Hosting an event is harder than people think. That’s why you so often hear stories of people dreading attending company parties, knowing they’re going to be bland, tedious affairs. You want your party to be something more than a few grocery store banners strung up in a conference room with a few trays of hors d’oeuvres, right? Well, one way to do it is to start your planning with a theme.
We’ve put together a list of the top 50 themes we’ve seen in the corporate event world. There’s a lot of flexibility within each theme, so you can customize them to suit whatever level of formality or atmosphere you want for your event. You’re sure to find something that people will enjoy!
This set of themes are your most common themes, tried and true classics that can be customized in pretty much any way. They can be casual, they can be formal, they can be energetic or laid back, and anywhere in between. The key to success with these party themes is customizing them to your group’s desired level of complexity.
The Summer BBQ – A staple of summertime parties, the BBQ is a great time to let everyone dress casual, hang out in the sun with a hotdog and some beer, and just let loose for a while.
The Winter Wonderland – Some people hate winter, while others adore it. Forming a party around sparkling ice, elegant winter dress, and cozy entertainment is a great way to bring people closer together.
The Spring Celebration – Spring is a time of renewal and growth, and you can tie such a party into your plans for business growth as well as personal growth. Decorate with flowers and serve plenty of fresh spring vegetables.
The Carnival Party – Renting a venue and hiring some carnival rides and games makes a stodgy corporate event into something fun for the whole family. Make it a fair and invite the whole family.
The Big Game – Sports are ubiquitous in most offices, and you can really bring some people together by hosting a party for the big game, whichever game you choose that to be. Just make sure you aren’t conflicting with other people’s plans.
The Taco Tuesday – Who doesn’t like the humble taco? A taco Tuesday party provides great, flexible food for everyone without the need to dress it up. Just bring the food and the people, and let socializing be the entertainment. Or hire a mariachi band, whatever works for you!
The Minigolf Outing – The humble minigolf course might not be as popular as it once was, but spending a few hours working your way through a course with your coworkers can be a good way to provide entertainment without too much planning.
The Tropical Vacation – Most companies aren’t going to spring for a tropical vacation for their employees, but you can do the next best thing and mimic it at home. Pick a venue, be it Hawaii or Cuba or anywhere else, research décor and food, and invite people to attend in their finest luau clothes.
The Decade Theme – Whether it’s the 70s, the 50s, or a return to the roaring 20s, picking a decade as a theme is a tried-and-true method for spicing up an otherwise bland party. Get some period-specific music and entertainment to complete the event.
The Awards Show – Your employees deserve recognition, so why not give it to them? Commission plaques or trophies, line up awards for everyone for real and for goofy awards – positive only, please – and hand them out at a fancy dress party.
The Ugly Sweater Party – What’s more fun than dressing like a loon and having a fun, casual party? Not much. Ugly sweater parties are incredible these days, with the print-on-demand apparel companies providing the ugliest designs you could ever ask for.
The Book Club Party – Ideal for the bookish kinds of companies, a book club party can either be a legitimate book club meeting, or it can be a book themed party. It all depends on how much you want your team reading on the job.
The Psychedelic Trip – A sort of spinoff of the decade parties, making a stoner party with tie-dye apparel, psychedelic art, and trippy music can be a great time for a company party. Even better if your employees lived through the time period themselves.
The Karaoke Party – Karaoke is a huge hit in come countries, but hasn’t caught on quite as hard in America. It’s a great way for extroverts to get some time in the sun, for that one coworker with the incredible singing voice to show off, and for everyone to relax with a few beers on a day off.
The Historical Cast Party – What do you get when you invite Elvis, Abraham Lincoln, and Ghandi to a party? A party with no limit to the kinds of costumes people can bring, as long as they show up to have a good time.
The Movie Screening – Recent releases everyone wants to see? Old classics you’d love to screen? It’s easy enough to rent a movie theater for the latest blockbuster, or a smaller venue for a custom screening. Cater the concessions and you’re sure to have a hit.
The Music Theme Party – Music always livens up a party, but you can take it one step further by planning a party around a genre. For bonus points, you can even book a popular band within that genre to attend and play a set.
The Space/Sci-Fi Party – Space is the final frontier, and science fiction tells us how we can explore it. Both give you plenty of options for space-age décor, or you can go retro with retrofuturism. This one is especially great for tech companies!
The Wild West Party – Cowboys, cattle, and the gold rush can make excellent themes for a corporate party. Just warn people away from unfortunate cultural appropriation so you don’t give your company bad press if photos get out.
The International Party – Much like the tropical vacation party, an international trip party can bring Italy, Paris, Egypt, or Japan to your office by way of decorations, food, and music carefully chosen to promote an inclusive and international theme.
If you wondered why there weren’t any holiday themes on the first section up above, well, here they are! Holiday themes can be a huge hit or a huge snore, and it’s all about scheduling them at a time when your attendees will be most engaged.
The Christmas Party – Where a winter-themed party is about the elegance of ice, a Christmas party is about celebrating and the gift-giving inherent in the season. Book a Santa and hand out themed gifts for a next-level holiday party.
The Halloween Party – Halloween is one of the best party themes for dressing up, and seeing the kind of elaborate creativity you coworkers provide is mesmerizing. Schedule it a few days early to let people have their own celebration, of course.
The Easter Party – Easter means different things to different people, so make sure you’re not stepping on anyone’s religious toes with an egg-and-bunny affair full of candy, bright pastels, and springtime celebration.
The Talk Like a Pirate Day – It’s one thing for a company to allow talking like a pirate internally, and it’s quite another to throw an entire pirate-themed party for anyone who wants to attend on September 19th. Treasure chests full of chocolate gold, pirate costumes, and sea shanties make the day.
The St. Patrick’s Day Party – Does your office appreciate the finer points of alcohol? Do they love the color green? Celebrating this saint’s day can get rowdy, but it can be a fun party with the right people and the right entertainment.
The Fourth of July – Independence day is traditionally full of food, family, and fireworks, so a good 4th party should take place earlier in the day, or provide a “family” for those who don’t have one of their own to celebrate with.
The Earth Day Party – Earth day is a day to celebrate and appreciate our planet. You can do so with a party planned with sustainable food and décor, or you can make it more of an activist party, where everyone goes out to help clean up a neighborhood or make a tangible difference in the community.
The Pi Day Party – March 14th is Pi day (pi being 3.14~), and the traditional way for math nerds to celebrate is with pie. Make a day of it, and bring in pies both sweet and savory for everyone to sample. You don’t need much else to be a success!
The National Doughnut Day – Everyone loves confectionary, and doughnuts are always a tasty and appreciated addition to an office environment. You can go one better with a full themed party, though, with décor and entertainment to match.
The Local Specialty – Your town is known for something. What is it, and how can you link it up with your company? Help sponsor a local event and get your employees to attend, and you’re well positioned to engage with the community and have a great time besides.
Who doesn’t love a little pop culture? Whether your office is a fan of classic literature or modern-day big-budget blockbusters, you can always find something in the great library of media to base a party around. Be sure to pick something most people are familiar with to get the most out of it.
The Star Wars Party – Star Wars is a perennial favorite of many a nerd, and a themed party using the old movies or the new ones – keep the lightsaber battles safe, friends – is great and entertaining for a whole office.
The Game of Thrones Party – The Game of Thrones trend may be on its way out, but the show and the books still have plenty of fans. Plus, once the trend fades, you can reuse most of the props as a generic medieval party as well!
The Oscars Party – The awards ceremony is one thing, but you can also host a party as if everyone is attending such a high profile event. Roll out a red carpet, dress in your finest, and host your own film awards.
The Anime Party – If your office doesn’t know what anime is, go ahead and skip this one. If they do, picking their favorite show and basing the party’s theme around it can be an off-the-wall idea for an interesting party for sure.
The Video Game Party – These days, almost everyone plays video games. You can hit up a local GameStop and find all manner of game-based décor for your party. A local barcade might be a great venue as well, complete with food and games to play.
The Marvel Universe Party – Some of the biggest blockbuster films in the last decade all come from the same franchise, and it’s no surprise that the franchise inspires a lot of fun themes for a part, whether it’s a retro Guardians of the Galaxy night or a superhero-themed Avengers screening party.
The Cooking Competition Party – These days there are hundred different variations of shows like Iron Chef, Chopped, and Nailed It. Putting together your own test kitchen, or just a potluck with judging, can be a great party theme.
The Game Show Party – Who doesn’t like a little Family Feud or Jeopardy? A game show can be a fun event if your participants are interested, though it can fall flat if no one really feels like participating. Make sure to know your audience before you plan it!
The Classic Movies Party – Classic movies, from Gone with the Wind to Godfather, can be a foundation of a fun theme for a party. Plus, since they’re so readily available, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to screen the movie as a centerpiece of the gathering.
The Disney Party – Disney has been formative for entire generations of young workers, and these days everyone has their favorite Disney movie. Picking a few to mix and match for a Disneyland-like party environment is easy.
Sometimes you don’t want a party with a low barrier to entry. Sometimes you want something more exotic, more extreme, or just unusual enough to make a memorable experience. That’s what these party themes are for. When all else fails, try something unusual.
The Neon Garden – The Neon Garden is a new kind of party inspired by music festivals and electronic music, with bright neon colors covering every surface and an eclectic taste in costume. For certain demographics, it can be extremely enjoyable. For others, not so much.
The Masquerade – The classic masquerade can be an elegant affair, or it can be shrouded in mystery. Keep it classy, or add a game to it with a murder mystery or another inventive way to keep your guests engaged.
The Auction – There are two ways to do an auction party; for real and for fun. For fun, give everyone tickets to use as currency and auction small items as gifts to take home. For real, auction more valuable items and give the proceeds towards an office improvement, or to charity.
The Monochrome – Back before color was invented, everything was in black and white, we can tell from old television and movies. There’s your theme; everyone come dressed in black and white, run monochrome décor, and watch old silent films.
The Human Habitat – If your company doesn’t tend to enjoy parties that don’t have a point, give them one. More than one company has rallied a Habitat for Humanity event or a comparable charity to give back to the community, as a team.
The Escape Room – Escape rooms are fun for small groups, so if you’re not trying to plan a party for 100 people, they can be a great modern take on the “team building exercise” without forcing everyone into a trust fall or an awkward conversation.
The Art-Along Party – From Bob Ross to Social Artwork, there are any number of ways you can get people to paint or create along with a guide.
The Adult Kid’s Party – Feel like a kid again with adult-scale inflatable slides, bounce houses, and other childlike entertainment at this kind of casual, fun party.
The Color Run – For those more athletically inclined, a color run can be a great party idea. Get everyone together, pack on the washable chalk, and raise some funds for charity while you’re at it.
The Chaos Party – Why stick with a single theme when you can have them all? Give everyone you invite a different party theme, throw every bit of décor on the wall you can find, and just have fun with it!
What about you? What has been your favorite company part experience, and what was the theme?