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Amanda Pendolino
May 06, 2013

How to Throw a Great Gatsby Theme Party


I’m wearing my Forever 21 art deco earrings and listening to Jake Gyllenhaal read The Great Gatsby audiobook to me. Can you tell I’m excited for Baz Luhrmann‘s film to come out May 10?

While we wait ever so patiently, let’s celebrate Gatsby-style — with a theme party! Here are five ideas to make your 1920s art deco flapper party worthy of Jay and Daisy:

1. Costumes

The best thing about this era is the fashion: cover yourself in sequins, metallics, pearls, big jewelry, drop-waist dresses, headpieces and fringe! Of course, the guys can dress up too — and this is actually an era they’ll be excited to dress up for. Zoot suits, suspenders, hats, vests and wing-tipped shoes are all part of the ensemble.

2. Cocktails

Gin and whiskey were all the rage in 1920s cocktails, and we love the idea of serving Gin Rickeys, since they’re mentioned in the book. Here’s a recipe from My Luscious Life:

  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • carbonated water
  • 1 lime wedge

Pour the lime juice and gin into a highball glass over ice cubes. Fill with carbonated water and stir. Add the lime wedge and serve.

Other ideas from My Luscious Life include the Mint Julep, the Martini and the Sidecar. Meanwhile, DIY-Cocktails offers up instructions for making other 1920s cocktails such as a White Lady, Southside Cocktail, Clove Club, Fallen Angel and Ward 8 Cocktail. The last one is made with rye, orange juice and grenadine — which was a popular concoction during Gatsby’s time.

3. Soundtrack

Many of the songs from The Great Gatsby soundtrack have already made it to the Internet — so round ’em up and make a playlist for your party! They’re delightfully anachronistic, and I’m especially digging Emeli Sandé’s cover of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.”

You can also check out all the 1920s playlists at 8tracks!

4. Silent movies

The first talkie, The Jazz Singer, hit screens in 1927 — so most of the 1920s were marked by silent movies. Show one on your TV for the ultimate ambiance! Check out a list of the Top 100 Silent Era Films here.

5. 1920s foods

A lesser-known part of the 1920s was its foods — but you’re going to need to eat something after you down a few Gin Rickeys! Here’s a list of foods that were popular in the ’20s, from Yahoo:

1920 – Eskimo Pie & Good Humor
1921 – Wonder Bread & Wheaties
1922 – Gummi Bears & Clark Bars
1922 – Vegemite
1922 – Girl Scout Cookies
1923 – Popsicles
1924 – Pineapple upside-down cake
1924 – Texas hot wieners
1926 – Ice cream sandwiches
1927 – Kool-Aid & Pez
1928 – Heath Bars
1929 – Twizzlers and Caramel Corn

Girl Scout cookies and Twizzlers? Um, yes!