ULTIMATE GUIDE to party entertainment (by professionals)

Are you gearing up to host a party that will be the talk of the town? Look no further! We’ve curated a list of 67 entertainment ideas suitable for themed parties of all kinds.

This list is like a blueprint. For each category we list lots of entertainment options, meaning you can chop and change and tailor the vibe of the event perfectly to your party. From hired entertainers to interactive guest installations, live music, dance performances, group activities, food stations, and get-to-know-people games, we’ve got you covered.

This comprehensive list of the different types of entertainment is one you can keep referring back to for your party planning of any type of celebration, birthday, or corporate event! 

Once you’ve got all your entertainment tips, we also have a post of Ultimate Party Decoration Strategy, with all the tips and tricks to creating a fantastic party atmosphere.

Hired Entertainers for party ideas

If you have a large guest list, having some live entertainers walking around, and mingling with the crowd can be a great way to entertain in a relaxed, natural way!

If this is the type of event where you want plenty of talking points and a bit of wonder and magic, then consider some of these entertainment ideas:

  1. Magician – A magician will create a great talking piece and add some excitement and intrigue to the party atmosphere. Its exciting entertainment and it will blend seamlessly with the flow of the party, helping entertain guests who are keen, and allowing others to keep enjoying themselves without disruption!
  2. Tarot reader – This is great fun, whether you believe in Tarot or not and its perfect entertainment for a mystical or bohemian-themed party.
  3. Stilt walkers – This is to create a spectacle and stunning visual appeal, it’s impressive and a great way to link the theme with entertainment…ideal for circus or carnival-themed parties.
  4. Circus acrobatics – Circus acrobats never fail to wow, so having a show or acrobats performing around the room will be so impressive and create an atmosphere or awe and wonder. There is also something ethereal about it, and slightly magical! 
  5. Live Illustrator – This is a brilliant entertainment idea as it runs all night and will keep people coming bac to see the progress. Typically a painter will set up and begin painting a scene of the party (or any scene) and as the evening progresses, so will their masterpiece. Guests will be wowed, and the final painting leaves a feeling of the whole event being memorable and fabulous.
  6. Caricaturist – Having a caricaturist is such fun at any party, it’s a great talking piece and will bring guests a lot of laughs. Whats also great, is guests have something to take home with them! That is always very well received, and it leaves a lasting memory if the party is a milestone to be remembered.
  7. Live characters – You can hire actors to walk around interacting with the guests for an immersive themed experience. For instance, you could have a mad hatter at an Alice in Wonderland themed party, or flapper dancers at a 1920s Gatbsy themed party, all to heighten the theme and create an atmosphere of awe and wonder!
  8. Fire performer – This would be the highlight of the evening, a clear wow factor and certainly a hot topic of conversation. It is incredible and almost magical to watch.
  9. Celebrity impersonator – This could be brilliant fun for a decades-themed party. Have iconic celebrities from the time walking around and interacting with the guests for fun, light-hearted entertainment and it’s a definite talking point.

Live Music ideas for a party

Live music or a live band is such a special way to create an atmosphere at an event and to get the guests connected and enjoying themselves together.

  1. Singer – A live singer is always wonderful to watch and can suit any theme for the evening. You could have a backing track or hire a singer and one acoustic instrument as accompaniment.
  2. Quartet – This is a great way to add elegance and sophistication, ideal for formal events or classy affair themes.
  3. Jazz trio – This is the ultimate choice for a jazzy vibe and ambience, perfect for a retro-themed party or a chic cocktail evening.
  4. Brass band – A brass band is grand and loud and will fill the space with energy and excitement, suitable for a festive or celebratory-themed party.
  5. Tribute band – A good tribute band will be a perfect addition to the theme of the party and add nostalgia and excitement! This makes for a totally immersive party experience.
  6. Mariachi band – A mariachi band will always create a lively and festive atmosphere, perfect for a Mexican-themed fiesta or a summer celebration.
  7. Solo acoustic guitarist – Perfect for adding intimacy and charm to any party, fitting for a cozy gathering or a rustic-themed event.
  8. World music style – A super fun way to add diversity and inter-cultural flair, This will be more than just a music component but will carry any theme and be something very unique to your party.
  9. Party DJ – though this isn’t strickly ‘live’ the live response from the DJ to the guests is unmatched by and Spotify playlist, and it takes the music to the next level.

Interactive Guest Installations at a party

These are lovely ideas to involve the guests in creating something. Often these sorts of entertainment options stick in the minds of the guests long after the event, and the sense of treating something together as a group is a very special, memorable experience.

  1. Fingerprint art – This is a living guest memory! On a large canvas, have guests ass their fingerprint as a leaf on a momentous memory tree. As the party goes on, more and more leaves will mak the tree fuller and fuller ad it’s fun for guests to leave their stamp and watch the tree develop. Also a lovely memento of the event.
  2. Photobooth station – A photo booth is always brilliant fun, whether it’s a machine or a DIY version with a self-timer and funny props and background. What makes it so great is that the backdrop and accessories can be themed for any party – extra special!.
  3. Themed seating – For instance, a throne if it suits the theme, or an animal seat, cushioned lounge area or prop block that guests can sit on such a giant Rubix cube for an 80s party for example
  4. Cardboard cut-out stations – A fun thing for guests to pose with and a great talking point…you could have life-sized cutouts of celebrities from the era such as Marilyn Munroe for a Hollywood glamour party.
  5. Dress-up corners with themes – Let the guests try on and engage with theme-related props and have a great time playing the role!.
  6. Campfire – This adds a peaceful and cosy area, where conversations flow easily and guests can enjoy some more intimate and calm times!
  7. Sparkler station – Sparklers add magic and excitement, and create beautiful artistic effects for everyone else to also enjoy.
  8. Sign and hang an LED lantern – This is a lovely way of adding atmosphere and letting the guests build the decoration over time, perfectly fitting for a romantic or whimsical-themed party.
  9. Simple craft station – Depending on the theme this can be a fun activity and a great talking point.
  10. A graffiti wall for guests to sign a message tag on – If it suits your theme this can be a great interactive activity for the party, and guests can enjoy seeing the painting develop. Its another great talking point. 

Did you know we also have some pre-made theme party ideas guides that put these strategies into action? Check out some of our best themes such as the 1920’s Gatsby party, or our 1990’s retro throwback party!

Casino Games for the ultimate party

This is one of the best party entertainment ideas for groups that love the spice of a little gamble to liven the night! Have tables set up around the room with some classic casino games. These make the event feel grand and fun! Some of the best games to offer:

  1. Roulette –  very simple, based on luck, anyone can play!
  2. Blackjack –  you play cards and try and hit a score as close to 21 as possible, its a great combination of luck, nerve and a little skill
  3. A Poker table – for those who know and love the game 

Dance Performances for great entertainment

To spark the excitement on the dance floor, a dance performance is spectacular and makes for such a memorable celebration! It’s one of the best ways to get the whole group wowed, and keep the energy super high!

  1. Flamenco performance – Hot, fiery and fabulous!
  2. Bollywood dance performance – Absolutely fabulous to watch!
  3. Dance coordinators for line dance or ceilidh – Super inclusive and a great way to get everyone involved in dancing and trying out something new. 
  4. Short dance lessons for all guests – Great fun to start out the night and get people mingling and confident!

Group Entertainment Ideas for a party

These are lovely ideas if there is a central moment to the party, for instance, the lighting of a birthday cake, or at the reveal of a surprise birthday party!

  1. Outside sparkler moment – Adds spectacle and celebration, perfect for a New Year’s Eve party or a milestone celebration.
  2. Streamers during a certain song for the ‘drop’ – Adds excitement and anticipation, great for a music-themed party or a dance night.
  3. Body Paint/Body Glitter stations for guests to decorate themselves and add to the fun atmosphere of the party. f the party has a theme or there is a special themed dress code, glitter could event add to that atmosphere!

Food related party ideas (HIRED):

  1. A live chef creating food, such as sushi in front of the guests
  2. A mixologist creating cocktails with flare in front of the guests. For a themed party, have classic cocktails with a themed twist!
  3. A live dessert bar with a rolled ice cream station or someone making crepes or waffles

Food related party ideas (DIY):

These can be a great idea for an outdoor or garden party where there is plenty of space to set up large DIY stations. They will all contribute to a relaxed event feel and are a nice way to serve good food affordably, and with minimal fuss!

  1. DIY Build a hot dog – With loads of veggies, sides, toppings and sauces to add.
  2. Build a pizza – lay out loads of cheese and all the toppings alongside small pizzas! Works great if you have a pizza oven so that they can cook quickly.
  3. Decorate a decadent cupcake – And make sure the table is full of colourful icing and sprinkles!
  4. Marshmallow toasting for s’mores – This is a great idea for adding a sense of nostalgia, and coziness to the night! 

Lawn or fair games for guests to play:

Party games are fun, light-hearted, and exactly what we should be playing at a great party! Having these available to play around the vent space can also create a good flow which si one of the key elements of a relaxed and sociable event.

  • Giant Jenga
  • Giant Connect 4
  • Darts
  • Toss the beanbag in the bucket
  • Old school races like egg and spoon or sack race
  • Tin can skittles

Get-to-Know-People Games:

For birthday parties where you want guests to mingle, having some sort of background ice-breaking game for party guests to play is a good idea, and can also be great fun!

The events that leave a lasting impression, are those where loads of people get to know each other and bond into the celebratory feel, and these types of games definitely help!

  1. Partner match – I’ve seen this game before at a wedding reception where not many of the guests knew each other and it’s a lovely way to encourage the mingling. Each guest is paired up with someone they don’t know (organised by the hosts) and their task, on arrival is to find their pair! it created chat and interaction between everyone and is a lovely, simple way to get an activity going right away and set the tone of mingling for the rest of the night!
  2. Everyone gets a line – Upon arriving every guest gets a sheet of paper with a little cute fact or anecdote about everyone else at the party on a sheet. The aim is to match a name to each anecdote over the course of the night. At some point, you can award a prize for the first person to fill out their sheet, or maybe for the person who manages to get the most names. Anecdotes can be something like “once missed a flight to Mallorca”, “crashed a motorcycle in Greece”, or “is the town’s best nail artist!”.
  3. Guest group-ups – As guests arrive, you give them a number from one to 6, and once enough guests arrive they form their groups and get to do one of the party activities together…this can be anything! For example, they all take a photobooth photo together, or that group has to run the barbeque for half an hour, or that group have to go and play one of the games such as darts together for the highest score! it doesn’t matter what the activity is, either way, it creates natural mingling and gets guests chatting over a particular activity which can ease up conversation. If there are drinking games happening, the groups could form a team and have a little competition!

Classic Party drinking games

Even if not everyone is drinking, these tend to be exciting, high-spirited games and can set a fun tone for the entire event! Feel free to use lemonade for the drinks!

These games pretty much work for any number of guests, as you can have people joining in and changing places all night.

  • Beer pong –  In this game, teams play on either side of a table and have to throw a ping pong ball into an array on cups. Teams take it in turns and the first to throw a ping pong ball into every cup of the other teams collection wins! (In the drinking version, each cup contains beer, and the conceding team have to drink from that cup!)
  • Flip’y cup – Cups are placed upside down with the upper lid slightly overhanging the table. Players have to flip this outer lip and get the cup to land in an upright position on the table! They get as many tired as they need, and then the next person in the team gets the cup. The first team where the whole line of players have successfully flipped the cups win!
  • Cup-stacker – We love this game as it’s one that everyone plays together without teams. Players stand around a table, and there are two cups and two ping pong balls (3 if a large group) with loads of other cups in the center. The aim is to bounce the ball once on the table and have it then hop up and land in the cup. Once achieve an extra cup gets stacked alongside it and the next player goes, but the trick of the game is that if you get the bounce in the first time, you can give the cup to anyone in the circle, thus ganging up on a few players who you are getting to drink as much as possible! For instance if the special occasion is a birthday, it could be the birthday person! (here are the rules in more detail)
  • Ring of fire – A regular pack of playing cards are spread into a ring and each card to be pulled has an associated action or a little game. Players take it in turns to pull. Some of these actions are drinking games, but they don’t need to be.
  • Drinking Blackjack – Blackjack is a classic casino game, and cam be played the the bet on winning associated with a drinking forfeit fi your choosing if you’d like to!

Large entertainment hire for a spectacular party

If you’re in the planning process for a great, milestone party, and want to go all out, some giant hireable inflatables could be a great idea! This is also a great idea if there will be a mixture of kids present (for instance a baby shower).

  1. Inflatable slide
  2. Inflatable bounce house or smaller bouncy castle
  3. Bucking Bronco
  4. Surfboard challenge 
  5. Inflatable ball pit –  This is such a childhood throwback, and lets even the most gorn-up guests enjoy some childish, free-spirited fun! Perfect for a theatrical, circous or super colourful theme!
  6. Inflatable bumper balls – These large inflatable balls that guests can wear and bump into each other can provide great entertainment, particularly if you set up a competition!
  7. Inflatable sumo suits – Similar to bumper balls, inflatable sumo suits can offer fun and playful game entertainment, and some great excitement if you run a compeition

No matter the occasion or theme of your party, these entertainment ideas are sure to elevate the atmosphere and create lasting memories for you and your guests.

So go ahead, mix and match, and create an unforgettable experience that will be talked about for years to come!

Best of luck for your next party! Zoe xx

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