If you’ve ever watched “My Super Sweet Sixteen” you know that a party theme is totally clutch. Sure, the party will still happen without a killer theme and all of the kids on camera will still say it was “the best party of the year,” but really, when they go home and tell their parents about it, they will hark on the details.
The same thing holds true of Northwestern parties. Yes, people will come to the party regardless of the theme and yes, people mostly just want to go to the parties to drink, not to relish in minute detail. But a really sweet theme will really enhance everyone’s experience, if not entice more people to come.
I’ve been to a lot of parties. I do not remember what most of the parties were for or what day they were on or what kind of beer was in the keg, but the parties that stand out in my mind as Totally Fucking Tight (TFT) all had one thing in common: a memorable theme. However, it is not enough to just have a memorable theme. One must also have an accessible theme that won’t turn people away.
The best party of my college career was in January of my freshman year. Generally, I am against decade-themed party, but this one was a special decade: the 90s. The eighties is overdone and the seventies are not in our consciousness, but the nineties was the time when we were all finding our way into being the hip twenty-somethings we are today. It wasn’t enough that the party had a theme, but that the people hosting the party followed through. Nothing but memorable nineties gems were danced to. Someone dressed up as slap bracelet. Nineties lingo was employed. Basically, if you’re going to go with a basic theme like the nineties, you really have to go all out.
My other favorite themes from college have been a little more obscure. The Mustache Party. The No-Pants Party. The Kindergarten Party. These parties were TFT because they were funny and easy to dress up for without looking like we were getting particularly dressed up. Basically, in the months before and the months after Halloween, kids like to get dressed up. But they do not like to get dressed up in a way that will inhibit their ability to go to another party either before or after your themed-party. Things like Drag parties and Toga parties are nice, but it’s hard to go to another party when you’re wearing bed sheets.
Thus, if you’re going to have a themed-party (which you absolutely should), follow some of these tips:
- Obscurity is good, but there is a limit. Some party themes are too worn to be considered good themes any more: CEOs and Corporate Hos. Cops and Robbers. Black and White. Let’s step out of the box. I applaud some of the more creative themes I’ve heard this year: Little Red Riding Ho, Sluts on Ice 2, an outdoor Holiday Party, Rubiks Cube, Bat Mitzvah. I encourage everyone to do what my screenwriting professor always says: Be generically original.
- Allow for the skank factor. Sorry ladies, but it’s true: Girls like themes that can be taken in the sluttiest way possible. It’s the only explanation for the Halloween tradition of being a sexy anything. Parties are the physical manifestation of that deep-seated, Darwinian need to mate: The more attractive females in a species are more attractive because they look more fertile and more likely to survive through natural selection. Thus, girls like to show off their boobs and curves so that we can ensure the continuation of the human race. Go ahead and get mad, feminists, but find me a party in the dead of winter where girls aren’t wearing tank tops and I’ll give you my liver at a basement-bargain price. Any party theme that can be skanked up is going to be hot. But a party theme that can be skanked up OR toned down will be a real winner. Seven Deadly Sins is on the verge of being overdone, but when you can dress up as lust or gluttony at the same party, you will draw major crowds.
- Always provide a discount on the cover charge for people in costumes. Self explanatory. We are all used to the five dollar entry fee for nearly any party on this campus and we all resign ourselves to pay it. But if there is a chance for paying only three dollars or one dollar or, dare I say it, not paying because you’ve dressed up like a dinosaur, people will be more inclined to dress up. And the more people dress up, the more fun you will have when the liquor starts flowing. Guaranteed.
- Irony is always funny. We’re all smart kids, so we all know what irony is. But for the really hip smart kids on this campus, there’s nothing funnier than an ironic party. Try “Enchantment Under the Sea,” or “Opposites Attract” or really anything you can imagine a high school using as a prom theme. It’s hard to draw the line between lame and ironic, but do your best.
- If all else fails, at least have some themed drinks. There’s nothing sadder than getting to a party and finding out there are only kegs. From a hosting standpoint, there is nothing sadder than investing in liquor and finding that someone has stolen a handle from your house. But it is a classy move to have a bartender making up sweet drinks for everyone. If you must charge an extra dollar for mixed drinks, make them good: Don’t charge a dollar for a shot that wouldn’t get an infant drunk. Even the weakest theme can be saved with flowing liquor, color-coordinated jello shots and jungle juice.
There you have it. Now go forth, and party plan to your little hearts desire. And can someone please throw a dinosaur party? That sounds like a lot of fun.