25 Epic Office Party Ideas That’ll Have Everyone Buzzing for Weeks
So you’ve been tasked with throwing your offices’ next big par-tay.
Whether it’s Employee Appreciation Day, a Halloween spooktacular, or the annual holiday bash, throwing the perfect office party is a lot of pressure.
Not only do you have to provide something for everyone, your idea needs to be new and different. Your co-workers don’t want the same old work party year after year, and staying one step ahead of their expectations is a major challenge.
To make matters worse, you’ve got to do it within budget (which is usually smaller than you want it to be).
That’s why we’ve come up with this cheat sheet – 25 ideas to help you throw the ultimate office party. In addition to themes for the party, we’ve included a couple of ideas here to help make whatever party you’re throwing even better (see #11 and #25).
So without further ado, let’s party!
1. Sumo Throwdown
Over a thousand years old, Sumo is an ancient form of Japanese wrestling that involves two jumbo-sized athletes using their entire bodies to force their opponent out of a 15 foot-diameter ring.
Sumo athletes are highly skilled, and lead extremely regimented lives that consist mostly of training and eating. Luckily, you don’t have to spend the majority of your life in a Japanese Sumo stable in order to get your Sumo on.
Rent a Sumo-sized body from places like California’s Sumo Maniac, and experience the sport’s beauty and grace without all the years of sacrifice.
2. Escape Room Adventure
Are happy hours just a bit too tame for you? Then it’s time you tried something a bit more intense. It’s time you tried an Escape Room.
The concept goes like this – you and your colleagues are trapped in a room. You have an hour to get out, and the only way out is by solving a series of cryptic puzzles and clues.
Escape Rooms aren’t only tons of fun, they also augment team building and problem solving – because if you ever hope to see the outside world again, you’d better start working together.
These fun and thrilling rooms are popping up all over the place, and can be found in most major cities. Los Angeles even has a mobile escape room that comes to you.
3. Themed Bowling Night
Surprise your team with some retro fun by booking a night in your local bowling alley.
Bowling is a classic for a reason – it’s simple enough so that everyone can participate, and challenging enough to bring out your team’s competitive side.
Don’t be afraid to get creative. At SnackNation, we broke into 6-person teams, each with its own themes and costumes, and awarded prizes for the best dressed bowlers.
4. Healthy Breakfast Party for the Office
Who says the party can’t start before noon? Treat your peeps to some healthy breakfast options like Acai smoothie bowls or a Bulletproof Coffee bar to get the party started right.
You can often negotiate with local healthy breakfast vendors (like juice bars or coffee shops) for group discounts – they benefit from the exposure to potential new customers, while your team gets to nosh on their delicious healthy breakfast fare.
Do it as a surprise to reward your employees and fuel a productive day, or use it to kick off celebrations later in the day.
5. Spirit Day
This idea involves encouraging employees to dress in their favorite team gear – no matter what the sport.
This was a big hit when we tried it at SnackNation HQ. Our Spirit Day happened to coincide with the start of College Football, so there was a lot of football attire, but there were also sports represented from across the sporting world, including rugby, hockey, and baseball.
The day culminated in a football viewing party with pizzas, beer (duh), and an award ceremony for the most spirited sports fan.
6. Office Olympics
During the recent Rio Olympics, it seemed like the entire world was coming down with an acute case of Olympic fever.
We tapped into the Olympic spirit with our own version of the Office Olympics, a day of fun featuring events like interoffice biking, snack gymnastics, and a snack-themed skit competition.
Don’t feel like you have to wait two years for the next Olympics to come around before planning your own version of the Office Olympics. The Olympic spirit is in all of us, just waiting to be come out.
7. Flashback to Your Favorite Decade
Combining the fun of costume parties with the irresistible appeal of nostalgia, decade theme parties are as close to a sure thing as it gets.
To throw one, just pick a decade. Guests should come dressed in fashions from the era and be prepared to dance to period-appropriate music.
The 60s, 70s, and 80s are all great options, but let’s face it, they’ve been done. Here are a few unique ideas that will surprise and delight your team.
One word: flannel.
The 90s were a magical time when grunge was king, music came on these strange, shiny discs, and Chandler Bing was the voice of a generation.
For shasion, shoulder length hair, chokers, and doc martens are all a must. (Did we mention flannel?)
Definitely don’t skimp on the music – 90s music is awesome. Of course you need classics like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains, but don’t forget that the 90s also brought back pop in a big way. Make sure to mix in Spice Girls, Hanson, and Mariah Carey for an authentic 90s experience.
You can’t go wrong with a standard 90s bash, but for a truly unique experience, why not party like it’s 1899?
So how do you celebrate 1890s style? Elaborate mustaches, bowler hats, and bowties are musts for men, while women can feel free to rock parasols, crimped bangs, and puffy sleeved dresses.
For inspiration, check out Gilded Age figures like Czar Nicholas II, Oscar Wilde, or the iconic New York City newsies.
This was also the era of ragtime, so make sure you have you come correct with your music selections. There are several fantastic period-correct ragtime compilations on Spotify.
If your office is stocked mostly with Millennials, you might have to go for a decade they actually remember – the 2000s.
Yes, your ought-y party will be a blast from the recent past. Fashions include cargo shorts, camo (everything), cowboy shirts, ringer tees, and bootcut jeans (with a white belt, of course). Nokia cellphones and generation 1 iPods are necessary accessories.
Popular music in the 2000s was all about the explosion of rap and R&B. 50 Cent, Missy Elliot, Eminem, Nelly, R. Kelly, and Justin Timberlake are all safe bets. On the rock side, the pop punk and emo scenes were in full swing, so Blink-182, New Found Glory, Fall Out Boy and the like.
8. Play Games & Share Some Drinks
Yep, there’s nothing quite like steaks and skeeball to bring an office together.
Dave and Busters has it all – great food, an epic bar, flat screens, and a bevy of new and classic arcade games for your team to go nuts on, including crowd favorite pop-a-shot.
The best thing is that D&B’s specializes in office events. Their event planning pros can help you every step of the way. Big office? Not a problem – they can accommodate any size group up to 2,000 people.
9. Around the World Potluck
Celebrate your team’s diversity with a potluck that honors cuisines from team’s home country or state. It’s a great way to learn more about the people you work with everyday.
Bangkok-based task management software company Taskworld is a big fan – they recently described a variant of this party idea in our team building rundown.
10. Game of Thrones Party
When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. But when you party like Game of Thrones, everyone wins.
HBO’s addicting medieval/fantasy series has legions of fans, for whom every new episode is a must-watch event. Capitalize on this fervor by throwing your very own GOT themed work party.
Break your office up into the four major houses – Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, and Targaryen – and have everyone dress to represent their house.
A quick refresher on each house:
- Sigil: Direwolf
- Color: Gray/white
- Motto: “Winter is coming.”
- Sigil: Lion
- Color: Gold
- Motto: “A Lannister always pays his debts.”
- Sigil: Stag
- Color: Black/yellow
- Motto: “Our is the fury.”
- Sigil: Red dragon
- Color: Red
- Motto: “Fire and blood.”
Get official GOT apparel and accessories from HBO or from the legions of fansites. And don’t forget to provide refreshments – Cooperstown, NY-based Ommegang Brewery has a line of GOT styled ales that will do the trick nicely.
11. DIY Photobooth
Photobooths are always a hit at parties and weddings – but they can definitely get expensive.
Don’t have the budget to rent a top of the line booth for your next event? No problem. You can make one in just a few easy steps.
Step 1: Create a Backdrop.
- The options here are endless. Hang a strip of butcher paper from a pipe frame for a cheap and easy backdrop, or decorate to the theme of your party. The only limit is your creativity.
- Short on time? You can also order an affordable custom backdrop from places like JJ’s.
Step 2: Get some props
- Pick up some props at a local party store to inspire hilarious poses. Novelty hats, fake mustaches, signs, and wigs are all good bets.
Step 3: Take photos!
- There are a few easy options here as well. For high quality photos, use a DSLR and designate a photographer for the night.
- For instant gratification, purchase a polaroid.
- If you’re pulling things together last minute, just have your guests use their cell phones and upload their pics to social media. (Don’t forget a hashtag!)
Here we are have a little too much with our DIY photo booth during our St. Patrick’s Day party this past March:
12. Slow-Mo Video Station
As Dave Chappelle once demonstrated, everything is funnier in slow motion. So why not elevate your photo booth game with a slow-mo video capture?
Like the regular photo booth, props are key – you want your guests to interact in hilarious ways.
Once you capture everything, edit the footage together for a hilarious slow-mo mega cut.
We set up a slow-mo video station at a recent office event, and the final result was a huge hit. Skip to about 17 seconds in this video to see the epic footage.
13. Murder Mystery Outing
Take your team out to a night of intrigue and interactive fun with a murder mystery dinner.
These dinner theater events have been around since the early 80s, are in most major cities, and continue to be crowd pleasers.
Actors are mixed in with the dinner guests, and the show begins before the audience even realizes it.
Everyone will want to know – whodunnit?
14. Take ’em Out to a Ballgame
America’s past time always makes for a great outing. The pace is just slow enough to allow your employees to relax and mingle while they take in the night air and munch on some nachos.
If you don’t have an MLB team nearby, consider a Minor League game. Minor League clubs are notorious for their ridiculous stadium food and wacky fan giveaways.
15. Celebrate Your Company’s Anniversary
Have a big company milestone coming up? Don’t miss an opportunity to celebrate with the people who matter most – your employees.
Use the date of your first hire, your first sale, or of your incorporation and celebrate it annually. It will provide a great time to both celebrate your accomplishments, recognize and reward individual achievements, and reflect on the state of the business.
16. Obscure Holiday Party
Sure, you probably have an annual office holiday party. You might even celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo. If you’re really good, you celebrate Employee Appreciation Day (first Friday of March). But what are you doing for National Unicorn Day (April 9th)? Or Pi Day (March 14th)?
There’s no shortage of fun, silly, and/or absurd holidays to celebrate. And you should consider celebrating at least one of them.
Why? Simply put, sometimes it’s just really fun to get the entire office excited about something… a bit ridiculous.
Here are few lesser known holidays to get your creativity flowing:
- National Hat Day – January 15
- Squirrel Appreciation Day – January 21
- Random Acts of Kindness Day – February 17
- Employee Appreciation Day – first Friday in March
- Pi Day – March 14th
- Manatee Appreciation Day – March 30
- Unicorn Day – April 9
- Earth Day – April 22
- Bike to work day – May 20
- Talk Like a Pirate Day – September 19
- International Coffee Day – September 29
17. Office Awards Banquet
The Office may have perfected this concept with the Dundies (named after fictional middling paper company Dunder Mifflin), but that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a go.
Start with the award categories. In addition to naming an employee of the year, create awards for company superlatives for your best dressed, friendliest, most inspirational, most creative, and most outgoing employees.
Once you have the categories, make custom certificates, trophies, or traveling trophies and present them at an awards dinner. Make it black tie and include a step and repeat for extra fun.
18. Food Truck Rodeo
Here’s a fun fact: people love food trucks.
The reasons are simple – they’re a unique and easy way to bring brand new gourmet food experiences right to you.
Cater your next party with two or more local food trucks. This mobile culinary trend has been hot for the last decade or so, and isn’t going anywhere. You can find gourmet, healthy, and affordable food trucks in just about every city. (We’re big fans of the Green Truck here in LA.)
You can often negotiate an affordable price if the exposure for the food truck will result in repeat business.
19. Outdoor Movie Night
When the weather warms up, there’s nothing quite like settling down on a picnic blanket and enjoying a classic movie under the stars.
For a successful movie night, organize a double feature around a theme – sports movies, 80s classics, or horror flicks are all great places to start.
If you have a big outdoor space, you can easily set up an outdoor movie theater. If not, contact your city about setting up in a local park. Projectors, speakers, and screens can be rented together.
Don’t forget the most important thing – the popcorn! We here at SnackNation are huge fans of Pipcorn’s awesome mini popcorn snacks.
20. Rent an Epic House on Airbnb
Reward your team for their hard work by taking them out of the office.
Double the value by including some brainstorming or team building exercises. Offsites have the advantage of taking your team out of their routine. They’ll be more creative, more open to inspiration, and primed for reflection.
You can often find great deals on mansion-esque vacation rentals on Airbnb – especially off season. We’ve used the service to hold offsite parties in Venice, Big Bear, Malibu hear in California.
21. Office Talent Show
Give your employees a chance to shine by holding an office talent show at your next office get-together. You’ll be surprised at the secret talent your employees keep hidden. (Turns out, our office happens to be packed with an abundance of musicians.)
You can hold this one at your office, or up the ante by renting out a local bar with a stage.
22. Karaoke Night
Not talented? Not a problem! You can still bask in the spotlight with Karaoke, the ancient art of butchering popular music.
Trust us, Karaoke is tons of fun. Look into booking a local Karaoke bar for your next team outing.
23. Hatchet Throwing
Ok, so this idea is pretty much limited to denizens of the tri-state area, but it’s too good not to include.
Want to blow off some steam? Got an axe to grind?
Then you, my friend, need to head to Stumpy’s.
Stumpy’s Hatchet House in Eatontown, New Jersey made history this year when they opened their doors as the first and only hatchet throwing facility in the United States.
Stumpy’s is the perfect (and only) place to bond with co-workers by hurling diminutive sharpened axes at wooden targets. Need we say more?
Stumpy’s specialize in private parties in corporate events, so hit them up the next time you need a truly unique celebration idea.
24. Scavenger Hunt
Not only are Scavenger Hunts seriously fun, but they’ll help boost camaraderie, teamwork, and problem solving skills.
There are organized scavenger hunts popping up all over the place, but you can also choose to go the DIY route using an app like GooseChase.
25. Create a Custom Snapchat Filter
Like Hansel, Snapchat is so hot right now.
Snapchat has about 100 million daily users, all of whom send an astonishing 400 million snaps per day.
And why do the kids love Snapchat? The filters, of course.
Tap into Snapchat’s rabid popularity by creating your own custom filters for your office event.
The process is simple: just come up with a design, designate the time and place the filter will be active, submit to Snapchat (and allow 1 business day for approval), and voila – your party now has it’s very own custom Snapchat experience.
If design isn’t your thing, check out SnapGeofilters, an app that helps you easily create stunning geofilters, no design experience necessary.
Bonus benefit – your guests will publicize your awesome party to their network, which will help recruiting.
We created a custom filter for SnackNation’s recent 2 year anniversary celebration, and it was a major hit. I mean, look how happy Toby is:
What’s your favorite idea from this list? Can you top some of the crazy ideas we found? Let us know in the comments!
Free bonus: Download a cheatsheet of our Top 50 Fun Office Games and Activities That Make Work Awesome. Easily save it on your computer for quick reference or print it out the next time you want to plan a fun event for your coworkers.