Dorm Party Ideas

After a long week of running from class to class, stressing out in the library, and juggling work, internships, and relationships, there’s really only one good way to let loose: party! Here’s how to throw a party in your dorm room and make the most of the funner side of college. 

Tips for throwing a dorm party

College is pretty much synonymous with parties. But if you’re going to throw a party -- and especially if you’re going to be throwing it in a tiny dorm room owned by your university -- you’ll need to do a little preparation ahead of time. 

Get very familiar with your dorm’s rules. 

If you’re living in campus housing, it’s likely that your dorm has plenty of rules they expect you to follow. So to avoid jeopardizing your position at your residence (or even getting in trouble with the university itself), brush up on the rules: check when quiet hours begin, familiarize yourself with alcohol rules, check how many visitors are allowed in your room at a time, et cetera. A little bit of forethought can go a long way here! 

Let your neighbors know (or better yet, invite them over). 

Nothing can throw someone off of their study game and have them filing an official complaint to your RAs quite like hearing people screaming next door. Especially if they had no clue that there was a party happening to begin with. Get cool with the neighbors in your building and keep them in the loop if you do plan to have a ton of people over so that they can prepare themselves -- and so that you can avoid awkward confrontations later.

Keep your invite list exclusive. 

Dorms are notoriously small spaces, and more often than not are just one small room with your and your roommates’ desks and beds. So it’s a good idea to keep the invite list as small as makes sense for your room. While random tag-a-longs are sometimes inevitable, this will keep down your guest list (and minimize your risk of running into trouble for exceeding the allowed guest count or noise levels).

Hide anything you don’t want to risk getting stolen. 

Inviting a bunch of people into your room can sometimes be a recipe for disaster if you have a ton of valuables and a bunch of randoms visiting for the first time. Unless you’re absolutely sure that only your closest and most trusted circle is going to be around, stash your valuables and expensive stuff somewhere safe. 

Ideas For Throwing A Dorm Party

Have a themed dress code. 

There’s almost nothing that says college party quite like a theme. So you might as well play it up! Set a theme for your party and tell your guests to dress accordingly. Some popular options include: 

  • ABC: “anything but clothes”
  • Decades: 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s 
  • Stoplight party: wear red if you’re taken, yellow if “it’s complicated,” and green if you’re single and ready to mingle
  • Biker Bash: throw on a leather jacket and a vintage black T-shirt with Danny Trejo’s face on it to really set the scene 
  • Cowboy-themed: wear your best fit inspired by old Westerns 

But feel free to get creative and think outside of the box based on your friend group’s interests. Then decorate your room accordingly. You obviously don’t have to go crazy here if you don’t have the time or the money: even just putting up balloons from a dollar store can set the scene and get the good vibes going.

Curate a good playlist.

Music is arguably the backbone of any party, so you’re definitely going to want to make sure that you have the right playlist to match. You can use a music app like Spotify or Apple Music to curate a list of some of your favorite bangers and start the party. Just make sure to watch the noise level if you’re concerned about your dorm staff or RA intervening. 

Don’t forget the snacks. 

Food and snacks aren’t always available at college parties. So if you want your party to stand out, make sure you’re providing some munchies for your friends! In addition to whatever beverages you’ll be providing, whip us some light eats that will be perfect for when those late-night cravings hit (PSA: check out Trejo’s Tacos Cookbook for food ideas that are fun, not boring). 

Lowkey Dorm Party Ideas 

Of course, some dorms are just not the right environment for throwing a loud party where people are yelling at bouncing off the walls. Particularly if your RA’s room is right down the hall. So if you’re just trying to keep it lowkey and chill, you can take inspiration from these quieter (but no less fun) ideas. 

Host a themed movie night

Few things bring friends together like a chill movie night, but you can take yours one step further by setting a theme; and having some beverages and games to go along with them. Some ideas that’ll get everyone laughing: 

  • Movies with the worst Rotten Tomatoes ratings 
  • Awful singalong/musical movies 
  • Horror cult classics
  • Movies that feature a favorite actor (Danny Trejo night, anyone?) 

Bonus points for turning your movie night into a drinking game! And when it comes to movie nights, don’t forget the snacks (popcorn is a must).

Have a pajama party

Nothing says chill like a PJ party, but it can definitely still be a ton of fun. Have your friends dress in their favorite and most comfy PJs, but keep the party going with cocktails/mocktails, binge-worthy movies, and an assortment of your favorite junk foods. 

Give your game night a more fun twist. 

When you think “college party,” game nights probably aren’t the first thing that come to mind. But you don’t have to bust out the Monopoly or Candyland just to keep your guests entertained. There are also plenty of games out there that are way more interesting (and better for keeping your friends’ attention). Think…never have I ever, truth or dare, flip cup, etc. 


Throwing a dorm party can either be super chill or an all-out rager depending on your environment and your friends. Turn up the music (to a reasonable degree, it is a shared residence, after all) and have a great night!