Who says you can't throw a fun party on a tight budget?

Fun, Cheap Party Games for Adults

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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Fun Cheap Party Games for Adults

I am hosting a dinner party for a dozen or so adults and want to play some games after we eat. Can any of your readers suggest some fun yet cheap game ideas? The cheaper the better! I do not want to purchase any pricey board games, nor do I need any drinking game ideas since a few of my friends do not drink alcohol. I am really just looking for fun simple games that will keep us all laughing.

Fun and a Great Way to Get Acquainted

I had a New Year's Eve party years ago. I remember people laughing and getting to know each other through this game.

When each guest arrived, I had index cards, a pen, and a basket. Each person was instructed to write something about themselves that was unusual or that no one would easily guess and to place the card in the basket upside down.

After an hour or so, we played the game. The index cards were given out to someone other than the author. We sat in a circle. The first person would read their card and guess who wrote it. If they were incorrect, a volunteer would be chosen next. The person who guessed correctly was the next one up.

Charades Kicked Up a Notch

We discovered Charades, a free smart phone app. Instead of one person silently acting out something for a group to guess, this app works in reverse. One person holds the phone to their forehead, and everyone else tries to get that person to guess what is on the phone's screen. You can shout, sing, act it out, etc. It can get really hilarious! There are over a dozen categories, such as sports figures, movies, music, geography, and so forth.

There are pop-up ads in the free version, but we just close them out and keep going. There is also a kids' version with categories like Disney characters, cereals, toys, and animals.

New Rules to Old Games

One thing is just to make new "rules" for the games you already have. I recently went to a party where we played Uno, but the new rule was we had to immediately burst into song when it was our turn or we lost our turn. It kept us all laughing for hours!

Minute to Win It Theme

I put on a party with a "minute to win it" theme. There are a lot of ideas on Pinterest for easy, cheap games that will keep everyone active and laughing like crazy. I tied tissue boxes around people's waists at the back and put in several ping pong balls. The contestants had to shake and shimmy until they got all the balls out. There was another game where there were two quarters in the bottom of a pair of panty hose. Using only their fingers, people had to slide their hands in to get the quarters. Another game was to place a cookie on a person's forehead and only using face muscles, they had to get the cookie into their mouth without it falling off. Everyone had a ton of fun and I only spent a few dollars at a dollar store.

Survey Junkie

Have Everyone Share Ideas

I suggest that you have each couple bring a game or game idea with them to the party. Perhaps include a space on the RSVP card to allow the invitee to write in the game and/or game idea. Then, if there are duplicates, you'll have a heads-up. You will also know what room, table, or other items that will be required to accommodate these activities. I wish you a load of laughter!

Simple, But Fun

A very simple game is to offer pencils and a sheet of paper to all participating. Then have them put the paper on the top of their head and use the pencil to make a picture. It could be a Christmas tree or a stocking, or put a bunch of themed ideas in a bowl and have someone choose the picture. When you can't see what you're drawing, it's funny!
Jen in Morrow, Ohio

Hilarious Outcomes

Here's a simple but hilarious game. Each person is given pencil and two slips of paper. On slip #1, each one completes the question "What would you do if...?" On slip #2, they complete the answer "I would..."

Each person's question and answer can be as serious or as silly as they wish (rules can be included with instructions as appropriate to the group, such as language, innuendos, etc.), and the answer doesn't necessarily have to relate to the question.

One person collects all the #1s and another person collects the #2s. Reader #1 randomly selects a slip and reads the question and then reader #2 randomly selects a slip and reads the answer. The random combination makes for some hilarious outcomes.

Play the Dictionary Game

This is the original, free version of Balderdash. One person picks a word from the dictionary that they think no one will know the definition of, and writes the correct definition on a slip of paper. Each of the other players also writes a definition (made up), on slips of paper, trying to make it sound as plausible as possible. Then the person who wrote the correct definition gathers up all the papers and reads them out loud. Each player votes for the definition they think is correct. Players earn a point for guessing the correct definition and for each vote your incorrect definition receives. The person who has the dictionary doesn't earn any points that round. Pass the dictionary to the next person and continue. Play for a set number of rounds, and the highest score wins.

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Enjoy the Game That's Fun for All Ages

The universal age game played at our neighborhood parties is Pictionary. You can make up some cards on your computer and print them in different colors to separate the groups. You just need a dry erase board or news print on a board. Our local paper sells the end of rolls of newsprint. You can separate your cards into age groupings if you desire. Enjoy!

For Those Musically Inclined

This requires a little bit of preparation from those participating. If you've been online recently, you might have seen the new game of Lip Sync Battle For example, see the Lip Sync Battle between The Rock and Jimmy Fallon here.

I think that this could be a very fun game if everyone is committed to it and taking it seriously. Have fun!

Never Too Cool for This Game

My friends love the game Pit. It's been around for over 50 years and is best played with a crowd. The game is about $10 at Target or online and even the guys in the group who are too cool to play board games had fun with this game!


A great party game for adults is one that I learned at college under the name "Celebrities". Hand out slips of paper--say, five per person--and have each guest write the names of five well-known people on them. These can be real celebrities or just people you all know; fictional characters are also allowed. Put all the names in a hat. Then divide the guests into two teams. Team members take turns pulling names out of the hat and trying to get their teammates to guess the name without saying it. Set a timer and go through as many names as you can in a minute, keeping the slip whenever your team guesses one correctly. When the minute is up, it's the other team's turn. At the end of the game, the team that guessed the most names is the winner.

editor's note: Amy blogs on EcoFrugality.

Reviewed December 2017

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