If you’re a seasoned holiday event host, you may already have your New Year’s event planning done. Still looking for inspiration? With this handy New Year’s Eve party planning checklist, you’ll soon know how to organize a New Year party that stands out from the rest. Virtual or hybrid events, for example, allow you to reach a much larger, wider audience than a traditional in-person event. Read on to learn more tips and tricks to ensure your New Year party plan is successful.

Table of Contents

Theme ideas

Venue ideas

Entertainment ideas

Food ideas

Creating a budget

Ticketing and promotion

Planning checklist

How to organize a New Year’s Eve event

New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest nights of the year — and New Year’s Eve parties are the most popular activities. Make sure you start planning your festivities early to ensure your event is well-attended.

Your New Year’s Eve party planning checklist should start with goal setting, as this will inform everything else that goes into event prep. Your goals might be promoting a business, entertaining clients, or increasing sponsors’ exposure.

Choose your New Year’s Eve party theme

The theme you choose for your party depends on many factors, but the most important thing to remember is that you want to tailor the theme to your audience. If you’re planning a New Year’s Eve party for adults, you might want to think about an over-the-top theme with cocktails to match; when planning a New Year’s Eve event for children, you’ll need to think about how to keep the kids entertained.

Themes to consider for your New Year’s Eve party

  • Noon Year’s Eve: Organize a kid-friendly event by planning a New Year’s eve party during daylight hours.
  • Movie marathon: If you’re planning a virtual New Year’s event, try a movie marathon in which attendees watch along with one another from the comfort of their homes.
  • James Bond/007 theme: Plan a black-tie affair with a dash of intrigue. Encourage guests to give their best impression of James Bond, an infamous Bond villain, or a mysterious Bond girl. Serve vodka martinis that are shaken, not stirred.
  • Old Hollywood: Another glamorous New Year’s Eve party theme, Old Hollywood allows attendees to dress like the original stars of the silver screen. Serve on-theme cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, and play music from classic Hollywood movies.
  • Roaring Twenties: Throw it back to the 1920s with a party that brings to mind flappers and The Great Gatsby. Guests can dance to jazz and rock flapper fashions.
  • Wellness/Self-care: If your attendees are partied out after the holidays, plan a wellness event focusing on pampering and self-care. Offer treatments like massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures to help your guests relax and prepare themselves for a new year.
  • Winter Wonderland: It’s pretty cold in many places on New Year’s Eve, so embrace the weather with a winter wonderland party.
  • Champagne tasting: Champagne is the traditional New Year’s Eve drink, so why not plan a Champagne tasting event for bubbly enthusiasts?
  • Decades party: Celebrate one decade, or all of them, by asking your guests to dress in styles from a particular decade.
  • Masquerade: For a masquerade party, guests wear elaborately decorated disguises, bringing an element of mystery to the event and adding to the fun.
  • Looking to the future party: Help your attendees find out if next year will be their year by throwing a party that includes fortune-telling and tarot card readings.

Select your venue

The sky’s the limit when it comes to New Year’s Eve event venues. Consider whether you need a large hall or event space for your event or if a smaller venue like a restaurant or bar would work better. If it’s warm enough to be outside, think about parks or recreation areas that allow you to hold an event. See if you need to pay to use these areas or obtain a permit.

Questions to ask the venue

When shopping around for a venue, don’t be shy about asking key questions. These will help you decide if the venue is the right fit for your New Year party plan.

  • How many guests can the venue host?
  • Is the venue accessible to everyone?
  • Does it have WiFi set up for virtual components?
  • Will it provide sound equipment for music?
  • Does the theme you’ve chosen match the venue? For example, if you’re hosting a champagne party, does the venue have an alcohol permit?

What time should a New Year’s Eve party start?

When you start and end your event depends on your audience and how long you want the event to last! A New Year’s Eve party for adults typically begins between 6pm and 8pm, but for a children’s event, you may want to begin and end earlier.

Choose some New Year’s Eve party games and entertainment

New Year’s Eve party activities can vary greatly depending on your event’s theme and attendee demographics, but booking the right entertainment — especially music — can be a game-changer. Booking a reputable DJ or a fun band is a great way to liven up the event.

Activity ideas for a New Year’s Eve party

Scheduling great party activities is the heart of a successful New Year’s Eve event. Consider some of the following ideas.

  • Year-in-review trivia
  • New Year’s bingo
  • Champagne relay race
  • New Year’s photo booth
  • Name that tune (best songs of the year)
  • Piñata
  • Countdown to the ball drop
  • Karaoke

Dream up your New Year’s Eve party food

The food you’re serving can make or break your event, especially when hosting a soirée where attendees may be drinking. You want to come up with exciting, thematic ideas for your food and beverages, but you must keep your audience’s dietary needs and preferences in mind. Depending on when your event begins and how big your venue is, you might serve small bites or arrange food bars rather than preparing for a full, sit-down dinner. If you’re hosting a virtual event, consider what recipe kits or foods you can have delivered to your guests before the event.

Exciting ideas for New Year’s Eve party menus

Tasty menu options are a great way to entice guests and ensure rave reviews for your New Year’s Eve party. The following are some fun suggestions for party food.

  • Milkshake bar
  • Themed cocktails with alcohol-free options
  • Dessert bar
  • Mini versions of classic food (e.g., burgers, hot dogs)
  • Food trucks outside the venue
  • Fondue bar
  • Movie night food (popcorn, candy)
  • Bagels and spreads for midnight brunch
  • Caviar and raw bar
  • Ice cream sundae bar

Use all of the above to draw up your budget

Once you’ve decided on your theme and chosen a venue and a menu to match, you can come up with a more accurate budget for your event. Whether you’re looking to raise money for charity, make a profit for your business, or simply cover costs, your budget will help you decide how much to charge for tickets.

Consider working with sponsors to help procure food or beverages for the event or approach local vendors and caterers who might consider negotiating a deal. If you’re working with a tight budget, enlist your team to help you make your own decorations or look into buying materials in bulk to get a discount.

Create your New Year’s Eve party event listing

New Year party promotion starts with designing a good event listing. When you write up your event listing, make sure you list the vitals — i.e., address, date, and time — and some enticing language on what kind of fun guests can expect. For more tips and tricks, check out Eventbrite’s ultimate guide to copywriting for events.

Set your ticket price

With your budget established, you can set a ticket price that will cover your overhead costs and still raise money for charity or turn a profit. If it makes sense for your event, consider offering different kinds of tickets, such as VIP tickets, to provide a more exclusive experience. You might want to start out by offering lower early-bird prices for attendees who plan ahead and buy tickets earlier on, then gradually increase the prices so attendees who wait longer pay more.

When planning a hybrid New Year’s Eve event that includes both an in-person and virtual component, ensure the tickets are priced accordingly. If the two tickets are going to be priced similarly, consider bonus merch or digital assets that will make the virtual tickets worth it for those attendees.

Pro tip: Eventbrite makes it easy to offer different ticket types to your attendees and provide add-ons during the checkout process.

New Year’s Eve party promotion

Every ticket you sell to your New Year’s Eve event will track back to the foundation you lay when planning and initially marketing your event. In addition to writing a compelling New Year’s Eve event description and creating a page that makes it easy for people to buy tickets online, consider:

  • Enlisting the services of Eventbrite’s very own built-in event marketing platform, Eventbrite Boost
  • Adding your event to discovery sites, such as Facebook Events, where you will reach a wider audience
  • Setting up event distribution so you convert potential ticket-buyers faster — right from discovery sites and apps
  • Setting up a timed email campaign in advance

Gain as much momentum as you can early on. Reach out to last year’s party-goers and convert those who already know you can organize a great event.

Pro tip: Eventbrite customers can put add-ons in place, which allows people to plan out their entire New Year’syear’s Eve experience at once. Add-ons are “extras” that make the event experience either easier for guests — such as letting them purchase parking at checkout — or more exciting things, like selling merch before the event.

Promoting your event the week before New Year’s

About a week before New Year’s, step up your sales efforts:

Pro tip: A free tool available to Eventbrite customers, Sell by Text, allows you to send texts to your network. Recipients can make a purchase directly over text, making for a convenient buying experience.

People make activity decisions at the last minute. That’s especially true for New Year’s Eve. To win over the wafflers, you can appeal to these four areas of human nature:

  • Pack mentality: People want to spend New Year’s Eve with friends. If you build interest in your Facebook Event, your event will show up in the feeds of attendees’ friends.
  • Laziness: Make your event the easiest one to attend. For instance, offer a Lyft discount code.
  • FOMO: Tap into their sense of urgency by announcing that your event is “almost sold out!” or that this is their “last chance this year to see so-and-so perform!”
  • Frugality: Remind them that tickets will be more expensive at the door. Or offer free drink promos to those who sign up today.

Ultimately, your goal is to throw a bash your attendees will never forget. If you follow our general outline, there’ll be plenty of revelers to celebrate with.

Don’t wait — start planning your New Year’s Eve Party now

Early planning efforts will give your guests a great New Year’s party experience. While some attendees might not buy tickets until the last minute, make sure your event listing is set up so that they can RSVP whenever they’re ready. This will maximize overall attendance numbers.