Once you have kids, and all of your friends have kids, it can be difficult to get together again without--you guessed it--bringing the kids. Parties are no exception; obviously, no one wants to be playing Strip Poker with the little ones running around, but Pin the Tail on the Donkey isn’t much fun for the over-20 set either. The solution is to plan a party with activities that adults can enjoy even when children are present.
Pretty much everyone likes to play video games, and if you’re hosting a multi-generational get-together, you can draw in the adults by focusing on the games that used to be played in video arcades. Have everyone dress up as a character from his favorite arcade game, and then send all the Marios and Ms. Pacmans on a hunt around the house for previously stashed gold coins. Bring the games to life with laser-tag matches; serve the adults beer from a Donkey-Kong keg and the kids cookies iced to look like Q*bert.
Kids and adults alike love the beach, so a luau is a very family-friendly party theme. Pop a Don Ho CD into the player and have an instructor teach your guests to hula and shimmy the night away. If you don’t have a beach handy, a backyard pool will do just fine; serve barbecue pork and pineapple, with umbrella drinks for the grown-ups and banana smoothies for the kids. Decorate with tropical flowers, beach umbrellas and palm-leaf skirts for the tables. Don’t forget to greet your party guests with a lei and an “aloha.”
No, not board games--ball games. Watching the big game on TV can be a party in itself, but with a few special touches you can make it a celebration for everyone. You’ll need chips, dips and drinks, so serve them out of football-shaped dishes on a table covered with a football-field cloth. Arrange a flag football game to burn off some energy before the televised event starts, and hook up a ballgame-themed video game to occupy the guests who aren’t on the field. If you like this idea, adapt it to athletic contests other than the Super Bowl. You can invite “cheering sections” to watch World Cup soccer, the Kentucky Derby or the World Series. Don’t forget the pom-poms.