You know you want to plan an event, and you want to make it memorable (in a good way). But all you can think of is another company-wide wine and cheese night. While we’d never knock a good wheel of brie and a cheeky sauvy b, it might be time to get a little bit more creative with your event ideas.
Creative planning ideas are the thing that can push an event from being just okay to being magical. Not to mention, if one of your event goals is to increase the visibility of your brand, it’s going to be important to think outside the box.
But coming up with something is much easier said than done. Don’t worry: we’ve listed 50 ideas to get those creative juices flowing, and inspire your next event.
Fun and games
1. Games night
Host your own games night! This is a great way to get people to form teams and have some fun. It’s also a good idea to introduce people to a few new games they might not have played before. Set yours up like a classic board games cafe, with different tables dedicated to different games. It’s also worth having someone there who knows all the rules so they can walk between tables guiding people on the rules. Include classics like Monopoly and Risk, and why not branch out with a few you haven’t tried before?
2. Awards night
Why not make an awards night? Depending on how silly or serious you are, you can include categories designed just to make people laugh. This works especially well with selecting two people to be hosts for the evening, doing their best Tina Fey and Amy Poehler impressions.
3. Trivia night
Get your quiz hats on and host a fun trivia night. You can tie the quiz to a specific theme - like pop music, songs by the Beatles or any other area of expertise. And you can always add a fun twist, like an all or nothing round in which teams can bid their points and end up doubling their score, or losing it all.
Organise a debate and get speakers to make their case for or against a proposition. Again, this can be as serious or silly as you like.
5. Fantasy football
Organising a fantasy football contest can be a fun event that lasts weeks. Then have a final event at the end to celebrate the winners! Here is a step-to-step guide planning your own league.
6. Table tennis tournament
Set up some tables at your next event and organise a round-robin style tournament. A great game where spectators can also socialise.
7. Run a GIF or meme contest
Get your most online mates and your most creative entrants to create the best GIF, meme or other computer-related artwork. The best GIF or meme wins! Bonus points for originality and the currency of the meme.
8. Scavenger hunt
This is a fun way to get people working together to solve a series of clues. Your hunt can be within a single space like an office, or can span an entire city! Just make sure the clues make sense, or you might have a few people getting lost.
9. Magic show
Who doesn’t love magic? Having a magician there to perform is a fun form of entertainment, and suitable for family events.
10. Dance party
Get everyone together (once restrictions allow it) and have a dance party! Variations to make is COVID-Safe include everyone tuning into a virtual dance party from the comfort of their own homes.
11. Immersive experience
Creating an immersive or interactive event experience can be a lot of fun for your guests, as well as a great way to work with brand partners. This is a kind of experiential marketing [Link to blog 0020] and can really help get your event noticed. One example was Refinery29’s 29 Rooms event, in which every room was transformed to match a brand partner or creative collaborator.
12. Themed party
A great theme will get guests inspired and add to how ‘instagrammable’ your next event will be! [link to blog 0003]
13. Hat party
These days, we all wear a lot of hats (cue: groan at the bad dad joke). But why not throw a hat-themed party, and let everyone wear their favourite fedoras and cowboy hats.
14. Early morning rave or dance sessions
An early morning rave is a trending way of getting your blood pumping bright and early, and setting you up for good vibes for the rest of the day. If you’re stuck at home, why not get everyone to contribute a few moves and then create one full dance routine that you can all learn.
15. Flash mob or tik tok challenge
It’s always fun to get everyone involved in a flash mob or doing the latest tik tok challenge. You probably remember the Harlem Shake that swept the internet a couple of years ago!
A classic event, karaoke is a great way to get everyone singing and maybe even find some secret talents in your guests. You can head out to a bar or hire a machine and bring it to your choice of venue.
17. Happy hour
Host a happy hour and make some custom drinks to be served to your guests! Or, do a tasting with a twist: have guests bring their favourite drink and tell a story about it. This is a great way to learn a little bit more about your guests and also get to taste a variety of different food and drinks.
The 2020 Olympics was sorely missed, but with the 2021 Tokyo Olympics meant that we are about to be hit with Olympic fever once again. Why not celebrate with your own mini Olympic games? This is a fun chance to get creative with possible events, and also a cool way to make sure no-one is left out by catering for all accessibility requirements and diverse needs.
An expert panel is a great way to bring industry leaders together to share their knowledge, and to have discussions relevant to different industries or interests.
Hosting a workshop is a great way to get a group of people together to learn a new skill with an opportunity to practice. Whether this is upskilling for a work function, or something totally new and creative like a workshop on chair-making, there are many possibilities for this kind of event.
21. Introduce a pet
Since lockdown, pets have been making a few extra appearances during work meetings. Why not formally introduce pets to your coworkers with a fun pet-friendly event?
22. Guest speaker
Inviting a guest speaker is a great way to draw people in who might be interested in a particular topic or area of expertise, and can be a chance to ask them questions about their field.
23. Movie screening
The cheesier the movie the better. Have you seen Cats (2019) yet?
24. Drive-in movie
Another cool take on the classic movie night. Hire out an outdoor cinema and have attendees drive up and watch a film. Bonus: this is COVID-Safe.
25. Painting (and wine)
These kinds of painting nights have become wildly popular, and for good reason! Have guests set up at an easel, and paint a scene or model. No need to be the next Matisse!
Why not make your next event a trip to an exhibition? Partner will a gallery or think outside the box and come up with your own exhibition ideas.
27. Craft night
Whether you want to try cross-stitch, knitting some tiny jumpers for penguins, or pottery, craft nights are a super fun activity.
28. Powerpoint party
Powerpoints might take you back to some, uh, less engaging work meetings. But, as this article in the Atlantic argues, they can also be a powerful tool for sharing knowledge about topics you know nothing about (but that your friends and colleagues do).
29. Art contest
Have a contest for the best artwork! You can also mix this up by having different ‘rounds’ and flash drawing contests.
30. Talent show
Uncover some hidden talents and be sure to provide some fun prizes! This can be singing, dancing, magic tricks, or anything else people want to perform.
31. Open mic show
An open mic is a common format for poetry and comedy nights, but there is no reason you can’t adapt it to whatever you like! The idea is that anyone can stand up and have the mic for 5 or 10 minutes, and try their best to entertain the crowd.
32. Show and tell
Just like in school, have everyone bring in an item or interesting fact and share it with the guests!
33. Skillshare evening
Get everyone to bring a skill, pair up or form small groups, and teach the others this skill. Whether it’s coding a new website, or learning to cook a delicious dish, this is a fun way to get everyone a new skill!
34. Improv classes
Improv can seem scary for the shy people out there, but it is actually a fun activity for amateurs too. Why not book an improv class or find an instructor to come to your next event? A lot of exercises will remind you of drama classes in school, but with an emphasis on connection, team work, and making each other laugh.
35. History tour
What better way to get to know your city than organising a tour? You might learn some hidden history. And why not try to find a tour that is specific - whether it’s about art, a ghost tour or a tour to learn more about the Aboriginal history of the place you live.
36. Cooking classes
A great way to learn a few new techniques (and enjoy a delicious meal). You can find pasta-making classes, French cuisine, seafood, or even a pickling class!
Just like the famous Great British Bake-off, why not host a baking contest? You might not have the capacity for cooking at the venue, but you can always ask people to bring in their baked goods.
38. Bad cupcake contest
Inspired by TV show ‘Nailed It’, everyone gets shown a picture of a complicated cake and then tries to make it themselves. Needless to say, most of them won’t turn out quite right.
Champagne spillin’ (fancy events)
39. Gala dinner
Gala’s are a great excuse to host a large event, and have everyone get dressed up for the occasion!
A ball is a fun way to let everyone get dressed up in their best, hire a venue (especially one by the water), and have a little bit of a fancy evening on the town.
41. Best dressed contest
Having a ‘best dressed’ contest is a great way to let everyone show off their most stylish outfit. You could even have a red carpet with snaps to circulate after the event.
42. Food tasting
Have a variety of unusual foods to test and try. This can be cheeses, breads, charcuterie or any other favourite dish!
43. Food festival or markets
Take inspiration from Sydney’s night noodle markets or espresso martini festival and build a whole event around one type of food or cuisine.
44. Food truck
A food truck is a fun way to bring exciting foods to your next event! Whether it’s tacos, toasties or crepes, it’s guaranteed to elevate your food offering.
45. At-home dinner party
With restrictions still in place and WFH a trend here to stay, you can organise a dinner party for people in their own homes. Arrange for a takeout to be delivered to each attendee, and then all tune in for a zoom while enjoying the food.
46. Yoga morning
A great way to get moving and slow down, having a yoga session is a great way to reconnect and start your day right.
47. Wellness retreat
Wellness retreats are trending, and for good reason. They help you slow down and break the cycle of stress, just when you need it most. Check out our top tips for hosting a wellness retreat [link to Blog 0018].
48. Meditation sessions
Have someone come in and take you through a meditation session, to rest your mind and breathe a little more deeply.
49. Animals visits
Organising a visit from a few friendly animals is a great event that has real mental health benefits. Some guide dog charities will help arrange visits, or you can always arrange a pet-based event.
50. Find Love (speed dating)
This is a way of making networking a little bit more fun and with a little bit less pressure on attendees. Have a time limit for meetings, and get one set of people to sit down and another to rotate through the room. Both parties should be able to talk for 2 minutes before moving on, and at the end the host can connect those who both ‘matched’.
Em Meller lives and works in Sydney, Australia on the unceded lands of the Gadigal people. Her work has appeared in places like The Lifted Brow, Cordite, and Going Down Swinging. She has studied creative writing at the University of Technology, Sydney, and at Oxford University.