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come as You usually aren't
theme parties 101 |
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Three things set the mood of any party, but especially a theme party: Refreshments, Tunes, and Apparel.

Refreshments | Determining edibles and potables once you've set your theme is pretty straight forward - most themes have inherent food associations. You probably wouldn't be serving rum punch at a tea ceremony, for instance, but it would go smashingly for Dread Pirates. Have as much fun with the refreshments as you did with the decorations. I use my Hungry Ghosts party as an excuse to provide an assortment of favorite Asian candies and sweets as well as barbeque pork, pot stickers, egg rolls and won ton. Beach parties mean margaritas. Movie nights require Red Vines and popcorn in abundance. You get the idea.

Obvious though this may be, however, make sure that your snacks are things that people are actually going to like - while a big bowl of poi might make perfect sense at your Hawaiian luau, theme-wise, it's not necessarily going to delight anyone's tastebuds. You may want consider setting out a few of the traditional chips bowls and wine in addition to the themed munchies, to appease the less adventurous of your guests.

Tunes | Music sets the tone of any party. Throwing a killer beach blanket a-go-go? Consider surf classics like the Beach Boys, Dick Dale and the Deltones, Jimmy Buffet, or even crank it up with Surf Punks, Ramones and Man….or Astroman? A swinging cocktail party wouldn't be complete without a smattering of standards from Old Blue Eyes, the Velvet Fog, and a little crooning from Lena Horne. 

A CD changer will come in very handy to insure that the soundtrack is constant; if you're feeling super-organized, you can also make a few mix tapes.

Apparel | Theme parties either conjure sinking dread or utter excitement in people, thanks to the opportunity/curse of dressing up. Some gatherings almost require costumes—pajama parties being a prime example. The best method of encouraging your guests to get dressed-up is to actually suggest some specific costumes, and offer prizes that go with the theme. 

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