All you really need for a great birthday party are a few people you love spending time with. Add some snacks and a couple of adult beverage options if that’s your thing, and voilà!
From there, you can add as much flair as you like. After all, you’re the star of the show!
Want more ideas to make your next birthday party extra memorable? Read on for some of our favorite birthday party themes!
Na nana nana nah, you say it’s your birthday? Na nana nana nah, it’s National Coffee Ice Cream Day, too, yeah! If your birthday is September 6, that is. Born on April 3? Consider your dress code sorted; that’s National Tweed Day. March 13 babies, get wild—you were born on National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day!
There is no day on the calendar that isn’t National something-or-other Day. Check the National Day Calendar for 365 days of silly and fun birthday party themes for adults.
This idea is soooo money, baby! (Yeah, that catchphrase from the movie Swingers is corny, but we don’t care.) You can play this birthday party theme a few different ways:
Like a bit of wagering? Host a poker night—or Uno or Go Fish—for your birthday party! Play for pennies if you like, or consider making the buy-in your age and playing for charity.
Want to take it up a notch? Get a couple of volunteers to play dealer and croupier and have a full-fledged casino night. Casino.org has a lot of craft and decor ideas for your casino night birthday party theme.
Either way, why not make it extra swanky with a Las Vegas dress code? You can go 1950s Rat Pack or retro 1990s Swingers revival. Make it glamorous or make it tongue-in-cheek. Here’s a great Swing Revival playlist on Spotify to get you in the mood.
While we’re in a retro state of mind, let’s back it up a couple more decades with a fondue birthday party theme. If anyone in your family got married in the 60s or 70s, there is almost definitely a fondue set in their basement. If not, it’s easy-cheesy to find one at a thrift store.
The traditional cheese sauce is made with white wine, beer, or champagne—no worries about drink pairings here. And let’s be honest, if dipping all of your food in melted cheese is wrong, we don’t want to be right. Just make sure you’ve got some options for any vegan, paleo, or otherwise dairy-free guests.
There are so many variations on a nautical-themed party. You can’t beat a classic pool party to make a splash with guests of all ages. But what if you don’t have a pool or you’ve got a winter birthday?
Why not ask guests to break out their best adult contemporary party ensembles, mix up some white wine spritzers or rum cocktails, and cue up the yacht rock? Ascots for everyone!
Budget tip: Scoop up generic red, white, and blue tableware when it’s on sale after July 4th. You’ll only need a couple of sailing themed accessories to shift the vibe from patriotic to aquatic.
A slumber party is one of our favorite birthday party themes for adults. Embrace your inner homebody and invite your besties. It’s a great excuse to treat yourself to a new set of PJs and indulge without anyone’s mom telling you to keep the volume down.
Order some pizzas, stock up on ice cream, cue up a few movies from your pre-teen sleepover years, and brush up on your hair braiding skills! Buzzfeed has a ton of ideas for sleepover party prep and props.
Give your guests a list of local landmarks and silly activities, and give them two hours to race around town, ticking off as many as possible. Do the “Thriller” dance in front of City Hall. Record as many people as possible, saying Happy Birthday in different languages. See how many strangers you can get to join a conga line.
Scavenger Hunt Guru has ideas for 16 different scavenger hunt birthday party themes for adults, and for kids and teens, too.
Or just organize a one-drink-per-bar crawl. Chances are a few people will have to hunt for lost jackets or left-behind credit cards the next day. 😉
We alternately love and are terrified by this idea for birthday parties from Bustle. If you and your crew have known each other since forever, mix it up by asking everyone to bring someone totally new to your party.
It could be a great way to meet a whole bunch of awesome people, or it could be like a dozen simultaneous awkward first dates. Either way, remember: whatever doesn’t kill you eventually makes a really great story!
We know someone who did this on Casco Bay in Maine for her 30th, and it’s a pretty genius birthday party theme if you live somewhere where there’s ferry service. Pick a twilight hour departure and do the whole ferry loop for a budget sunset picnic cruise.
Bonus: a lot of ferry services serve alcohol, and some let you bring your own in coolers, and there’s almost always a bar or restaurant near the dock so you can have an after-party on land.