30 New Year's Eve Game Ideas
Whether you’re throwing a New Year’s Eve party for friends or planning an intimate gathering for just your family, you will need to keep your guests entertained. Check out our loaded-with-fun games to keep the energy up until the stroke of midnight.
Get the Party Started
- Find Your Other Half - Brainstorm famous couples from history, movies and current celebrities — George and Martha Washington, Han Solo and Princess Leia, Beyoncé and Jay Z. Write each name on separate sticky notes. Stick one name on the back of each guest. Guests mingle around the party while asking yes and no questions to other partygoers. The goal is to figure out who you are and then find your other half.
- News Headline Charades - Look back and research silly or “good news” stories from the past year’s headlines. Write headlines on slips of paper. Fold and place in a bucket. Let your guests in on the news headline theme. Using the charade rules, get people to act them out until someone makes the right guess.
- Party Conversation Starters - Think of questions about the past year that guests will have to answer in front of the group. The goal is to get your guests to think back on the past year to find their own personal answers. Your sample questions could include — one moment that you care to forget, newsworthy event that impacted you the most and your biggest lesson you have learned. The lucky guests get to tell something great while unlucky ones could reveal an embarrassing moment.
- Popular Song Lyrics Match - Write down the catchy lyrics of popular pop songs of the year. Cut them in half, fold and place in a hat. Hand each guest one slip of paper. Instruct guests to find the other guest with the rest of their song. While playing this game, have a few of the tunes playing in the background to punctuate this matching game.
- Fool’s Fortune - This game is not a serious one, but a way for your guests to use their creative thinking skills. Encourage guests to complete the following sentence: “In the coming year, I will…” by writing something creative down on a slip of paper. Midway through the party, read aloud for big laughs. Then, the writers can reveal their identities.
Coordinate the New Year's Eve party snacks with a sign up. SAMPLE
- Ribbon Dance - Hold a bunch of three-foot length ribbons so the ends dangle loose. Instruct each dancer to grab one end of the ribbon, and then let go of all the ribbons. The two people who are holding onto the same ribbon will be dance partners. It’s a great game to encourage everyone to participate while creating funny dance partners.
- Pop Culture Trivia - Before the big night, come up with a 20-question list on pop culture and events that happened over the past year. Some ideas: Grammy for best song, which team won the World Series and what movie won an Oscar for best picture. Your guests will have to rack their brains to remember some of your “history” questions.
- Sparklers Station - You’re never too old to enjoy a sparkler or two. Fill up a bucket with sparklers on an outdoor deck or balcony. Sparklers are a safe option instead of fireworks. Plus, they are fun props for photos.
- Kisses Countdown - Number chocolate kisses on the bottom from 1 to 12. Place 12 numbered cups upside down and form a circle (like a clock). Randomly place kisses out of numbered order under the cups. Participants will uncover one kiss at a time and place it under the correct hour in the corresponding numbered cup. Player must complete and have the correct kiss under the correct hour before time runs out.
- Two Resolutions and A Lie - It’s a New Year’s twist on the classic game of Two Truths and A Lie. With this game, guests will have to figure out which two resolutions you really want this year and which one is completely made up.
- Karaoke Sing-Off - Research the top songs of the year. Using the 20 most-played hits, encourage guests to sing their hearts out. For an added twist, list song titles on slips of paper and have guests draw a song to sing.
- Capture the Big Night - Hire a teen or family member to snap photos throughout the night. Another option is a photo booth, which is a great way to keep guests entertained on their own. Hang a New Year’s Eve-inspired backdrop. Add props such as silly masks and party hats.
- Freeze Dance - Dance to the biggest hits of the year. When you randomly stop the music, dancers have to freeze in motion. Whoever makes the last move is out. The last dancer dancing is the winner.
- Guess Whose Resolution - Encourage guests to write down one of their New Year’s resolutions. Put them all in a hat, then select one at a time and read aloud. Your guests will need to play a guessing game to find out whose resolution it is.
Minute To Win It Games for Kids and Adults
- Party Blower Destruction - Before your party, start collecting empty soda cans and purchase a bag of party blowers. The object of this game is to knock over six soda cans using a party blower without using your hands. The first to knock over all the cans wins.
- Pop the Confetti - Fill five balloons per player with confetti. The competitors must pop all five balloons in the allotted time using their hands while wearing heavy winter gloves. Divide your guests into teams to encourage cheering on their teammates.
Organize a New Year's community service day with a sign up. SAMPLE
- Tiara Toss - Set up any upright item that a player can toss a tiara around — broomstick, the leg of a chair, etc. Give participants three New Year’s Eve-themed tiaras. Establish a line for players to stand behind. Players must keep trying to ring the tiaras until their time is up.
- Ball Drop - Participants must stand on a chair and attempt to drop ping-pong balls into a bucket on the ground behind the chair. Before the time is up, each player must successfully land three ping-pong balls into the bucket. Ramp up the fun by putting players on teams.
- Keep Up Your Resolutions - Blow up three balloons per person. Write a typical resolution (such as eating healthy, going to the gym more and saving money) on each balloon. Hand out three balloons to each guest — who must keep all three balloons in the air for a full minute. The person who keeps them up the longest is crowned the winner.
- The Sands of Time - Players search through a large plastic bin or wooden bucket of sand to find letters to spell out “Happy New Year” or “Auld Lang Syne” before the time runs out.
- Shake Your Booty - Fill a tissue box with ping-pong balls and attach a belt or rope to the box so you can tie it around someone’s waist. Have the opening facing out. Players must shake their booties to get all the ping-pong balls out before the time’s up.
- Happy New Year Around the World - Look up how different countries say “Happy New Year.” Create a chart — listing countries on one side and mixing up the answers on the other side. Print charts out and give one to every guest. The object of the game is for each partygoer to match the correct way a country says “Happy New Year” by drawing a line to a guess.
Ways to Entertain The Kids
- Noise Maker Scavenger Hunt - Within a given room, hide all noise making party supplies. Tell the kids how many items have been hidden. Once everything is found, your younger guests can put their noisemakers to use when the clock strikes midnight.
- New Year’s Celebration Slime - Before the party, prepare a batch of clear slime. Divide evenly into bowls — one for every kid attending. Cover the bowls until guests arrive. Let kids design their own slime with red or blue food coloring, glitter and confetti. Have plastic bags on hand, so they can take home with them.
Stay fit in the new year by organizing fitness classes with a sign up. SAMPLE
- Fireworks in a Jar - A fun science game will amaze your child attendees. You will need clear glass jars, oil, water and food coloring. Before the gathering, fill jars with water about ¾ full. To begin, give a bowl to each kid. Place several tablespoons of oil in each bowl. Let kids add drops of different food coloring and lightly stir with a fork. Then, each child pours this mixture into a glass jar to watch the liquid fireworks explode.
- Balloon Pop Countdown - Blow up one balloon for every kid. Write a time on each one (such at 7:45, 9:30, etc.) until you have enough random times until midnight. Write these times on slips of paper and let each child draw one slip out of a hat. Whichever time slip the children draw, they get to pop the corresponding balloon. Hang balloons within easy reach for the kids.
- Clock’ Em - Hide an alarm clock within a given space. Set it to ring in five minutes. Your younger guests search for it before it starts to ring. If your guests range in ages, consider adding an additional clock in a higher and harder hiding place.
- Face the Cookie - Give those holiday cookies one last hoorah. Have guests tip their heads back and place a cookie on each player’s forehead. Using only facial muscles, players move the cookie to their mouths. This one is sure to bring out tons of laughs.
- New Year’s Bingo - It’s a classic game that still delights today. Download free printable game boards and pieces online. Print on cardstock. Consider laminating to make more durable. If you have a lot of younger guests, use game boards with images. Use chocolate kisses to mark spaces.
- Personalized Party Hats - Download free printable party hats onto cardstock. Let the kids make and color them for fun party hats. Don’t forget to have fun add-ons like glitter and pompons. Each kid’s personality will shine through their own special creation. You could even take it a step further with a party hat fashion show!
Consider awarding prizes to the winners and let your guests earn bragging rights for the night. Adding New Year’s Eve-inspired games will make your party just the right way to start the year to come.
Sara Kendall is a freelance writer and mom of two daughters.