Almost everyone attends a party on New Year’s Eve. Make your party original with our New Year’s Party ideas for food and fun. Our New Year’s Eve party games for every age help create a memorable party guests will talk about all year long. Most only require a bit of planning and no special supplies. So, get ready for the best New Year’s party ever!
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New Year’s Eve Party Games for Adults
Two Resolutions and a Lie
If your party is bogging down, try Two Resolutions and a Lie to liven things up. Each guest presents three resolutions, two of which are true and one of which is a lie. As each guest takes turns sharing theirs, the other guests try to discern which two are true and which is the lie. If you wish, you can have guests keep track of their guesses and award a prize to the one with the most correct.
Cotton Ball Race
This hilarious relay race uses cotton balls and two bowls. Divide your group into teams of from six to ten people. Mark a starting line on the rug with masking tape and place a bowl of cotton balls and a jar of Vaseline on a table. Across the room, have another table with an empty bowl for each team. Each team lines up and on “Go!” the first team members dab Vaseline on their noses, dip their noses into the bowl of cotton balls, race to their team’s bowl, and deposit the cotton ball. Team members take turns, and the first team whose members all complete the race wins.
Variation: Have guests play individually to see who can transfer the most cotton balls.
For this game, you will need ribbon cut into three-foot lengths, one for every two guests. Hold all the ribbons in the middle and have guests grab the end of a ribbon. When you let go, the two guests holding the ends of the same ribbon are partners for a dance. The fun comes when guests see some unusual pairings. Repeat the pairings as often as desired and still enjoyable.
Beverage Relay Race
You can play this game with champagne flutes and two bottles of champagne or any other New Year’s Eve beverage and drink containers. Have those playing sit at a table with a bowl filled with beverage, a teaspoon, and an empty drink container. The goal is to use the teaspoon to fill the container with the beverage. The first player to do so wins the game.
Pass the Hat
A simple game, all you need is a New Year’s hat. Your guests sit in a circle and attempt to pass the hat from head to head without using their hands. If a player drops the hat, they leave the circle. The last player left wins the hat or another small prize.
You will need a banana and an orange for each guest. Place a hula hoop in the center of the room and have the players form a circle around it at equal distances. The goal is to push the oranges into the hula hoop with the bananas. The task becomes more difficult and fun because the bananas are tied to the players waist, about a foot from the ground. Players cannot use their hands. The first to succeed at getting their orange into the hula hoop circle is the winner.
New Year’s Eve Games for the Start of Your Party
Some games work well as ice breakers or need to begin at the start of your party. Set up a table just inside the door with the materials for the following games.
When your guests arrive, instruct them to write the first few lines of a song on a long slip of paper. Cut the slips in half and save for later during the party. Whenever guests seem to need some fun, announce it is time to use their song lyrics. Pass out the slips and tell your guests to find the person holding the slip with the lyric that matches theirs. The first to do so, wins the game. You can also use this for pairing up dinner or dance partners.
Part of New Year’s Eve is that midnight kiss. This kissing game ends at midnight, a perfect time to do so, or just before the end of the party. As your guests arrive, hand each woman five to ten Hershey Kisses. Let the men who attend your party know they are to collect as many of the Hershey Kisses as they can during the party. The competition can get fierce and entertaining. When the time comes to end the game, provide a nice prize for the winner.
This game involves matching a resolution with the person who made it. As your guests arrive, have them jot down a New Year’s resolution and their name on a slip of paper. At some time during the party, give your guests a piece of paper, have them number it with a number for each guest. As you read the resolutions, write number on the back of the slip of paper starting with number one. You guests attempt to guess who wrote the resolution. Read the correct answers and the guest with the most correct answers, wins this game.
Guess the Number
Have a large glass jar or bowl filled with counted pieces of candy, pennies, small stones, or marbles on a table where your guests arrive. Provide small slips of paper for them to write the number of objects they believe the container holds and their name. At the end of the party, disclose the winner and the correct number. If you use pennies or candy, the prize for the winner can be the jar or bowl and its contents.
New Year’s Eve Word Games
Word games are always fun and stimulating. Try one of ours at your New Year’s Eve party.
- Have your guests see how many different words they can create from the phrase “Happy New Year!”
- Scramble a selection of New Year’s words and let your guests compete to see who can unscramble them first.
Who’s the Winner?
Everybody loves to win prizes, and with this game, all of your guests will go home happy. During the party, call out questions. Whoever answers gets a prize. Use our list or create your own.
- Who is sitting with their fiancé?
- Who brought the best dessert?
- Who got to the party first?
- Who is the best dancer?
- Who is the funniest guest?
Provide sticky notes for your guests to write the name of a famous person – a celebrity, book or movie character, or sport superstar. Have them secretly write the name and stick it to the forehead of the person next to them. Now the fun begins! Each person asks the other guests questions to determine who they are. Questions can only be answered with a “Yes,” or “No.” The goal is to not be the last person who guesses the name of their celebrity.
Play this as a dinner game, with each player taking a turn asking a question, concentrating on one person’s celebrity.
Guess the Candy
Collecting the most candy bars is the goal of this game. If your group is very large, consider using snack-size or miniature bars. You want well-known brands with familiar names, about six different kinds and five for each guest. Have your guests sit on the floor in a circle and place all the candy bars in the middle of the circle. Make sure your guests know the names the different bars. Players take turns rolling the dice. If they roll a double (or pick a number such as 5 or 9), they take one of the candies in the middle of the circle and hide it in their lap or behind their back. Once all the candies are out of the circle, players can begin rolling dice and taking each other’s candies. To do so, they must state a player’s name and the name of a candy that person has. If they misstate either, they are out of the game. The goal is to get the most candies and be the last player in the game.
New Year’s Eve Scavenger Hunt
If you plan on having a scavenger hunt, do so early in the evening before guests have eaten or consumed any alcoholic beverages. Alternatively, hide some items around the house. Consider items associated with New Year’s, such as:
- a Happy New Year napkin, balloon, or coaster.
- a New Year’s party hat.
- streamers or other party decoration.
- noise maker.
- plastic champagne glass.
- a Happy New Year greeting card.
- a balloon.
- a drink stirrer.
- a calendar for the next year.
Balloon Pop Charades
Fill inflated balloons with New Year’s related words and phrases. Have your guests take turns popping the balloons and acting out the word(s) or phrases on the slip of paper. Keep track of the time required for each player to discover their answer. The guest with the shortest time wins the game. Try the following words and phrases:
- A noise maker
- Candy bar
- A midnight kiss
New Year’s Games for Kids and Teens
Young people need games that appeal to their sense of humor and provide a challenge. Some of the adult games we have listed, such as the Cotton Ball Race and Guess the Candy, work well with younger players. The following games are designed specifically with the younger players in mind.
Purchase inexpensive costume jewelry bracelets from a dollar store or make them out of braided yarn. Provide one for each guest. The goal of this game if to collect as many bracelets as possible. To get someone else’s bracelet, you must get them to say “No!” This game lasts the entire party, with the winner the person who manages to collect the most bracelets.
Empty some bags of M&M’s into a large bowl. Players take turns sucking the small candies into a straw and transferring them into another, smaller, bowl or cup. Players cannot use their hands to hold the bowl, but must keep them behind their backs. Each player can continue to suck and transfer the candies until the player to their right rolls a double with dice. After every player takes a turn, the one with the most candies wins the game.
Marble Relay Race
You will need to save up some empty, cardboard paper towel rolls – one for every two players. Cut the paper towel cardboards lengthwise down the middle to create a trough. Divide your guests into two or more teams of ten or fewer players. Half of a team is on one side of the room and half on the other. The goal is to use the cardboard to transfer a marble back and forth until the entire team’s members have completed the race. If the marble is dropped, that player must start over.
Variation: If your group is small, have your guests form one line and pass the marble. Anyone who drops the marble is out and the last player remaining wins the game.
Food and Drinks for Your New Year’s Party
A successful New Year’s Eve party offers food and beverages. Many of your guests will want alcoholic beverages. You may wish to have your guests bring their own drinks to decrease the expense of the party and there is nothing wrong with doing so. Provide ice, water, and plenty of cups. If you provide the drinks, make sure to have juice or soda for non-drinkers. Also, don’t forget the children if you are having a family party.
You do not need to serve a full meal. Trays of meats, cheeses, veggies, and fruits, as well as an assortment of chips and crackers and dips may be enough. Another idea is to prepare a main dish and have your guests bring the side dishes – salads, vegetables, bread, and desserts. Try spaghetti, soup, or chili for a large crowd. Alternatively, have each guest bring an appetizer or have a pot luck dinner.
Keep your guests entertained from the beginning of the party till the end with our suggestions for food, games, and fun. Make sure you take pictures to share with the guests. Have fun and create memories!
Susan majored in English with a double minor in Humanities and Business at Arizona State University and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Liberty University. She taught grades four through twelve in both public and private schools. Subjects included English, U.S. and world history and geography, math, earth and physical science, Bible, information technologies, and creative writing.
Susan has been freelance writing for over ten years, during which time she has written and edited books, newspaper articles, biographies, book reviews, guidelines, neighborhood descriptions for realtors, Power Point presentations, resumes, and numerous other projects.