossamer. Indoors, go in for gold or silver candles and light them up for an enchanting ambience. Use tapers, balls, and votives to assemble a stylish color theme. Place clusters of candles on the dining table and side tables, on your sideboards, even in the bathrooms to enhance the magical setting. You could even place floating candles at pivotal points for an ethereal effect.

Gossamer is a wonderful decorating tool for a party like this. It’s lightweight, it drapes, hangs and holds its shape beautifully. And it looks so stunning and magical. It can transform a room. Imagine the flicker of candles and the dazzle of gossamer. The room will look delightful and dreamlike. If you are decorating a large area, or want to make any area look more intimate and festive, use gossamer to drape, swag or cover just about anything. Ceilings, walls, doorframes, edges of table skirting, or tabletops all look terrific when accented with gossamer. For an even more magical effect, you could gather the gossamer at a central point in the ceiling and drape it to the walls. Even an ugly room will look beautiful and completely transformed.   Twist or braid two colors together for an eye-catching look. Enfold gossamer around columns or stair rails in your theme colors. Tie gossamer streamer bows around your chairs for a more dramatic effect.

If you don’t have enough china for all your guests, buy metallic gold or silver paper plates. Make up for the paper plates with an opulent menu fit for royalty. Ideally, have the party catered so that you can avoid the hassle of preparations. In that case, you can request for elegant cutlery and china.


Nothing like good old jazz to create an ambience of romance for the evening. If you could hire a jazz band, that will be the icing on the cake. Otherwise just pick up some CDs of Big Bands’ jazz with lots of sax, strings and pianos and let folks let their hair down the old-fashioned way – by romantically slow dancing cheek to cheek.


Ideally get someone to cater for the party. Think exotic food. No pizzas or pastas please!