New Year’s Eve at-home party ideas for kids and adults


Red walls in a living room with a Happy New Year sign hanging from the ceiling. New Years Eve ideasNew Year’s Eve is easy to overlook. You’ve just made Christmas magical for everyone and could use a night out with adults. For a lot of us, that doesn’t happen because we have kids.

Don’t overlook New Year’s Eve just yet! Here are two at-home New Year’s Eve ideas where kids and adults will have a great time.

Card Club + Movie Night

Did anyone else’s parents have Card Club? It sounded so boring when my parents would go but now, I see the light. Combining a card club night WITH a movie night on New Year’s Eve means everyone can have a little fun.

Food: Make some heavy appetizers and ask your guests to bring something to share. Buy bagged popcorn, a big tub of M&Ms, and disposable bowls.

Beverages: Have guests bring a drink of their choice. Provide water and juice boxes for the kids. I like to have adult beverages or a fun cocktail on hand for parties.

Movie: Have the kids come in their jammies with their favorite stuffed animal and set up your basement, den, or some other room with a TV and popcorn bar. Kids can watch a movie, eating as much popcorn as they can handle. This should buy you a couple hours.

Cards: Play Sevens and/or 500. Or, you can do games like Bunco, Poker or any other type of game that works well in a group and is easy to play.

When the cards and movie are winding down, guests can leave or hang out depending on how their kids are doing.

Progressive Dinner

A traveling dinner works well in a neighborhood where the host houses are walkable. A group size of three to six families is a good range for a party like this but it can easily be expanded.

The host family is responsible for the food served at their house. Or, if you have a larger party, assign guests to bring something to one of the stops. You can also decide if guests are bringing drinks or if the host houses are providing them.

Appetizer House

A Charcuterie board, this beer bread and party dip (double it, it feeds a lot of people!), or some other easy appetizer will get the night started. You’ll stay here about an hour.

The Main Dish House

When our family did this, the main-dish host house was a person who really wanted to make prime rib and we were spoiled! You don’t have to go to that much work. Here are some easy main-dish ideas:

  • Pasta Bar – Noodles, alfredo sauce, white sauce, meatballs and butter – for those kids who only eat butter noodles (like mine) and some garlic bread. Put it all in crock pots before you leave for the appetizer house and it’ll be ready when you get back.
  • Lasagna – Leave the appetizer house early and pop it in the oven.
  • Burger/Hot Dog Bar – It’s Iowa, we know how to strategically use our outdoor space and winter gear to grill. Grab all the fixings for burgers/hot dogs and grill away.
  • Pizza – Have pizza delivered from your favorite place.

Plan to spend about two hours at your main-dish house.

The Dessert House

The dessert house is my favorite house! Dessert and a signature drink or a hot chocolate bar can cap off the night.

This is where people will either bail right away or settle in and get ready for midnight (if the party makes it that long!). The dessert house should be prepared with a kid movie, water, juice, and probably a big box of Goldfish crackers for the kids. If you think your crowd can hang until midnight, this is also the place for some fun party hats and noise makers.

Why is the traveling dinner fun for all ages?

Kids love playing with other people’s stuff and that gives you time to chat with other adults. This type of party can easily take up three hours or more. And, your kids’ minds will be completely blown that they’re going to three different houses in one night!

New Year’s Eve can be a fun night in with friends, cheers!

// RELATED: More New Year’s Eve activities //


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