Remember the days of playing dress-up? The pure joy of using your imagination –– of transforming into beloved characters and building fantastical worlds that, to date, had just existed in your mind.
If only you had a good excuse to put together that kind of experience.
Well, good news: You do. Some of today’s leading events use themes to create cohesive storylines, connect attendees, reinforce messaging, and attract registrants. Nailing down a theme for your event can also help other details fall into place.
As always, this is a time to put your audience first. Think about your event goal and the attendees you want to attract. What motivates them? What are you trying to communicate? What feeling are you trying to evoke?
Event professionals are often pretty comfortable establishing in-person event themes but with virtual and hybrid formats gaining momentum, some might be left wondering how to navigate theme selection across in-person, virtual, and hybrid experiences.
Here, you’ll find 50 event theme ideas –– and some thoughts on how to incorporate them across in-person and virtual settings –– all intended to get your creative juices flowing.
In this article, you’ll find event theme ideas inspired by:
Holidays and the changing of seasons are prime opportunities to celebrate the beginning, middle, or end of a chapter. Tap into these themes for a year’s worth of seasonal inspiration.
❄️ Event theme idea #1: Winter wonderland
Bringing your attendees together during the holidays? Well, cue the jingle bells. Think snowy winter decor, red or blue accent pieces, and Mariah Carey serenading your audience.
- In person: Go wild with decorations, like evergreen trees, ice sculpture centerpieces, and fake (recyclable) snow. Consider serving treats like wassail, hot chocolate, eggnog, or hot toddies.
- Virtual: Ask attendees to dress in their favorite winter-themed pieces. Then, they can enjoy the holiday goodies you sent before the event (think: gingerbread cookies and snowglobes) in style. Consider streaming music during festive bonding experiences like ugly sweater contests or lip syncing to the “Frozen” soundtrack.
Event theme idea #2: Pumpkin patch
Fall colors, pumpkin-spiced lattes, and pumpkin carving — what’s not to love with this autumn-inspired theme? Crisp air calls for sweater weather, so plan your theme around peak coziness.
- In person: Leaves, pumpkins, apples, and warm colors will create a comforting autumn ambiance. Consider a pumpkin carving station or a corn maze to further the pumpkin patch experience.
- Virtual: Host a virtual pumpkin carving contest after sending pumpkin carving kits before the event. Have attendees share photos of their finished Jack-O-Lanterns and post them on social media channels with your event hashtag.
Event theme idea #3: Midsummer
With an early sunrise and late sunset, the longest day of the year –– also known as midsummer –– gives us more daylight for gatherings. Celebrate by creating a dreamy aesthetic. Guests can don flowers in their hair or on their clothes, wear white linen attire, and admire pastel-colored decor.
- In person: Ethereal decorations like daisies, coneflowers, and lavender will be a breath of fresh air for your guests. You could host an evening soiree with garden string lights, soothing jazz or classical music, and light, fruity desserts.
- Virtual: Send summer-inspired swag to virtual attendees in advance so they can enjoy their rosé while viewing your content. Brand your virtual venue with pastel colors and images of sunflowers, fields of grass, and bumble bees.
Event theme idea #4: Tulip festival
Celebrate growth with a spring theme because nothing defeats winter blues like a glimpse of those first spring blooms.
- In person: Choose colors inspired by the lively shades of tulips and flood your venue with flowers. Serve fresh, vibrant flavors in the form of lemon tarts and lavender-infused spirits to bring attendees’ taste buds out of hibernation.
- Virtual: Send plants, pastries, and items infused with floral scent so virtual attendees can enjoy the freshness of spring wherever they are. Consider sending supplies and hosting a virtual gardening or succulent creation class.
Event theme idea #5: Christmas in July
Have something special to celebrate in the summer (and an audience that’s open to a Christmas-themed celebration)? Many attendees probably won’t argue with being showered with gifts at a Christmas in July event.
- In person: For decor, picture Santa at a luau. Consider combining themes by displaying warm beach motifs alongside Santa hats. Think tiki torches, sleds, holiday trees, and palm trees. Serve creative snacks that combine the best of the holidays with a July vibe, including tropical fruit, drinks with umbrellas, gingerbread cookies, and cranberry-laden cocktails.
- Virtual: Costumes are key. Invite attendees to wear Hawaiian shirts and Santa hats. Send leis and tropical drink mixes before the event for everyone to enjoy together.
Time travel-based themes
Who doesn’t love a little nostalgia? Or a peek into the future? Tap into memories of simpler times or treat attendees to a high-tech flash forward with these time travel-inspired ideas.
Event theme idea #6: The Roaring Twenties
Set the scene for a true party with this elegant and timeless theme. Whether your attendees are in person or virtual, they’ll feel like they’re in the heart of the jazz age.
- In person: Wander back in time with an over-the-top speakeasy party. Attendees can mingle over glasses of champagne in their flapper dresses and striped suits. Go “Great Gatsby” with black and gold art deco motifs, feathers, and sequins.
- Virtual: Consider sending attendees mini bottles of champagne or cocktail-making kits to set the mood. Having everyone dress the part will enhance the theme, and they can share photos of their outfits on social media.
Event theme idea #7: Queens and kings
It’s key to recognize attendees for being the queens and kings they are –– and that won’t be lost on anyone with this regal theme.
- In person: Adorn the event space with luxurious fabrics like velvets, velours, satins, and silks. Hang tapestries for a castle-like effect and hire jesters to entertain. Pull the event together by inviting your attendees to dress in their most regal attire so they can enjoy festivities fit for royalty.
- Virtual: Send attendees personalized chalices and crowns to complement their outfits, as well as some royalty-inspired decor to adorn their personal palaces.
Event theme idea #8: The ’70s
Break out the bell bottoms, gold accessories, and your best pair of roller skates for a ‘70s-themed affair.
- In person: Invite attendees to dance under disco balls in their platform shoes. Serve up some vintage snacks and drinks to get everyone in the mood.
- Virtual: Ship attendees mini disco balls along with retro snacks and drinks. Guests can enjoy their goodies paired with a virtual dance party with fellow attendees from all over the world.
⚔️ Event theme idea #9: Vikings
Take attendees on a journey to the land of the Norsemen. A Vikings theme can immerse in-person or virtual groups in the history of Scandinavia.
- In person: Decorate the room with longboats, shields, and swords. Wondering what to feed this crew? Look no further than a feast of turkey legs, honey-baked ham, mead, and other Nordic delicacies fit for any hungry Viking.
- Virtual: Prepare your virtual guests for the ultimate Vikings-themed event by shipping Viking hats, beer (including offering nonalcoholic beer), and personalized chalices.
Event theme idea #10: Old Hollywood
Marlon Brando, Audrey Hepburn, and Cary Brant are just some of the names associated with old Hollywood glamor. Bring the razzle-dazzle to your event with this Hollywood theme.
- In person: Request that attendees dress up in Old Hollywood attire and treat them like stars in a venue decked out with red carpet runners, movie posters, and starburst lights. Glamorous food and drink like caviar canapes and champagne cocktails will make your attendees feel like true celebrities during a time gone by.
- Virtual: Set your virtual stage by decorating your event platform with symbols of Hollywood. Then, send attendees movie-themed decor, snacks, and drinks. Encourage them to dress up in their finest gowns and tuxedos for a lavish virtual event.
Event Theme #11: The Gold Rush
Does your team have the golden touch? A gold rush theme can excite attendees and suggest success. Whether they see gold on screen or in person, this theme will generate buzz around your content.
- In person: Decorate the venue with gold-colored items, cowboy hats, lassos, hanging lanterns, and other on-theme props. Serve up hearty Tex-Mex cuisine and stock the bar with whiskey, hard cider, and sarsaparilla to get everyone in the mood. You can even host a mechanical bull riding competition for added fun.
- Virtual: Send attendees the excitement of the wild west with cowboy hats and bandanas to wear during the event. Ship snacks and drinks with a mason jar or boot mug to sip from. Include a lasso in the gift pack, so attendees can share videos of them lassoing things around them.
Event theme idea #12: The world in 3022
Look into that proverbial crystal ball and give your attendees a peek into the very distant future. Large conferences and think-tanks present opportunities for great minds to come together, plan for what’s to come, find solutions to challenges, and generate big ideas.
- In person: Consider a high-tech and eco-friendly event showcasing sustainable energy with green tech demonstrations. Consider serving novel foods like meatless proteins, and tapping into other advancements in food and drink. After your event, attendees should walk away feeling like they contributed to making the world a better place.
- Virtual: This theme lends itself perfectly to a virtual event. Have panels of experts moderated by young people who will be affected in the future by decisions made today. Host virtual sessions, and encourage attendees to use your virtual event platform’s integrations to ask questions, and get involved in real time from anywhere in the world. Include futuristic entertainment like a hologram dance party with a robot DJ.
Music quickly primes a crowd, so implementing one of these musical themes is sure to get your attendees grooving. The best part? These themes are super easy to bring to life across in-person, virtual, and hybrid events.
Event theme idea #13: The greats
Take a look at Billboard charts to help create a theme based on the best artists of all time. Why? Because your attendees are also some of the “greats” in their industries.
- In person: Display pictures or posters of popular musicians and their albums. Spice up the event with food inspired by the cuisine of each artist’s country of origin. For drinks, offer a mixology bar with drinks named after popular songs. Suggest that guests dress up as their favorite musician for a night of glamor and fun.
- Virtual: Share the event playlist with your virtual attendees, so they can listen to the hits again later. Virtual party favors like light-up bracelets and sunglasses sent ahead of time will prepare guests as they bond over virtual karaoke or lip syncing.
Event theme idea #14: Disco fever
If daily tasks have your team humming “I Will Survive” or “Stayin’ Alive,” it’s time to let loose to the tunes of Donna Summers, Sister Sledge, Gloria Gaynor, and the Bee Gees.
- In person: Decorate the venue with string lights and other sparkly items. Serve bite-sized food guests can snack on while they move and groove on the dance floor. For drinks, create a disco-themed cocktail and mocktail. Encourage guests to dress up in their favorite disco attire for a night of dancing.
- Virtual: A little glitz goes a long way with a disco theme. Send guests the sparkle of the disco with light-up signs and balloons. Include delicious retro snacks like popcorn, candy bars, and toppings for ice cream sundaes. Remember those mini disco balls from the time traveling ’70s theme? They’ll come in handy here too.
Event theme idea #15: Rock the event away
This theme will have attendees rocking out. With KISS, Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, and Queen as inspiration, your event is sure to be a hit.
- In person: To achieve an edgy vibe, display electric guitars, records, and other classic rock items around your venue. Serve up mini burgers and fries, nachos, buffalo chicken dip, and beer. Encourage guests to dress up as their favorite rocker. You can even host a battle of the bands with prizes for the best performances.
- Virtual: Take your battle of the bands online so attendees can share their musical talents with the group. Send virtual party favors like vintage band tees and rock memorabilia. Don’t skimp on the drink and snack swag –– ship your best concert snacks like popcorn, candy bars, and pretzels.
️ Event theme idea #16: EDM
This theme is perfect for fans of electronic dance music (EDM). Get audience members’ blood pumping with popular EDM artists like Avicii, Calvin Harris, and Skrillex.
- In person: Use black lights, a laser show, neon colors, and EDM-inspired art to create your own rave-like atmosphere. Serve light snacks like elevated fruit and veggie platters, sushi, and EDM-themed cocktails and mocktails. Encourage guests to wear their best rave gear and host a dance contest with prizes for the most enthusiastic dancers.
- Virtual: Bring on a DJ between sessions to make attendees feel like they’re at a festival, and send swag in advance with party favors like light-up headphones, glow sticks, and EDM-themed sunglasses. Don’t forget to include energy-boosting rave snacks like protein bars and bottled smoothies.
Event theme idea #17: Samba
Take a faux-cation to Rio with this invigorating event theme. Brazil, Carioca, and Caipirinhas can be more than daydreams when you treat your audience to the lively melody of the samba.
- In person: Create a festive vibe with tropical flowers, palm trees, and Brazilian-inspired items. Serve traditional Brazilian food like churrasco (barbecue), feijoada (black bean stew), and brigadeiros (chocolate truffles). For drinks, create special caipirinhas or tropical juice spritzers.
- Virtual: Transport attendees to a virtual Brazilian beach with sand and seashells in the background. Send brigadeiros (chocolate truffles), fun cocktail and mocktail mixes, and stream a playlist of Brazilian samba, bossa nova, and a soundscape of beach sounds during breaks.
Many companies produce culinary experiences that can be delivered to virtual attendees. Just a friendly reminder that food-centric themes are not exclusive to an in-person crowd.
Event theme idea #18: Wine and cheese
Take an elevated approach with this easy-to-implement theme that works particularly well for informal roundtables or talks. Attendees will love sampling international cheeses and wines from the comfort of their own homes or together at a physical venue
- In person: Display elegant charcuterie boards and other gourmet foods featuring a variety of cheeses, cured meats, and baguettes. For drinks, offer a selection of red and white wines from different regions along with elevated, nonalcoholic drinks. Up the interactivity by polling attendees for their favorite selections and sharing the results.
- Virtual: Send attendees a cheese board or do-it-yourself charcuterie box and wine sampler before the event. Have a sommelier or cheese expert host a virtual wine and cheese tasting. As a bonus, include a gift card to a local cheese shop or wine store.
Event theme idea #19: Oktoberfest
Looking to plan an event where attendees can let loose and be merry? From the traditional oompah band to pretzels and bratwurst, Oktoberfest-themed events have everything you need for a fun experience.
- In person: Decorate with long tables, checkered tablecloths, Oktoberfest banners, and other German paraphernalia. Serve classic Bavarian food like pretzels, bratwurst, sauerkraut, and apple strudel. For drinks, serve German beer (of course!), cider, and festive nonalcoholic options. Encourage attendees to dress in lederhosen or dirndls for a bit of traditional flair.
- Virtual: Send an Oktoberfest kit in advance with all the decor and food items attendees will need to create an authentic experience. Include traditional German food like salty pretzels and creamy strudels. Steins also fit the occasion. Share a festive playlist featuring oompah bands and other German music favorites. And don’t forget to send the drinks!
Event theme idea #20: High tea
Apply the time-honored tradition of high tea for an elegant afternoon event. Whether you serve sweet or savory teas and pastries, this theme is perfect for events defined by long, intimate discussions.
- In person: Break out the fine china to serve tea (or champagne, if you’re so inclined) with sandwiches, biscuits, and chocolates. Floral linens, a pastel color scheme, and flower arrangements will add to the sophisticated decor. For a special touch, have tea mixologists create unique blends for attendees to enjoy.
- Virtual: Send supplies for a virtual tea party. Consider gifting virtual attendees with a traditional tea set or an eclectic mix of teacups and saucers. Stream soft background music and a soundscape of chirping birds while attendees enjoy their high tea experience.
Event theme idea #21: Sushi making
If your attendees are up for an interactive culinary experience, sushi-making is a great way to learn about Japanese culture and enjoy delicious food.
- In person: Hire a sushi chef to lead a sushi-making class. Attendees can learn how to make sushi rolls, nigiri, and sashimi. Decorate with Japanese-inspired decor like lanterns, fans, and cherry blossoms. Serve green tea and sake alongside the sushi.
- Virtual: Send a do-it-yourself sushi kit with all the necessary non-perishable supplies and instructions. Including a grocery gift card for perishables like fish is a nice touch. Have a sushi chef lead a virtual class for attendees.
Event theme idea #22: The history of pasta
How about a bonding experience where your attendees get to learn about the history of pasta while making their favorite pasta sauce and dough? Sì grazie!
- In person: Decorate with Italian-inspired decor like grapevines, olive wreaths, and checkered tablecloths. Play Italian music for added ambiance. Hire an Italian chef to teach attendees how to make different types of pasta, as well as their favorite sauces, from scratch. Attendees can chat while they feast on their creations, red wine, and garlic bread.
- Virtual: Send a do-it-yourself pasta kit in advance with all the necessary supplies, sauces, and instructions so attendees can prepare before signing on for an Italian-chef-led virtual pasta-making class.
Movie and TV show themes
️ Event theme idea #23: “Bond. James Bond.”
It’s time for some bonding –– team bonding, that is. And what’s more fitting than a James Bond-themed experience? Picture attendees following a black tie dress code, sipping on martinis (shaken, not stirred, of course), and playing cards. Consider gamifying the theme by assigning roles and adding a photo booth so attendees can share their best Bond character poses on social media.
- In person: Turn your venue into a Casino Monte Carlo decorated in black and white with blackjack and poker tables. Serve sophisticated beverages with caviar and canapés. This theme is perfect for fundraising events featuring causes that align with your organization’s values.
- Virtual: Include instructions for watching a James Bond movie online together in the invitation, so attendees can discuss the movie in the chat. Ahead of the event, send martini kits, movie snacks, and secret agent accessories.
Event theme idea #24: ’90s sitcoms
Did you ever dream of sipping coffee at Central Perk like Ross and Rachel? Maybe busting into Jerry’s apartment like Kramer on “Seinfeld” is a life goal. Or perhaps you regularly scout real estate listings in Bel-Air so you can live like the Fresh Prince. This throwback theme can be tailored to include whatever TV shows interest your attendees.
- In person: Create a living room set reminiscent of your favorite ’90s sitcom — think bright colors, patterned sofas, and big hair. Serve coffee, sodas, snacks, and desserts that were popular during the decade, and stream ’90s music hits to complete the atmosphere.
- Virtual: Send attendees swag, snacks, and trinkets from their favorite ’90s TV shows to prime them for the event. Reimagine the shows’ well-known theme songs with new lyrics that fit your experience, and consider incorporating some trivia to remind attendees of all the details from these small-screen hits.
Event theme idea #25: Chocolat
The name says it all. Set in France, “Chocolat” is a movie that lends itself to a beautiful event theme. Indulge attendees with one of the most decadent sweets around: chocolate.
- In person: Set the scene with French-inspired decor like chocolate Eiffel Tower centerpieces, striped tablecloths, and French music quietly playing in the background. Create a chocolate wonderland with delicious treats everywhere you turn. Complement the sweets with a wine, champagne, and coffee bar.
- Virtual: Send a gourmet chocolate sampler to virtual attendees. Download a virtual Eiffel Tower or other French landmarks as photo backdrops for the event, and play French music between sessions to add that je ne sais quois.
Event theme idea #26: The Italian Job
Pull off a high-stakes heist with your team (all in good fun, of course) with this theme based on the action movie. “The Italian Job.” The theme can include Italian food, drink — all of which can be achieved in virtual, hybrid, or in-person venues.
- In person: Create an Italian piazza or cafe setting with striped awnings, flower boxes, and wrought iron accents. You can also hang pictures of Italian landmarks throughout the event space. Serve classic Italian dishes like pasta bolognese, chicken marsala, and tiramisu. Consider a wine bar serving red and white wines along with nonalcoholic offerings.
- Virtual: Send an olive oil tasting kit and meal delivery vouchers to Uber Eats, DoorDash, or another delivery service so virtual attendees can order from their favorite Italian eatery. Decorate the virtual event space with pictures of famous Italian landmarks and stream Italian music between sessions.
Event theme idea #27: Amadeus
Mozart, Beethoven, Salieri: the music, the costumes, and the theatrics all lend themselves to a beautiful theme for your event. Regardless of where your event is hosted, make sure your guests have some famous composer-inspired to don.
- In person: Decorate the venue with classical music instruments and artwork, and use white tablecloths and candelabras to design elegant tablescapes. Attendees can enjoy Viennese pastries, coffee, and wine. To create a more immersive experience, provide a piano or harpsichord for guests to play along with Mozart’s music throughout the evening.
- Virtual: Brand your virtual event with classical motifs, and set the stage for your virtual venue to feel like an opera house in Vienna. Send attendees drinks and Viennese pastries to enjoy while watching a live stream of a classical concert.
Competitive game themes
Satisfy your audience’s competitive nature with these fun-filled themes built around classic games.
Event theme idea #28: Scavenger Hunt
Whether the scavenger hunt is digital or physical, it’s always fun to play for a prize. Consider whether your team would prefer to work as individuals or teams and thread this theme through other areas of your event.
- In person: Create a clues sheet with riddles guests can solve to find the locations of hidden prizes. Then, hide prizes and additional clues around the venue for attendees and herd traffic in the right direction.
- Virtual: Include scavenger hunt clues with the event registration. Then, hide icons, illustrations, and words around your virtual event website and virtual sponsor hall to gamify your event. At the end of the event, award prizes through a digital raffle.
Event theme idea #29: Trivia night
See which trivia buffs in your audience know their stuff by tapping an emcee to host trivia for your audience. Up the ante by creating customized sets of questions centered around your company, movies, geography, and other relevant categories.
- In person: Assign teams to compete head-to-head in a battle of wits. Use questions from general knowledge categories like history, literature, and science. The winning team gets a prize (or bragging rights). Decorate the venue with photos of famous people, places, and inventions to get the mind buzzing and create drinks where guests have to guess the contents.
- Virtual: Transform your virtual venue into a game show set and use a virtual trivia integration, like Kahoot!, on your virtual or hybrid event platform. At the end of the event, award prizes through a digital raffle system.
Event theme idea #30: Bingo
Bingo is a casual game people can play while socializing. It’s a winning choice for in-person, hybrid, or virtual events because it’s easily implemented.
- In person: Create bingo boards featuring numbers replaced by company logos, common industry terms, or inside jokes that are meaningful to your attendees. As people score a bingo, they can turn in their cards for a prize. Decorate the room in a classic bingo hall manor: long tables, checkered tablecloths, and spice it up with colored lighting.
- Virtual: Bingo events can easily be hosted virtually with digital bingo cards, digital raffles, and digital or shipped prizes. Supply your attendees with a picnic meal and additional fun games that they can play after the event.
Who doesn’t love a good match and witnessing incredible feats of speed, endurance, and strength? Infuse a little bit of the grit and glory of sports into your next event theme. (Or just host a virtual streaming party and watch a game together.)
⚽ Event theme idea #31: Football (soccer)
It’s one of the most global, universally recognized sports out there. And “Ted Lasso” continues to put it on the map. Give an international audience a common point of connection with a football-themed (soccer) event.
- In person: In addition to incorporating a viewing party –– complete with snacks inspired by the teams attendees support –– you could set up lifesize cutouts of famous players, encourage attendees to wear their teams’ colors, and set up areas where guests can play soccer video games or even jump into an actual pick-up game if the venue allows for it.
- Virtual: Encourage virtual attendees to show team spirit by decorating their virtual backgrounds with their teams’ colors. Participants could also vote for the best-decorated background.
Event theme idea #32: American football
Chicken wings, nachos, beer, soda, and face paint — whether your American football-themed event is centered around a specific game or not, the snacks and intensity make for an energetic experience.
- In person: Set up a viewing party and show a live or recorded game. Decorate the venue with team colors and football memorabilia. And lean into the classic snacks and drinks associated with kicking back and watching a game.
- Virtual: Create a hub where people can congregate online to watch a game. Invite attendees to wear player jerseys, share a playlist featuring music inspired by past seasons and specific teams, and set up personalized video messages from famous football players via Cameo.
Event theme idea #33: Tennis
Is tennis your attendees’ sport of choice? Then, consider hosting a tennis-themed summer garden party. Attendees can wear white and volley commentary as they mingle and enjoy jumping into matches in the background.
- In person: A tennis-inspired celebration wouldn’t be complete without strawberries, cream, and bubbly. Consider setting up lawn games like croquet or badminton, and include TVs for watching matches in your outdoor venue.
- Virtual: Host a virtual happy hour where people can catch up with one another in between watching matches. Challenge a fellow online attendee to a tennis video game match. To tap into attendees’ competitive spirit, consider hosting a digital scavenger hunt with tennis-themed clues and prizes.
There’s just something about coming together with other people and making something or solving a tricky mystery. That act of hands-on participation and creation is pretty powerful. Try one of these activity-led event themes to help give your attendees a truly interactive experience.
Event theme idea #34: Summer barbecue
Nothing summons a crowd quite like good food on the grill. This theme works well for intimate, internal events. So, pick up some barbecue sauce and invite your team to mingle while enjoying great food in a casual environment.
- In person: Throw some hot dogs, hamburgers, vegetables, or chicken on the grill for some easy eats. Don’t forget the cooler of beer, individually bottled cocktails, soda, and water. If you have the right space, set up lawn games like frisbee or cornhole. Want to up the ante? Organize a grilling competition complete with a judging panel to determine whose barbecued treats are the best.
- Virtual: Send virtual attendees a hamper of supplies and a red and white checkered tablecloth beforehand so they can make all the goodies at home. Then, join in a virtual grill-along where everyone makes a barbecue dish at the same time. You can also include some fun outdoor activities and games in your gift box.
Event theme idea #35: Crafting
It’s possible to relax and feel creatively productive with a group crafting experience. Attendees might be drawn to the experience of making something surrounded by a group.
- In person: Get artsy by setting up a painting, jewelry-making, or pottery class. Make something as a team or individually and share the results. Make sure to have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand.
- Virtual: There are many online crafting classes attendees can join from the comfort of their homes. Send out craft kits ahead of time. For example, send yarn and knitting needles for a virtual knitting circle, where everyone knits while they chat. You can also set up a virtual photo booth for folks to take pictures with their creations.
Event theme idea #36: Cocktail making
Happy hours or socials are a great way for a team to kick back and relax while learning to make a new drink.
- In person: Provide the drink supplies and treat your attendees to a drink mixing class led by an expert mixologist. You can decorate the venue with neon colors and dark lighting to heighten the mood.
- Virtual: Concoct cocktails and mocktails together following live step-by-step instructions from a professional mixologist. Sourced, Liberate Your Palate, and Fancy Sips will ship kits to your guests so they have everything they need in time for your virtual event.
️ Event theme idea #37: Escape rooms
Put attendees’ problem-solving skills to the test by tasking them with escaping a locked room in an event built around this classic bonding activity.
- In person: Plenty of escape rooms have emerged in the past several years so finding a ready-made experience often isn’t too tricky. Book one in your area, grab some pizzas, and gather your guests for a true test of brains and patience.
- Virtual: Can’t get together in person? That’s what pizza delivery is for. Send attendees pizzas, set up a virtual escape room experience, and watch your guests work together to solve puzzles before the timer runs out.
Event theme idea #38: Murder mystery
“Clue” fans will love solving a mystery in character. Transport attendees to a new world with an experience built around deception and secrets –– all in good fun, of course. Your audience can problem solve and laugh their way through the faux-murder plot.
- In person: Buy a murder mystery game or hire a murder mystery company to lead the event. Encourage everyone to get into character and treat guests to snacks and drinks that fit the theme –– then let the fun begin.
- Virtual: Host a murder mystery watch party or set up a virtual murder mystery. Send props, costumes, and snacks ahead of time so your team can fully embody the cast of characters.
Event theme idea #39: Superlative awards
Many people appreciate recognition for their achievements. Superlative awards celebrate achievements and attributes such as “Most Outgoing,” “Customer Advocacy Ace,” or “Cool-Under-Pressure Award.” Consider your audience and tailor the awards and experience to them.
- In person: Present your awards during a dinner or happy hour where you can share drinks and plenty of laughs. Extend the theme by giving away award ceremony swag bags.
- Virtual: Have one of your team members dress up as an award show host and present the awards via a livestream. Consider sending awards, swag bags, snacks, and trophies beforehand –– all intended to be unboxed during the event.
If you’re catering to an audience that’s based around the world or always on the go, a travel-based event theme could be the right pick. From international cuisine to learning about different cultures, these themes will have attendees searching for their next opportunity to experience the world.
Event theme idea #40: Around the World in 80 Days
Lean into the literary world of Jules Verne as you give guests the opportunity to explore the different cultures of each place featured in “Around the World in 80 Days.” Guide attendees on a journey from country to country within your event –– either in person or online.
- In person: Go wild with decorations –– there’s no limit to how far you can take this theme. Want to give attendees a taste of everything? Consider securing food trucks featuring cuisine from different cultures so attendees can country hop.
- Virtual: Decorate virtual event rooms with relevant designs from some of the countries featured in Jules Verne’s classic story. To elevate the experience, you can send ingredients for cooking classes where attendees can make different dishes from around the world or hop on a virtual country tour.
Event theme idea #41: Hometown glory
Tap into your attendees’ sense of hometown pride by celebrating the cultures, traditions, and people where they live or are from originally.
- In person: Host a community service day where your attendees can give back to their local area while wearing matching hometown shirts. Follow it up with a block party catered by local restaurants or a potluck dinner featuring local eats and drinks.
- Virtual: Far-flung attendees can celebrate where they live and share their pride with mini presentations about their hometowns. Consider sending delivery vouchers beforehand so guests can buy drinks and a local meal or snacks to enjoy during the event.
Event theme idea #42: Hawaiian luau
Aloha! Skip the flight and bring a Hawaiian paradise to your attendees with floral decorations, a beach bonfire (whether real or digital), and relaxed clothing.
- In person: Encourage attendees to dress in their best island-chic attire (Hawaiian shirts encouraged) and provide leis as they enter. Host hula and lei-making lessons, and let guests connect over Hawaiian-inspired food and drinks.
- Virtual: Live stream a hula dancing or lei-making tutorial for attendees. Get guests in the island spirit by shipping a variety of luau-themed props like tiki torches, leis, and sunglasses to wear during the event.
Event theme idea #43: United Nations
The United Nations (UN) stands for peace and unity, so this theme helps create an inclusive and welcoming experience regardless of your venue space.
- In person: Design a space where attendees can learn about the UN and its work. Display country flags and consider tapping a variety of caterers to share cuisine from different member countries of the UN.
- Virtual: Create a virtual world fair with an online space where attendees can build connections. Highlight different member countries, so guests can explore their contributions to the UN. If you have a virtual map, have a representative from each country “pin” their location.
Event theme idea #44: International food competition
From appetizers to desserts, this theme has something for everyone. Not only can it introduce attendees to new foods while they connect with one another, it’s also a great theme for fundraisers, charity events, and internal company gatherings.
- In person: Model your venue after the set of a competitive cooking show. Next, divide attendees (chefs) into teams representing different countries. Then, give everyone the chance to cook and compete for the top prize in your international food competition.
- Virtual: Host a virtual cook-off with a variety of international foods for attendees to choose from. Send nonperishable ingredients and grocery vouchers beforehand so everyone can get cooking.
Outer space themes
Sometimes travel-based themes just don’t feel like they get far enough away from the “real world.” Bring cosmic daydreams to life with space-based themes that are truly far out.
Event theme idea #45: Space travel
Host an out-of-this-world event that explores new frontiers and celebrates humanity’s boundless curiosity. From astronaut ice cream to zero-gravity games, there are endless possibilities for this event theme.
- In person: Turn your venue into an intergalactic space station –– or a different planet. Serve starfruit punch, asteroid cookies, and Mars ice cream bars. Promote a stellar experience by requesting that attendees dress in astronaut costumes or encouraging them to hatch an idea for a costume inspired by a different planet.
- Virtual: Transport your guests into outer space by kicking off the event with space exploration videos. Also, consider inviting an expert from a space organization to host a live stream about their work.
Event theme idea #46: Life on Mars
We’ve long been pondering the concept of life on Mars –– so, why not bring that concept to attendees here on Earth? Encourage guests to dress in their finest galactic ensemble, and connect over the ins and outs of celestial real estate.
- In person: If you have the space, decorate your venue like an otherworldly landscape. Serve martian watermelon slices, intergalactic-inspired appetizers, and edible glitter-infused cocktails and mocktails.
- Virtual: Start your event with a virtual reality experience of what it would be like to walk on the red planet. To get attendees talking, host a discussion about what they would miss most if they had to move to Mars.
Event theme idea #47: Alien life forms
This theme is geared toward the crowd who would’ve given anything to help ET phone home, but it can bring out the inner explorer in anyone.
- In person: Deck out your photo booth with a full moon background and bicycle with a basket as a prop. Serve intriguing alien-themed foods to wow the crowd. Consider hiring DJs dressed as extraterrestrials and have a costume contest for the best extraterrestrial outfit.
- Virtual: Invite your guests to sport red hoodies for their chance in the full moon photo booth. Send retro space-themed snacks like Moon Pies, Reese’s Pieces, and green punch. Ahead of the event, send alien-inspired paraphernalia like antennae, ray guns, and space helmets to get everyone in the spirit.
Let attendees’ imaginations run wild. From dragons to unicorns to superheroes, these themes are sure to inspire fantastic ideas.
Event theme idea #48: Superheros and villans
Celebrate industry superheroes and invite attendees to live out their superhero (or villain) dreams by dressing as their favorite characters.
- In person: Turn your venue into Gotham by hanging black and green streamers and “wanted” posters of popular villains. Create a city skyline photo booth backdrop so attendees can practice their action poses and share them on social media.
- Virtual: Create a virtual city with buildings attendees can explore while moving from session to session. Send superhero swag like capes, masks, and comic books ahead of the event. Then, invite attendees to dress up as their favorite characters and host a Marvel versus DC debate during a networking session.
Event theme idea #49: Wizards
Harry Potter has captivated audiences for years –– in part, because we love the idea of exploring magical worlds. Have some magicians to celebrate? This is the perfect theme to use for an internal or external event.
- In person: Transform your venue into the great hall of Hogwarts by hanging banners with the school’s crest and flying house flags. Serve pumpkin pasties, Butterbeer, and more wizarding treats. Bring in a green screen and have guests take pictures in front of magical backdrops.
- Virtual: Before your event, send swag like wands, chocolate frogs, and other magical treats. Start the event by sorting attendees into their houses and sending them to virtual breakout rooms to network. Consider hosting virtual potion sessions, wand dueling tournaments, or a virtual Quidditch match.
Event theme idea #50: Cartoons
Give attendees a chance to connect with their inner child by taking them back to the world of cartoons. Encourage them to dress up as their favorite cartoon characters or bring a meaningful item for show-and-tell. Want to make it work for a corporate event? Consider aligning the theme so it’s relevant to session topics.
- In person: Model your venue decorations after a cartoon set. Next, place cartoon character cardboard cutouts around the venue for guests to take pictures with. Drive home the cartoon theme by serving colorful and fun-to-eat foods like cotton candy or popcorn in paper cones.
- Virtual: Give your virtual event a colorful background and cartoon avatars for attendees to use. Ship cartoon props for use in the virtual photo booth along with character masks and childhood-inspired snacks.
Let technology help bring your event theme to life
No matter what type of event you’re planning, there’s a theme that will resonate with your audience, help drive registration and attendance, and spark connections among your attendees.
Technology can also help bring your chosen theme to life across any format –– from virtual events to hybrid experiences to in-person gatherings.
Contact us today to learn how RingCentral Events can help make your next event an unforgettable experience for all involved.
Originally published Sep 01, 2022, updated Nov 10, 2023