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1920s Party Ideas

1920s dressing
The 1920s era is viewed as mysterious, glamorous and even dangerous in today’s pop culture. Jazz music, gangs, Art Deco and the flapper fashion for women were at their peak during this time. Pay tribute to the Roaring Twenties and throw a party that will transport you to a different day and age.

Whoopee Invitations

Party invitation
There are plenty of printable invitations to choose from for your Roaring Twenties party, but if you have the time and the inclination, make your invitations more personalized.

  • Buy sheets of felt paper in gray, beige and black colors. Paste or glue the non-felt side with a cardboard sheet, making the felt paper stiffer.
  • Cut out the black and gray felt paper in gangster hat shapes. For the beige felt, cut out the silhouette profile of a woman with a short bob haircut (the popular haircut during the ’20s). Use a white ribbon and paste it along the felt to look like the hat’s sideband. For the woman’s profile invitation, do the same for it to look like a headband, and add on a colorful feather to make it appear authentic.
  • Write the details of your party on the opposite side of the felt paper. Don’t forget to remind your guests that it’s a Roaring Twenties party, and that they’re expected to come in costume.

Create a Spiffy Look for Your Party

If you’re not holding your party in an actual vintage nightclub, you can still make your party space look like the real thing. Here are some suggestions.

Empire State Building
Art Deco. Art Deco became a huge hit during the 1920s. Art Deco derived its designs from nature and geometrical shapes. One classic example of Art Deco in architecture is the Empire State Building.

Use tablecloths that employ art deco. Or, you can also use tablecloths and linens in silver with black accents. You can use tiny pearl bracelets to make napkin holders for a better effect.

Centerpieces. You have a lot of table centerpieces that you can use. Here are some examples:

  • Tall feathers in tall, crystal vases
  • Goldfish swimming in a bowl-type aquarium
  • Old-fashioned lamps
  • Wine goblets filled with pearl necklaces

Speakeasy. No Roaring Twenties party is complete without a bar, or a speakeasy, which it was called during that time. Alcohol was actually prohibited during the ’20s, and the only way people could get it was to go to a speakeasy. You can put up a sign that says “Tom’s Speakeasy” or something similar. For a more authentic feel, you can have wooden crates filled with paper shreds or hay with bottles of alcohol peeking out of them. Put labels on the crates such as “bootlegged gin” to make that drink feel a little bit more special.

In the 1920s, people also used bathtubs to make alcohol, so you can expand this idea by bringing in a bathtub filled with ice to serve as a huge cooler where all your guests can take their drinks from.

Trio jazz band
Hire a jazz trio. The Roaring Twenties was also defined by music, and having a live band playing jazz and ragtime music will surely set everyone to swinging. (You could at least pick from this list of the Top Ten Jazz Artists of all time)

Leave items of interest. Decorate using tommy guns, feathered boas, and fans lying around as if their owners just forgot them and set them down anywhere. This can certainly spark up a conversation.

Create a nighttime background. Most parties take place during the nighttime, but parties back in the ’20s also had a reason to be held during this time: Alcohol was prohibited. Hang heavy dark curtains all around and decorate with nightscape items such as silhouettes of buildings, a tinfoil moon and stars, and even Christmas lights.

Chandeliers. The 1920s was defined by excess and wealth. Add a hint of luxury in your decorations by having elaborate chandeliers in the middle of the room or smaller ones all around.

Dress like a Sheik or Sheba

Dress for the party
To achieve the flapper look for women, look for loose, deep V or U-shaped necklines, sleeveless dresses with pleated or fringed hemlines dropping below the knee or to the calf. The dress should be in metallic, neutral or dark colors. Beads were also a very big thing back then, so you can either wear a beaded dress or have long beaded necklaces. Wear lace gloves, a feathered boa and carry a fan.

Headbands adorned with feathers or beads are also distinct flapper fashion. Having bob hair was very popular back then, but if you have long hair, curl it in waves flowing down the sides, or you can put it in a low bun curled around your nape. For makeup, dark eyes, powdered face and very red lipstick were all the rage. Wear leather shoes with small heels.

For men, achieve a supremely cool gangster look by wearing tuxedos, waistcoats and ties. You can also show up in a dark suit with a white tie, wearing white or black leather shoes. For a more dramatic effect, show up wearing a gangster hat, a cigar and a fake Tommy gun.

Activities that You’ll be Keen to Do

  • Casino Night. Set up a casino in your party. You can rent casino tables from your local party supply store or set up your own tables and hire dealers. You can use play money and reward the winnerswith prizes like bottles of wine or gift cards.
  • Dance! Some parties have rehearsals for dancing the Charleston, a very popular dance back in the day. You can also hire a dance instructor on the night of the party itself to teach your guests to become bona fide hoofers themselves.
  • 25
    Dancing the Charleston
    Fashion show
  • Murder Mystery. Agatha Christie, one of the most popular fictional crime writers, wrote some of her well-known books during the 1920s. Pay tribute to Ms. Christie and solve the mystery to find the “killer” among your guests the old-fashioned way. You can buy murder mystery games and kits from any toy store or bookstore near you.
  • Fashion Show. Show off those costumes everyone’s put together and have a contest on who’s the best-dressed among the lot! (Learn how to model walk)

Prepare a Ducky Feast

The 1920s took a sharp turn from the spare menu choices people made following the first World War. Everything was free-flowing and in excess in the ’20s. You can serve any kind of food for your 1920s party, but you can also make things more interesting by serving up authentic 1920s food and drink.

  • Going Italian. Italian cooking and dishes became more popular during the 1920s, due to the fact that many speakeasies were owned by Italians. Italian dishes were made distinctly American with rich sauces, meatballs and spices. Prepare generous servings of Italian favorites such as spaghetti and baked zitti. Make sure your sauces have lots of meatballs, sauce and cheese! Adding bread and wine will make this truly an Italian experience.
  • Salty dog, that one. It’s a tradition to have salty food items prepared for speakeasy guests to whet their appetites. Continue this tradition by preparing salted ham, salty pretzels and salty peanuts for your guests.
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    Italian dishes
    Soda for drinks
    Waldorf Salad
  • Soda. Along with alcohol, carbonated drinks such as Coca-Cola were very popular during the 1920s. Serve it in classic glass bottles, which your guests will surely have a kick drinking from. Other non-alcoholic drinks of the era include Shirley Temples, lemonade and ginger ale.
  • Waldorf Salad. This salad appeared in the early 1920s and was immensely popular. Made from apple, celery, chopped walnuts and mayonnaise dressing, the Waldorf salad will be truly appreciated by 1920s aficionados.
  • Pastries with a Zing. Despite the prohibition, alcohol was everywhere, even in pastries. Prepare pastry with a touch of alcohol such as rum cake, Amaretto pumpkin pie and piña colada cake.

Party like it’s 1920. Despite the Prohibition, people back then really knew how to have a good time. Your friends will definitely love this theme as well. They didn’t call it the Roaring Twenties for nothing!

Wanna see 1920s Party! Check out this video.

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