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30 Fun New Year’s Eve Party Ideas for Food, Games & Decorations


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Many of us think of New Year’s Eve as a holiday geared toward adults. After all, the ball drops at midnight — way past most kids’ bedtimes. We toast the new year with Champagne. And we often dress for the occasion in fancy formal wear to attend adult-only parties.

But there are lots of fun ways to involve kids in New Year’s Eve celebrations. Plus, a New Year’s Eve spent at home can be as filled with activities or low-key as you want it — while still saving you tons of money on the holidays over a night out on the town or hosting a lavish party.

So if you find yourself spending the night at home with the kids, there’s no need to worry anyone’s missing out. Whether you choose to make the night a fun-filled gamefest, a dress-up dance party, or a relaxing movie marathon — there are plenty of ways to make a New Year’s Eve at home one your whole family will remember.

New Year’s Eve Party Ideas for Food, Games & Decorations

There’s no reason a New Year’s Eve at home can’t be a party. Make it as festive as you want, and decorate the house with anything that sparkles or glitters, dress to the nines, crank up the music, and break out the glow sticks. From making star-shaped appetizers to creating your own roster of countdown activities, there are tons of ways to host your own kid-friendly New Year’s Eve bash with your family.

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New Year’s Eve Party Food Ideas

Charcuterie Board Cheese Cured Meat Grapes

Food for an at-home New Year’s Eve party can be simple — like finger foods or buffets. Even easy recipes, like snacks on a charcuterie board or molded into holiday-themed shapes, take on a party vibe when festively presented. Even better, since it’s a family party, have the kids help plan the menu and prep the foods. For kids who like to cook, it can become a party activity in itself.

1. Appetizers & Finger Foods

Skip the sit-down dinner in favor of keeping the party activities going. Opt for setting out a buffet filled with easy appetizers everyone can snack on all night. Things like raw veggies and dip, crackers and cheese, pretzels, and popcorn work well for kids.

Additionally, a few easy kid-friendly appetizers perfect for New Year’s Eve include:

  • Charcuterie. Set up a snack board with kid-friendly, artfully arranged foods like crackers, cheese cubes, grapes, and carrot sticks, as shown on Love From the Oven. Or give it a holiday twist like they did on No. 2 Pencil by arranging some of the foods into numbers to write out “2021.”
  • New Year’s Snack Mix. Mix Chex cereal, pretzels, Cheerios, and M&M’s. Melt white chocolate chips in the microwave, and pour it over the snack mix. Spread it in a layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and let it sit until it hardens. Get the full recipe on Sports Mom Survival Guide.
  • Stellar Chicken Nuggets. In a blender, puree a package of thawed vegetables and an egg. Combine it with ground chicken. Spread a layer of panko breadcrumbs on a baking sheet, and flatten the chicken mixture over the top. Then, spread another layer of breadcrumbs over that, and use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut nuggets. Lay the nuggets on another baking sheet, and bake until finished. Get the full recipe on Red Tricycle.
  • Pigs in a Blanket. Kids love this oldie but goodie, and it’s also super-simple. It only requires wrapping cocktail sausages in crescent roll dough and baking them until they’re golden brown. Get the full recipe on Culinary Hill.
  • Cheesy Meatball Pull-Apart Pizza Ring. Spread pizza dough with ricotta cheese, layer on meatballs, and sprinkle on some shredded mozzarella cheese. Follow the video tutorial on Pinch of Yum to fold the dough into a ring shape, and then brush it with a beaten egg, season with oregano and salt, and bake it until it’s golden brown. Serve it with marinara sauce for dipping.

2. A Cake or Cupcakes

It’s amazing what you can do with a boxed cake mix, even if you aren’t a baking pro. Plus, boxed mixes are incredibly cheap, often selling for $1. And a cake or cupcakes can make any occasion feel like a party. Just bake up your choice of cake or cupcakes following the package directions. Then try one of these decorating ideas:

3. Christmas Cookies & Candy

When I was a kid, our family spent New Year’s Eves with another family. Their mom always set out all the leftover goodies from Christmas. I remember looking forward to it every year. Never once did it feel like she was serving us leftovers. So if you still have cookies and candy, there’s no reason not to enjoy them. Nor is there a reason to rush to the store to buy something new when you have the makings of the perfect party table right in your own cabinets. It’s all in how you present it.

4. Restaurant Delivery

If you’re not one for cooking, you can still make it a special night by ordering in using a restaurant delivery service like DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, or Postmates. Opt for a family-friendly restaurant for a fun, casual vibe. Or make it fancy with an upscale restaurant. You can even shake things up and try something different, like breakfast for dinner.

5. Mock Champagne

It’s fun for kids to toast the new year too. So while parents break out the bubbly, treat kids to their own mock Champagne. You can keep it simple and just fill a plastic Champagne flute with lemon-lime soda or ginger ale. Or you can buy the kind of sparkling cider or white grape juice that comes in a wine-like bottle.

Alternatively, make them a mocktail resembling the adult beverage by mixing ginger ale and white grape juice. Make it even fancier for the occasion with the addition of some raspberries for garnish.

Get the full recipe on Oh So Delicioso.

New Year’s Eve Party Decoration Ideas

Modern Holiday Decoration Living Room Interior

If you’ve already blown your budget on decorations for Christmas, no problem. You can repurpose many Christmas decorations for New Year’s Eve. And the dollar store is an excellent place to stock up on NYE essentials like hats, beaded necklaces, noisemakers, glow necklaces, bracelets, and wands. Additionally, tons of New Year’s Eve decorations are a cinch to DIY with materials you likely already have on hand or can pick up inexpensively from the craft or dollar store. And making your decorations is an engaging New Year’s Eve activity of its own.

6. A New Year’s Tree

If you haven’t taken down your Christmas tree yet, no judgment. Just repurpose it as a New Year’s tree. Replace the red and green Christmas bulbs with anything silver, gold, sparkly, or iridescent. You can also create a New Year’s feel by blowing up latex balloons and hanging them on the tree. Tie a string around the knotted end of the balloon and use the string to attach the balloon to a tree branch.

7. Paper Snowflakes

Anything winter-themed works for New Year’s Eve, and that includes paper snowflakes. Fold and cut them from plain white printer paper. Then, tape them to the windows or walls or hang them from string and tape them to the ceiling. You can fold them the old-fashioned way you learned in grade school or opt for kirigami style, a six-sided fold that more closely resembles the structure of an actual snowflake.

Get the full instructions on Wonder How To.

For added fun, search online for kirigami templates. You can find one for almost every interest and fandom — from snowmen to Disney’s “Frozen” to “Star Wars.”

8. Curled Ribbon Accents

Break out any leftover Christmas curling ribbon you have. Curling it into corkscrews is easy — and inexpensive — but it looks fantastic everywhere. Just scrape the blade of a pair of scissors up the ribbon, and it instantly curls.

For a New Year’s Eve vibe, try to find shiny metallics — especially silver or gold — or glitter ribbon. You can hang it from light fixtures, doorways, lamps, mantels, or even on the bathroom mirror or straight down from the ceiling. Scatter a few curls to decorate your buffet as well.

9. Repurposed Christmas Ornaments

Shiny Christmas ornaments, such as solid-color bulbs, look wonderful in a bowl as a centerpiece. But to ensure it feels like New Year’s Eve and not Christmas, skip the red and green ones. Silver and gold always work well, as do any nontraditional Christmas ornament colors like pink or blue. You can also hang solid-color ornament balls from a light fixture over a table using varying lengths of ribbon. And if you have any iridescent or glittery glass or crystal stars in icy colors like clear or pale blue, those work well for NYE too.

10. Candles & String Lights

New Year’s Eve is all about the lights, sparkle, and glitter. So the more twinkling lights, the better. Turn off the glaring overhead lights, and let the fairy lights out. While Christmas dazzled with multicolored bulbs, New Year’s Eve is the time for cool white. If you have any of these left up from Christmas, leave them out.

Also, set out any battery-operated candles you own — from pillars to votives to tea lights. For fire safety, avoid real flame candles with kids unless you know there’s no chance anyone will get near the flame. If you don’t already own them, invest in a bulk pack of battery-operated tea lights.

Make inexpensive frosted candleholders by gluing Epsom salts to plain glass jars or votive holders picked up from the dollar store. To do it, mix white school glue with water (3 parts glue mixed with 1 part water), and paint it onto the votive holder’s sides. Then, roll it in a plateful of Epsom salts. Once it dries, it becomes a sparkling frosted votive holder that appears to be covered in ice and snow.

11. Lighted Balloons

It’s not a party until there are balloons. And NYE is all about the glow. You can get two for one with a set of LED balloons. These come with built-in LED lights, which blink with various fun effects.

Or create your own lighted balloons by adding inexpensive glow sticks to latex balloons. Just crack one, work it into a balloon, and then blow it up. Even better, use an affordable set of balloon lights. These come with so many in a pack you’ll have plenty left over for other occasions — like birthday parties or glow-in-the-dark Easter egg hunts.

12. Paper Stars or Garlands

Stars are another decoration commonly associated with New Year’s Eve. Load up on dollar store paper cutouts to hang from the ceiling, prop on mantels, or scatter on tables. If you can’t find any, it’s easy to make your own. Just invest in some glitter paper. Trace stars onto the paper, and cut them out. Then tape string to the backs to hang them from the ceiling or tape them to the wall or a bathroom mirror.

Alternatively, a garland of paper stars looks stellar draped from your fireplace mantel. Cut enough stars to fit the width of your mantel from gold foil paper and gold glitter paper, and use a sewing machine prepped with gold thread to stitch them together. (If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can always go with tape.)

Get the full instructions on Green Wedding Shoes.

New Year’s Eve Craft Ideas

Happy New Year Sign Diy Decoration

Many kids enjoy arts-and-crafts activities. Growing up, it was my top-requested activity for my birthday parties. And today, my son gets excited about all the things he plans to make, no matter the occasion. When it comes to a New Year’s Eve party, the arts and crafts can involve making the decorations. But it can also involve making the party gear — like noisemakers, hats, and confetti poppers — or even engaging kids in making their own party favors.

13. Party Hats

Making a traditional cone-shaped party hat is an easy craft, and you can decorate it however you want. Raid your craft supply cabinet and use whatever you have on hand — from glitter glue to puffy stickers to self-adhesive gems.

Yield: 1


  • 1 plate (9 inches for a child, 10 inches for an adult)
  • 1 sheet construction paper or card stock at least 1/4 inch larger than your plate
  • 1 pencil, pen, or marker (for tracing)
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Hole punch
  • Transparent tape (optional)
  • Elastic string
  • Tacky glue or a glue gun and glue sticks
  • 1 tinsel pom-pom
  • 1 tinsel garland
  • Craft supplies for decorating (such as markers, stickers, self-adhesive gems, and glitter glue)


  1. Lay the plate on top of your construction paper or card stock face side down. Use the pencil, pen, or marker to trace around the plate. Use the scissors to cut out the circle.
  2. Find the center of the circle by folding it in half. Very lightly crease it, then fold the resulting half-moon shape in half from tip to tip and lightly crease it. Unfold your circle. The lines intersect at the center point. Cut a single line from the outer edge of the circle to the center point. It doesn’t matter where on the outer edge you start. You can use one of the creases as a guide to keep the line straight if desired. Create a cone shape by overlapping one side of the cut line over the other. Keep sliding one side over the other until you reach your desired shape. Staple it in place.
  3. On opposite sides of the bottom of the hat, use the hole punch to create a hole for the hat’s elastic chin strap. If desired, you can reinforce the holes by taping several layers of tape over the original hole and punching through the tape. That lowers the likelihood the elastic will break through the paper when someone puts it on.
  4. Tie one end of an arm’s length of elastic string through one hole. Place the hat on the wearer’s head, and measure the string so it’s long enough to go under their chin and tie onto the other side of the hat. Cut off the excess string, leaving 1 to 2 inches for tying, and tie the other end through the other hole.
  5. Using tacky glue or hot glue, affix the pom-pom to the top of the hat.
  6. Cut a length of tinsel garland — enough to fit around the hat’s bottom edge — and use the glue to affix it around the edge.
  7. Decorate the hat however you’d like.

Note: To add an additional layer of fun for kids, start with a free printable color-your-own New Year’s Eve party hat like the one at Happiness is Homemade. Color and embellish it however you like before cutting and folding.

14. Noisemakers

No New Year’s Eve party is complete without some way to ring in the new year, and kids love anything that lets them get as loud as they want. But no need to break out the pots and pans when you can make your own shakers, bells, and drums.

A few ideas include:

  • Wishing Drums. Start with some blank craft spin drums. You can buy these premade or follow the instructions on Kiwi Co. to make your own from a small paper mache box, a wood dowel, and yarn strung with wooden beads. Add letter stickers to spell “Wish” on one side of the drum. Spell out one thing you wish for in the new year on the other side of the drum, like “Love,” “Peace,” or “Toys.” Then paint and decorate them. Get the full instructions on No Time for Flash Cards.
  • New Year’s Bell. Remove the label from an aluminum can. Poke a hole in the center of the bottom using a hammer and nail. Tie string to a DIY pom-pom made from gold tinseled yarn, and insert it into the can through the hole so the pom-pom sits on top. Tie jingle bells to the end of the string inside the can. Then cover the can with decorative wrapping paper. Get the full instructions along with other New Year’s Eve crafts on Paging Supermom.
  • Rice Shakers. Recycle a toilet paper tube into a fun shaker by covering one end with a square of construction paper and taping it down. Flip the tube over, and fill it with a handful of dry rice. Then cover the other end with another taped-down square of construction paper. Use a third strip of construction paper to wrap the center of the tube, covering the tape. Then decorate the shaker with glitter glue, stickers, paint, or markers. Get the full instructions on Easy Peasy and Fun.
  • Paper Plate Noisemakers. Use markers, paint, stickers, self-adhesive gems, and pom-poms to decorate the backsides of two paper plates. Flip one of the plates over and glue a craft stick to the edge of the plate. For an extra-festive touch, curl some short lengths of leftover curling ribbon and staple those around the edge of the plate. Once the glue is dry, toss a handful of dry, uncooked pasta onto the plate. Lay your other plate on top, and staple the two plates together around the edges. Make sure the staples are close together all around the plate so none of the pasta falls out. You can use sequins to cover the staples. Use the craft stick handle to shake the paper plate rattle. Get the full instructions on Mom Unleashed.

15. Confetti Poppers

Tossing confetti is a time-honored way to ring in the new year. And making confetti poppers is a craft that keeps kids entertained until the hour comes. Even better, you can make it using materials you likely already have lying around.

Just gather up some toilet paper rolls, latex balloons, tape, and leftover wrapping paper. Tie a knot in the end of a latex balloon, and snip the balloon in half. Wrap double-sided tape around the bottom of a toilet paper tube, then stretch the knotted half of the cut balloon over it. Decorate the tube using your wrapping paper of choice, and put a small handful of confetti inside. (If you don’t have confetti, you can make your own using any paper and a hole punch or crosscut shredder.) If desired, cover the open end of the tube with more wrapping paper to hold in the confetti until it’s time. At midnight, remove the cover, pull the knotted end of the balloon backward, release it, and watch the confetti explode from the tube.

Get the full instructions on Thrifty & Crafty.

16. Party Favors

What’s a kid party without favors? Instead of shelling out for expensive trinkets in a goodie bag, let kids make their own.

A few ideas for NYE favors include:

  • New Year’s Glasses. Pop the lenses out of a pair of old sunglasses. Then wind pipe cleaners around them. Embellish the glasses with tinsel pipe cleaners in radiant patterns reminiscent of fireworks. Get the full instructions on Handmade Charlotte.
  • Glitter-Dipped Fortune Cookies. Melt white chocolate candy melts in the microwave, and dip the tips of fortune cookies in the chocolate. Then dip the tips in sprinkles or edible gold glitter. Set them on a parchment-lined baking tray until hardened. Package them in clear bags, and top them with the free printable bag topper that reads, “Wishing You Good Fortune in the New Year!” Get the full instructions on Happiness is Homemade.
  • Beaded Jewelry. Have kids string their own New Year’s necklace or bracelet by using a preassembled craft kit. Alternatively, you can pick out beads yourselves, which lets you choose your own favorite colors and styles. Just string them on a cord along with a commemorative 2021 pendant.
  • New Year’s Slime. Make a basic slime recipe using either clear school glue, water, and borax or glue, water, baking soda, and saline solution. Then just add a New Year’s Eve twist with some glitter and sparkly star confetti. Get the full instructions on Little Bins for Little Hands.

New Year’s Eve Party Game & Activity Ideas

Family Dressed Up For New Year Party Celebration

In addition to crafts, there are plenty of other ways to spend the night. From traditional activities like reminiscing over the past year and looking forward to the next one to action-packed games, there are NYE activities for everyone.

17. Dress Up

Even if you’re not going out, there’s no reason you can’t dress up if you want to. Host a formal affair, and dress in ball gowns and tuxedos (yes, even if it’s just your immediate family). Or don old-fashioned opera gloves, bow ties, and feather boas.

If pajamas are more your speed, make it a PJ party. Then fill the living room with sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows.

Whatever you do, giving the evening a theme elevates an ordinary night at home to something special.

18. Countdown Bags or Balloons

Giving the kids plenty of activities helps keep them going until midnight and gives them something special to look forward to. Just plan an activity for every hour until midnight. Then put each activity and the required supplies inside a bag marked with the time. If an activity won’t fit inside the bag or it’s an active game, opt for jotting it down on a slip of paper. If it’s a game you’ve never played before, you can include the rules.

Find inspiration for activities and a free printable for the bags on Hoosier Homemade.

Alternatively, you can use balloons. Write the activities on slips of paper, and place them inside balloons. Blow up the balloons, and use a marker to write the time on them as a single number, numbering the balloons 1 through 12 based on the time you want to do each activity. For the hours you don’t have an activity planned, use a different color balloon that remains empty. For example, you can use empty white balloons for hours 1 through 7 and blue balloons with activities in them for 8 to 11. Add confetti to the midnight balloon so the kids can pop it when the new year arrives. Tape the balloons to the wall in a circle — just like a clock face. When the hour comes, have the kids pop the balloon to discover what the hour’s activity is.

19. A New Year’s Photo Booth

Commemorate the night with a DIY photo booth. Hang a backdrop made of black tulle and decorate it with stars made from black glitter craft foam and silver card stock. Add giant black poster board bows. Cut photo props like lips and mustaches from card stock or poster board, and attach them to wooden dowels.

Then use your smartphones to snap pictures of each other posing with the props in front of the backdrop and post them on social media to wish friends and family a happy New Year.

Get the full instructions on the Hallmark Channel.

20. New Year’s Resolutions or Wishes

If you’re into setting New Year’s resolutions, NYE is the perfect time to talk with kids about what it means to set goals and how to create realistic resolutions. Kristen Eastman, a pediatric clinical psychologist at Cleveland Children’s Hospital, tells Parents magazine parents should open the conversation by giving examples of past resolutions they’ve made before asking children for their own suggestions.

But keep the resolutions positive, as you never want your child to feel as though something’s wrong with them. For example, it should never be “I will stop interrupting all the time,” but “I will try to listen to others.”

Also, whatever resolutions they make, ensure they’re realistic, achievable, and measurable. And that means making resolutions that are specific rather than vague. For example, instead of “I’m going to be healthier,” try “I’m going to ride my bike for 30 minutes per day.”

Alternatively, set resolutions as a family. Where would you like to get stronger together? For inspiration, see the family resolutions at Family Education.

Resolutions and goal setting work better with older children, though. If you have younger kids, skip them altogether and opt for a New Year’s bucket list. The new year is the ultimate opportunity to get excited about the possibilities of what could be. And there’s no better time than now to dream forward. So decide what that means for your family. A new place to travel? A new activity to try? A new sport to participate in?

Once your family has decided on their resolutions or wishes, write them down in a journal, on scraps of paper, or on chalkboard ornaments to hang on your Christmas tree-turned-New Year’s tree. After the holiday is over, preserve them to revisit next New Year’s Eve to discover how many resolutions you achieved or wishes came true. For example, you can place them in a New Year’s time capsule.

21. A New Year’s Time Capsule

Decorate a shoebox with markers and stickers, and label it with this year’s date. Then fill it with objects that remind you of experiences you had over the past 12 months. They could be photographs, artwork, or knickknacks — whatever you want to include.

While you make the time capsule, reminisce about your favorite memories over the last year. It’s the perfect opportunity for laughter and family bonding. If you need help getting started, an online search brings up tons of New Year’s Eve printables designed for kids to list their favorite memories and decide what they want their next year to look like.

Alternatively, make time capsule videos. Record interviews on your phones and ask each other questions like:

  • What do you want to be when you grow up? (Or for an adult, when you were my age, what did you want to be when you grew up?)
  • What did you learn this year? What do you want to learn next year?
  • What’s your favorite thing that happened this year? What do you want to do next year?

When you’re finished recording, download the videos onto a flash drive and put the drive into the shoebox.

Next year, when you open the shoebox, you’ll have a box full of memories to look back on and reminisce over. And you’ll be able to see how much you’ve changed, what’s different, and what stayed the same.

22. Letters to Your Future Selves

The act of writing a letter to your future self gives you a way to look back and ahead. How do you feel about the past year? What are your hopes and aspirations for the year to come? Who do you hope you’ll be one year from now?

Do this as a stand-alone activity, and tuck your letters into envelopes you open on New Year’s Eve next year. Or buy a journal just for this purpose, and add to it each year. You can also make the letters part of your annual time capsule tradition and read them each year along with the rest of your capsule unveiling.

23. A Year in Review

Another fun way to reminisce over the past year is to create a photo slideshow. Choose your favorite photos of the last year, and assemble them into a slideshow to watch with the family on New Year’s Eve.

Alternatively, play the free printable New Year’s Eve game from Alice & Lois. It involves reading cards with prompts like “Best Moment of the Year,” “Most Embarrassing Moment of the Year,” and “Biggest Lesson Learned This Year.” You put all the cards in a bowl and pass it around. As the bowl comes to each player, they have to draw a card and answer whatever they pull. Then they pass the bowl to the next player.

And while you’ll have to wait until next year to try this one, on Jan. 1, start a happy memories jar. All year long, as happy memories happen to them, each family member writes the moment on a slip of paper and puts it in the jar. Next New Year’s Eve, everyone reads and reminisces over all the wonderful things that happened in the year previous. It’s a way to remember even the littlest happy moments and close out the year on a high note.

24. An Indoor Campout

Even if you live in a warm climate, there’s something extra fun about an indoor campout. So pitch a real camping tent in the living room or build an old-fashioned fort with bedsheets. Then pull out the sleeping bags and flashlights. You can eat snacks, play games, watch movies, or even watch the countdown. And s’mores and hot cocoa make the evening complete.

25. Board Games or Card Games

A New Year’s Eve at home is the perfect time for a family game night. So pull out your favorite card or board games or grab one you got for Christmas. The family board games that appeal to the broadest range of ages tend to be the classics, like Clue, Life, and Monopoly. The card games Uno and Skip-Bo also have broad appeal.

26. Minute-to-Win-It Games

Minute-it-to-win-it games are fast-paced and fun. Players receive certain tasks, and to win, they have to complete the task before their minute is up. If they succeed, they score a point. If they don’t, another player gets a shot. Alternatively, you can have players go head-to-head, and the first to complete the task gets the point.

You can make the challenges up yourself or find some online. They should be difficult but not impossible. For example, Play Party Plan suggests a confetti pop challenge that involves filling balloons with confetti, sprinkles, or fruity pebbles and then blowing up the balloons. The player must pop five of the balloons in under a minute using nothing but their hands while wearing heavy winter gloves.

For even more ideas, visit Play Party Plan.

27. A Glow Dance Party

Dance parties and New Year’s Eve seem to go hand in hand, and both those things go with anything that glows, so why not combine the three? Create a playlist of your family’s favorite songs, then crack a bunch of glow sticks, glow necklaces, and glow bracelets. Turn off the lights, and go wild.

For even more fun, adjust the shutter speed on your camera and take pictures. If you slow it down to about four seconds, you can create some really neat light effects by drawing in the air with the glow sticks.

You can even do it on a smartphone. The technology in today’s smartphone cameras is so advanced that many popular models rival the features of professional cameras. Just do an online search for tutorials for your make and model to discover how to adjust the shutter speed.

28. An Indoor Mock Snowball Fight

If there’s snow outside, you can always have a real snowball fight. But if you’d rather not brave the cold or there’s nothing out there to work with, you can still have fun throwing mock snowballs indoors. Just grab a bag of jumbo marshmallows and start tossing.

Play with no rules, make up your own rules, or turn it into a game by following dodgeball-like rules: Whoever gets hit is out.

29. A DIY Ball Drop

My son is 5 and has yet to make it to midnight. But every year, we’ve watched the ball drop. You can search YouTube for a ball drop from last year and watch the video when they’re ready for bedtime. Or if you’re a Netflix subscriber, little ones can watch one of their favorite characters count down to midnight.

No matter what time the clock says, as long as you shout, “Happy New Year,” and make a lot of noise, it will be just as exciting and memorable for them. And then, after you put them to bed, you get to do your own thing at the real midnight.

You can also make your own ball drop by releasing a cascade of balloons that fall from the ceiling. Start by purchasing an inexpensive shower curtain. Tie a string long enough for a child to reach through one of the shower curtain holes. Blow up a bunch of balloons. Tape the shower curtain to the ceiling with masking tape. Then fill the shower curtain with the balloons. At midnight, let your kids pull the cord to release them.

Get the full instructions on It’s Always Autumn.

30. Festive Sparklers

Lighting sparklers is another fun way to welcome in the new year and bring sparkle and light into the darkness of winter. So have everyone step outside, light them up, and trace swirls of crackling fire bursts in the night. When you’re done, come back in and toast the new year with some mock Champagne.

Final Word

There’s never been a year more perfect for a New Year’s Eve party at home. And while most of us are more than ready to say goodbye to 2020, doing it in quarantine probably isn’t how you pictured it. But that doesn’t mean your celebration has to be any less fun.

There are still so many ways to keep your favorite New Year’s traditions alive, whether it’s toasting with a special drink, counting down to midnight, jamming to your favorite tunes, or making New Year’s resolutions. With the right mix of activities, crafts, and delicious food, you can give your family a New Year’s Eve they’ll always remember.


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Sarah Graves, Ph.D. is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance, parenting, education, and creative entrepreneurship. She's also a college instructor of English and humanities. When not busy writing or teaching her students the proper use of a semicolon, you can find her hanging out with her awesome husband and adorable son watching way too many superhero movies.