How to throw a 1920s themed party
Underground parties, prohibited booze and gorgeous clothing made the 1920s one of the most glamorous time periods in recent history, and its hallmark style makes it the perfect theme for your next party. A roaring 1920s party theme (also known as a 1920s speakeasy theme party or flapper party) can infuse every facet of your event from clothing and food to music and decorations - and you can find it all at Spotlight. As your local party specialists, we have everything you need to throw an extravagant, glitzy 1920s themed party that your friends and family will be talking about for decades to come!
- Why should I throw a 1920s themed party?
- What are some 1920s costume ideas?
- How do I host a 1920s themed party at home?
Why should I throw a 1920s themed party?
Deciding on decorations, food, music and costumes for a party can leave your head spinning - choosing a theme is an effective way to help you narrow your search. Ever popular due to the fashion, music and exuberant lifestyle it championed, a 1920s party theme is one that you can totally immerse yourself and your guests in! The 1920s has a plethora of party ideas you can pull from for your event, and it works well as a New Year's Eve, Halloween or birthday party theme.
What are some 1920s costume ideas?
For women in particular, the 1920s was a revolutionary period where fashion advanced in leaps and bounds. The famous flapper style is one that is both comfortable and gorgeous, and men had their share of stylishly-cut suits as well. Popular 1920s costume ideas include:
- Flapper dress - the cornerstone of 1920s fashion centres around the flappers and their sleek dresses, stylish bob cuts and elegant accessories. These dresses are comfortable and great for dancing in - try learning the charleston dance to really fit the theme! If your hair is quite long, create some tight curls to make it seem shorter, or make use of a wig cap and short wig to cover your natural hair.
- Gangster suit - combining style with a little intimidation, a typical gangster suit is usually plain black or black and white pinstriped, with a matching fedora, tie and suspenders. Carry a prop gun for fun photo opportunities and make sure to have a pop of colour on your suit in the form of a pocket square.
- Bootlegger - the prohibition meant people could no longer buy or consume alcohol outside the home, which was a problem for anyone without stores of their own. Bootleggers made their own moonshine, and you can dress as one of them with loose-fitting pants, suspenders, a long sleeve white shirt and a flat or newsboy cap. Carry around an empty bottle as a prop!
If you still need some 1920s costume ideas, try watching famous movies that have been set in the 20s - The Great Gatsby, Chicago and the Fantastic Beasts series are all set in the 20s and feature many great fashion examples for men and women to emulate.
How do I host a 1920s themed party at home?
If you decide to host a 1920s themed party at your home there are plenty of fun ways you can ensure your speakeasy theme is permeated throughout the space.
1920s decoration ideas
When it comes to 1920s decoration ideas, Spotlight has heaps of options you can choose from! Black and gold are the most popular colours for 1920s themed parties, utilising stylish art deco designs and tall, bold fonts with embellishments.
- Themed tableware - set your table with our impressive array of 1920s tableware. Start with a glitzy table cover, then set your table with metallic gold and black plates, foil napkins, metallic gold tumblers and elegant champagne glasses.
- Hanging decorations - create an intimate and glamorous atmosphere with our stylish hanging decorations. Stars, swirls and smoky lighting in warm gold, yellow and black will set the scene in your home and help immerse your guests in your theme.
- Photo scenes - take advantage of your guest's incredible fashion and make sure your photos are on-point with a photo wall! Our 1920s photo wall features a dramatic art deco design and works well with a few props - try adding feather boas, plastic champagne glasses and headband accessories for your guests to mix and match.
Did you know that because of prohibition, many people got their partying done at secretive speakeasies with door guards and secret passwords? Try having a set password your guests will need to tell a 'bouncer' at the door (include this on your invites) or have a 'closed' sign on your front door and discreet direction signs guiding your guests to a 'secret' entrance (your back door or a side gate). This will highlight your speakeasy party theme for your guests before they've even set foot in your home.
1920s music ideas
Jazz was the most popular music genre during the 20s, but songs from that decade can sound grainy compared with the clarity we expect from our music today. Instead, soundtrack your party with modern music created in the style of the 1920s musical jazz scene! Some of our favourite 1920s music includes:
- A Little Party Never Killed Nobody, 2013 (Fergie)
- Booty Swing, 2012 (Parov Stelar)
- Time for Tea, 2015 (11 Acorn Lane)
- A Cool Cat in Town, 2015 (Tape Five & Brenda Boykin)
- Posin, 2020 (Glenn Gatsby)
- Black Coffee, 2015 (Louie Prima, Wolfgang Lohr)
- Charleston, 1995 (Sam Levine)
- Happy Swingin', 2013 (Shemiah)
- Gimme That Swing! 2014 (Cissie Redgwick)
- Let's Misbehave, 2015 (Swing Republic, Irving Aaronson and His Commanders)
1920s parties should always feature some famous 1920s dance movies - think the Charleston, the Shimmy and the Fox Trot.
1920s food ideas
Food in the 1920s was delicious, decadent and great for parties! Here are our top five 1920s foods you can make for your event:
- Chocolate ripple cake - this classic dessert is known as an icebox cake in America, but it gets its title here because it's always made with Arnott's chocolate ripple biscuits. Spread raspberries or curls of dark chocolate over the top for a tasty dessert that's easy to make!
- Pineapple upside-down cake - made famous from a campaign by the Dole pineapple brand, the pineapple upside-down cake is tasty and easy to make. Swap in other fruits like pear or apricots if pineapple isn't to your liking.
- Finger sandwiches - the ever popular party food was commonplace in the 1920s and is a great way to have a few healthy options at your party. Keep the fillings light and fresh, with the crusts cut away.
- Aeroplane jelly - created in 1927, Australia's Aeroplane Jelly is a tasty treat beloved by children for decades, especially the popular strawberry flavour! Its famous jingle was played over 100 times a day at the height of its popularity - expect a few renditions if your guests discover you're serving this brand!
- Sidecar cocktail - so it's not technically food, but the sidecar cocktail was very popular during the 20s, especially considering the ban on alcohol. Made with brandy, orange liqueur and lemon juice, this cocktail is refreshing, tasty and an old favourite for a reason! Often found in a 1920s speakeasy, this cocktail was designed to mask the taste of the unpleasant moonshine alcohol.
1920s party games
In a 1920s speakeasy, there was more than just drinking and dancing going on! Gambling and card games were rife, especially classics like poker and blackjack. Buy yourself some cards, chips and set up stations where people can play around your home.
If you have access to one, the game of ping pong (trademarked in the 20s) is a fun one for people to try their hand at during a party. Easy to learn and quick to play, ping pong will keep your guests entertained for hours if needed!
Murder mystery games are often set in the 1920s due to the decade's ties to gangs, speakeasies and gothic glamour. You can find many murder mystery games online, some that can be sat down and played, while others can unfold as the night goes on.
Throw an amazing 1920s themed party with Spotlight!
Whether it's for Halloween, a birthday or you just want to get together with your friends, Spotlight can help you throw an amazing 1920s themed party at home! You can find everything you need online, where you can choose from a large variety of payment options for your order. Pick your order up using our click and collect service, or have it delivered straight to your front door with home delivery. And if you'd rather purchase your party supplies in person, head to your nearest Spotlight store and our friendly team will help you find what you need.
For more great party themes, ideas and expert advice, head over to our celebrate blog and browse our many useful articles there. And if you're still unsure of what you should buy, let our party buying guides help you make the right purchase choice every time.