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1920s Themed Party Ideas

When you think of a 1920s themed party, do your thoughts go right to the booze? Ours did (can you say Mint Julep?).

It was a time of excess, and it's excess you'll have at your swanky bash.

Let's Talk Drinks First

Choose an area for a bar and set it up with all of the fixings for cocktails. (Did you know that cocktails became popular in the 20s when people started adding fruit juices and other mixers to drinks to cover up the dreadful taste of homemade alcohol and to make the drinks look non-alcoholic?)

Have colorful swizzle sticks on hand too.

Find a metal tub (a nod to bathtub gin) and fill it with ice and let your bottles chill in it. This can double as a centerpiece too.

Some of the popular cocktails in the 1920s were:

  • Mint Julep
  • Old Fashioned
  • Champagne Punch
  • Mojito
  • Planter's Punch (rum-running was in full force)
  • Bronx

You can also add current favorites to your beverage menu, such as Cosmopolitans and flavored Martinis.

Create Your Own Speakeasy

Cognac Monnet, c.1927 Create a speakeasy atmoshpere with 1920s era posters, dimmed lights, candles, and music.

Ask your guests for the secret password when they come to the door! (Put the password in each guest's party invitation.)

Dancing Til You Drop is Mandatory!

If you have the room for it, a dance floor would be a swell addition to your 1920s party. Roll up the carpet and hire a local dance instructor to teach everyone how to do the Charleston, Tango, Varsity Drag, Lindy Hop and the Peabody. If hiring an instructor is out of the budget watch some YouTube videos and become the instructor yourself. After a couple of glasses of punch you won't mind the loss of dignity.

If you don't have the space for a dance floor, you can still enjoy the music of the decade. If you're going to make your own CDs, be sure to add some of these artists to your mix:

  • Jelly Roll Morton
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Bessie Smith
  • Bix Beiderbecke
  • Billie Holiday

There's a radio service called The 1920s Radio Network that plays nothing but music from the 1920s through the 1940s, 24 hours a day. How fabulous is that? You can find it streaming on iTunes.

Get Your Sparkle On!

Ladies, get out your short(-ish) dresses with dropped waists, fancy headbands —the glitzier the better (rhinestone-studded or feathered are our suggestions), long strands of pearls (remember...excess! wear several strands of different lengths) and long gloves.

Get your best boa and rhinestone headband out for your 1920s birthday bash!

And let's not forget that this is the era of the boa. Every good flapper had one. You can search thrift stores for them, but you can also find brightly colored ones at your local craft store.

As for the men, the 20s were pre-zoot suit, but men's pants were getting higher-waisted and baggier. A bold vertical striped jacket, white pants, two-toned shoes and a boater (a straw flat-topped hat with a ribbon around it) would make the perfect 1920s outfit for guys. If it's cold outside, drag out grandma's old raccoon coat.

Ukeleles, fake guns, and cigarettes in long ebony holders make perfect props.

Don't Forget Your 1920s Party Favors

Send your guests home with one of these:
  • a mini bottle of gin or vodka (with or without a martini glass)
  • a copy of your music mix CD
  • mini Baby Ruth candy bars (introduced in 1920) in a martini glass
  • mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (they debuted in 1923) in a martini glass
  • several long strands of fake pearls
  • a feather boa
  • a pack of retro candy cigarettes and a cigarette holder (we get most of our retro party stuff from Retro Planet



Have your own ideas for a 1920s themed party? Share them with us via our contact form and we'll share them with our readers!

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