Jessai Flores

Party themes to college students are like a deck of cards to a four-year-old. An adult appreciates the nuance of the diamond, the heart, the ace and the role every card plays in a well-constructed game of gin or poker. The toddler looks at the deck and finds great delight in 52-pickup. 

There are few notable standouts, scattered about the floor. The ace of spades is Gatsby, or anything James Bond themed. The Joker is the white lies and red flags combo that is surprisingly fun, especially considering the hassle of parsing through your closet for a sacrificial short-sleeve. In the end, every card looks just about the same. You show up, usually dressed somewhat monochromatically. Throw on an embellishing element: a headband, a funky sock, etc. You take your cute little pictures in front of the cute themed backdrop and BAM. The caption is ready: “When the white lie isn’t a lie!”; or “Gatsby believed in the green light, and so do I”; or “I spent way too much money ordering this outfit from Amazon for this theme, so someone please tell me I look good.” 

A theme is a cry for help: “We needed extra validation to throw this party, but at least you’ll have something to talk about with everyone because at least you’ll all feel a little bit stupid on your way to High Street as grad students trek to the Well™.” Plus, when in your life are you ever going to meet a room full of people in sports jerseys but who are actually participating in the Inebriated Olympics? When are you going to unapologetically dress up like a member from ABBA and proceed to be catapulted off of a mechanical bull? What about when “black and gold” leads to a passerby offering half of your friends condolences for their recent loss and begging the blinding blinged-out outlier for mercy? When I Googled “college party themes,” the first article promised that “your guests won’t leave from boredom.” Gimme, gimme, gimme! 

There are a few themes, however, that make me automatically want to attend a function. Anything but clothes or anything but a cup? I love getting extra fashion value out of my Ikea purchases. Ugly Holiday Sweater parties? Yes. Time to pull out my Harvard sweater — I didn’t get waitlisted for nothing. Last but not least, any theme with an “and” or an “or:” mathletes and athletes, snow pants or no pants, heaven and hell. I am there, and you’d best believe I will be dressed like Urkel just won a lottery ticket and decided to go to Aspen. 

I could throw in a nice little line about how themes really just give us one more reason to gather with our dearly-held college friends. Or a line about how having themed parties is one way to abate the looming doom of “dear God I only have four years here what do I do.” This is stupid. It’s a party theme. It’s not that deep. However, I will use this reflective, meditative conclusion to argue for the good-ole-fashioned cocktail party: you get dressed up,as you like, you show up,with whoever you want, and you party as you like. You mingle, schmooze and giggle, all without the help of a chintzy deck of themes. I have no trauma informing this opinion, merely the genuine desire to spend my money elsewhere. A party is a party. 

Now, if someone wants to bring up the subject of playlists …

Anabel Moore edits for the WKND desk. She previously wrote for the WKND, Magazine and Arts desks as a staff writer. Originally from the greater Seattle, WA area, she is a junior in Branford College double-majoring in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and the History of Art with a certificate in Global Health.