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How to Throw a Roaring 1920s Party

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Roaring 20s Party

To get started, first you will need invitations. I suggest finding a picture you like from the internet and print up your own invitations. This will make them original and give guests an idea about the upcoming fun they will have.


Suggestions for a picture include a flapper, gangster, still or famous celebrity from the era. Encourage guests to come in costumes, although I wouldn't make it mandatory as some people might not feel comfortable dressing up.

This was a time of the speak easy. Give guests a password they must use at the door in order to come in, just as people had to use in the 1920s.

1920s Picture

1920s Decorations

Decorating depends on how simple or elaborate you want to get. You can keep to a simple black and white theme or focus on something the 1920s is known for.

Perhaps you want to turn the party area into your own speak easy. To do that, set up a bar or fill a tub with ice and drinks for your own bathtub gin.

You might want to go with a movie theme for this time era. Popular movies of the time included Metropolis, The Kid and Pandora's Box. To do this, get some movie posters from this time era to grace your walls, then have people come dressed as characters from the movie.


Like music? How about a cool jazz theme? Keep the lights dim and light candles to set the mood. Is dance your thing? Flapper dancing was quite popular during this time era. Of course, you could also go with a gangster theme.

Another idea is to host a Great Gatsby based on the book or the movie. As you can see, there are many directions you can take this.

Charleston Song

Martini Drink

Roaring 20s Food and Drinks

If you're throwing a children's party, I suggest sticking with a kid friendly menu. However, you could serve a beverage which was introduced in the 1920s such as Kool-Aid or A&W Root Beer.

Jello was also quite popular back then, so you could consider it for dessert.

Now, if this is for an adult party, liquor was quite appreciated in those days, especially because of prohibition. A couple of the most popular drinks of the time were Mint Julips and Martinis. Of course, champagne is always appreciated.

As far as food goes, suggestions included deviled eggs, pigs in a blanket, Waldorf salad, finger sandwiches, turkey, spicy beans, potatoes and vegetables. For dessert, a pineapple upside down cake. (This kind of cake was new and very popular back then.)

Irving Berlin

1920s Music

Music is important to any party whether it is used for background or dancing. The 1920s had a wealth of great music. Irvin Berlin had such hits as All Alone and Blue Skies. New Orleans jazz was quite popular. Saint Luis Blues and Sweet Georgia Brown were top hits.

Other popular songs of the decade include:

  • If You Knew Susie
  • It Had to be You
  • Toot Toot Tootsie
  • Tea for Two
  • When You're Smiling
  • Ain't Misbehavin'
  • Singin' in the Rain
  • I Wanna be Loved by You
  • Yes Sir, That's My Baby
  • Baby Face
  • Makin' Whoopie
  • Bye Bye Blackbird

1920s Music CD

Poker Game

1920s Party Activities

If you choose to have your guests come in costumes, you can have a costume contest. Let each person strut their stuff and have party goers vote for their favorite.

If funds allow, you might consider hiring a barbershop quartet to perform live music.

Gambling was big in the 1920s. You could host a poker game. Instead of money, use chips and set a time for the amount of time the game will go. When time is up, the person with the most chips wins.

Will there be a lot of 1920s fans in attendance? If so, how about a trivia game? If you'll be having music lovers, try a bit of Name That Tune featuring songs from the decade.

Of course, if this is a kids' party, you wouldn't want to play poker. However, you could keep with the theme with a simple game. Place a man's hat, (preferably a style from the era,) on the floor with the open side up. Give kids poker chips and make a line on the floor for them to stand behind. Kids can try to toss the chips into the hat. Whoever gets the most in wins.

Hot Potato is a popular game for children. You can play this, only substitute the potato with a feather boa.

No matter what age group you're hosting, teach everyone the Charleston and have a dance contest. I have a video below which will give you step by step instructions. Within 5 minutes, you'll be able to learn the dance. Then, if you want, scroll back up and put on the Charleston video and give the dance a try.

Beads

Don't forget to give out beads to your guests. You can hand them out when they first arrive or toss them out on the dance floor.

If you have a dollar type store or a party store near you, you should be able to find them there. Otherwise, they are easy enough to order online.

Party Poll

Charleston Dance

The Heart of Jazz

Charlie Chapman

Silent Movies

If you're looking for a quieter activity or a way to wind down the party, how about playing a movie? A silent movie that is from that time era.

Charlie Chaplin happens to be a particular favorite of mine. He made some funny movies during the 1920s. My favorite films are the ones he made when he portrayed The Tramp.

I have a video below for your enjoyment. This segment is from the 1928 film The Circus.

Charlie Chaplin Video

Charlie Chaplin DVD

Barbershop Quartet

Party Tips

To cut down on clean up, you might want to get some decorative paper plates. You can also get some nice plastic cups as well.

Send your invitations at least two weeks in advance to make sure people don't make other plans for your big event.

If alcohol is going to be served, make sure there are some designated drivers.

Learn some of the slang of the decade. Here's a few terms to get you started:

  • Cut a rug-dance
  • Clam-dollar
  • Hair of the dog-a shot of liquor
  • Whoopie-boisterous celebration
  • doll-a pretty woman
  • Juice joint-speak easy
  • John-toilet
  • Wet blanket-kiljoy

If money is tight, make it a potluck. Most people are more than happy to bring a dish. It also cuts down on your clean up afterwards.

If you're not too familiar with the 1920s, watch the movie The Great Gadsby. It might also give you some additional ideas for your party.

Take lots of pictures and be sure to post them so everybody can relive their fun moments from your part

Please use the checklist below to make sure you don't forget anything.

Party List

RefreshmentsEntertainmentParty Preparation

Food

Music

Invitations

Drinks

Learn the Charleston

Decorations

Dessert

Dancing

Camera

1920s Party

The 1920s was a very colorful time in American history. With the music, clothing and the dancing, it makes for a great theme for a party.

You now have all of the tools you need to create a fantastic party. If you need any additional help, just leave me a comment and I'll try to help. Otherwise, be sure to save me a glass of champagne and happy partying!

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What kind of theme parties do you enjoy?

Judah Mwatee from Kenya on May 03, 2020:

Hope you had a blast. https://www.jaydeetravels.com

WriterJanis2 on February 28, 2018:

Paula,

A very Happy Birthday to you and I hope you have a great celebration.

Paula wire on February 28, 2018:

Just very inspired by the 1920s lately, that, I'm having with friends for my 50th birthday bash, afternoon tea in a mansion house, dressed in flapper dress style. I'm taking a CD player, hoping to play music of the era.

Love so much the attitudes, the vibe, the music, fashion, and the architect of buildings of that time.

If I could go back in time, this would be that decade, 1920.

AJ from Australia on April 08, 2015:

I just love the 20s era, particularly the fashions, so I would be there for the costumes. Have a great party!

Sheilamarie from British Columbia on October 24, 2014:

This sounds like a lot of fun! I'm already practicing the Charleston.

Janis (author) from California on September 22, 2014:

WheelerWife,

Thank you!

WheelerWife from Minnesota on August 31, 2014:

Love the 1920s era!! Cool ideas :)

Janis (author) from California on May 21, 2014:

FlourishAnyway, That is so cool that you have pictures of your great grandparents from this era.

Janis (author) from California on May 21, 2014:

Rebecca, Era parties can really be a lot of fun.

Janis (author) from California on May 21, 2014:

CyberShelley, Oh yes. Doing the Charleston can indeed be quite the workout.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 21, 2014:

Oh, I love these ideas. I love the energy and spirit of the era and have great photos of my great grandparents reveling in the era. What a terrific idea for a party. Pinning this!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on May 21, 2014:

I love era party themes. These are some cute ideas! Thanks for sharing them.

Shelley Watson on May 20, 2014:

I love the exuberance, don't care, live a high, fun filled life, attitude of the 1920s. The dance itself is so energy filled that a couple of them will take the place of an aerobics class! Well done on this excellent showcase of the 1920s and how to throw a party. Up, interesting, useful and shared!

Janis (author) from California on March 24, 2014:

DDE, I'm happy you feel this way.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 16, 2014:

A lovely idea and worth the try. You have mentioned such useful tips.

Janis (author) from California on February 12, 2014:

kittythedreamer I will have to check it out.

Janis (author) from California on February 12, 2014:

AliciaC So glad you think so.

Kitty Fields from Summerland on February 05, 2014:

I've written a how to throw a roaring 20s party as well...but this was wonderful! You included so many details. Great stuff!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 03, 2014:

These are some great ideas for a theme party, WriterJanis! Celebrating the 1920s as you describe sounds like great fun.

Janis (author) from California on January 21, 2014:

spartucusjones,

I had no idea I was nominated. Thank you for letting me know!

Janis (author) from California on January 21, 2014:

Those julips do look awfully good.

CJ Baker from Parts Unknown on January 20, 2014:

Some really cool suggestions for having a fun roaring 20s party. I think I might be inspired to kick it really old school! Congrats on the well deserved rising star nom!

Christy Kirwan from San Francisco on January 20, 2014:

Hi Janis, I recently read The Great Gatsby for the first time, and I caught the 1920s bug! I love this party idea-- it sounds like loads of fun (especially the poker and mint julips). :)

Janis (author) from California on January 20, 2014:

Au fait,

I would love to attend one.

C E Clark from North Texas on January 20, 2014:

This really sounds like it would be a lot of fun to put on and/or to attend!

Janis (author) from California on January 11, 2014:

Suzanne,

The Great Gatsby really can be inspirational when trying to plan out this kind of party. Thanks for the interesting vote

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on January 11, 2014:

Some good ideas here - I would be delighted to dress up and attend a 1920s party or possibly even hold one! Could always look at The Great Gatsby recent movie for inspiration on costumes and styles. Voted interesting.

Janis (author) from California on January 10, 2014:

CrisSp,

I think it's such a fun dance.

Janis (author) from California on January 10, 2014:

OanaWriter,

I love theme parties. It's fun to do something different.

Janis (author) from California on January 10, 2014:

Au fait, thank you for such a nice welcome.

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on January 07, 2014:

This is interesting, well presented and an enjoyable read. 20's theme, why not? Love the Charleston dance move.

Thanks for the tips!

Georgiana from London on January 06, 2014:

Awesome tips, definitely an amazing party. I've actually never thrown a theme party and I am bookmarking this because I'll have to do it one day. Thanks for sharing all this great info!.

C E Clark from North Texas on December 28, 2013:

This article is packed with all the information a person could need to have a great flapper themed party. This would be a great idea for a New Year's party next week!

Welcome to Hubpages!

ScottiesRock from Eastern PA on December 27, 2013:

What a great idea! So Fun!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on December 27, 2013:

writer you have put together another useful hub congrats and welcome :) Frank

Janis (author) from California on December 26, 2013:

SpaceShanty, I don't know of any in the U, but it would sure be fun to visit one.

SpaceShanty from United Kingdom on December 26, 2013:

I love 20's/30's swing music and have been to a few semi legal speakeasy clubs here, if you throw one in the UK let me know!

Janis (author) from California on December 26, 2013:

idigwebsites, Let me know how your party goes.

Janis (author) from California on December 26, 2013:

moonlake, Glad you think so.

idigwebsites from United States on December 26, 2013:

Hmmmm well that's nice! I will consider that 20s theme for the New Year's party. Thanks for your suggestions :)

moonlake from America on December 22, 2013:

Interesting hub and it looks like it would be a fun party.

Janis (author) from California on December 18, 2013:

Phyllis, it sounds like a very fun party.

Janis (author) from California on December 18, 2013:

Shyron, Thanks for the welcome and I like your idea. I went to add them, but it said I would lose the votes I already had. :-(

Janis (author) from California on December 18, 2013:

Learn Things Web, I think you just added that idea! That's a really good one.

Janis (author) from California on December 18, 2013:

Thank you Solaras!

Janis (author) from California on December 18, 2013:

Imogine, you're right. The music was very important.

Janis (author) from California on December 18, 2013:

suzette, it sounds like your grandmothers were a lot of fun.

Janis (author) from California on December 18, 2013:

thumbi7 Glad you found them interesting.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on December 18, 2013:

Welcome to HubPages, Janis. What a fun and motivating hub you wrote. I love the Roaring Twenties era and this party idea is great for New Year's Eve. Years ago I gave a Halloween party with a 1920s theme and the guests loved it -- they all came in costume and we had a great time.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on December 17, 2013:

Janice, welcome to HP.

I love this, it is so much fun. Just one suggestion if I may, add one question to your poll, "do you like poker games or all of the above."

Voted up++++, and shared.

Learn Things Web from California on December 17, 2013:

I would add getting a 1920s themed cake. That's easy to do if you take a 1920s picture to a bakery or ice cream store that sells ice cream cakes. They can put a copy onto the icing of the cake.

Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on December 17, 2013:

I don't throw parties, so I'll have to convince a friend to do this!

Marko Vucinic from Cuprija, Sebia on December 17, 2013:

20's food and drinks are teasing me. I don't know much about that era but I've watched a lot of movies about prohibition and gangsters like Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde... Great informations Janis.

Imogen French from Southwest England on December 17, 2013:

What a fun idea for the party season. I was rather disappointed that they used modern music instead of original 1920s music in the recent remake of The Great Gatsby - the parties were all about the music and the dancing. The costumes and settings were great though.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on December 17, 2013:

What a great idea. The 1920s is a favorite time period of mine. My grandmothers cut a rug quite well during this time period! They were so cute in their clothing of that time period. Thanks for all your suggestions and advice and you have some really neat ideas. Thanks for sharing.

JR Krishna from India on December 17, 2013:

I am not really a party person. But I found these tips interesting

Janis (author) from California on December 16, 2013:

loveofnight, I think you will have fun if you do. Nate, it really was an interesting time. Kathryn I hope you have a great night, too. Matt, That is quite the coincidence.

Matt Jordan from Gulf Coast on December 16, 2013:

Wow! You really did it up here. Such a coincidence. I just watched a girl pick out a dress for a 20's party and my group had been talking about one as well. I will keep this article handy!!

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on December 16, 2013:

This is a very interesting idea for a party theme, and you put a lot of information into this article!

Thanks for sharing this with us, and have a great night.

~ Kathryn

Nathan Bernardo from California, United States of America on December 16, 2013:

I've been to some theme parties and they're always fun. And you've given us a lot of fun ideas to work with here. I have some friends that love to throw these kinds of parties, I should tell them about this so they can try it out. Roaring 20s is such a cool era and fascinating time period.

Loveofnigjht Anderson from Baltimore, Maryland on December 16, 2013:

this is so cool and something that I am seriously considering, thanks for the share.

Janis (author) from California on December 16, 2013:

Thank you for the welcome and I hope you plan a great party.

healthylife2 on December 16, 2013:

I love this idea and after reading this feel inspired to plan a 1920s party! of course I wouldn't attempt it until after the holidays. The detail regarding food,activities, and decorations is really helpful. This could be applied to almost any time period with a little research. Thanks for the inspiration and welcome to HubPages!!