Planning The Perfect Night In

Posted on: 07 May 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

Trying to plan a memorable feast or party? Don’t want to rely on the British weather for an outdoor celebration? Then why not convert your living space into the perfect night in.


So, it's your turn to host your family or friends? It’s your best friend’s birthday or you simply just want to make the most of the weekend.

You want it to be perfect, but you also want to have fun and do something a little bit different, right? Well, let's start with the basics.

Every night in needs snacks. Carrot and celery sticks just won't cut it for a night of fun and nobody wants fatty chips and dip. Fortunately, there are quick and easy snacks that taste wickedly delicious while still being healthy.

These include, fruit smoothies, Jell-O cups, and a simple nacho dish made with corn chips, green onions, grape tomatoes and pre-cooked chicken, melted together with shredded mozzarella. Not only are these snacks yummy, but lots of fun to make with family or friends.

Once you’ve decided on the food and drink, it’s down to deciding the theme for your night in. Below we’ve come up with a selection of exciting and engaging night’s to keep everyone entertained.

Casino Night

Convert your living space into a high-roller hangout with a casino theme party. It's a fun way to spend an evening and with the growth in popularity of poker, the casino is now a popular party theme.

Whether you decide to go with a Vegas vibe or prefer Monte Carlo chic, roll the dice and have an evening of glitz and glamour with the excitement of gambling.

The current crop of interactive DVD games make home Race Nights especially fun. Place your bets and watch the runners and riders compete for a slice of the winnings.

Of course with the current credit crisis gripping the nation, you don't have to play for money. Exchange the financial incentives to a mystery prize to keep your guests guessing.

Film Night

Any time of year is perfect to round up a gang of friends or family for a movie night. Get the room as dark as possible, switch off your phones, sit back and enjoy the show.

Television box-sets are always a popular choice, or simply gather up a number of blockbusting Hollywood classics to thrill you all. Add popcorn, a large fizzy drink and some nachos to complete the cinematic experience.

Wine Tasting

You don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to enjoy a wine-tasting party. Pick a theme such as one varietal from several producers in one region or one varietal from various regions around the world.

Invite a small group of friends or family, making sure there’s enough stemware for a glass per wine per person, paper and pens for each person.

Plan on providing up to six wines or ask each guest or couple to bring a wine wrapped in a brown paper bag. The tasting should take place in a well lit room with a white tablecloth or placemat. No fragrant candles, perfume or foods before the tasting and no talking during the tasting.

Mark the bags and base of glasses with a letter and pour in order. Guests taste the wines and guess the varietal, region or producer or list their preference. In the first game, the guest with the most correct answers wins. In the latter, the guest who brought the most popular wine wins.

Quiz Night

The trivia and quiz night is an old favourite of English pubs and quiz nights are now more popular than ever. Television game shows have created a new interest in them for both young and old.

Like so many great party ideas you can organise a trivia night yourself or invite a professional host to handle the hard work.

If you plan to create your own quiz, prepare questions with a broad range of categories by searching the internet or by using the questions from games such as Trivial Pursuit.

Find a large number of questions if you can, preferably 100 to 150, and make sure to include topics that are suitable for all the guests you’ve invited so that no one’s left out on the night.

Alternatively, save yourself time and energy by getting to grips with one of the latest interactive DVD quiz games such as Music Quiz, Family Fortunes or the Great British Pub Quiz.

Games Night

Get your competitive edge and game heads on for the ultimate games night. Whether you wish to spend the evening playing traditional board games such as Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit or prefer the more up to date DVD games, the night will attract laughter and the odd in-game disagreement.

Scrabble and Cluedo are timeless classics whilst Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is a popular interactive DVD game.

Murder Mysteries

Mystery party games are often the only opportunity that people get to become an actor and pretend to be someone else, from another country or time period. And you also get to solve a murder mystery!

They are a lively and fun alternative to a traditional house or dinner party. As part of the game you can decorate your house to make it look like a Venetian, Parisian or Miami set as well as adding a fancy dress themed element. Wear clothes you wouldn’t normally get a chance to wear, for example period clothing or bling.

Set the scene with nerve jangling background music, compose or buy a script for every guest and add your own mix of amateur dramatics to make this party a New Year’s Eve special.

Dinner Party

Host an elegant dinner party and knock your guests’ socks off by cooking a gourmet extravaganza.

Set the table and the mood by choosing a snazzy dinner party invitation, and then plan a menu that goes from soup to nuts.

House Party

Clear the floor, queue up the tunes, and host a house party. Invite your friends and family for an evening of music and dancing.

See in the early morning hours in style and theme your house party in retro 70s style, superheroes or childhood memories.

Stir up the party atmosphere with some favourite cocktails. Try some of the hundreds of recipes that have been submitted to the Recipe Zaar website.

BBQ & Fireworks

BBQ’s are a British tradition when the weather picks up and the evenings stay bright. If you’re not happy with friends or family taking over your house, host an outdoor get together.

Keep the guests warm by cooking an American style BBQ, offer soup and marshmallows and complete the night with a selection of sing-along songs.

What's your favourite night in?

Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below or share your thoughts with other readers in the 50connect forums.

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