When you decide to throw a picnic there are so many different options available it can almost make your head explode. So a great idea is to narrow your focus by picking a great picnic theme at the off-set. I’m a big fan of selecting a country and then trying to bring together all the wonderful aspects I love about that nation to my picnic blanket.
International Food-Based Picnic Themes
British – Afternoon tea with scones, clotted cream and jam is quintessentially British and makes for great picnic food. Throw in some gin and tonic and you have the makings of a great picnic party.
Chinese – Fresh spring rolls, crispy shredded beef and spiced duck salads are just some of the tasty authentic dishes you can enjoy at a Chinese themed picnic.
French – French picnics conjure up images of croissants, cheese boards and fine wine. What more could you possible want from a themed picnic?
Indian – Spice! Surely that’s the first word that comes to everyone’s mind when you think of Indian food. And if you’re like me a nice spicy picnic sounds like heaven.
Italian – Italian food needs no introduction, there must be an Italian restaurant on every main street through out the country. And thankfully, a lot of the favorites make great picnic food.
Mexican – Fresh food and powerful flavors. Everyone has their No. 1 Mexican dish, but whatever ones you bring to a picnic you’ll get no complaint – It’s all tasty.
Spanish – Tapas and picnicking fit together like a hand in a glove. Finger food in individually sized portions will have everyone smiling.
Thai – For a more adventurous picnic theme try a Thai picnic. The food is generally harder to make and there is a risk your guests might shy away from them, but if you pull it off it’s well worth it.
Adult Picnic Themes
Casino – Everyone loves the glamour of a casino theme night and the options available are vast. You have a range of games from poker, roulette, blackjack and craps. Many games can be played by just bringing a pack of cards, dice or miniature replicas of the casino equipment. Or you can splash out on more expensive poker and roulette tables. Games can be played for real cash or you can hand out fake money and the overall winner gets a prize.
Baby Shower – There’s no better way to celebrate an expected birth than to throw a picnic baby shower. You’ll have the standard good food and good conversation, but being outdoors opens the celebration up to a host of amazing baby shower games.
Drinking Games – Not for the faint hearted. This picnic theme is likely to end with lots of sore heads. Remember, the point of this is to have a fun time and not memory loss, so don’t be too aggressive with the strength and quantity of alcohol that will need to be drunk.
Pub Quiz – A popular night out with British folk and an increasingly enjoyed night amongst Americans is a pub quiz. There are plenty of pub quiz apps you can use for this or do a list of questions that are personalized towards your friend group. Break the group up into teams (which is a good ice breaker) and have fun being quiz master for the evening.
Kid-Friendly Picnic Themes
Circus – What I liked most about going to the circus as a child was the food. Cotton candy, toffee apples, popcorn and corn-dogs. Just thinking about them has me salivating! Add clown face painting and some juggling balls and you have the makings of a perfect circus themed picnic.
Teddy Bear Picnic – For younger kids you can do a teddy bears picnic where everyone gets to bring their most treasured cuddly toy.
Water Games – On a hot summers day there is nothing quite like playing around with water. You can keep this simple with water balloon fights or super soaker battles. You can also take things to another level by buying/hiring a Slip ‘N’ Slide and a dunk tank.
Picnic Games Olympics – This can be as simple as just bringing along some bean bags, hula hoops and a skipping rope. Split the group into different teams and have members compete in at least one activity each. Prizes can be given to the winners.
Costume Picnic Themes
Pirate – Great hats, fake parrots, wooden legs, eye patches and swords. Pirate costumes have to be the best of all the fancy dress ideas. And any excuse to drink copious amounts of rum and constantly growl ARRR!
1920’s – I’ve put 1920’s but you can pick any decade for a picnic theme. I’ve always been a fan of the hairstyles, dress sense, music and sophistication of the 1920’s so this my default era to go for.
Superheroes – We all have a favorite superhero or have dreamed of having a super power. So why not bring out that inner child and throw a superhero picnic?
Halloween – Not a fan of the standard Halloween night of traipsing around from house to house to build up a big stack of candy? Then an alternative is to host a Halloween picnic party. You’ll have pumpkin lanterns for light, plenty of Halloween games, scary stories and great costumes to help keep everyone entertained.
Food Group Picnics
Seafood – A seafood platter, sushi and oyster are just a few of the ideas for a seafood picnic. And if these items haven’t got you mentally planning your next picnic with a ton of seafood ideas then I think you’ve lost your mind :)
Spicy Food – I’m not talking about just splashing hot sauce on everything. There are a host of unusual spices available that complement different food. Experimenting is what I enjoy.
Healthy Food – A great idea for a potluck picnics. Everyone has that one healthy dish they truly like eating because it’s tasty and not just for the health benefits. So let’s have people share these foods and help keep us all fighting fit.
Activity-Based Picnic Themes
Scavenger Hunt – A fun game for small or large picnic groups. Scavenger hunts can be as easy or hard as you want with loads of ideas available online. All you need to do is a bit of planning.
Sports – So many activities can be played just by bringing a ball to a picnic. Sports theme picnics are always a big hit with guests, although I’m not sure if it’s the sports or the sporting arena type food of pizza, burgers and hotdogs that’s putting the smiles on everyone’s face.
Music – With the advancements in technology over recent years you’ll not need a live band or DJ to provide a good selection of music at a picnic anymore (of course if you’re having a company picnic this might still be a better option). You can now have great music with a phone and a Bluetooth speaker or by bringing a portable record player.