Roaring 20s Theme Party Ideas

Fun And Fabulous 20s Theme Party Ideas
To Help You Bring To Life A Roaring 20's Party Atmosphere!

The Roaring Twenties conjure up a multitude of ideas for a decade birthday party from that era. Prohibition, gangsters, flappers, speakeasy, and jazz performers like Al Jolson, Fanny Brice, Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, and Cab Calloway might come to mind. This was a very exciting time to be alive and to be able to experience a new style of living for a large majority of the population of our country. It was the end of the Victorian era and the start of a new concept of life especially for women.

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There are a number of themes from which to select so you'll want to do so with care and an eye on your budget. Whatever theme you choose, be sure that you can provide the proper setting to insure success.

For example, you could create a speakeasy atmosphere. In order to do it up right you'll need a large area that has a dance floor. This theme would work best if you could rent a local hall or perhaps a small local bar.

You could serve dinner and host a murder mystery game. This is immensely popular and can accommodate numerous players. There is an advantage to this as many of the games come with a party planning guide, invitations, costume and menu suggestions, and music CD's.

For this article the focus will be on hosting a Roaring 20's birthday party in the home using a jazz theme.


Start your party off on the right foot by sending out an invitation that will create an aura of excitement and anticipation in your party guests.

FLAPPER INVITATION - Download a picture of a flapper onto a piece of cardstock and put all of your party details on the reverse side. You can then embellish the flapper with a bit of glitter, pearls around her neck, and a feather boa.

SPEAKEASY INVITATION - Put all the party details on a piece of decorative scrapbook paper and cut it out using decorative scissors. Then attach it to a bottle of sparkling apple cider and hand-deliver to your guests. You can include a secret password that guests will have provide in order to gain admittance to the party.

In the alternative, for an added element of fun you can set the tone of the party and get your guests a little more involved before coming to the party. Within the invitation, let everyone know that they must call a specific phone number in order to obtain the secret password which will give them admittance to the party. Set-up a pre-recorded voicemail for your guests to hear that then tells them to look to the Craigslist personals for that password.

TICKET INVITATIONS - Make your invites look like tickets and be sure they contain the secret password that will allow your guests to gain admission to your 20's theme party.

ART DECO INVITATIONS - Art deco was very big in the 20's so why not opt for using some of the infamous geometric designs for your invite? To add to the glamour and splendor of it all, you might want to download them right onto a piece of silver or gold paper or card stock. Then put all of your party info on the reverse side using a calligraphy font.

MUSICAL INVITATIONS - Create an invitation on a piece of white card stock that emphasizes the jazz theme. Download a piece of clipart like a jazz trio, a musical instrument (preferably of the horn family), or perhaps some musical notes. Once again, put all the party details on the reverse side. You can also accent the invite by gluing a piece of feather boa to the front of it.


We all have a bit of the flapper in our personality and what a fun way to explore it by dressing up for the 20s theme party in flapper attire. Start by wearing a short, sassy dress with a fringe bottom, a black and gold feather boa, a faux strand of pearls with matching bracelets, and a head band with a feather. Be sure to accentuate the eye and mouth makeup. Wow, what a picture that will be!

For the guys you can bring out that inner-gangster. It's easy to create the transformation with a black suit, a gangster vest, suspenders, and a black fedora hat. Be sure to opt for slicked back hair and a thin pencil mustache. To complete the total look walk with a swagger and have a bit of a facial sneer.


  • With all of these classy flappers and slicked back guys you'll want to be sure that you have a lot of pictures for your scrapbooks. Start by setting up an area of your party room for posed photos. You can purchase scenery pieces and standees to help create the proper 20s theme party atmosphere. Things like a silhouette jazz trio, instruments or skylines will help make a great photo-op. As guests arrive invite them to pose with these props. Hire a few teens from your local high school's photography department to assist in your endeavors. After everyone has arrived have your photographers spend the remainder of the night taking candid shots.

  • Create an archway of balloons for guests to walk through. Add a few tall plants on either side of the arch and put some white Christmas lights in the plants to add a bit of ambiance.

  • Search the internet for interesting photos of celebrities who made the news back in the 20's along with other newsworthy items and mount them on pieces of poster board and hang on the walls to give guests a little bit of interesting reading material.

  • Hang some posters on the walls of art deco, famous movie stars and gangsters of the 20's.

  • Add some tall vases to hold large plume feathers and perhaps some additional greenery as this type of decor was very popular for this decade.

  • Accent tables and shelves around the room with decorative votive candles.

  • Another idea that will give your home the 20s theme party atmosphere, or more specifically the speakeasy atmosphere, is to cover your walls with red fabric and switch out some of your light bulbs to the red ones.

  • Although not authentic, you might still like to hang some black and white streamers around the room to add to the party atmosphere.

  • Cover your party table with a black and/or white table cover. Sprinkle silver and black confetti onto it and tie large black ribbons to the four corners of the tablecloth.

  • Use disposable tableware in a black and white pattern which will also include the matching napkins. Use plastic champagne flutes for your beverages, glass serving dishes for your food, and clear plastic cutlery rather than the dull white variety.

  • Create a black and white floral centerpiece for the table and accent it with long tapered white candles in glass candle holders. Keep the lighting in the room low and play jazz music in the background.


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SILENT MOVIE - Have a silent movie running in the background during the party; something like Charlie Chaplin would be a good choice.

CHARADES - Just about everyone loves a spirited game of charades. You could easily incorporate this into your 20's theme party by having the silent movies as the theme.

20'S TRIVIA - Ask questions that seek out the answers to those things that pertain to the 20's. Focus on famous people of that era, along with inventions, events, and other things that occurred in the 20's.

DANCE CONTEST - What would a 20s theme party be without dancing? Boring. You can try the Charleston, Black Bottom or the Lindy Hop, but more than likely the Charleston will be the top pick. Once everyone gets the hang of how to do the steps, you might as well move on to a little friendly competition and have a dance contest.

GANGSTER IMITATIONS - Have a contest and see who can do the best gangster imitation. The guys are sure to enjoy this, but come on ladies you can pull a Cagney out of that sweet demeanor.

CROQUET - A blast from the past demands that the infamous Great Gatsby sport of croquet be played. Just be sure to start early enough so you don't lose daylight or make it interesting and use a glow in the dark croquet set instead.


A 20s theme party demands finger foods in buffet-style be served, as it is the best and easiest option. You might even consider serving some of the foods that had their start in this decade for your birthday feast.

Start with a large platter of assorted sandwiches including chicken and egg salad, or perhaps cream cheese on brown bread, and the old standbys of ham and turkey can also make their debut.

Shrimp cocktails were a new item for the twenties along with Waldorf salad and zucchini chips.

Add a platter of Blue Cheese and Triscuits, which at that time the new was the new cracker on the scene.

As peanuts made their first party appearance in the 20's, you might want to put a few bowls of them out for guests to munch on.

Turn over some plastic fedoras and use them to serve up pretzels and chips.

Serve sparkling apple cider or pink champagne in plastic champagne flutes.


At the desert table we find the new cake sensation introduced by the Dole Pineapple Company--the upside down pineapple cake.

A new way to enjoy ice cream was also introduced in the 20’s; it was now being served covered with chocolate sauce.

For a 20s theme party you'll want to be sure that your cake presents with sufficient Wow-Factor as this was a time of opulent decadence. If you're going to make your own, just be sure to a lot yourself plenty of time to complete the task. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

RED, BLACK & WHITE CAKE #1 - This cake is actually very easy to make but very dramatic. Make a cake that consists of two graduated layers. The bottom layer needs to be three times as high as the top layer. Stack the cakes accordingly and cover them all with white frosting or fondant. Wrap the bottom layer with red flapper fringe. Decorate the top layer with red and black plume feathers. Accent as necessary with white pearls, black and/or red feather boa, and red roses.

BLACK, RED & WHITE CAKE #2 - This cake is also very easy to make and yet has quite the eye-appeal. Make three layers of graduating size and stack accordingly. Cover them with white frosting. Wrap wide, decorative black lace around the sides of all three layers. Accent the top with red and black plume feathers and hang white pearls off the top.

BLACK AND WHITE ART DECO CAKE - Once again make three layers of graduated size and stack 'em up. Cover with white frosting. Cut out various geometric shapes from black fondant and press them onto the cake.

READY-MADE CAKE - When all else fails you can always opt to have your local bakery create the winner which will have the dubious honor of gracing your table. After all the cake is one of the star attractions of any birthday party.


If you want to give your guests some 20s theme party favors, you can send them home with things like a jazz CD, a deck of cards, black and white candies, and the musical votive candles that have been decorating the party room.

You could also give your flappers a sequined or feather headband or maybe a dollar sign necklace. The guys could receive a gangster vest, a fake moustache or a bow tie along with the jazz items. Be sure also include copies of the pictures that were taken earlier either in your gift bags or with your thank you notes.


End the party in a fun way. Hire some teens from your local high school drama department to dress up like policemen and detectives and have them raid your party. They can carry small or large squirt guns which you can authorize them to use at your discretion. You obviously know your guests best and know whether they'd "enjoy" getting a bit of a squirt or if it would set their teeth on edge.

Have the fuzz burst into the room and declare that "This place is off limits and the festivities are over.” or Maybe say something like, “This is a raid; go home or go to jail.” However you choose to do it there will be laughter and good feelings as your guests prepare to leave.

Your Favorite 20's Party Ideas

Do you happen to have some favorite 20's theme party ideas? Then give 'em up!

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