The Modern Theme: 21st party for a 21st century birthday

21st birthdays: a time of triumph and celebration as one approaches a major milestone in life – Adulthood. While there are typical forms of initiation, one of the most common is holding a themed birthday party.

After recently immersing myself in watching Gilmore girls re-runs, I stumbled across an episode in which protagonist Rory is invited to a Quentin Tarantino-themed Yale party.

The combination of Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill and tastefully chosen music had my mind bursting with possibilities.  Although the Yale-student-journalist-goals character seemed more distracted by her current lover (See the drama infused video below)- my mind was already wrapped in the cleverly created theme.

Most milestones are typically celebrated with a theme. While I doubt Disney or 90’s themed parties will ever go out of style, why not put a 21st century spin on your theme? Here are some ideas to get your started.

Director Themed Party

There are two ways to go about this idea.

  1. Choose your favourite movie. Grab the director of that movie and voila! you have a director theme.
  2. Choose a well known director and create a  theme surrounding his/her movies.

Some top ideas for directors include:

  • Quentin Tarantino
  • Steven Spielburg
  • Alfred Hitchcock
  • Tim Burton
  • George Lucas

Tequila Mockingbird

Combining a classic novel with a mind trembling drink is a sure way to inform your guests they will not be remembering anything about their night. This theme involves dressing as a classic book novel character, and adding an alcoholic twist! Combining literature with fun is sure to make your birthday a night to remember.

For great literary drink recipes to get you going through the night, The Running Press published the cocktail book ‘Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist’ by Tim FederleView a selection of the drinks  here!


House Address

Whatever the address you live at, create a year corresponding to that number. For example, if you live at number 79, throw a Pompeii party. Number 1890? dress in your best victorian attire.

If you’re stuck on 2 digits, insert ’19’ to the front of your address so it becomes a specific year in the 1900s.

If your house number is above the current year we’re in, create a futuristic theme!

High School Throwback Partygallery-1434574672-getty-prom

High School nerd with your skirt below the knee? A throwback theme will showcase the best (or worst) of your life. Throw it back to the most awkward high school years and have fun separating the popular to not so popular students. It’s a great way to see how far you’ve come since school and truly brings the idea of reaching 21 to life.

Pun Party

Think your being punny? Take full advantage of your friend’s wit by throwing a pun themed 21st. It could be as simple as wearing a tux and holding a sign that says “I’m sorry” (A formal apology? get it?). Not very common, but an interesting idea that is sure to test creativity!


Not enough for you? For more themed party check out this website here! 

Images via,, scoutsscrapbook,,


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