New Year’s Eve party ideas: The best tips for an unforgettable New Year at home

Written by Kerstin Lakits, Nov 16, 2023

The year is coming to an end. On the 31st of December, we are throwing this year a goodbye party and simultaneously welcoming the new year by popping champagne bottles. We are delivering the best New Year’s Eve ideas for a fun party at home. In this article, you will find:

  1. Ideas for your New Year’s Eve party at home: Choosing the perfect theme
  2. The best activities for your New Year’s Eve party at home
  3. Culinary New Year ideas: Food & Drinks on New Year’s Eve
  4. STUWO bonus tips for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party

Ideas for your New Year’s Eve party at home: Choosing the perfect theme

A pyjama party, neon party, black & white party, travelling into the past or future are fun ideas for your New Year’s Eve party! You can also choose decoration that goes with your motto. Balloons, garlands, colourful lamps or maybe even a disco ball. Pick cool recipes for extraordinary drinks and snacks that fit your theme! Let’s go!

1. Black & White

A party with stylishly dressed guests will be a treat for the eyes and an adequate goodbye of the old year. Another advantage of a dress code is that you will get beautiful pictures and photos from that evening. So, how about an “all-white”, “all-black” or “black & white” party for New Year’s Eve? Don’t forget to pick decoration that fits the motto: black and/or white decoration items, pillows, garlands, balloons. You can also adapt your menu to the motto: brownies or blondies, dark or white chocolate…

2. A colour explosion at your Neon Party

Let’s start into the new year in style and in vibrant colours at a neon party! Your guests should pick the most colourful and vibrant outfits for your New Year’s Eve party! Pink, orange, green, yellow and blue – there is no such thing as too much colour! Colourful garlands, balloons, neon sticks and UV lights turn your apartment into a neon paradise! There are many colourful inspirations on the Internet for snacks, for example multi-coloured dips for tortilla chips and vegetable sticks!

3. Hollywood: Glamour and style on New Year’s Eve

The last night of this year is the perfect occasion for dressing up like a Hollywood star! No dress, no smoking, no jewellery is too glamorous for a Hollywood party! Maybe you even want to pick your favourite Hollywood star and dedicate your outfit to them or even be their double for the evening. You might also want to get a red carpet (or alternatively a red towel) for your entrance. Champagne, tiny canapés, a cheese board and mini-cakes are the perfect finger food!

4. Masquerade Carnival Balls in Venice

A Masquerade Ball on New Year’s Eve is a fantastic party for you and your guests. The dress code obviously includes a mask and a fantastical costume. You can surely get a colourful and breath-taking dress or costume online or in a carnival store. Italian specialities, such as fritelle (Venetian mini donuts), pizza rolls or cannoli, would be the perfect culinary accompaniment.

5. True Crime Dinner for Detectives

Is there a Sherlock Holmes sleeping inside you and your guests? Then a Crime Dinner with mystery games, such as Cluedo or Detective, are perfect for you! Maybe you want to dress up or bring accessories, such as a magnifying glass, a typical Sherlock Holmes hat or a small notebook. Let your creativity run free when it comes to the decoration: Crime scene barrier tape, tape in the form of a human being on the floor – or even a decorative skeleton the murderer left behind…

6. Pyjama Party

Sometimes less is more. So, how about taking it easy and throwing a pyjama party! Spend a chill evening at home. Some good movies, great snacks, delicious drinks, fun games and groovy music make your party a hit. The most important decorations are many pillows and blankets.

7. Travelling into the past

The golden 20s, the flowery 60s and the parties of the 80s could be perfect themes for your New Year’s Eve party. Pick your favourite period and design your outfits accordingly. You should also decorate your apartment in the same style and thereby turn it into a time machine. Don’t forget to serve great snacks and drinks.

8. Travelling into the future

Instead of picking a period from the past, you can get really creative and take your motto into the future. A colony on Mars, intergalactic travels or futuristic computer world… What could the future of humanity look like? Which outfits, which snacks or which drinks would fit into the future? Let your imagination run wild!

The best activities for your New Year’s Eve party at home

You are surely asking yourself „What can I do on New Year’s Eve?”. We have put together some ideas for your New Year’s Eve so that you can start into the new year with fun, excitement and luck. We have everything from relaxed game or movie nights to short excursions to gifting lucky charms and pouring wax.

9. Game night

Different games will make sure you have tons of fun on New Year’s Eve. If everyone brings their favourite game, you will have a great selection of card, board and group games for your New Year’s Eve. The Settlers of Catan, City-County-River-Game, Monopoly, Uno, Black Jack or Werewolves – there is an endless selection. If you have a gaming console, you can organise a Mario Kart or Fifa tournament.

Do you need more ideas? Here are some more fun games for your next party!

10. Movie night

A relaxed evening on your couch with some delicious snacks, fun drinks and the best movies. “Happy New Year“, „Dinner for One“, “When Harry met Sally…” and “A long way Down” are classics for the last night of the year. Binge watching your favourite TV series might also be fun! Or how about a movie marathon with your favourite movies? Twilight, Star Wars, James Bond… Don’t forget fresh popcorn and other snacks for the perfect movie night!

11. Spa evening

Are you longing for some relaxation, calmness and wellness treatments? Then turn your apartment into a little wellness oasis on New Year’s Eve. After a nice warm shower with a peeling and maybe a hair mask, you can spoil your skin with rich body lotion, your face with a hydrating facemask or your nails with a manicure. Calm relaxation music creates the perfect feel-good atmosphere and romantic lights or some incense are the perfect add-on for a relaxed evening. A spa evening by yourself or with your friends are the perfect end for this year.

12. New Year’s Eve on a hill

If the weather allows for it, it can be quite charming to celebrate New Year’s Eve on a hill. After a big dinner at home, you and your guests can make your way to the nearest hill or mountain, which offers you an amazing view and a break from the chaos of the city. The Schlossberg in Graz, the Wilhelminenberg or Kahlenberg in Vienna or the Nordkette in Innsbruck are the most popular destinations for a fun New Year’s Eve from higher up. By the way, you can easily get to these places from the STUWO dormitories in those cities.

13. International traditions

Bring some foreign cultures into your own home with some international traditions around New Year. Make a dish with lentils, which should bring your wealth and money according to the Italians. Or take after the Spanish and eat twelve grapes in sync with the bell ringing at midnight for some luck in the coming year. A silver coin is baked into Greek New Year’s Bread, which brings luck to whoever finds it in their piece. In Poland, it’s a traditional way of greeting the new year by resetting all the clocks at midnight.

14. Lucky charms

Little pigs, chimney sweeps, shamrocks, ladybugs, gold coins and the like are supposed to attract good luck. Isn’t everybody looking forward to handing their loved ones a lucky charm for the new year? It’s a beautiful gesture, which has been a tradition for a long time and it’s a lovely activity on New Year’s Eve to make lucky charms or bake fortune cookies for your loved ones. On the internet, you will find numerous recipes for fortune cookies and DIY instructions for sweet lucky charms.

15. Pouring wax to tell your fortune

Lead pouring is legally forbidden in Austria because of its negative health and environmental consequences. A risk-free and environmentally-friendly alternative is pouring wax, which also results in beautiful figures and is easy-peasy. You only need some wax, a candle, an old spoon and a bowl of water. Put some wax on the spoon, hold it above the burning candle until the wax melts. Then quickly pour the wax into the cold water. Then you can figure out, what your wax figure means. On the internet, you can find interpretations of what they mean.

16. New Year’s oracle

Do you want to know what the new year brings? Then a New Year’s oracle might be the perfect activity for this fun evening. You could read your tarot cards or ask an astrologist to look into the stars. You could also read your tea leaves or coffee residue. On the internet, you will find numerous guides on how to make your own oracle.

17. Vision Board

The last evening of the year is the perfect time to think about what you want to achieve in the new year. You can visualize your plans and goals on a vision board. You can make your own vision board and hang it up in your apartment. You will need large poster paper, scissors, pens, glue and printed photos that represent your goals. Alternatively, you can also create your vision board as a digital photo collage and use it as a background image for your cell phone or laptop. The aim of your vision board is to ensure that you always have your goals in front of you.

18. Night hike

A really unusual idea for New Year’s Eve is a night hike, where you can welcome the New Year under the stars or with a view of the city. Headlamps and flashlights, sturdy shoes and thick jackets are the basic equipment. It’s best to plan your route in advance so that you arrive at your destination on time. For toasts at midnight, you can bring mulled wine in thermos bottles or sparkling wine with you. For a very special flair, you can also turn it into a torchlight hike.

19. Midnight surprise

At the stroke of midnight on December 31 in Austria, a toast is made with sparkling wine or champagne and a waltz is danced! But you can also surprise your New Year’s Eve guests and prepare something unusual: a champagne pyramid, a fun game or a cake. Let your creativity run wild and surprise your guests.

Culinary New Year ideas: Food & Drinks on New Year’s Eve

What can you cook on New Year’s Eve to make sure all your guests are full and satisfied? From a romantic candlelit dinner to a classic fondue and a New Year’s breakfast, knock your guests of their chairs with your culinary delights. Here are our best New Year’s Eve ideas for the kitchen!

20. New Year’s Eve for gourmets: candlelit dinners and course meals

New Year’s Eve is the perfect occasion to enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner with your loved one. Lots of candles and perhaps a few flowers create an intimate atmosphere. Make your favourite dish or pick a cool recipe you always wanted to try. Or you can prepare a course menu for you and your party guests. Think in advance about which starter, main course and dessert you would like to serve. You’re sure to find great recipes on the internet or in your favourite cookbook. Don’t forget to serve delicious drinks to go with the great food.

STUWO tip: Here are our recommendations for student cookbooks!

21. Fondue or Raclette

The perfect dinner for your New Year’s Eve party is a fondue or raclette. The equipment you need for this is a fondue pot or raclette set. The practical thing is that you can do the preparatory work during the day so that you can enjoy a relaxed meal with your guests in the evening. You can chop the meat, vegetables and side dishes so that you can grill them on the raclette or cook them in the fondue. Another advantage: everyone can make exactly what they like to eat.

22. A winter BBQ

If you have a garden and a barbecue, you can barbecue for your party guests in winter. Even if it’s a little colder outside, you can still barbecue in winter. You can prepare salads and side dishes in advance. You could also make mulled wine or punch for your guests to warm up with. Bonus: You won’t get cold by the fire!

23. Feuerzangenbowle (Fire Bowle)

A Feuerzangenbowle is the perfect drink for your New Year’s Eve party at home. Heat red wine, orange juice, fruit and various spices in a saucepan. Then light a sugar loaf soaked in rum and make the Feuerzangenbowle! You can adapt the ingredients of your punch to your taste. You can find different recipe variations and video instructions on the internet if you have never made a Feuerzangenbowle before.

24. New Year’s Brunch

After a good night’s sleep on January 1st, you can start the new year in comfort with a New Year’s breakfast. A strong coffee after a long night, freshly squeezed orange juice, freshly baked bread from the bakery, a fried egg or soft-boiled egg and a sweet pastry to finish make a great brunch. Maybe you’ll watch the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s concert during your New Year’s breakfast.

STUWO bonus tips for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party

We have a few STUWO bonus tips to make sure your New Year’s Eve party is a roaring success.

  1. New Year’s Eve decorations: Colourful balloons, garlands, disco balls, soft or fun lights and more will transform your apartment into the perfect party location. If you have chosen a theme for your party, choose decorations that match it.
  2. Karaoke: Singing and dancing together is fun and the perfect activity for your New Year’s Eve party. You can play Singstar or something similar on your games console. You can find a karaoke version of every song to sing along to on YouTube.
  3. Photo station: Set up a photo station in your apartment for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party. You’ll need a camera and a few props, such as funny hats, oversized glasses, hair bands with the new year, wigs, etc. You can take wonderful souvenir photos with the self-timer. Polaroid instant cameras are also perfect.
  4. Wish rockets for the new year: Take some time, a few pieces of paper and pens and write your wishes for the new year on them and tie them to the rockets or helium balloons that you release into the sky at midnight. ATTENTION: Respect the relevant regulations. Fireworks are prohibited all year round in Austrian urban areas. You can find more information here.
  5. Music: To create a great atmosphere at your New Year’s Eve party, you need the right music. Create a playlist in advance with your favourite songs or the best songs from this year.

With all these tips, you’ll be perfectly equipped for the last day of the year and the turn of the year can come!

We at STUWO wish you a happy new year! May all your wishes and dreams come true.


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