Party theme ideas: Ice creams and lollipops

Everyone loves a themed party! From a Bookworm Bash to a Jewel Heist Happy Hour, themed events allow our imaginations to run wild. We can don on-theme attire and imagine ourselves in a whole new world.

Plus, a theme can make party planning easier. You just have to make one decision: What is your theme going to be? Then, everything from your menu to your outfit to your party decorations will fall into place. 

To help you make that one decision, we’ve rounded up our favorite party theme ideas. Let this list inspire your next celebration. 

18 Party Theme Ideas for Every Occasion 

Themes aren’t just for kids’ parties. This list includes ideas that range from oddball to elegant, so you can find a theme for your birthday party, holiday party, baby shower, or just-because bash. We’ve also included suggestions for our favorite matching invites. You can customize the text on any of these online invitations to match your event. 

1. Alice in Wonderland 

Party theme ideas: Alice in Wonderland Invitation

Design: Signature Greenvelope

Matching invite: Adventures in Wonderland Invitation

You can really go down the rabbit hole planning this one: host a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party or take guests outside for a round of flamingo croquet. (You can DIY your own Queen of Heart’s croquet set by adding yard flamingos to your croquet mallets.)

This party theme idea is all about whimsy, so decorate with giant playing cards, white rabbits, and “this way, that way” signs. If you’re hosting adults, serve party shooters out of “Drink Me” bottles. Let Lewis Carroll be your guide!

2. Ice Cream Social 

Party theme ideas: Ice cream social invitation

Design: Mint Parcel

Matching invite: Ice Cream Social Invitation

For a non-alcoholic event, host an ice cream social. Set up an ice cream bar with several flavors and all the fixings — sprinkles, hot fudge, chopped nuts, whip cream, cherries — so much yum. 

This is an excellent birthday party idea, but it’s also great for a baby shower or gender reveal where the momma-to-be will be happier to see ice cream than alcohol. 

3. Mexican Fiesta 

Party theme ideas: Taco bout a party

Design: Claudia Owen

Matching invite: Taco Bout a Party Invitation 

This is one of our favorite adult birthday party themes because you can serve everyone’s favorite foods: guacamole, tacos, and margaritas. Get the whole party dancing to mariachi music, and remember, you’re never too old for a piñata.

4. Murder Mystery Party

Party theme ideas: Crime scene invitation

Design: Claudia Owen

Matching invite: Crime Scene Invitation

This unique party theme idea will test your guests’ powers of deduction. Simply buy a murder mystery party pack, and it will come with the plot for your evening, including a character for each of your guests. Many even include menu suggestions. 

5. Back-to-School Bash

Party theme ideas: Wheels on the bus invitation

Design: Mint Parcel

Matching invite: Wheels on the Bus Invitation

If your kids groan at the idea of going back to school, change their minds by making it a celebration. Host one final party before summer is over where your kids and their friends can show off their new school clothes. Serve pizza and ice cream, and hand out pencils, notebooks, and other school supplies as party favors. 

This party theme idea will also be a hit with the parents and teachers in your life. If you’re having an adult back-to-school bash, make sure wine is on the menu (but there’s no shame if pizza and ice cream are still part of it). 

6. Under the Sea 

Party theme ideas: Mermaid magic invitation

Design: Signature Greenvelope

Matching invite: Mermaid Magic Invitation

If you know an aspiring mermaid (or merman!), this theme will have them flipping their fins. Yes, this is a natural fit for a kid’s birthday party or a summer pool party. But there’s also something elegant about the sea, so you can easily use this theme for an upscale event. (Get it? Up scale.)

For the menu, serve up seafood. (What else would mermaids eat?) And for your party decorations, look for seashells and sand, or make isomalt coral to use as centerpieces or cupcake toppers.

7. Old Hollywood

Party theme ideas: Classic movie night invitation

Design: Claudia Owen

Matching invite: Classic Movie Night Invitation

The glitter and glitz of Hollywood is a perfect match for a holiday party. This glam event lets guests dress in their finest retro evening wear. The women can channel Katherine Hepburn, and the men can dress like Cary Grant. Make classic movie trivia part of the evening, and give an Oscar statue to the winning guest. Or add a photo booth to take the place of the paparazzi.

8. Zombies 

Trick or Treat invitation

Design: Laura Mitchell Designs, LLC

Matching invite: Frankenstein Invitation

An obvious theme for Halloween, zombies are also a fun birthday party theme idea for an aging friend (we’re talking so old that he’s practically undead). Encourage everyone to dress the part with some blood and gore makeup. Then serve everyone a menu of fresh brains or at least food that looks like brains

9. Superheroes and Supervillains 

Party theme ideas: Superhero party invitation

Design: Signature Greenvelope

Matching invite: Superhero Party Invitation

Nothing says, “It’s a party!” like spandex. Have all your guests dress up as their favorite comic book characters. Let them choose whether they want to save the day as a superhero or terrorize the city as a villain. If nothing else, this party theme will help you identify which of your friends are a little bit evil. 

10. Ancient Egypt 

Party theme ideas: Glided pattern invitation

Design: Becky Nimoy Stationery

Matching invite: Gilded Pattern Invitation

Put on your finest tunic and get ready to party like it’s 1999 … B.C.

From their beauty rituals to their bejeweled temples, Ancient Egyptians appreciated the finer things. So, consider this theme for an elegant evening affair or a New Year’s Eve party. 

For your decorations, gold cat statues will never feel out of place. You can also provide guests with temporary hieroglyphic tattoos and serve up Ancient Egyptian-inspired fare: fish, lentils, and leafy greens for your main course, and a fig, date, and honey-filled dessert.

11. Video Games 

Party theme ideas: Gaming essentials invitation

Design: Christie Garcia Creative

Matching invite: Gaming Essentials Invitation 

This theme comes with a built-in activity, which can make the conversation flow more easily at your celebration. Head to an arcade for a kid’s birthday party or a barcade for a more adult version.

12. Books, Bagels, and Bubbly 

Party theme ideas: Foiled book club invitation

Design: Signature Greenvelope

Matching invite: Foiled Book Club Invitation

This one is for the word nerds (with an appreciation for alliteration). Organize a book exchange where each of your guests brings a book (or books) that they’ve finished reading and no longer want. Display everyone’s castaways and let each guest choose their next read from among the pile. You can donate anything that’s left at the end of the party to your local library. 

For this one, the menu is right in the name: Bagels are an inexpensive way to feed a crowd, and bubbly officially makes it a brunch. 

13. Masquerade Ball 

Masquerade ball invitation

Design: Signature Greenvelope

Matching invite: Masquerade Ball Invitations

A masquerade party is fit for Halloween, New Year’s, Mardi Gras, and just about any celebration in between. The original point of masquerade masks was to hide guests’ identities so they could revel in secret. So, invite everyone to don a mask and throw confetti in the air like they just don’t care.

14. Rainbow Unicorn

Magical unicorn invitation

Design: Emma Wassmer

Matching invite: Magical Unicorn Invitation

A playful theme for both kids and kids at heart, we like unicorns for so much more than birthday parties. They also make an excellent engagement party theme for a fun-loving couple. After all, finding your soulmate among the billions of people on this planet is kind of like finding a unicorn. 

Decorate your party with brightly colored streamers (to mimic your unicorn’s tail), and serve up rainbow-colored confections. Think unicorn cupcakes, unicorn donuts, or cotton candy (aka unicorn poop).

15. Hawaiian Luau 

Party theme ideas: Luau stamp invitation

Design: Lisa Travis

Matching invite: Luau Stamp Invitation

This theme is perfect for your summer party. Fill your space with palm tree decor and tiki torches, give your guests leis upon arrival, and serve your drinks out of coconuts and pineapples. Have a traditional BBQ pig roast, or serve pineapple fried rice for the vegetarians in the group. 

16. James Bond 

Suave secret invitation

Design: Signature Greenvelope

Matching invite: Suave Secret Agent Invitation

This theme is ideal for a covert affair like a surprise birthday party. Ask all your guests to act like secret agents and not let anything slip to the guest of honor. Then, have everyone dress in their finest tuxedo or most glittering ball gown, and join you for an evening of elegance. Serve martinis shaken, not stirred, and see who can do the sexiest tango (or hire a dance instructor so everyone can learn). 

17. ​Arabian Nights 

Dreamy lanterns invitation

Design: Shari Margolin Design

Matching invite: Dreamy Lanterns Invitation

For another beautiful New Year’s Eve theme, consider Arabian Nights. Set the mood by hanging metal lanterns, use floor pillows instead of traditional seating, and hang vibrantly colored fabric (think magenta, purple, and royal blue). 

For the menu, serve traditional Middle Eastern cuisine, like baba ghannouj, falafel, and couscous. Consider brewing Moroccan mint tea for a non-alcoholic beverage option, and fill your desserts table with Turkish delight and baklava.

18. ​Great Gatsby 

Art deco milestone invitation

Design: Signature Greenvelope

Matching invite: Art Deco Milestone Invitation

Flapper dresses, black and gold decor, peacock feather centerpieces, and a champagne tower — the Roaring Twenties were a celebration of elegance and extravagance. 

The glittering decorations make this a great holiday party theme. Serve your bubbly out of champagne coupes or make some moonshine cocktails to celebrate the bootleggers who got America through Prohibition.

It’s Time to Plan the Perfect Party

Holidays, birthdays, baby showers — they’re all great reasons to throw a party. But with the right party theme, you never need an excuse to celebrate. After all, no one’s ever said you can’t have an ice cream social just because it’s a Saturday. 

Whether you go with one of these party theme ideas or come up with your own, there’s a digital invitation to match. Digital invitations get sent straight to your party guests’ inboxes with no paper and no waste, so they’re super green. Now that’s a theme we can get behind.