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Boring dinner parties, begone

Why not throw a dinner party that will really get people talking?
Fans of Renaissance Festivals and folklore would find it most opportune to hold a ye olde medieval party in their primordial abodes.
Fans of Renaissance Festivals and folklore would find it most opportune to hold a ye olde medieval party in their primordial abodes. [ ALEXANDER GOLUBEV; ALEKSANDR GOLUBEV | Getty Images/iStockphoto ]
Published Sep. 21

By Erin Feitsma, Times Total Media Correspondent

When you’re little, themes are all the rage, and there’s a theme (think cartoon characters or adorable animals) for just about everything: backpacks, lunchboxes, toothbrushes, tissues … no household object is safe. Nothing, however, is more ubiquitous and “themeable” when you’re young than the crowning jewel of childhood, a themed birthday party. To pull off a great themed party, all you have to be is consistent, whether the theme is Power Rangers, Pretty Pretty Princess or pepperoni pizza.

Why not apply that same wide-eyed, theme-happy wonder to your adult dinner parties? Instead of settling for the old standby of casserole and conversation, take your cue from childhood and choose a concept at your next party that gets people really talking. Here, we’ve compiled a list of ideas to help you take your gatherings to the next level. Boring dinner parties, begone.

Murder mystery party: If you like your supper with a side of murder (via live action role play, of course) look no further. A murder mystery party is your opportunity to serve up a delicious meal alongside a Clue-esque whodunnit, with all your guests partaking in the fun. For this event, you’ll choose a theme (1920s Paris; the Wild West; the fabled underwater city of Atlantis) and either write your own mystery or find a party kit online that matches your vision. Guests will portray different characters and will need access to info about their roles ahead of time. Do up your home with theme-appropriate props, wear crazy costumes and let the sleuthing begin!

Medieval party: Doest thou fancy a joust? Fans of Renaissance Festivals and folklore would find it most opportune to hold a ye olde medieval party in their primordial abodes. It’s all about turkey legs, goblets of mead and questionable sartorial comfort at this so-old-it’s-the-Middle-Ages dinner party. Serve up the finest feast thy neighbors hath ever seen and turn up the lyre-laden tunes of yore. Or make things modern with medieval-inspired instrumental covers of current-day songs on YouTube. You may just be inspired to display your finest tapestry for the occasion. Don’t forget to include an after-dinner showing of The Princess Bride. To go without it would be inconceivable!

Masquerade party: Make a paltry party go from less-than-fantastic to Phantom of the Opera faster than you can flee a 19th century Parisian opera house with the addition of fantastical, face-obscuring masks. Is that Auntie Jo in the green feathered mask? No one can say for certain, because she wasn’t invited, but she’s hovering suspiciously around the charcuterie board in a dress of emerald damask. Isn’t that fun? If you have the space for dancing, there’s always the option to expand your masquerade-themed meal into a masquerade ball. Just be careful doing the waltz with the potential block to peripheral vision.

Dark academia party: Why have a regular dinner party when you can have a dark academia dinner party? Pay homage to the greats in literature and art with a moody, intellectual-inspired evening. Enjoy an entrée with a glass or two of wine as candles flicker in your dimly lit dining room. Encourage guests to follow a dress code of collared shirts, knitwear and tailored trousers - the more pretentious the ensemble, the better. Hold a mandatory poetry reading in the den, or let a record revolve lazily as guests hold a lively debate over late-night cups of coffee. If you’re a film fanatic, you can’t do without a viewing of Dead Poets Society.

Times Total Media is the sales and marketing division of the Tampa Bay Times. Contact timestotalmedia@tampabay.com with questions.

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