13 College Party Themes

Entering college is a new and exciting chapter of anyone’s life. You can expect long days of sitting in a classroom or studying at a library during the daytime, but the shift to nightlife can be more exciting! College isn’t all books and internships but also hitting up your school’s party scene, which could mean that there are a lot of things that you can do. Whether they’re funny or downright embarrassing, most people have the best party life during their college days. 

Meeting people and making lifelong friends has to start somewhere. Whether you meet them in class or at a party, these people can be an integral part of keeping an active social life that you can turn to when everything gets stressful and heavy. 

Parties give college students a chance to blow off steam, and you have a lot of opportunities to get creative with themes, games, and drinks. You don’t need to wait for birthdays or holidays to celebrate since there are a lot of opportunities to organize an occasion. Here are 13 party ideas for your college get-togethers!

Drinking college students on a bathtub blowing some bubbles 

13 College Party Themes

1. Graffiti Party

Surrounding yourself with colorful messages, you can have a great time with this theme. You can choose to put notes that elicit bliss, stress, or support! Whether these messages are long, use sharpies and colorful highlighters to design the fonts.

You can place a large board or a blank poster at the venue of your room or meeting place so that people can easily tag it once they enter the room. Make sure to put a lot of Sharpies and highlighters nearby because they’d be the party’s star. You can even think of gimmicks they’d have to follow by putting their names, saying or some wacky and obscene jokes on the board! 

If you’re thinking of going big on the theme, you can also have backlights that light up the house so that all of the notes with the graffiti can be highlighted. Make sure to use washable markers just so that it would be easier to clean the stains that could be left on the floors, ceilings, or furniture. Make sure your marker’s ink is erasable! 

The fun part about graffiti parties is that the dress code isn’t so strict. You can wear a white shirt and some neat pants, and you’ll be fine! Try to be comfortable and veer away from outfits that look too formal or expensive because you might have some sayings or words written on them too!

2. Formal Ties and Pearls Party

Some college students want classy parties, so if you have enough resources, go ahead and throw a fancy ties and pearls party! With enough time and money, in addition to the right group of people to invite, you can enjoy a night of the formal gathering. You can have this themed party when you’re up for some dressing up or having a mode of the party that’s still civil and not so rowdy. 

Dressing up is the most fun part of this party because you get to pretend to be at the opera or the opening night of a Broadway play. A formal party requires more preparation than many college-themed parties, but it’s more fun when you’re the type to enjoy these events and if you already own a few formal outfits in your closet. 

The theme is classy so use champagne glasses instead of red plastic cups. You can buy wine from Trader Joe’s or sparkling apple cider if you can’t afford expensive champagne. Set the tone for your party by putting glasses and bottles of wine or champagne on the table by the front door. Some fine music will also put your guests in the mood. Have a well-lit venue, and only use candles in places where you’re sure tipsy partygoers won’t knock them over. Use attractive lace tablecloths or delicate linen table coverings, so keep your cheap paper tablecloths.

People usually think of college parties as crass affairs with lots of drinking and obnoxious behavior, but a ties and pearls kind of party gives you a chance to display your classy, laid-back side and enjoy the finer things of life.

Group of women wearing classy outfits and decorative masks 

3. Fiesta

This kind of theme will give you Cinco de Mayo vibes. You’ll know everyone will have a great time when you see donkey piñatas, letter banners, fiesta-themed head boppers, and Cinco de Mayo bead necklaces. 

Having bright colors in your costumes can set the right mood for the theme, so tell your guests to do so, too. Ruffled shirts and blouses, long, tiered skirts, and wide-brimmed Panama hats are a few clothing ideas for this party. You can also complete your fit with a sombrero as a display of authentic Mexican dress-up. Guests can also bring maracas or musical instruments to provide entertainment!

Last but not least, the food for this party can be make-or-break, so make sure you get them right! Food is the easiest part of a fiesta. You can make tacos, burritos, and tostada and end the festivities with some flan which is a Mexican custard.

4. Hollywood 

If your friends liked La La Land a little too much, go ahead and throw them a Hollywood awards theme party to imitate the glitz and glamor of Hollywood! You can even use your favorite past and present stars as inspiration.

You can hang posters of Hollywood landmarks like the Hollywood sign or the Sunset Strip. Since it’s an awards night, you may have Oscar statuette replicas as party prizes or awards for activities such as “Best Dressed” or even “Best Drinker.” 

Guests can have a wide array of choices for their outfits since many Hollywood stars have worn tuxedos, evening gowns, and even vintage dresses on the red carpet. If everyone has the luxury of time, they can imitate their favorite star’s mode of awards show dress. This kind of party is the just right amount of fanciness and glamor for anyone who’s updated with pop culture!

5. Music Genre Party

Everybody has their taste in music so it would be a no-brainer for any college student to bond over a particular music genre. Whether it may be metal, country, or EDM, there’s always some genre to talk about, which makes it the perfect theme for a diverse set of people! 

You can decorate with vintage band posters or photos for this party. Guests can dress in the style of their favorite musician or musical decade. You want to keep things mixed up if you have a musical genre party dedicated to all types of music, but you can also offer costume ideas if you’re saving the party to a specific genre like the ‘90s or hip hop. 

Since it’s related to jamming and musical fun, have a live band or some good music queued in your speaker. Even better, guests can sing karaoke and jive to the beat!

6. Sports 

Instead of camping out in front of the TV, why not throw a sports-themed party with all the trimmings?

Once your TV screen is tuned to the game, prepare the food and drinks. You can buy chips, dips, hot wings, and other party foods while surrounding your guests with banners and placards with your favorite teams’ logos and mascots! Guests can wear jerseys, T-shirts with their favorite teams’ logos, or even uniforms, complete with a cap or helmet.

If you have an active group, you can even throw a party outdoors. You may also play a friendly (or competitive, if you wish) game of football, baseball, basketball, or any team sport that your friends will surely enjoy! 

Group of friends watching a game on TV with drinks in their hands 

7. Ugly Sweater Party

Here’s the perfect party if you’re looking for a chill party that may or may not be connected with Christmas themes. Instead of hiding your tacky sweaters in the closet, wear them to an Ugly Sweater Party! You probably don’t want to buy one, nor do you need to, because you have one gifted to you by your granny or our aunt.

You can place sweets, alcohol, soda, and appetizers on buffet tables while having enough snacks and appetizers to break up the drinking!

8. Casino

Why recreate a Vegas casino if you’re into booze and gambling? You can decorate with fake money, casino visors, casino-themed paper plates and cups, dealer vests, balloons, and tablecloths.

You can set up a poker table and get playing cards and chips to get the first poker games of the night going while having lots of booze for your casino party. After all, alcohol and gambling go hand in hand. 

Group of friends playing poker while dressed up all classy and fancy 

9. Super Heroes

Even if you’re not a comic-book nerd, you probably have a favorite superhero character, just like your friends. A superhero party pays homage to contemporary and traditional superheroes, from Batman and Aquaman to Wonder Woman and Spiderman.

Guests can dress up in full costume as their favorite character or wear a T-shirt or sweatshirt picturing a superhero. Decorate the party room with Marvel comics posters, Justice League group posters, and Marvel characters posters, and show non-stop superhero movies on the TV!

You’ll want to include specialty drinks, like red, white, and blue cocktails, in honor of Captain America while having dark-hued drinks, like Guinness or rum, to celebrate Batman or the Punisher.

You don’t want to decorate a lot for this type of Party, as the costumes everybody will be wearing will be decorated enough, so make sure everyone gets to pick the hero or supporting character they want to be!

10. Mardi Gras

With some balloons, garlands, beads, and feathered Mardi Gras masks, you can have this brightly colored New Orleans party! With the right party drinks crafted after the traditional New Orleans bar drinks, the guests can wear a feather boa, plastic tiara, and lots of beads. 

While the girls can wear Mardi Gras colors, skimpy outfits, or jeans and a sparkly top, guys can wear a pimp hat, Mardi Gras crowns, and bright clothes in Mardi Gras colors!

11. Paint Party

A paint party gives artists and non-artists a chance to be creative in a fun atmosphere. Make sure you have enough space for people to move around and paint freely. You can provide a painting kit for your guests, but make sure you give a lot of acrylic paint, paintbrush sets, and paint palettes!

Cover the floor if your guests are painting indoors but painting outdoors will be easier on guests and prevent hard-to-clean-up messes. In addition, you’ll have plenty of fresh air, so you won’t be overwhelmed by the paint smell. 

In considering what mood to set for the Party, view the background music so you can give your guests energy without being too overwhelming. Make sure to remind them to wear their oldest, junkiest clothes so they won’t worry if they get stained by paint!

12. High School Stereotypes

Being in college allows you to reminisce about your high school years. A high school stereotype party gives you a chance to relive the happy times you had in high school and make fun of the foolish and wacky side of the school. Guests can dress up as cheerleaders, nerds, jocks, band kids, punks, and goths. You can even reenact actual events like prom or graduation! 

13. Toga

Toga parties were popularized in the 1970s movie “Animal House,” but they’ve been on college campuses for a long time. You can have a white bed sheet, laurel headpieces, sandals, and rope belts, and you’re good to go! Make sure to serve wine or any alcohol you like. Decoration can also be fake vines to give that unique feel of Greek royalty! 

Group of college students wearing toga costumes outdoors 

College parties can be as crazy as they get but highlight everyone’s security and safety when planning for a theme. When thinking of what kind of party to throw, consider these suggestions!

If you are also thinking of throwing a baby shower for a friend or loved one, you may read our Ideas for Baby Shower Themes for the best tips.