A few days ago, my brother and my dad (who I’m isolating with, along with my mom) mentioned that they wanted to spend a weekend watching all the Lord of the Rings movies—and I, very stupidly, mentioned casually that I’ve never seen them. Chaos, as I’m sure you can imagine, ensued.
Now, given the unfortunate fact that I have nowhere to go and absolutely zero excuses, we’re planning a full-fledged Lord of the Rings weekend—there will be movies, there will be a “banquet table of the fellowship” (wtf), and there will probably be an appearance of my brother’s second grade Legolas costume. It’s going to be quite the journey!
Despite my lack of excitement for a weekend in Hobbiton, it did give me a very good idea: MORE (different) themed nights and weekends, chock-full of other favorite hobbies, movies, shows, and corresponding food, drink, and games. We’re not going out to bars, restaurants, and parties—so we have to make our own fun at home. Here, I’m sharing a few ideas I’ve had for themed nights and weekends to come.
1. Nancy Meyers
As an option that’s much more up my alley, a Nancy Meyers film fest would make for the perfect rainy Saturday. My ideal combo? It’s Complicated on the TV, homemade chocolate croissants in the oven (look at this recipe!), and a steamy cup of coffee. Other combos could include: The Holiday + fish and chips + red wine, or Something’s Gotta Give + ice cream + sex (Am I wrong?). What a dream!
For your listening pleasure: this playlist, titled “Nancy Meyers’ Kitchen”
2. Murder mystery
True crime lovers, unite! At-home murder mystery parties are fun at any time, but they’re especially spooky and festive when you’e stuck inside with the same people for a long time. We have a full guide to hosting a whodunnit party—but if that sounds too intense, you can check out this list of FREE murder mystery scripts/guides/games. BONUS: Skip the party and watch one of these true crime documentaries instead (that’s what I’d do!).
For your listening pleasure: any of our favorite true crime podcasts
3. Middle school sleepover
If I had roommates other than my parents, you better believe every single night would be middle school sleepover night. Think: matching pajamas, MASH, old Disney Channel Original Movies (DCOMs for life!), and favorite snack foods like pizza rolls and cookie dough. THE MID-2000S DREAM. (You get extra points if you watch the movie actually CALLED Sleepover, which is a blast from the past that is totally available on Netflix.)
For your listening pleasure: this playlist of hits from the 2000s
No one in the world loves Pirates of the Caribbean more than I do. If I was planning a night based around one (or all) of the movies, I would include the following: lots and lots of rum, chocolate coins (or just any chocolate, really), and a layered-up outfit that would rival Jack Sparrow’s. (P.S. The definitive order of the movies, from best to worst: 1,4,2,3,5. I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them.)
For your listening pleasure: the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest soundtrack
5. Game night (but, like, legit)
This is NOT your mother’s game night—instead of your typical Monopoly, think bigger. Play poker with real betting (I’m talking “your partner has to clean the bathroom for the next two weeks” kinda real betting), or get other households involved (over Zoom) by creating a bracket, prizes, and more. Tired of the same old games you’ve played for years? You’ve come to the right place—click here for nine games to play when you’re stuck inside.
For your listening pleasure: The Everygirl’s Girls’ Night In playlist
6. Drinking game night
This one is obviously similar to the above, but with a throwback-to-college twist. Set up some beer pong, flip cup, king’s cup, quarters—or any other game that brings out your competitive side. Most classic drinking games require a deck of cards, some solo cups, and plenty of the booze of your choice—but you can substitute all those things with the following: this deck of cards app, cups you have at home, and any old alcohol you have on hand (it might be a great time to find a new, unique favorite mixed drink!). BONUS: Want to play the ultimate drinking game? Here are the rules to True American, the game the squad plays in New Girl.
For your listening pleasure: The Everygirl’s Dance Party playlist
7. Harry Potter
Whether you want to dive into the books or the movies, there are SO MANY options for a Harry Potter theme night/weekend. Some ideas to get you started: playing at-home quidditch (not super social-distancing-friendly, so only play this with anyone you’re isolating with), DIY butterbeer, British accents, and all your Hogwarts swag.
For your listening pleasure: this nine-hour-long playlist of all the HP soundtracks
Queue up your onscreen fireplace and your favorite Christmas movies (here’s a list of some of our favorites!), and allow yourself to sink back into the holiday season. Pour some hot chocolate (with a little peppermint schnapps or Bailey’s, don’t mind if I do), put on your most festive PJs, and bake your favorite cookies or treats. Let’s pretend it’s the most wonderful time of the year!
For your listening pleasure: The Everygirl’s Holiday Magic playlist
9. Wine tasting
As much as we’d love to be flitting from winery to winery in Napa right now, that’s just not possible—but we CAN bring some of the magic home! Set up a makeshift wine tasting for yourself (roomies/significant other not required) with this handy guide, which teaches you how to buy, serve, pair, and enjoy different types and styles of wine at home. BONUS: We also have a guide to hosting a beer tasting (or you could do this with different types of liquor!).
For your listening pleasure: Kaitlyn Bristowe’s Off the Vine podcast
10. Global travel
The possibilities for this option are truly ENDLESS, and it’s this simple: Pick a country as your theme, then build an entire night (or weekend) around that country. Cook local cuisine, play regional music, plan fictional (or futuristic!) trips there, and watch movies from (or set in) the country. The research will be half of the fun—then you get to reap the tasty (and cultural, and entertaining) benefits! Pick a new country each week, and it’ll take you a LONG time to run out of ideas.
11. Game of Thrones
I stopped watching Game of Thrones after season one (I know, the horror!), but I imagine you can build an entire weekend around this fan fave. This article has a lot of great ideas for throwing the ULTIMATE GoT party.
For your listening pleasure: this 11-hour playlist featuring the entire show’s soundtrack
12. Painting class
You know those fun classes where you get together with your friends to paint and drink wine? You can have (almost) that same experience together through a screen! Some popular painting classes (like The Paint Bar and Pinot’s Palette) are offering video sessions for groups, individuals, and parties. Many of them offer material delivery and then online direction—so all you have to do is pour and paint. Enlist some friends, or unleash your creativity at home alone.
For your listening pleasure: Spotify’s Creativity Boost playlist
13. The Office
Jell-O with a stapler in it? Dressing up as Dwight Schrute? All in a day’s work for an Office fan. Host the Dundies with your isolation buddies, eat some beets, and play one of these fun Office-themed games (see below).
For your listening pleasure: the Office Ladies podcast, hosted by the show’s stars Angela Kinsey and Jenna Fischer
This isn’t really a theme so much as an idea, but I’ve seen a lot of people doing it—setting up a makeshift “restaurant” for the people you’re isolating with. It’s simple but adorable: You make up a menu of items you’re willing to make (or have on-hand already made, lol) that you can offer your “guests” (I’ve seen anything from a fancy meal to frozen pizza), then set the table with nice dishes, candles, and cozy music. It’s a fun way to break the mold—especially if you’re celebrating something like a birthday or anniversary!
For your listening pleasure: The Everygirl’s Backyard Dinner Party playlist
15. Coffee Shop
A fun afternoon activity that ends in coffee? Yes please! Much like the at-home restaurant, you can make an at-home coffee shop for your roomie(s)/yourself by making Starbucks-worthy drinks in the comfort of your own home. Not sure how? We’ve got you covered, of course.
For your listening pleasure: this playlist, aptly titled Coffee Shop Vibes
16. Movie Theater
Something that I miss personally is the joy of going to the movie theater. To recreate the experience at home and do it up right, you can use a few essentials: a sheet, a projector, plenty of popcorn, and maybe a little wine you “snuck in” in a water bottle (but you didn’t hear that from me!). Turn off all the lights, power down your phone, and get comfy on the couch—it’s showtime!
For your listening pleasure: Vanity Fair’s Little Gold Men podcast, which dives into Hollywood news, history, and awards seasons
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Icon @rupaulofficial made good point with “if you don’t love yourself, how in the hellll you gonna love somebody else?” That deep question, I feel that. That’s why I take #ValentinesDay to treat Muad’Dib, because nobody gonna love me like I love me. Sometimes friends get lonely today, but if you celebrating solo this year remember: less people mean more chocolate and love for you. To round out Ms. Paul’s wisdom: “can I get an amen up in here?”
17. At-home spa
OK, so I know you’ve already been doing some pre-bedtime sheet masks—but now’s your chance to go all out. Indulge in a full facial, give yourself a professional-level manicure, wrap your hair in a deep moisture treatment, and apply some faux glow. Even though you’re not seeing other people, you deserve to be pampered for yourself and yourself alone. BONUS: Here’s a list of 15 products that will make your home feel like a spa.
For your listening pleasure: Abigail’s personal anti-anxiety playlist