I need some ideas for my Gypsy themed party.
September 7, 2008 8:51 PM   Subscribe

Ideas for a Gypsy Themed Party, Go!

Hey guys, thanks for all the good ideas last time. The Communist Party was an epic hit.

The party this week is going to be gypsy themed. I am going to cover my walls and ceiling with lots of draped fabrics, have many floor pillows, and serve lots of wine in jugs. I've got quite a bit of music, and some thoughts about snacks to serve, but I need more!

I'm soliciting ideas for drinks, party favors, party food (stew isn't so great at parties), games/activities, etc etc.

Thanks everyone!
posted by theRussian to Society & Culture (19 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I hope you're going to play Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves"??

And I'm sure you know already that gypsies were thought to be witches... so you have to have a pot of some funky brew with dry-ice in it. Speaking of a pot of some... oregano... well what gypsy party isn't complete without that??
posted by matty at 9:00 PM on September 7, 2008

Instruct people to come dressed as gypsies. Then bring out a plate of Gypsies followed by Gypsies.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:03 PM on September 7, 2008

And ummm, I'm like gay and stuff, but I just checked out the Communist Party pics - you're very photogenic!

And so I don't get deleted for not answering the question... how about finding a friend that can play the violin (or some other string instrument) to walk around a play for a while?
posted by matty at 9:11 PM on September 7, 2008

Soundtrack by Gogol Bordello is basically non-negotiable.
posted by Nelsormensch at 9:39 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't know how the game would work just yet, but you MUST have a game called "Blame the Gypsy". They get blamed for everything! Social ills, missing items, what have you. Maybe it could be a game where you have to figure out who has the [x]. Alternate title, "The Gypsy Stole My ____." (drink?). It could be a drinking game. Screen guests for Gypsy ancestry/affiliation first so as to not, you know, lose friends.
posted by Askr at 9:43 PM on September 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hire a professional pickpocket and set him/her loose on the guests. Give wallets back to rightful owners as door prizes.
posted by pmbuko at 9:49 PM on September 7, 2008

Consider hiring a flamenco dancer or "gypsy fusion" belly dancer to perform and/or give your party guests a brief dance lesson. Lots of fun!

Your party decor sounds great. Hope you'll post pictures!
posted by velvet winter at 9:51 PM on September 7, 2008

Best answer: Possibly at some point the Gypsy party could be horriblky ethnically oppressed by your previous party? Or is that too meta?
posted by Artw at 9:54 PM on September 7, 2008 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Be very very careful not to be racist, if you're not Romani. Understand that racially themed parties can be pulled off with some decent planning ahead of time - just imagine you're doing "black people party" to understand the thin line you're walking on. Great idea by Askr by the way, that's exactly what I'm talking about.

For music, although very charming/cool Gogol Bordello is not gypsy at all, but I'll admit it has some influences in spirit and in sounds. Real Gypsy music would be Kocani Orkestar, Esma Redjepova (the queen of all gypsies), Shaban Bajramovich, King Ferus Mustafov, Taraf de Haidouks, Boban Markovic Orkestar, and also Goran Bregović featured some very good gypsy music in his legendary album "Ederlezi" etc.
posted by GrooveStix at 9:54 PM on September 7, 2008 [5 favorites]

Some Bulgarians could show up and start a fight, From Russia With Love style. Actually From Russia With Love is possibly worth a quick view, ideas wise*.

* I suspect it may not be 100% acurate, so it may go against GrooveStixs advice.
posted by Artw at 9:57 PM on September 7, 2008

Cocktails could be called Tears of Gypsy. (the drinks may not cure cancer, but will cure sobriety)

Set up a crystal ball and make predictions. Make a drinking game out of it.

Don't wash your hair for a week.

Get some shiny beads to hang in your doorways. Really obnoxious ones.
posted by clearly at 10:09 PM on September 7, 2008

Django Reinhardt was a gypsy. Such great music - it could be very nice atmospheric background music for a party. Very rich and... gypsyish! Might be more modern than you're shooting for given that it's jazz. Check out youtube for lots of examples.

Check out the early parts of this video about him for a few nice short clips of video of I guess French gypsies in native dress, doing dances, etc.
posted by Askr at 10:11 PM on September 7, 2008

Response by poster: @Nelsormensch Of course!

@Askr Awesome, I am sure there's a way to make this into a drinking game.

@velvet winter Party's on Friday, pics after that.

@Artw I laughed for an ungodly amount of time after that comment. A meta party is definitely my next theme.

@GrooveStix Thanks for the music suggestions, I will def look those up. I certainly understand the concern, it is a fine line, but I think things will be light-hearted and an excuse to have a costume-y party.
posted by theRussian at 10:14 PM on September 7, 2008

I'm all for a Communist theme party, but I'd hope that you avoid the obvious stereotyped ideas, because so far many of them aren't any different than if you had your guests arrive in blackface and served watermelon and fried chicken and watched them pick bugs out of each other's fake afros while some of the guys pretend to rape white women or something . . . just to expand on what Groovestix said.

I think your coolness quotient would get much higher if you actually planned a "Romani" party that made some claims to authenticity. There are many Romani recipes on the internet, but (of course) a lot of what Romani people eat is the local cuisine in the areas where many of them live. You could make sarmale and what we call čevap in Bosnia (or mititei in Romania - these are small sausages made from hamburger meat and spices, Podravka sells a seasoning mix for this in my Austin grocery - Fiesta), baby stuffed peppers, corn-on-the-cob and things like that. Hedgehog! Tough to find, though!

Groovestix's musical suggestions are "real" - but kind of at the commercial end of the musical spectrum. Nothing wrong with that; at least it ensures the US availability of many of these artists. If you went the authentic route, I'd send you a CD of some more obscure stuff too. (But let me know soon, as I'll be travelling shortly.)

Cocktails? Ha. Get some tuica or palinka or slivovica and let the fun begin (these are all very roughly the same thing.

Your Communist party looks really inspired, not to mention the fact that it's deserving of kitsch and of mockery. The Romani aren't; here's a chance to have a great party without fortune tellers (sigh) and stereotypes such as unwashed hair (double sigh - most Romani I've met are fastidious within the limitations of their surroundings) and crystal balls (triple sigh.)
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 11:11 PM on September 7, 2008 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: @Dee Xtrovert Unlike the Communist Party, this one isn't mockery based. To be honest, fortune tellers and crystal balls hadn't even entered my mind. Layered skirts, jewelry/scarves, and awesome music were the main factors driving creation of this event. I'm certainly down for CD-age if you're serious about sending some authentic music. MeFi or e-mail me and I'll give you my address.

I'm definitely planning on making some Romani food - I've got stuffed cabbages and peppers on the short list. Myself and a lot of my friends are vegan though, so it's a bit difficult to prepare a lot of the things I found (and I love hedgehogs! I wouldn't want to eat them :) ). I'll see if I can try to vegan-ize some the foods you mentioned. Thanks for the heads up about Fiesta, I'm in Austin, too, so I could actually go get those spices.
posted by theRussian at 11:41 PM on September 7, 2008

Check out the movie Latcho Drom. The music's outrageous and you'll understand way more about gypsies.
posted by lois1950 at 11:53 PM on September 7, 2008

Best answer: I'd personally nix the crimey stuff, to avoid reinforcing the unappreciated stereotype. Not being Roma and using "gypsy" (and variants) is edgy enough, probably.

Food ideas:
Sausage "coins" (link sausage cut into discs) on cocktail swords with a goulashy dip (onions cooked in paprika and olive oil with sour cream would get you most of the way there)
*anything* coffee
Fried dandelion blossoms
Fried mushrooms
Anything you can make to look like roasted hedgehog
Bokoli & other things from this list
Gipsy toast
This, for sure
Gipsy bacon
Tiny jacket potatoes, with all the fixings
...since the Roma are now understood to have likely originated from North India, you can't go wrong including some Northern Indian cuisine

Other ideas:
Tossing coins into a tambourine being passed from hand to hand - could work as a drinking game
Adapt some of these activities
Have a tall-tale contest
Horse race on stick horses
Add Kultur Shock to your music selections
Take St. Sarah swimming
posted by batmonkey at 11:54 PM on September 7, 2008

Possibly have some scarves or extra little gypsyish type costume addons onhand for people who's costumes need a bit extra help or to offer as prizes.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 2:05 AM on September 8, 2008

Maybe this is the wrong trope, but I believe you need a monkey & organ grinder set-up...?
posted by ian1977 at 3:36 AM on September 8, 2008

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