Help make my time travel party unbelievable!
December 23, 2011 3:38 PM   Subscribe

I'm hosting a NYE party. The theme is time travel. I have a few ideas for food and drinks (and friends are bringing things, too), but can you give me some awesome ideas for making this party really fun and memorable? Any and all ideas are welcome!

More details:

I live in a two story row-home. First floor is an open floor plan with library/sitting area/dining room first thing when you walk in, and a big kitchen in the far back. We have a small patio with a fire pit. We also have a sweet TV room where we'll be showing the usual NYE stuff (ball droppin').

I'm open to any and all ideas. Food, crazy decorations, weird (but delicious) drinks, etc. One idea I had was to find/paint the TARDIS on a big roll of paper and attach it to the inside of our front door so that it looks like everyone is arriving via TARDIS. This is fairly outrageous and probably won't happen, but ideas like this are fun and welcome. We're expecting 20-30 people, more or less. Money is a little tight, so money saving tips are helpful, but don't be afraid to suggest something because of that. And, of course, we're all geeks/nerds, so don't hold back on that.

Thanks in advance!
posted by two lights above the sea to Grab Bag (35 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Well, the current Dr. Who likes fish sticks and custard...
posted by vegartanipla at 3:43 PM on December 23, 2011

826LA's Echo Park Time Travel Mart surely has some inspirational items, particularly if you're feeling crafty.
posted by ikaruga at 3:47 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Have the food table move from past to future. Maybe start on one side with rib(let)s, move to historical recipes, maybe something with aspic to represent the 60's and then crazy fusion food at the end.
posted by Muttoneer at 3:47 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't forget the Jelly Babies, they were the 4th Doctor's favourites.
posted by Trexsock at 3:55 PM on December 23, 2011

No need to celebrate midnight only once! Tilt a glass as it turns midnight in each continental time zone: New York, Chicago, Denver, and Vegas. (Hawaii & Alaska if it's a LONG party.)

You could also serve baby pteradactyl wings, or whatever.
posted by coolguymichael at 4:03 PM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Make sonic screwdrivers! I added edible gold glitter, made a very pretty and tasty drink.
posted by cyndigo at 4:08 PM on December 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Have Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventures playing on mute on the TV. You can't forget about them!
posted by Windigo at 4:08 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Clocks! Hang clocks everywhere.

I was trying to find the Futurama "we've taken on a lot of clocks" clip on youtube, but no joy.

Set up a corner of the room to look like a shop window, with a mannequin dressed in old-fashioned clothes. Occasionally go and update the look until, by the end of the evening, it's wearing modern or futuristic dress.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:12 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cut-out Morlocks at the windows! Hide a tape recorder or dictaphone behind the curtains and have it occasionally play window-banging sounds and general Morlock noises.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:14 PM on December 23, 2011

Outside, running into a wall or hedge, two lines of red and yellow paper, scrunched up to look like the fire trail left by a Delorean.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:16 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Could you play the same music on both floors, but stagger it so that the track listing for one floor is 15-30 minutes delayed from the other floor?
posted by Gorgik at 4:22 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sorry, posted too soon. You and the other hosts could script a few things that happen multiple times (a particular toast, some mishap with appetizers), but change them slightly from instance to instance.
posted by Gorgik at 4:23 PM on December 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Work up some new lyrics for Auld Lang Syne, referencing how lucky we all are to have survived the various alien invasions, dinosaur rebirths, singularities breeding homicidal computers, and having no mouth but needing to scream, that occurred between the ancient year of 2011 and modern times.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:26 PM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Put a sign on the bathroom door gently reminding visitors that the toilet should not be accelerated to 88mph.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:30 PM on December 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: If you're handy with video editing software, cut together a montage of clips of previous New Year ball-drops interspersed by static, strange graphical effects, etc. Play it on the TV twenty minutes before midnight and then shoo everyone out of the TV room for five minutes so you can make "adjustments".
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:33 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: OH MY GOD!! You guys are amazing! So many great responses so far. I'm going to wait to mark answers until I get a whole bunch more, but I am definitely doing some of these!!
posted by two lights above the sea at 4:40 PM on December 23, 2011

Celebrate New Years for each time zone, so every hour do the countdown, champagne, kiss auld lang syne the whole bit
posted by kanemano at 4:45 PM on December 23, 2011

Print up some newspaper front pages from various iconic years -- World Wars, Hindenburg, moon landing, etc. -- and soak them in tea to yellow them, bulk them out with a bit of blank paper and scatter them around.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:50 PM on December 23, 2011

And fake ones from the future!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:51 PM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Leave a sketch for a flux capacitor somewhere in the bathroom.
posted by backwards guitar at 4:54 PM on December 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Set up a self-service alcoholic smoothie bar, with blendable fruit like bananas and some spirits. Dress up your blender/food processor to look like Mr Fusion.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:54 PM on December 23, 2011

Whoever answers the door should greet guests with "Come with me if you want to live"
posted by dogmom at 5:01 PM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Get pictures of your guests from Facebook and photoshop them into historical photos - shooting Lee Harvey Oswald, standing in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square, etc.
posted by Paragon at 5:09 PM on December 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: put together a playlist of time travel related songs. The first one I thought of was Robyn - Time Machine but I'm sure you can put together a hundred more, and if necessary you can stretch it to songs about the past or future (JoCo - The Future Soon). A few tangentially relevant songs might make it fun for people to figure out how they fit in.
posted by jacalata at 5:20 PM on December 23, 2011

A plate of Jammie Dodgers on the dessert table!
posted by anonnymoose at 5:32 PM on December 23, 2011

(Protip: they're pretty cheap at World Market right now. I just bought some for my favorite nerd's stocking.)
posted by anonnymoose at 5:33 PM on December 23, 2011

Have Napoleon begin the evening collapsed in the corner complaining about too much ice cream. Have him wander through the party at various times with a giant sundae in various and random stages of consumption. Substitute the Bill and Ted reference as you see fit, but I think seeing any sort of plot line played out non-linearly would be fun.
posted by 0bs01337 at 6:19 PM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Glue three glow sticks in the shape of a flux capacitor on the underside of your toilet lid. Or wherever... but it would especially crack me up to lift the lid and spot that.
posted by argonauta at 7:06 PM on December 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Place some (fake) butterflies at various locations. When someone steps on one of these butterflies, somehow the people on the radio or TV will start speaking a different language and if you can work it in, John McCain will be the president! (I'll leave it to you to figure out how to do this ...)

Following on Stephen King's new time travel book, 11/22/63, make posters of word clouds where the words are famous dates in history: 11/22/1963, 9/11/2001, 11/11/1918, 7/4/1776, etc.

Do something similar to Starbuck's now-defunct The Way I See it program, where you put messages on your guests' drinking cups or glasses. However, for the time travel theme, the messages could be classic time travel paradoxes or questions, i.e., "what would happen if you killed your great-great-grandfather?" or "would you kill Hitler's mother?". Maybe on one side, you could have the question or paradox and the other side would be the answer or consequence.
posted by Bokmakierie at 7:20 PM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: Rather than having a mock TARDIS, or as WELL as, you could also have a fake phone booth from Bill and Ted. Or use the soundtrack.

Here's a whole list of historic menus if you want to recreate a specific meal.

Or something time-capsule related - either make up a fake one from the past that you open with everyone present, or you all create one that you will then all open on some date in the future.

The BBC America site has a whole planning guide for Doctor Who Theme Parties.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:59 PM on December 23, 2011

FYI it was an awesome party!
posted by idb at 8:28 PM on December 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Have Groundhog Day playing on mute in one of the rooms.
posted by elizeh at 10:56 PM on December 23, 2011

Best answer: This is so obvious as to be practically unnecessary, but since no one has mentioned it, make sure Back In Time by Huey Lewis and the News is on the playlist.
posted by dephlogisticated at 1:31 AM on December 24, 2011

Maybe you need some Space Age Bachelor Pad Music especially since the website is also locked in a timewarp.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 6:16 AM on December 24, 2011

Best answer: Mount a rotary phone on your wall around the corner from the action, and write "Property of Marvin Berry" on it.
posted by Beardman at 7:13 AM on December 24, 2011

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