Latest House Party Trends: Old-School’s on the Menu

min read
People dancing at a party.
BetMGM May 19, 2024, 12:28 PM

Staying home isn’t just the new norm; it’s a whole load of cool. From staycations around the pool to casino-themed parties where you get all your friends together for an evening of online casino games, betting, laughter, and fun, home entertainment hasn’t been this “in” since the 1960s. 

Read on for top old-school house party ideas and tips to get the creative juices flowing. Now’s the time to get groovy, baby.

1920s Casino Night

Love retro gaming like retro-style online slots? Why not consider hosting a casino-themed party at home inspired by the Roaring Twenties? Follow the tips and tricks below for rolling all the glamor of this iconic time period into a night of casino table games entertainment, and you’ll have a house party people will talk about long after they’ve headed home.

Inspiration

Draw your inspiration from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, “The Great Gatsby.” Not familiar with it? Watch the Warner Bros. 2013 remake starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, available on iTunes, Redbox, and Amazon. This will give you plenty of knowledge to create a party checklist for your casino night at home, as well as ideas for casino-themed party decorations.

Decor

Shop online at Amazon, Etsy, or your local party store for gold, black, and white balloon sets, napkins, Art Deco-inspired signage, wall art, and table centerpieces. Think diamonds and pearls, fake feathers, and metallic sparkle.

Dress Code

This was an era of jazz and excess, so when sending your invitations, make sure your guests know that more is more in this case. High style is in, from shimmering satin side-split dresses and fringed knee-length frocks to suits and hats (fedoras, homburgs, or round bowlers) or formal tailcoats or tuxedos.

The Menu

Make your own cocktail recipes or give your guests a genuine taste of the 1920s by serving a selection of Old Fashioned, Sidecar, Highball, and Bee’s Knees cocktails. Bite-sized or finger foods are always easier to handle at a house party and won’t interfere with the entertainment you’ve laid on, so serve up a delicious combination of deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, Oysters Rockefeller, and plenty of platters that include cheese, olives, and a selection of nuts.

Playlist

Make your choice of old-school house party music easy by taking your cue from “The Great Gatsby” soundtrack that features a mix of genres, including hip hop, jazz, and alternative music. Your guests are sure to get into the mood with tracks like “100$ Bill” by Jay-Z, “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse, and “Bang Bang” performed by will.i.am with an interpolation of the Charleston, and Louis Armstrong-inspired vocals.

Activities

Your activities will depend on the budget you have to spend. If it’s a big occasion and you’re going all out on your casino theme, you can rent gaming equipment like slots, poker, and roulette tables, along with certified dealers, so your guests get to play the best retro casino games in a setting that’s pretty close to the real deal.

For a more budget-friendly and up-to-date approach, consider hosting a virtual casino night. Check out an online casino, like BetMGM Casino, to view all the games you can play. Make sure your guests know to bring their favorite devices, whether a smartphone or tablet, and make a list of the online casino games that you think will interest them based on their skill level.

Up the ante by setting up competitions with prizes, or brag-value, for whoever earns the most money or chips during the night. You could even opt for multiplayer live dealer games or have several guests participate in the online poker tournaments that take place daily on your favorite site.

Casino Royale

Another casino-themed party trend is that of “Casino Royale” — the perfect choice for a sleek, sophisticated evening for your gambling-loving friends and family members. 

Inspiration

Of course, every Casino Royale-themed party is inspired by the James Bond film released in 2006, when secret agent James Bond embarks on his first mission as 007.

Decor

Any Bond movie oozes sophistication and luxury, so you can’t go wrong with a black, red, and gold color scheme — all synonymous with upmarket style. It’s also a great idea to dim the lights and add some subtle golden lighting for an elegant ambiance. Go the extra mile by scattering playing cards and poker chips on tables, or use them as part of your centerpieces and get your hands on a few classic James Bond film posters, if you can. 

Dress Code

Go big with black tie. Think tuxedos and elegant floor-length gowns to mimic the style of James Bond and the characters in “Casino Royale.” You could also allow guests to dress up as their favorite Bond villains or Bond girls for added fun.

The Menu

This is another house party theme that calls for sophisticated finger foods like shrimp cocktails, mini sliders, and bruschetta. If you’d prefer to serve something heartier, consider a gourmet buffet featuring dishes like beef Wellington, lobster tails, and caviar. Of course, you simply have to offer classic cocktails like martinis (shaken, not stirred).

Playlist

There are plenty of James Bond theme songs to pepper your playlist with — “Goldfinger,” “Skyfall,” and “Live and Let Die” are all classics guaranteed to get your guests excited. Include some swing and jazz music reminiscent of the Bond era, along with modern lounge music to keep the atmosphere lively.

Activities

Get as many casino table games on the go as your budget allows, including blackjack, poker, and roulette. For those who prefer watching movies over wagering, host a James Bond movie marathon in a separate space.

Back to the ‘90s

There’s no need to head back too far into the past or break the budget to throw a house party to remember. How about the 1990s for some shake-your-booty pop music, inflatable furniture, and the chance to wear butterfly hair clips again?

Inspiration

Take a peek at New Line Cinema’s “House Party,” which showcased the talents of Robin Harris and a breakout performance by Martin Lawrence. It involves the classic plot of “my parents are out of town, so I’m throwing a house party” and all the chaos that follows, but it was the original movie that set the tone for all the others in this genre that followed. You can watch “House Party” on HBO Max, iTunes, and Amazon.

Decor

Make your Back to the ‘90s house party all about color and hip-hop graffiti. Since this is a popular party theme, you won’t have any trouble filling your space with items to carry off your theme, from inflatable radio boomboxes and ‘90s-inspired temporary tattoos to wall graffiti backdrops and even porch signs.

Dress Code

The same goes for the dress code. Anything from flared jeans and skinny chain belts, blazers teamed with leisure pants, and sneakers, Doc Martens, or grunge — your guests will undoubtedly find at least some of these items in their closets.

The Menu

If you’re throwing an informal event, a great ‘90s house party idea is fast, packaged foods. With this decade came Dunkaroos, Fruit by the Foot, Kool-Aid Bursts, Squeeze-Its, 3D Doritos, Chef Boyardee’s Cheese Ravioli, and plenty more, so give your guests a blast from the past or make your own versions of these ‘90s classics.

For a more refined event, choose a menu that includes focaccia bread and sun-dried tomatoes, Chinese chicken salad, crab cakes, baked brie, and molten lava cake.

Playlist

Only the top tracks of the decade will do, so include the songs everybody loved in your old school house party soundtrack, like: “Ain’t My Type of Hype” by Full Force, “Genie In a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera, “Good Riddance” by Green Day, “Friday I’m In Love” by The Cure, “Only Wanna Be With You” by Hootie & The Blowfish, “Groove is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite, and “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch. And remember, no ‘90s party is complete without MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” and “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” by Will Smith.

Activities

So, your guests are going to expect a ‘90s dance party, but why not change things up a bit by setting up a ‘90s game station and including a retro video game tournament with Gran Turismo, Super Mario Kart, Street Fighter II, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Sensible World of Soccer?

A Spy Party

Now, here’s one that will get your guests talking. Hold a house party with a Cold War theme. Since the Cold War spanned 1946 to 1991, you can choose a decade, novel, or movie to narrow down your theme.

Inspiration

Take your inspiration from a novel or movie of your choice, like the 2011 movie “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” adapted from John le Carré’s 1974 novel of the same name. It featured Benedict Cumberbatch as Peter Guillam, who is recruited in 1970s London to hunt down a spy.

Decor

Choose any of the settings in your favorite spy thriller as the backdrop for your house party. Possible Cold War classic settings include railway stations, pavement cafes, parks, or a James Bond-inspired office complete with fake wood paneling, an executive desk, leather chairs, banker’s lamps, and an old metal filing cabinet.

Dress Code

Anything black will tie in with this theme, and you can never go wrong with a trench coat, hat, large sunglasses, and boots for day wear or suits, tuxedos, and glamorous gowns for evening wear.

Menu

If you’ve set up a full evening of activities for your guests, make it easy for them to enjoy the food. Since the 1960s were the height of the Cold War, you can serve almost anything on a stick, from cheese and pineapple to cocktail sausages and shrimp. For a more fancy “do,” opt for French onion soup or salmon mousse for starters, and coq au vin, chicken curry, beef goulash, or the vegetarian alternatives, followed by a fruit flan, sherry trifle, or Black Forest gâteau.

Playlist

For the best old-school house party music that’s sure to set the scene, try Julio Iglesias’ sultry rendition of “La Mer,” “The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World” by Sammy Davis Jr., or “Skyfall” by Adele.

BetMGM in the House

Here’s hoping you’ve been inspired by these house party ideas and tips to host your own event or the first in a series of house parties because, face it, how do you choose just one theme when there’s so much fun to be had?

It’s the same at BetMGM Casino, where you have a wide choice of online casino games to play, from online slots to blackjack and poker tournaments. All you have to do is register to get the party started.

Remember, you can use your BetMGM rewards online and in MGM-owned physical casinos like Bellagio and Delano Las Vegas.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.