Are you wanting to throw a casual gathering at your place but looking for unusual dinner party ideas? If you like themes and novelty, then check out this list of creative get-togethers you can throw. And for those of you who think invitations are half the fun, I’ve included a starter suggestion for each of these six unusual dinner party ideas. Enjoy!
Unusual Dinner Party Ideas: Clean My House and Clean Your Plate
Perfect for people too lazy to clean their own houses! Simply invite folks over, tell them to dress in raggedy clothes, and set them to work on cleaning your place. You can buy cheap $1 buckets at a dollar store and give everyone a ration of cleaning supplies along with a room assignment. It’s also a great way to pair up guests who might be interested in getting to know each other. There’s no better way to bond than to scour a mutual acquaintance’s bathtub, right? Of course, as the host, you have to be willing to: a) let people see your home at its worst, and b) spring for a really robust dinner as a reward. By the way, I actually did this once when I had a large apartment, and it was a memorable event.
Invitation Idea – Staple the party details to a latex glove or a dry Swiffer cloth.
Unusual Dinner Party Ideas: TV Tray Party
At most dinner parties, everyone sits around a table. For a tongue-in-cheek and eyes-on-tube party idea, spread everyone out in your living room with a TV Tray (if you or any friends own them) and have a big social TV-watching fest. For added kitsch, wash and save empty trays from old TV dinners – or just look for something similar at the store – and serve your meal in them along with paper cups and plastic utensils. I realize that a lot of Americans watch TV while they eat on a daily basis, for but my friends and me, this idea is really quite novel.
Invitation Idea – Cut up the box of a TV dinner into squares and glue details to the backs.
Unusual Dinner Party Ideas: Pasta Potluck
If you want to host a dinner party but don’t want to do all the cooking, opt for a potluck. One take on the potluck is a pasta rule, which requires everything except beverages to somehow include pasta. This often ensures adequate vegetarian options and a mix of ethnic cuisines. For added cheesiness, give everyone a kindergarten-style tricolor pasta lei upon arrival.
Invitation Idea – Glue bits of pasta to the them!
Unusual Dinner Party Ideas: Playlist Party
If your friends all have access to CD burners (it seems like most people do these days), then ask everyone to pick out some of their all-time favorite music, put it onto CD, and give it to you before the party. You, as the host, can take all the files/tracks and create a random playlist for the dinner party, letting everyone guess who picked which tunes. This is a spiffy way for your friends to quiz each other on musical tastes and also a clever way to learn about people new to your social group. And of course, whenever conversation drags, there’s something on in the background to talk about.
Invitation Idea – Send a CD case with a blank CD and insert your party details as the liner notes.
Unusual Dinner Party Ideas: Sandwiches and Sidewalks
For the more socially conscious urban dwellers, here’s a dinner party idea with a built-in service component. Buy (or ask everyone to bring) a wide variety of sandwich trappings – breads, meats, veggies, and spreads. Collect all the supplies, assemble your favorite sandwiches, and feast on them. Using what you have left over, which should be a LOT, prepare additional sandwiches in baggies and give them out to the homeless in your city after dinner. I once did this with a friend of mine when I lived in Loring Park, a Minneapolis neighborhood near downtown.
Invitation Idea – Send the invitations in plastic baggies.
Unusual Dinner Party Ideas: Soup Sampling
One of the oldest ways to serve food, soup remains a staple of many cultures. With such a diverse array of options – hot or cold, thick or thin, meat or veggie, spicy or tame – there are soups out there for everyone. Instead of just serving soup as an appetizer, let it be the main course. Prepare five or six different kinds of soup (you can do it days in advance, hence the joy of soup), and your guests can slurp various samplings, almost tapas-style. And don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and try less common soups: peanut butter soup, Vichysoisse, Borscht, etc.
Invitation Idea – Attach the details to a spoon.