If you’ve been a loyal reader from the start, you will know that we like a good themed party here at Bunny Baubles. After cycling through some of our favorite decades (20s, 60s, and 80s party themes from previous birthdays), Megan and I decided it was time to visit a world-famous festival for some new party inspiration. Willkommen to Oktoberfest!
I visited Germany for the first time about three years ago and fell completely in love with it. The incredible food, welcoming culture, and gingerbread cities drew me in and left me wanting to go back immediately. One thing we made sure to visit while we were there were the beer gardens. Though it wasn’t Oktoberfest when we visited, you could get an idea. Beer being slammed down on to tables in huge mugs (one size only), piles of hot pretzels in baskets, people from all over the world crammed into long tables conversing in a multitude of languages, and blue and white covering every surface imaginable.
Oktoberfest, being a party in definition, makes for the easiest theme! For my 26th birthday this year, I held my own Oktoberfest party complete with food, drink, decor, and traditional games. Check out my party tips below to throw your own celebration. Invite over as many friends as your space can hold, don the tables in blue and white, boil up some wursts, and load up on beer, because it’s the perfect time to throw a party!
Oh, and thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate my birthday this year! I am so thankful for having incredible friends and followers who wished me happy birthday.
When it comes to Oktoberfest, blue and white are king. Get long tables with benches or lawn chairs and lay out blue and white tablecloths. Decorate the table with Fall items like pumpkins and leaves, and put out pitchers of pretzels to snack on. I got my tableclothes, German flag banner, plates, napkins, pitchers, etc. at Party City.
Hang up a backdrop and make cute props for your guests to snap a photo with. We went with a beer stein, mustache, German flag, green hat, and some other adorable items.
Blue and white checkered banners or German flags are also traditional, and can be strung above your table or along the walls.
Overall, a German feast really isn’t that hard to put together and allow your guests to self serve. Boil up bratwursts ahead of time so they are fully cooked, then throw them into a chafing dish to keep them hot all afternoon. Traditional sides like red saurkraut (I made 4 batches for 30 people) and German potato salad (I made 2 batches) can be prepped and then placed into chafing dishes to keep them hot. The recipes I used are linked above and were AWESOME. Make sure to also serve soft pretzels and grain mustard!
For dessert, gingerbread cookies in the shape of hearts are usually strung on strings and hung throughout the beer halls. Instead of cookies (since I’m not a huge gingerbread fan and this was a birthday), I made this cute Oktoberfest Cookie Shaped Cake.
Oh, and beer. Lots of beer.
Most Oktoberfest games are centered around beer and drinking beer, no surprise there. In order to keep the party from getting TOO rowdy, I liked to have a few games that weren’t so focused on the drinking part. I had planned to have the party outside and play corn hole and hammerschlagen, but the weather didn’t cooperate so I hosted a stein holding contest in the kitchen. To play any of these games, see the rules below:
You set up two corn hole boards (rectangular boards with holes in them) across from each other about 27 feet apart. One player stands behind one board, and the other behind the opposite board. Players take turns throwing four bean bags across the court, trying to get them either on to the board (1 point) or in to the hole (3 points). The first player to 21 wins. The game can also be played with 4 players where teammates stand across from one another and the players on the same side take turns throughout the round throwing their bean bags. Drinking rules: Take a sip of beer every time the other team makes a point. Finish your beer if you lose.
A stump from a tree about 2 feet high is placed in the center of a ring of people. Everyone hammers a nail slightly into the stump and remembers where they placed it. Players take turns flipping a hammer, catching it, and then hitting at the other players’ nails as the hammer comes down from the flip. (Safety glasses are encouraged.) The aim of the game is to hammer everyone else’s nails in so the top of the nail is flush with the stump. The last player with a nail up wins. If a nail falls over the side of the stump, it can be counted “out” if the head of the nail is below the side of the stump. Drinking rules: You must drink a sip of beer every time someone touches your nail. Finish your beer if you get out.
Stein Holding Contest
Two or more large beer steins are filled with beer or water and handed to the contestants. The contestants raise their arms out in front of them parallel to the ground and hold the beer up as long as they can. Your thumb cannot be on top of the handle. The first person to drop their arm loses.
The traditional garb of Germany for Oktoberfest is dirndl for the ladies and lederhosen for the men. Men can get off pretty easy with a pair of brown shorts, a button up shirt, and some suspenders with a piece of paper as a connection point in the front. The ladies have a bit more to do since their outfit consists of a skirt, apron, white peasant shirt, and a laced up vest. I made myself a complete outfit from scratch for pretty cheap (most dirndl’s are pretty pricey!) without spending a whole lot of time. I posted a tutorial for my costume here.