There’s a reason people flock from all over the world to be together on New Year’s. It’s not because anyone wants to be crowded or cold or because they love a good porta-potty experience. Nobody likes those things. But we do crave the company of a mass amount of people as we celebrate the year to come. Maybe it’s because we feel an intense bond to the whole of humanity at year’s end — a kind of kinship with others as we step bravely into the future. Or maybe it’s just because partying our heads off as the ball drops is insanely fun.
On New Year’s Eve, we want to cheer in a crowd, toast with champagne, hug strangers (and maybe make out with them), and scream cathartically as the clock strikes midnight. In short, it’s a holiday during which it feels deeply wrong to be alone. But that doesn’t mean you need to race to NYC or Tokyo. You can throw a hell of a rager at your own home (and there’s a pretty convincing case to be made for doing so).
Even if you’re partying on a slightly smaller scale than Times Square, NYE is still a great time to go big. Let your house party pay homage to some of the wildest nights on earth by stealing inspiration from these epic bashes.
Full Moon Party NYE — Koh Phangan, Thailand
The monthly Full Moon Party on Thailand’s party island, Koh Phangan, that has become synonymous with freedom from inhibitions and basically complete debauchery. Every month it draws tens of thousands of young people to the beach to drink and do drugs and all sort of other things (some of these things involve fire). And New Year’s on the island is like Full Moon Party on steroids (or maybe the Red Bull they pump into their bucket drinks to keep you awake and partying all night). It’s a night where anything goes and party-goers decorate themselves head to toe in neon paint in hopes of having the wildest fun of their lives.
How to recreate the vibe at your party: Go for a full tropical theme and invite guests to wear flip-flops and beachwear. Buy lots of glow in the dark neon body paint and then spend the evening painting each other, everyone trying to top the other’s designs. Chug your red bull, alcohol surprises out of a bucket (it will be gross but you’ll stop tasting it after a while), turn on the black lights and dance all night long. No one is allowed to stop until the sun comes and all responsibility and “adulting” should be left at the door.
Prohibition NYE — Los Angeles, U.S.
Prohibition NYE is a giant 1920s themed party at Los Angeles’s Union Station that features various stages with musical acts, an open bar, burlesque, and wild costumes at every turn. Being that it is in LA, people go really all out on the dressing up. Basically, it’s the perfect excuse to look glamorous in a way you can never get away with in everyday life.
How to recreate the vibe at your party: A roaring 20s party may be the world’s best and most fun party theme and that’s ESPECIALLY true on NYE. So pour the champagne, send out those Gatsby invites, slap on a your fanciest duds, and try not to run over anyone with your car (like always take the fun theme parts and ignore the murder-y parts. Gatsby was just about parties, right?)
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Decadence Festival — Arizona, U.S.
This two day EDM festival that takes place simultaneously in Denver, Arizona, and Utah is absolutely packed with awesome upcoming artists and is a huge scene every year. This year’s Arizona outpost will feature Skrillex, Porter Robinson, and Eric Prydz. It’s an absolute blast and ideal for anyone looking for that “rave vibe” to ring in the New Year.
How to recreate the vibe at your party: Skip the cocktail hour and fancy dinner to host a late night dance party. Rent strobe lights and disco balls, don’t have anyone come until ten or 11, move all of the furniture out of the living room, and then create an EDM playlist that you can dance to all night long. Just remember to hydrate. Dancing can leave you thirsty.
Reveillon — Copacabana, Rio De Janeiro
It’s not exactly a surprise that Rio throws one of the biggest and craziest New Year’s parties in the world. The place knows how to get down. Reveillon is an amazing festival for your senses with crashing waves, young party-goers decked in all white, and a backdrop of stunning fireworks. It feels like you’ve stepped into another world, if only for a night. Celebrate on the beach where the champagne flows so freely — with hopes of ending up soaked in it.
How to recreate the vibe at your party: White parties do not just have to happen in summer on Miami Beach. This year, have your New Year’s guests wear all white for luck, and you’ll feel a little like it’s summer. Deck the house in bright colors to create great backdrops for your white-clad guests to take pics. The little bit of creativity (and dressing challenge) will be a fun twist on a normally more wintery and sparkly holiday.
Old Year’s Night Party — Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
This tiny island swells from about three hundred residents to thousands on New Year’s Eve and it’s known for being a hot spot for hobnobbing with the rich and famous (it’s hard to be a normal person when you have to sail to get there). This year, the epic party at Foxy’s bar is themed as the “Nauti Yacht Club” so expect a nautical theme but….slutty? Sexy sea anemones and such. All night concerts rage on the beach and VIP areas abound for the extra rich.
How to recreate the vibe at your party: Time to go full yacht club on this one. Dress however you imagine rich seafaring people might dress. Perhaps they wear pearls! Perhaps they wear fancy one-piece bathing suits, perhaps you believe all rich people are just octopi crammed into human skin and sometimes an arm sticks out accidentally, we don’t know. Serve rum-based drinks and apps of shrimp and oysters and constantly describe a boat you have docked outside that gets more elaborate with every retelling. YOU OWN A BOAT. A GIANT, WONDERFUL BOAT. You keep several horses on it. Several.
Hogmanay — Edinburgh, Scotland
One of the most unique and packed NYE festivals in the world, Hogmanay is so popular it’s now capped at 100 thousand people (four times that used to flood the narrow streets). There are a lot of activities all over the city, but one of the most famous is its torchlight procession in which thousands carry torches through the streets to a fireworks display. In general, the three-day festival is just a ton of fun where the parties in every bar flow in and out of the streets.
How to recreate the vibe at your party: Buy or rent a fire pit for (a safe way to have) outdoor reveling around dancing flames. Cook s’mores, sing, and warm your hands on the mesmerizing fire. Just don’t parade through the streets with lit torches. Tends to scare the neighbors. Especially the new tenants in apartment 8B, the Frankensteins.
Fireworks — Sydney, Australia
Sydney is a super fun place to go for New Year’s Eve for many reasons, but a big one is certainly that they have one of the most spectacular fireworks displays in the world. This year, it’s supposed to be record setting. It’s the perfect place to start your night with a little awe and ring in the New Year before hitting up the bars.
How to recreate the vibe at your party: At midnight run outside with sparklers for amazing pictures. It’s not the same as a giant fireworks display in one of the world’s most stunning locations, but it’ll be pretty, and, you’ve had a lot of champagne so sparklers in the snow may be the safest bet. Please don’t set off any fireworks, fam.
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The Sunburn Festival — Pune, India
Asia’s largest music festival is known to draw in huge EDM names and hundreds of thousands of young people ready to ring in the New Year with epic parties and music. Technically, it ends just before New Year’s but it’s basically a NYE party… right?
How to recreate the vibe at your party: If your friends really want to do the bar scene or a restaurant on New Year’s, have a pre-NYE party a few days before at your place. Get dressed up, have great music going and celebrate the New Year with everyone (before you go your separate ways). You have Christmas parties all December, why can’t New Year’s be a month of parties and fun as well? Now it is. You’re a pioneer. And a hero, friend. A true party hero.