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20 Fun New Year’s Eve Party Ideas to Ring in 2023

No matter who is on your guest list, we've got a fun New Year's Eve party theme for you. You'll host the fete everyone will be talking about for years to come.

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It’s time to start planning your New Year’s Eve party

The holiday season—starting in early November and lasting through Jan. 1—is so busy, you wouldn’t be blamed for wondering when New Year’s is. And you definitely won’t be blamed for not having your New Year’s Eve party planned just yet, not to mention your New Year’s makeup and New Year’s nails for the evening! But the holiday will be here before you know it, and you’re going to need more ideas than just decorating the house in New Year’s colors. If you need some planning help, we’re here with the best New Year’s decorations and New Year’s Eve games to help you make this celebration your best one yet.

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Tee off 2023 New Year’s Eve party

Have fun together and send your guests home with a memento they can wear all year by hosting a custom T-shirt party. Provide plain white cotton tees in a variety of sizes, plus fabric markers and puffy paint. Have a list of funny or inspirational New Year’s quotes, like “This is my party dress,” “Hello, 2023!” or “Happy New Beers.” Encourage guests to get creative decorating their shirts, then wear them in a group photo.

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Mysterious masquerade New Year’s Eve party

The new year is the perfect time to transform yourself, so let your guests channel this energy with a masquerade party. Ask guests to dress up with a masquerade mask of their choosing. It can be elegant, silly or even painted on. (You may also want to have a few extras on hand for forgetful friends.) If you’re feeling adventurous, have the traditional New Year’s Eve kiss at midnight and then ask guests to remove their masks.

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Happy “Noon” Year’s Eve party

Small children, the elderly, people who have to work the next day or those who just really love their sleep—there are plenty of folks who don’t feel like partying till midnight and beyond. So instead of celebrating at 12 a.m., move the festivities to 12 p.m. Have snacks, fun games and a countdown with an enthusiastic cheer. Use mini bottles of sparkling apple cider for a nonalcoholic toast, and put on one of these New Year’s Eve movies to watch instead of the ball drop.

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New Year’s Eve party in your PJs

Stay comfy and cozy while still having fun by hosting a party in your PJs! Tell guests to wear their favorite jammies and slippers, and have them bring a pillow or supply a bunch of your own. You can have a pillow fight, snuggle up for storytelling or a movie and snack on a breakfast buffet. Hand out festive fuzzy socks as party favors. The best part: When everyone goes home after midnight, you can fall straight into bed.

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New beginnings New Year’s Eve party

Help your loved ones start this new year fresh with a party focused on leaving behind the bad and bringing good things into their lives. Ask guests to bring a note, picture or other memento that reminds them of something painful. Then have fun destroying it. Burn it, paint it, tear it to pieces or smash it—whatever feels good and helps them let go! Then read some of these positive affirmations and toast to a better new year while leaving the past in the past. At the end of the party, pass out simple gratitude journals as favors to focus on good things in the upcoming year.

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International traditions New Year’s Eve party

Different countries have New Year’s Eve traditions around the world. Try to fit as many of them in one night as you can! Decorate with a garland of flags from around the world, and serve finger foods from different cultures. In Denmark, it’s tradition to smash plates to welcome happy chaos in the new year. Have every guest bring an old, chipped plate, and take turns smashing! In the Philippines, it’s popular to have 12 round fruits at New Year’s, to symbolize coins and the months of the year. Why not hide the fruits around your house, and have a scavenger hunt to find them? As long as the celebration is respectful—no caricatures or stereotypes!—it’s a great way to ring in a new year thinking about the whole world.

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Black-and-gold glitter New Year’s Eve party

Black, gold and anything sparkly are the colors of New Year’s Eve. They are sophisticated and elegant while still being fun. Indulge your love for sparkly things by decorating with metallic foil curtains, gold plastic dishes, metallic glitter balloons and tiaras or crowns. Tell guests to dress up in black, gold or sequins aplenty. When the clock strikes midnight, raise your voices and sing “Auld Lang Syne“—it’s tradition!

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Glow-in-the-dark New Year’s Eve rave

Long winter nights provide the perfect opportunity to light up the dark. Ask guests to wear neon outfits, and when they arrive, hand out glow sticks, body paint and temporary tattoos. Set up one dark room with black lights and watch everyone glow. Play some fun techno or electronic music and host your own mini rave. Take some glowing pictures, and post them with these New Year’s captions.

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Disco ball drop New Year’s Eve party

Cue up your favorite ’70s playlist and pull out your bell-bottoms! This fun party will have your guests laughing, dancing and reminiscing (if they’re old enough) in no time. Turn on the Saturday Night Fever movie soundtrack, hang sparkly disco ball balloons around the dance floor and get your groove on. At midnight, use the disco ball to do your own ball-drop countdown.

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Fire-and-ice New Year’s Eve party

Hot and cold make for a dramatic party. If you’re lucky enough to celebrate New Year’s Eve in a snowy clime, make the white stuff part of the festivities. Light up your backyard with twinkly lights. Start with sledding, snowball fights and snow angels. As temperatures drop, invite everyone to gather around a bonfire for roasting s’mores and snuggling. Warm up with cider and hot toddies—and a hot tub if you have one! Don’t forget to read up on what good hosts do when they host a party to make sure your guests are comfortable.

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Margaritas-at-midnight New Year’s Eve party

Host a south-of-the-border party with tacos, salsa music and a piñata. Spice up the traditional New Year’s Eve toast with this fun champagne margarita cocktail: Mix three ounces of champagne, one ounce of tequila and one ounce of triple sec. Stir in an ounce of fresh lime juice, and garnish with a slice of lime on a festive toothpick.

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Vegas, baby! New Year’s Eve party

New Year’s is a lucky time, and luck makes for a fun theme. Set up your own gaming tables with all your favorite casino games—think poker, blackjack, craps and roulette. When guests arrive, give them poker chips to play games and win fake money. Don’t forget to teach them the etiquette rules of all the games, like blowing on the dice for good luck. Have a casino-style buffet for when people get hungry. Then dim the lights, turn up the Elvis tunes and roll the dice!

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Bubbly New Year’s Eve party

Host a very bubbly celebration that will be fun and uplifting. Decorate with iridescent balloons and streamers. Serve food on crystal dinnerware. Have a bubble maker going by the entrance (just aim away from the sidewalk so it doesn’t get slippery). Serve bubble tea, Bubly brand water and a bubbly champagne bar. Hand out bubblegum and have a bubble-blowing contest. You can even hand out bubble wrap for guests to hop on and pop. Hand out fizzy bubble bath bombs as party favors.

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Group of friends having fun with confetti at home.Anastasiia Krivenok/Getty Images

Confetti-and-confections New Year’s Eve party

Nothing screams “Happy New Year!” quite like confetti. Decorate with glitter, load up a confetti cannon and hand out confetti poppers. Kids can make confetti slime. Have a dessert buffet featuring funfetti cupcakes or confetti cake alongside other festive party foods: cotton candy, pop rocks and confetti ice cream, for instance. At midnight, drop confetti-filled balloons from the ceiling. (Just be sure to keep confetti contained and away from pets.)

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New Year’s Eve board game party

For a more chill evening, invite a few friends and family over to play board games. They can bring one of their favorites, and you can have a few games sitting out. This is the perfect opportunity to break out a longer strategy game, like Settlers of Catan or Risk. If you’re looking for a little more laughter and interaction, try a party game like Apples to Apples, Jackbox or Cards Against Humanity (for adults only!).

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New Year’s Eve bunco bash

If your crowd loves some fun competition, host a bunco tournament. The dice game is fast paced, easy to learn, quick to set up and works well for large groups. It’s a favorite game to play year-round, but using custom scorecards, seating cards and tally sheets will amp up the New Year’s Eve party vibe. You may even want to turn bunco night into a monthly activity. After all, spending more time with loved ones is one of the best New Year’s resolutions you can make.

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Dance, dance New Year’s Eve party

Have fun and get a head start on your fitness resolutions by hosting an energetic dance party. You can set up Dance Dance Revolution or Just Dance on a gaming console and have competitions. You could also encourage guests to freestyle, learn a line dance from YouTube or have a professional—like a belly dancer—come and teach a lesson. Provide fruit smoothies, protein shakes and some healthy finger foods. Tell guests to wear comfy clothes or, for extra fun, have them dress up in funny dance costumes.

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Winter-white New Year’s Eve party

White symbolizes newness, fresh starts, peace and, of course, winter, making it the perfect theme for a New Year’s Eve party. Start the celebration with white-on-white invitations, then decorate with sparkling white lights and crisp, clean decorations. Ask guests to dress in white. Serve winter-themed food and drinks, like white Russians and a creamy soup served in shot glasses.

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close up of man wearing an "I love NY" shirtBRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/getty images

Times Square NYC New Year’s Eve party

Watching the ball drop in Times Square is a favorite New Year’s Eve tradition. If you can’t be there, bring New York City to you. Make the most of this event by having the festivities playing live on TV. Give guests an iconic “I Heart NYC” T-shirt with the invitations. Set up a food cart and serve New York–style pizza, hot dogs and hot pretzels. Decorate with street signs, Broadway lights and a cityscape background. Sing Broadway karaoke. Play the Ticket to Ride New York board game. And when it gets close to midnight, watch the ball drop and cheer and celebrate along with the NYC crowd. If permitted in your city and state, light your own fireworks, right in your driveway.

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New Year’s Eve countdown party

Kids and adults alike get a kick out of counting down the final hours, minutes and then seconds of the old year. Make it a party by putting together countdown activity bags. Gather four to 10 paper bags and label each one to be opened at different times before midnight. Fill each bag with an activity appropriate for your guests. Kids will enjoy bubbles, small toys, confetti poppers and slime ingredients. Adults might like card games, a polaroid camera, movie tickets or cocktail ingredients. The last bag should be the final countdown to midnight. Fill it with Hershey’s kisses so everyone gets a kiss at midnight. Next, make sure to learn about astrology for the New Year.

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Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, BS, MS, has been covering health, fitness, parenting, and culture for many major outlets, both in print and online, for 15 years. She's the author of two books, co-host of the Self Help Obsession podcast, and also does freelance editing and ghostwriting. She has appeared in television news segments for CBS, FOX, and NBC.