1. Rocket Homes
  2. Blog
  3. Home Buyer’s Guide
  4. 11 Best New Year’s Eve Party Ideas To Ring In 2020

11 Best New Year’s Eve Party Ideas To Ring In 2020

Rachel BurrisJanuary 03, 2020

New Year’s Eve is a day that comes with excitement but also a lot of anticipation. Too often, people find that their New Year’s Eve plans don’t live up to their expectations. If you’re thinking of throwing a New Year’s Eve party this year, you may be growing increasingly anxious, trying to figure out the best ways to amuse your guests as they countdown to 2020.

Hosting New Year’s means decorating your home, preparing delicious food and supplying enough champagne or sparkling wine to make your guests feel festive. But what about entertainment? What will your guests be doing during your party? And what attire do you want them to wear?

There’s a lot to think about when you’re the host. Instead of wracking your brain, trying to figure it out all by yourself, we’ve got you covered. With our 12 New Year’s Eve party ideas, you can rest assured that you’ll make this year’s celebration exceed all expectations. Read through our suggestions and feel free to tweak or mix and match, so you can leave your own stamp on the festivities.

Idea 1: Choose A New Year’s Eve Party Theme

Some of the best New Year’s Eve parties have themes. The reason that themed parties tend to be so successful is that they usually require guests to dress in costume. By asking guests to dress up, you ensure that they arrive at your New Year’s party with their guard down, ready to celebrate.

The theme you choose should depend on what you want the mood of your party to be. Themes can range from laid-back to over-the-top, such as:

·     Pajama Party: Make your gathering a cozy one by having all your guests dress in their favorite pajamas and take part in amusing sleepover activities.

·     Luau: Give your guests a break from the cold weather by creating a tropical oasis– have them dress in Hawaiian shirts or grass skirts, present them with leis at the door and set up a tiki bar with fruit-forward mixed drinks.

·     Masquerade: Add a bit of mystery to your New Year’s gathering by having guests arrive in masks and wait until midnight to reveal their identities. Decorate your home with candelabras and velvet fabrics to further enchant your guests.

·     Resolutions: Since it’s tradition to set personal goals for the upcoming year, have your guests dress up as their New Year’s resolutions, decorate your home with inspiring quotes and create games around guessing each other’s costumes.

·     Prohibition: The 18thAmendment, which banned alcohol, was first ratified by states in 1919, so this NYE is the perfect time to celebrate the centennial by having guests “sneak” in through your cellar and dress up as flappers and mobsters.

The secret to success here is to try to choose a theme that you think both you and your guests will get excited about. The more excited everyone is to dress up, the more spirited the party will be.

Idea 2: Make New Year’s Eve Party Favors

Everyone loves to go home with goodies, so make sure to create fun party favors for your guests to take with them at the end of the night. Popular party favors tend to be individual-sized bottles of champagne with DIY labels or small boxes of truffles.

However, you can coordinate your party favors with your theme. For luau-themed parties, sunglasses or koozies make for a fun gift at the end of the night. On the other hand, masquerade and Prohibition-themed parties call for more alcohol-inspired giveaways, like champagne flutes or flasks. Depending on your budget, you may choose to have these gifts customized professionally or make labels yourself.

Idea 3: Set Up A DIY Photo Booth

These days, no New Year’s Eve party is complete without a photo booth. Your guests will want to add photos from your party to their social media profiles, and pictures taken with props are always amusing.

To create the booth, all you need to do is set up a station with playful props and a fun backdrop. You can buy metallic tinsel fringe curtains for under $10 and either purchase or make props that match your theme.

For resolution-themed parties, you could have a collection of chalkboard word-bubble signs that guests write their resolutions or inspirational thoughts on. Whereas, for pajama-themed parties, you could have teddy bears, sleep masks, pillows and popcorn boxes. Anything goes when it comes to photo booth props – just remember: the sillier, the better!

Idea 4: Make It An Around-The-World Potluck Party

If you’re not feeling up to providing all the food for your party, here’s another New Year’s Eve party idea that can also establish a theme for your event. Create an Around-the-World Potluck party, where all of your guests bring a dish inspired by a different part of the world.

To plan your potluck, just make sure that with the invitation, you create an online form where each of your guests can sign up for a specific cuisine – this step is crucial to ensure that you don’t get stuck with copious pasta dishes! Encourage your guests to make different courses as well, so that you have an appropriate number of appetizers, entrees, side dishes and desserts.

Then, decorate your home with various geographically inspired decor styles. Create a diverse playlist that includes music from around the globe to help your guests get into the mood. And, don’t forget to include a variety of international drinks on your bar cart.

Idea 5: Throw A Totally Local New Year’s Eve Party

Instead of going global, you can make your party focus on all the incredible things your community has to offer. Your Local New Year’s Eve party can focus on the delicious treats your city or state has to offer by serving food from area restaurants, desserts from your town’s bakeries and alcohol from nearby breweries and distilleries. Your decorations can also take on a special flair with cardboard cutouts of your city’s monuments and memorabilia from local sports teams.

To ensure that your guests get into the community spirit, have them come to the party dressed in their favorite nearby high school or university gear. And see if you can get your hands on songs performed by hometown musicians.

Idea 6: Set Up A Boozy Hot Chocolate Bar

New Year’s Eve tends to be a boozy celebration, and you want your guests to get into it long before the champagne toast. This year turn your bar cart into a boozy hot chocolate bar. Use aspects of your party’s theme to decorate the bar and create three different stations that you label with playful signs.

·     Station 1: Take More Than a Droplet of This Hot Chocolate– Make hot chocolate and pour it into a large beverage dispenser to keep it hot. Surround the dispenser with glass mugs that will allow your guests to show off their creations.

·     Station 2: Add a Shot to Somethin’ Hot – Allow guests to choose which booze they’d prefer to spike their cocoa with by including a selection of bottles. Some possibilities include peppermint schnapps, whipped cream-flavored vodka, dark chocolate liqueur, Kahlua, whiskey, spiced rum and tequila.

·     Station 3: Mix-in These Fixin’s – Have a variety of toppings that guests can add to their spiked hot chocolate. Make bourbon whipped cream by adding a little liquor to your regular recipe. Have guests pile it on top of the beverage before they add treats like marshmallows, shaved chocolate, sprinkles, caramel and truffles.

Boozy hot chocolate bars are perfect for pajama- or Winter Wonderland-themed New Year’s Eve parties. However, if you feel that it doesn’t quite match your desired decor style, feel free to mix it up. For example, if you’re going for a Prohibition-themed New Year’s Eve party, you can swap out the boozy hot chocolate bar for a punch bowl that you dramatically spike after your guests arrive.

Idea 7: Have An Anonymous Gift Exchange

Who says gifts are only for Christmas? You can make your New Year party even more joyful by adding an anonymous gift exchange to the evening’s activities. Instead of calling it Secret Santa, you can tell everyone that you’re adding a “Gear for the New Year” gift swap and have all of your guests wrap presents that they think will be useful in 2020.

Adding this type of gift exchange can be especially entertaining for resolution-themed New Year’s parties, as the gifts given can center around items that will help guests stick to their resolutions.

Idea 8: Take New Year’s Eve Outdoors

The evening will be long, and you may be struggling to find ways to keep your guests entertained as you count down to 2020. To break up the night, you can add outdoor activities into the mix.

If there’s snow on the ground, having everyone participate in a snowman-building contest can energize your guests by exploiting their competitive spirit. For a more leisurely outdoor activity, you can sit by an outdoor fire and roast marshmallows. If your accommodations lack sufficient outdoor space, consider taking an early trip to a local ice-skating rink.

Idea 9: Crank Up The New Year’s Eve Karaoke

Adding karaoke to your New Year party is a fantastic way to keep your guests entertained. Whether your friends have perfect pitch or can be best described as tone-deaf, they’ll be left in awe and laughter as they sing the night away. And thanks to the slew of karaoke channels on YouTube, you can easily create a karaoke system in the comfort of your own home.

While there’s no shame in throwing on YouTube and having your guests belt out their favorite songs, you can also create a more professional setup. If you buy a microphone, you can set up the output to play through the speakers in your home and have the YouTube channel play through your TV.

Just be sure to include some New Year songs along with the crowd-pleasers to keep the evening festive. You may need a break from all the ’80s and ’90s songs anyway.

Idea 10: Serve Dessert At Midnight

After the big countdown, when the ball drops in Times Square, champagne toasts are the traditional way to ring in the New Year. However, it never hurts to mix things up by adding a scrumptious dessert to your NYE traditions.

Since New Year’s Eve tends to be alcohol-centered, why not create a boozy treat for your guests to enjoy when the clock strikes 12. Champagne cupcakes are a yummy way to update old customs – and help sober up intoxicated guests.

Idea 11: Make It A Sleepover Party

All that alcohol can make your guests pretty sleepy, so why not make your New Year’s Eve gathering a sleepover party? After all, your guests will already be staying up until the wee hours of the morning.

For the perfect sleepover, have all of your guests bring a sleeping bag and pillow with them, so they can camp out in the living room for the night. That way, your New Year’s Eve party can easily transition into a New Year’s Day brunch.

A group sleepover can be the perfect culmination for a pajama-themed New Year’s Eve party. Just throw in a boozy hot chocolate bar and a toiletry bag of party favors, and you’ll make your inner teen real proud!

After The Party: New Year’s Resolutions

After your potentially debaucherous New Year’s Eve party, you’ll feel more than ready to make some changes – especially if your hangover is filling you with regrets. So, before you host, make sure you’ve spent some time considering which New Year’s resolutions will help you improve your life.

If health is your biggest concern, perhaps you want your New Year’s resolution to be eating healthier foods or spending more time in the gym. If you worry that you haven’t been reading enough, maybe your resolution should be finishing a book every month or reading more articles on the Rocket HomesSM blog.

But, not all New Year’s resolutions have to be small. You may have some financial goals that you’d like to reach. If you’ve been putting off buying a new home, 2020 can be the year you achieve that milestone.

Whatever your resolutions are, just make sure you see them through. Most people don’t make it through the first 2 months. But if you set achievable goals, create a plan of attack and continuously monitor your progress, you can be one of the few!

Table of Contents

    Rachel Burris

    Rachel Burris is a writer covering topics of interest to present and future homeowners, as well as industry insiders. Prior to joining Rocket Companies, she worked as an English teacher for the New York City Department of Education and a licensed real estate agent for Brown Harris Stevens. She holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Bucknell University, a postbaccalaureate certificate in psychology from Columbia University and a master's degree in English education from Teachers College, Columbia University.