When hosting a party with a mix of people (which all the best parties have—see my tips on putting together a guest list) it’s fun to have an activity of some kind to break the ice and get people mingling. Here are three can’t-fail ideas:
Detective game: At the beginning of the gathering, hand everybody a sheet of paper with instructions to find people in the room who fit different qualifications. For example, “Find somebody who has visited five or more continents,” “Which party guest has one blue eye and one green?” “Which couple were high school sweethearts?” You can tailor the questions and challenges to things that only you know about your guests. After, say, a half hour, have everybody turn in their sheets and read out the answers. The person who gets the most answers correct wins a bottle of wine or some other treat, and everyone has started to get to know each other.
A DIY photo booth: Hang a white sheet or black drop cloth in one corner next to a table of props—hats, feather boas, masks, mustaches, the sillier the better! Place a Polaroid camera alongside the props and instruct people to take photos of each other looking ridiculous, then create a spread of photos for everybody to laugh at and bring home as mementos.
A fortune teller: If it’s in the budget, hire a fortune teller or palm reader to set up in one corner (or mingle) and predict the guests’ futures. Most people will love hearing their “fortunes” and sharing them with others—it’s a great way to get people to open up, regardless of whether they believe what the fortune teller has to day.