12 Totally Unexpected Party Themes for Your New Year's Eve Bash

Not your typical streamers-and-sparklers shindigs.

Stocksy

Because you go to a modified version of the same New Year's Party every year, why not plan your own festive gathering this time around? Here, 12 ways to up your hostess game that your friends will never see coming.

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Black and White Ball
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Modeled after Truman Capote’s legendary Swan Lake of a soirée, this one’s for those who are want to believe that 2018 could still be a glowed-up version of the past year and not more total garbage. Demand penguin suits and masks, serve caviar (or Oreos—they fit), and spend the next few weeks pettily cutting people from the guest list, if you want to be truly accurate.

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Y2K, Redux
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This is hilarious because we all obviously made it, only to encounter a different kind of global meltdown. The decor: those massive computer monitors, stolen from the museum or your parents’ basement. The dress code: frightened IT department. The ambiance: scared but also low-key into the idea of some chaotic excitement.

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Back to the Future
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Two directions here: You could do the Marty McFly thing, which could be fun. Or you could do that other thing where everyone comes dressed from a different decade, with most people choosing the '80s, because fleece. Either way, the playlist should reflect the specific interpretation you've chosen, (air) guitar solos welcome.

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Disco Dance Party
Design by Betsy Farrell

If your guests are already going to be gussied up in sequins and gleaming silver and gold, you may as well make the most of it with an all-out swinging disco party. Jive on like you're at Studio 54: have your attendees wear go-go boots and wild makeup, then put on a Bee Gees record and get down before the ball drops.

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"Best of 2017" Celebration
Design by Betsy Farrell

In anticipation of the year to come and in homage to all the craziness of the past year, host a dress-up party where guests show up as their favorite cultural moments of 2017. Imagine how wild it would be to see Shouting Meryl parlaying with Distracted Boyfriend by the bar, or Pennywise dancing with Pope Francis. JUST IMAGINE.

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A "Mini Everything" Party
GettyDesign by Betsy Farrell

A twist on your standard potluck, make it a *mini* party by inviting people to bring a few appetizers and a couple sampler bottles of prosecco (or their drink of choice), to share. Optional: have everyone stick to a dress code of mini accessories, like fascinators, minaudière clutches, bow ties, and teeny boutonnieres.

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Out-With-the-Old
GettyDesign by Betsy Farrell

If your idea of a great New Year's Eve get-together is more about relaxation and good company than staying up at an all-hours event, take the "out with the old, in with the new" mantra literally and arrange a relaxing spa party for your girlfriends. You can get in some exfoliation, set up a nail bar, and recharge while you enjoy comfort food and marathon Gilmore Girls.

Bonus drinking game: Around midnight, everyone goes around and gives a toast to exes, haters, and bad vibes that you're letting go of in the New Year.

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One Last Hurrah
GettyDesign by Jennifer Chalet

Many amongst us use the New Year as an excuse to sign up for gym memberships, start diets, and throw out our cigarettes. Take the sting out of New Year's resolutions by throwing a One Last Hurrah party where guests—you guessed it—get to indulge in their vices before diving into next year. Make sure to ask your friends what their resolutions are so you can plan accordingly AKA get all the cakes and fried foods your hearts desire. (Plus, alcohol. Obviously.)

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Glitter Gala
GettyDesign by Jennifer Chalet

New Year's Eve is all about decking yourself out in the shiniest clothing and accessories available, so it only makes sense that glitter and NYE should be combined in a full-out glitter party. Have guests dress in as many sequins as possible and hand out glitter-covered and bedazzled hats, sunglasses, and bow ties as party favors. The best part: Glitter decorations are super easy to DIY. The amazing photos of your party will be well worth the headache of trying to clean up all that glitter afterwards.

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Midnight in Paris
GettyDesign by Jennifer Chalet

First of all, if you haven't seen the excellent movie, do so immediately. Once that's done, you can start planning your Midnight in Paris party, with the actual theme of Paris in the 1920s. Sure, you've probably been to a dozen Gatsby-themed parties in the last few years, but the Parisian angle keeps this one fresh. Guests will dress accordingly and you can serve the most popular drinks of the day (mostly gin-based), crank some jazz, and try your hand at the Charleston.

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Champagne Mixology
GettyDesign by Jennifer Chalet

Don't wait until the clock strikes twelve to pop open the bubbly! Instead, host a champagne mixology party. You supply the champagne and mixers and everyone else gets to create their own champagne cocktail. For wary guests, supply tried-and-true recipes, but definitely let your friends experiment with creating the perfect drink. (That's kind of the fun, no?)

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Black Light Bash
GettyDesign by Jennifer Chalet

Looking for a New Year's rave? Lucky for you, it's surprisingly easy to turn your apartment into a nightclub. Switch out your regular light bulbs with black lights, and hang black craft paper on the walls that you've painted it with UV-reactive paint. (Uh, easy.) Tell guests to come wearing white and hand out glow sticks to get the full effect.

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