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A Non-alcoholic 21st Birthday

Any party is better with karaoke! This is actually better when people aren't drinking, because you don't get one person who can't sing even when sober hogging it all night.

On the drinks side, mocktails.

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A mocktail is a non-alcoholic cocktails, thus the reason for calling them mocktails. Martinelli's sparkling apple cider is an appropriate substitute for champagne, which is good to drink when celebrating something.

I once made my younger cousin a virgin Moscow Mule with just ginger beer, mint, lime and ginger slices.

Spiders are also great, it's basically a glass of soft drink, usually creaming soda, with a scoop of vanilla icecream. Although depending on where you are it might be a bit cold for that soon.

We had a dinner party for one of my friends a few years ago. Some of the drinks were non-alcoholic cocktails and punch. It turned out really well and people talked about it for months after. There is much to say about nice restaurant that has both cocktails & mocktails, it is great fun! Especially if it has a cozy atmosphere. You can just snack & chat & drink whatever you want. There's also cosmic/late night bowling. Amusement park night. Nice dinner at home. Cooking class. Go out to a fancier movie house. I guess it all depends on where you live.

Planning A Party

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This doesn't explicitly limit itself to the 21st birthday party. You can theatrically use these same principals for just about any type of party you will ever need to host.

Getting The Ball Rolling

Getting people together for your child's party can be more challenging than you might imagine. The usual suspects, relatives from both sides of the family are easy, but what do you do when you don't know either. You should just have them invite them informally.

However, it is better if they do send invitations.

Send your kid to school with a notepad and ask the classmates she wants to invite for their home address and phone number and mail the invites. If they don't know their address, they almost certainly know their phone number so you can call the parent and get the information yourself.

Or use the phone book to get the phone numbers and addresses you can from there. I understand that lots of people don't have landlines, so you might not get a ton of addresses this way.

Get A Good RSVP

Add a fun question: "What song would you like us to play to get you on the dance floor?". This is a neat idea and it might encourage people to RSVP in order to get their song played.

Also, can generate some buzz, you will have everyone calling and asking the other what he/she put down, because they want/don't want to repeat what others are putting down.

I just thought this was a neat RSVP idea that I had never seen before and though you might be interested.

Food And Drinks

Tostada bar

Much easier and neater than hard-shell tacos. Get a couple packs of tostadas, they should only be two or three bucks for a pack of like, twenty. Cook up some chicken breast with chipotle peppers, onions, and (canned) tomatoes and let it simmer in some chicken broth til it's nice and stew-y, and set it out with some refried beans, Monterey Jack, chopped lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. It's a great way to stretch a package of chicken breast and get quite a few people nice and full.

Other ingredient ideas: salsas, guacamole/avocado slices, jalapenos, onions, olives, cilantro, fresh lime.

Gado Gado

It's an Indonesian dish. You have a bed of spinach and put turmeric rice on top (looks pretty!), and then guests can pile on steamed veggies, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, fried tofu, fried garlic, fried ginger, fried onions, chopped eggs, tomato slices, and shrimp crackers, and whatever else you can think of. You make a peanut sauce to put on top. Very filling, fun and adventurous, and super tasty.

Cheaper Options

  • Kalistew.
  • Brie (Bella)
  • Choc Lesnar, could be anything chocolate related
  • Damien Sandwiches
  • Dean Ambrosia
  • El Doritos
  • Emmamite sandwich
  • Heath Sliders

There must be more, but I'm running out of ideas and it really comes down to the type of people who will be attending the party.

Music Is A Spectrum

There's no linear spectrum of music where a single start and end point could encompass anything meaningful.

From Rock to Country could encompass Reggae but probably not... How do you give one artist and another or one genre and another that actually provides any meaningful information about what's in the middle? There are plenty of parents there who enjoyed this part and nobody doesn't like Don't Stop Believing.

Unless of course you pull an A-Z out of your ass like Ambient to Zimbabwean Tribal implying you play literally everything... which I don't.

The overall point is, you should be able to mix it up and cover a wide variety so that everyone in attendance enjoy the music.

Birthday's With A Twist Make For Memories

Are you a person that enjoys a birthday with a twist.

Hey! My friend and I hosted a FRIENDS themed dinner party and decided to share it with you guys. This was super exciting for us since we basically grew up with this show, and so we put a lot of effort into all the little details. Everything about it was according to the theme, starting from the decor and costumes to the food and even the music. It took us about a week of brainstorming to really put all our ideas together. We didn't quite find anything similar to our ideas on the internet and really tried to incorporate jokes throughout all the seasons whichever way we could. The pictures aren't that amazing because of the coffee house ambience we tried to create ( + it slipped our minds in the midst of the excitement) but thanks to a friend, we have some to show you guys.


The decor was mostly handmade and dollar store things (We're just two students on a budget :(). We put up some twinkle lights to create the homey coffee house feel. The guitar was left out for our talented friends to strum to. We had even more ideas on our notebooks that we couldn't bring to life :(

We put together a playlist of songs that were featured on the show. Playlist:

  • I'll be there for you
  • With or Without You
  • Roxanne
  • Baby Got Back
  • Smelly Cat
  • The Way You Look Tonight
  • Delta Dawn
  • My Endless Love
  • Copacabana
  • Celebation
  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight
  • All My Myself
  • Only Wanna Be With You
  • Angel of the Morning
  • It's Raining Men



  • Hot Mocholate
  • Finger food: Joey's bits (s07e19 ;))
  • Walrus tusks (breadsticks) and hummus
  • Mocholate chip cookies

Main course:

  • Gloria Tribiani's homemade lasagna
  • Ross' sandwich(es)
  • Joey's favourite: pizzas
  • Mashed potatoes, done three ways
  • Meatballs
  • Cous cous (Vegetarian option for Phoebe)


  • Cheesecake from Mama's Little Bakery
  • Rachel's special trifle

For games we played good ol' FRIENDS trivia and other party games. Team names (decided by our guests) were KEN ADAMS and REGINA PHALANGE.

We even packed a goody bag for our guests which included Monica's jam, Monica's homemade candy, a personalized VD poster and a thank you card that read "Here's to a lousy Christmas and a Crappy New Year!". At our entrance, we left out a bowl of FRIENDS life advice (direct quotes from the show) for our guests to pick up.

Things that unfortunately didn't get pictured:

  • The desserts
  • the contents of the goodie bags
  • the appetizers
  • a bowl filled with lottery tickets
  • Overall, our party was a huge success! We had a great time with our friends and they loved the little easter eggs of FRIENDS references around the house. Their costumes were on point as well!! Some guests' stellar costumes:

    • Janice
    • Monica just returned from Barbados
    • Phoebe in the jewellery store
    • Joey wearing all of Chandler's clothes
    • David the Scientist Guy
    • Carl (Joey's twin)
    • Gary the Cop

    We had a lot more ideas come to us but just didn't have the time or budget to make it a reality but nonetheless, we are still very proud of what we pulled through with within just a week.

    But you could always add some adventure to the theme as well.

    I would have adventure themed food. Like, maybe cookies shaped like shields and swords. Bows and arrows. Fire. Or dice! And alliterations on "skill-check" finger foods like "charismatic cheetos"... "streetwise sandwiches"... "bluffing beer".... "initiative ice"... might be lame but it came to mind.

    Maybe encourage your friends to come dressed as their characters from the campaign, or any action/fantasy character they are fond of.

    As far as activities go: that's a tough one. I don't know how old your group is, but mine always winds up sitting around playing drinking games and smoking. Drinking games are always fun. Perhaps watch the old, super cheesy dungeons and dragons movie and get a good laugh out of it.

    There Is A World Of Options Out There

    Reader Cory, asked where the best place to host the 21st in Phoenix is. And there are a number of dirrent places to do this as it turns out. It all comes down to your personal tastes.

    Do you want to go to a place that packed or somewhere you and your friends can basically run the bar because you are the only people there?

    A lot of people will bar hop on Mill Ave, if that's what you're into.

    Here are some places for you to got for a 21st.

    • Monkey Pants: Mill and Southern. This bar has a decent beer selection and a lot of liquor. It's never too packed and you can really get wild. They also do a "shirtless shot" at midnight which is free if you take your shirt off. Good place to get shitfaced and not worry about pissing off other patrons. I've been to a lot of 21st here and always had a blast.
    • Casey Moores: Casey's gets packed but its got a really cool "hipster" vibe. Great food, great staff, great selection. The patio is dope if you're a smoker.
    • Four Peaks: If you love beer and want an "understated" (not shitfaced puking) b-day Four Peaks has awesome beer brewed on site. They also give you a free beer on your b-day.
    • Long Wongs Tempe: This place is dingy as hell and filled with locals but you can get insane at Wongs. Cheap, cheap drinks, live music, it's also right by Tempe Tavern which is another good dive.

    Just be with good friends and the place doesn't matter. Use your money for cab fair! Mill Avenue, or Old Town or even Phoenix all have several bars you can walk between, so those would be good options. Phoenix and Mill have Light Rail availability too.

    Make Plans You Can Afford

    Minneapolis has a lot of great venues even if you aren't looking for a tradtional 21st birthday.

    So where to go?

    • The Parlor - Great cocktails (no beer on tap, just cocktails) and an absolutely amazing burger. Not familiar with cocktails? The ultra-friendly staff will make suggestions to find you exactly what you want. It's my favorite bar in the city. Expect ~$12 per drink.
    • Marvel Bar - This is a great place to go for that exclusive hidden away feeling. Get there early (before 7) or risk not getting let in at all. You actually have to walk down/below/behind Bachelor Farmer and talk to the two guys at the corner to get in. No signs. Super neat vibe. Prices are similar to The Parlor or just above.
    • Bulldog on Hennepin and 11th - Because you want decently friendly service and a wide selection of tap beer at a decent price.
    • Kitty Cat Klub - Go here if you've ever had to deny being a hipster. It looks like what you'd expect from that guy who always threw awesome parties in college where they always had super obsucre music playing and weird lighting and everything seemed to be in this weird space between charming and falling apart and he swore he'd open a bar some day.
    • The Local - Because it's a staple, it's in the heart of downtown, and it's cool. Just get there at some point. The chicken shooters are amazazing. Oh, and if they still have Fruli on tap, ask for the black velvet.
    • The Triple Rock Social Club - Because you want to hear weird fringe music and the word "crusty" excites you. Cheap amazing shitty food.

    In addition to these I would throw the following on your list:

    • Club Jager and/or Bunkers - always music
    • Psycho Suzi's - just awesome in all ways
    • Donnoie Dirks Zombie Den - Its a zombie bar, so why wouldn't you
    • Jackson's Hole - the place is always dead, so if during the night you need a break from chaos and want to sit down, this is the place. Also they had gift certs that could be used for booze.

    Pancho Villa is an ultimate 21st bday destination.

    A Wizarding Birthday

    So how does that work?

    Alright, get this.

    We all dressed like Wizards. To the people that were saying they had no wizard cloths, I asked them to just dress like wizards dressing like muggles.(miss matched cloths, ect.)

    I bought cheap house rings on Amazon. When everyone arrived, I had them pull a ring from the sorting hat. On the center table, I had 4 glass bowls setup. Each time you completed a beer or a house colored Jello shot(house potion) you put a gem in the corresponding cup.

    We had random games, and the winning house would get bonus points awarded to their house. This caused a lot of peer pressure between the houses to really get to drinking.

    On top of that, we were playing wizard staff with house colored duct tape. To play wizard staff, you drink a beer. When you get your next beer, you tape it on top of your empty beer to drink. This starts to create a giant staff as the night goes on. Whoever has the largest staff, is the Head Master, and can pretty much order the other wizards around. The longer the staff, the stronger the wizard. After a set time, we awarded the house with the Head Master Bonus points, then counted the points for the house cup.

    We still have the bowl of gems and house cup on display on the book case in the living room.

    Many people who weren't fans left fans. It is pretty cool because you can still do trivia or beer pong, but just make it a house competition instead of individual.

    something else we did was wizard chess with shots. That gets crazy quick. out for the Slytherin folks. They tried to cheat by over loading their jar.

    If you live near a Hobby Lobby, they have the gems and cups for super cheap. I picked things that kinda fit into the wizarding look, because I planned on displaying them as a memento after the party. All of the friends that attended still talk about the party, and admire the little shrine we have on display.

    As far as games, we kept them to a minimal because there were about 20 people, so it was hard to coordinate.

    We had wizard duels for wizards that were at least 4th year "4 beers drank and taped into a staff." The way the duel worked was after 4 beers you could challenge another 4th year or higher to a shot gunning contest. Whoever finished first received 2 points for their house. Those beers were not added to the staff, but they still helped your house. You could make the duels worth however much you wanted.

    You could combine wizard chess, wizard dueling, trivia and any other drinking game into a wizard tournament of sorts for a set amount of points.

    The points would depend on how many people you would have over. My group was kinda wild, and didn't really need any games to loosen them up. They came in, got sorted and instantly started talking trash to the other houses. People wanted to get an early lead, so they started with Jello shots. 1 point per shot or beer.

    So with that being was a 21st birthday with a lot of different people coming together to partake in adult drinks. Everyone was very open to just experiencing the night. I didn't let anyone know what to expect beyond we will be wizarding out. It worked out well because no one cried about not getting their "choice" house, or not being in the same house as their friend. I made it clear the sorting hat was the final word in their house assignment. I was paired with a house full of people I had never met, but the common bond of "Ravenclaw" made it about us vs them. My housemates are still my friend now.

    never the less...just make sure everyone is safe, and don't let anyone disapparate home drunk.