Bar Mitzvah Party Themes
theme isn't necessary for a Bar Mitzvah, but it can make
things more fun -- and simplify your party planning. Why?
When you've got a theme in mind, picking out party details
is that much easier -- details that fit with your theme
and palette are in, obvious mismatches are out.
Brainstorm with your son to come up with a theme that
plays up one of his passions, whether it's basketball
or video games. We asked a professional party planner
for five inspirational ideas for Bar Mitzvah themes,
and then came up with an example for each.
A vacation spot -- or a dream destination -- can provide
great fodder for a Bar Mitzvah theme. We chose Hawaii.
decor: Evoke the islands with Hawaiian-print linens,
tiki torches (if you're outdoors, of course), and
tropical flowers in the centerpieces -- think birds
of paradise, hibiscus, and lilies.
Have a troupe of hula dancers come and give a performance
after dinner. You could even ask whether they can
give a lesson to the kids (don't forget the grass
Do a fruit smoothie bar for the kids with plenty
of tropical choices like mangoes, papayas, and pineapple
in addition to the classics (strawberries, bananas,
and OJ), and a tropical signature cocktail (mai
tais, anyone?) for the grown-ups.
Tiki-style cups or Hawaiian-print boxer shorts make
fun takeaways for a Hawaiian-themed Bar Mitzvah.
Use postcards from Hawaii as place cards -- and
"address" each one to each guest at their
table (if you're really ambitious, have the Bar
Mitzvah boy include a note to each of his friends
or to special relatives).
Could he spend all day playing the saxophone? Are you
always on your way to or from his soccer practices?
Spotlighting your son's number one pastime is a great
way to make the Bar Mitzvah all about him. We chose
basketball as our example.
decor: It's all about b-ball, so be sure the spotlight
is on the sport. Life-sizes cutouts of favorite
NBA players make for fun decor (and great photos).
Basketball trading cards can be scattered on tables
or used as escort cards (cover up the names on the
cards and fill in guests' names instead).
Rent an arcade-style hoops game, whether it's basketball-themed
pinball or arcade machines, or an Alley Hoops or
Super Shot basketball game for high-scoring fun.
Go with kid's fare that fits with a fun, casual
theme -- mini burgers are a yummy (and trendy) way
to go. Another kid favorite: A french fry bar where
you can choose your own toppings.
Personalized mini basketballs are a great take-home
for this Bar Mitzvah. Customized basketball jerseys
also make a great favor.
The perfect theme for the kid who's not that into having
a theme is to go with his favorite color to tie everything
together. These ideas will work with any color, but
we went with blue.
Time in History
decor: Blue balloons are fun, and blue linens are
a natural. To make things a little more dynamic,
vary the shades -- like indigo, cerulean, and sky
blue -- instead of doing all one hue.
Centerpieces: Boys aren't always so into flowers.
How to do a cool blue centerpiece? Think of non-floral
elements that could fit your theme. Small table
lamps with fun blue shades add a little light to
the space. Another option: faux gifts wrapped with
different blue papers and ribbons.
Do an all-blue candy bar so kids (and adults) can
pick out treats to enjoy at the party (and afterward
-- don't forget take-out containers so guests can
take some home). Blue M&M'S, rock candy, Skittles,
jelly beans -- the choices are endless. Another
option: Rent a cotton candy machine.
Going for a cool blue? Get extra cool with an ice
sculpture or two with your son's initials as an
adornment for the entry or buffet area.
Looking to the past can be a terrific source of inspiration
for your Bar Mitzvah. Choosing a specific decade (like
the '50s) or going even further back (think ancient
Egypt or the Renaissance) can put a unique spin on your
son's Bar Mitzvah. For our example, we chose the '60s.
decor: Decide first if you want to go '60s mod or
'60s hippie -- for a more mod look, juxtapose bright
colors (poppy centerpieces, maybe?) with black and
white. For a hippie vibe, think daisies, lava lamps,
and beaded curtains for your decor.
Celebrity impersonators can interact with guests
and give you some seriously funny photos. For the
'60s, The Beatles or Ed Sullivan could be fun. Though
he's technically from the '90s, hiring an Austin
Powers impersonator will definitely impress the
Get guests in on the act with sunglasses and love
beads. Another option: tie-dyed T-shirts customized
with the Bar Mitzvah child's name and birth date.
Number tables with images of the Bar Mitzvah boy
in costume as various '60s icons, or with their
picture created in the style of different artists
from the era (for example, Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein).
The movies are a major source of inspiration for Bar
Mitzvah themes -- no surprise, since Tinseltown is everywhere
these days. A Hollywood theme can be as broad as, well,
"Hollywood," or you can opt to focus on one
of your son's fave flicks.
decor: You can go in any direction with this theme
as far as colors go -- it's the fun extras that
will make it fit. Movie posters, faux film reels,
and a red carpet entry will give it a Hollywood
Screen actual movies by the dance floor -- and you
don't have to have the sound on, it's more for the
ambiance. Something with lots of color and excitement
(and that everyone knows so well that they can enjoy
a minute or two sans sound) works best -- think
classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
or The Wizard of Oz.
Serve concession-style snacks for the kids' dessert.
Rent a popcorn popper for fresh popcorn all night
long, or have your caterer dream up their version
of classic sweets like Ring Dings or Ho Hos.
Name the tables for each of your child's favorite
films, and label them with a mini version of that
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