Unless you’ve been lost in Lady Gaga’s wardrobe room, the Olympics have caught your attention (and ours). From 205 different countries joining together, to Team USA winning gold, silver and bronze, to really, really hot male athletes, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate the most global time of year!
So what better way to celebrate than with an Olympics party? Her Campus has you covered with tips that will take your international bash to the top of the podium.
Everything is more fun when you’re dressed up, and an Olympics party is no exception! Pick out a costume theme for your guests to abide by to really get everyone in the Olympic spirit.
- Represent your country. Have everyone dress up in the national colors of their favorite country participating in the Games.
- Get sporty. Tell your guests to dress in their best athletic gear, whether it’s a leotard or running shorts and a tank top (and make sure to suggest to that hot guy from your bio class that he channel Olympic swimmers and come shirtless).
- Be a ring leader. Divide up your guests into five groups and send each group invites telling them to wear a specific Olympic ring color (blue, black, red, yellow, or green). Voila! Total Olympic spirit, very minimal effort.
- Toga! Toga! Get historical and channel the original Grecian Games by having your guests dress in Greek god and goddess costumes.
Now that your guests are all dressed up, your party needs to be dressed up, too! Here are a few décor ideas to get you started.
- Tiki torches. If you can’t get the real Olympic torch to pass through your killer party, these are a pretty good substitute!
- Flags of the world. Hanging up flags is a super easy way to bring a lot of color to a room while emphasizing the idea of countries coming together.
- British invasion. Hang up pictures of the London skyline, Big Ben, the Union Jack, and other iconic London images.
- Gold, gold, gold. It’s all about the gold medals at the Olympics. Make this a major theme for your bash by decorating with gold items, such as this metallic table skirt.
- Put a ring (or five) on it. Hang up the Olympic rings on your walls.
- Play Olympic music. Is there any music more epic than “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” composed by John Williams? Probably not. Get your guests pumped by playing it at least once during the evening (Bonus drinking game for those 21+: when your guests hear the theme, they have to finish their drinks). Other pump-up songs for your playlist can be the theme from “Rocky,” “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You” by Queen, the theme from “Chariots of Fire,” “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, and “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen (oh come on, you can’t deny that that song gets people excited).
Olympians (and Olympics enthusiasts) gotta eat. After all, Michael Phelps ate 12,000 calories a day (nope, that wasn’t a typo) at the 2008 Games! While you certainly don’t need one pound of pasta and one entire pizza per person to make your guests happy, having some cute Olympics-themed snacks will keep their stomachs full and their Games spirit high.
- International cuisine. The Olympics are all about bringing different countries together, so do the same with your party food! Have food from various countries available to celebrate this united spirit. You can find a few recipe ideas here, or just keep it simple with easy international snacks (cheese for France, beans on toast for England, prosciutto for Italy, olives for Greece, etc.).
- Traditional English grub. Celebrate London with traditional English recipes. Fish and chips, anyone?
- Ring up some candy. Buy blue, black (or dark purple), red, yellow, and green candy (jelly beans or Skittles will work well) and separate them by color into glass jars. Arrange the jars into the shape of the Olympic rings.
- Flag sugar cookies. Whip up a batch or two of sugar cookies (or just slice and bake ones, if you’re pressed for time and/or not gifted in the art of cuisine) and decorate them with frosting to look like flags from participating countries, or leave them blank and let your guests decorate their own.
- Ring sugar cookies. Cut out holes in your choice of homemade or slice and bake sugar cookies and top them with either blue, black, red, yellow, or green sprinkles to make delicious Olympic rings.
- Munchable torches. Fill up ice cream cones with popcorn to make an edible version of this iconic Olympics symbol.
- Olympic fruits and veggies. Need a healthier alternative that’s still Olympics-themed? Good thing fruits and veggies come in so many different colors! For an easy and healthy way to eat your Olympic spirit, set out fruits and veggies in Olympics colors. Think blueberries, black cherries, strawberries or red peppers, yellow peppers or peach slices, and broccoli—but any of your favorite foods that fit the color scheme will work, too!
Another athlete must is to stay hydrated; anyone who’s seen one of those badass Gatorade commercials can tell you that. Therefore, your beverages better be Olympics-worthy. Whether your guests are 21 or older or they’d prefer something nonalcoholic, we have a few drink recipes that will quench any guest’s thirst.
- Go for the gold… or the silver, or the bronze. Check out these recipes for gold, silver, and bronze cocktails that are sure to make your guests insist you deserve a medal.
- Olympic cocktails. The iconic Olympic cocktail’s name may not actually refer to the Olympic Games, but it was invented in London, and the name is so fitting otherwise that it’s pretty much perfect for your party, right?
- Americano cocktails. This patriotic drink will make all your guests want to shout “USA! USA! USA!” faster than Usain Bolt can run the 100-meter dash.
- Hard cider. It’s an English tradition; how could you not serve it? Plus, there’s no preparation involved aside from keeping them cold.
- Tea. It’s like a religion in England.
- USA mocktails. Serve red, white, and blue mocktails for the tastiest way to show your American pride.
- Olympic rings mocktails. Put hard Life Savers in a martini glass to look like the Olympic rings, then fill with sparkling cider or ginger ale.
This isn’t any normal party; this is an Olympic party. The entertainment is crucial, and it has to be awesome. Your guests would expect nothing less from you, right? Having the games themselves on the TV is a good start, but you have to admit that watching people run the marathon can get a little dull after a while (two hours, three minutes and 38 seconds is still a long time, even if it is a world record). Try some of these other Olympics-themed games to get your party started.
- “We 'ad a Moriarty Present and Past night.” That’s “we had a party last night” in cockney slang, by the way. Look up some British cockney rhyming slang (the more bizarre the better) and have your guests compete to see who can figure out the standard English translation the fastest.
- Olympic beer pong. Use cups in Olympic ring colors and set them up like the iconic rings, or make a massive five-ring shape out of the cups. Obviously the latter would require a lot of cups, so be safe—fill the cups with water and have participants drink from their own beverages, and have multiple teammates on each side.
- Olympians name game. Write the names of famous Olympians on notecards and tape them to your guests’ backs. Have them ask each other questions about their Olympian until they can guess who it is.
- Have a drink-mixing or cupcake-decorating contest. Have your guests be Olympic judges for a contest that’s a little easier to accomplish than an aerial on a balance beam (unless your guests are gymnasts, in which case, see what they’ve got!): mixing the perfect Olympics-themed drink or decorating the perfect Olympics-themed cupcake. Need it to be a little more competitive? Give them a time limit. A very short time limit.
- Try to make the London royal guard laugh. Got a friend who doesn’t even laugh at Tosh.0? Have them dress up as one of the famous stoic-faced Queen’s Guards and see if your guests can get them to break their composure. Or, break up your guests into guards vs. tourists and have them try to crack each other up (Bonus drinking game for those 21+: Any “guard” who laughs has to drink).
- Have your own backyard Olympics. Remember when you used to do this back in elementary school? That was actually kind of fun, right? Set up games such as a relay race with an Olympic torch, a water balloon toss, Olympics cornhole (have multiple holes colored like Olympic rings, each with a different point value), bobbing for medals, and a human pyramid competition (the “gymnastics” of the evening). And, of course, honor your winning teams and runners-up with bronze, silver, and gold medals.
Whether it’s a wild evening or a relaxed Games-watching night, a Grecian bash or a red, white, and blue party, your Olympics fiesta is sure to be a hit. Now go light up a torch to signal the start of the most epic evening of the summer!