Updated on: Feb 18, 2024
The Oktoberfest party is a fun historical event. It started when Germans would get rid of all their beer before they start brewing again in the fall. When we say getting rid of their beer, we mean drinking it down and having a good time. Oktoberfest usually falls at the beginning of October, but in the current state of the world, you’ll have to take the right precautions to hold a COVID-19 safe Oktoberfest party. With masks and social distancing being followed you can bring the fun of Munich to your backyard with the best Oktoberfest party at home!
This complete guide will make throwing your own Oktoberfest party easy and fun. Choose from a large variety of Oktoberfest food, music, games, and most importantly beer! It will be a celebration your guests will be talking about for a long time.
Oktoberfest Party Decorations
Decorations are so important for the aesthetic of your Octoberfest. Since it’s usually hosted in the fall, make sure there is an autumnal element to your decor. Here are a few party ideas for your Octoberfest:
1. Photo Banners
Decorate and create a fun selfie activity by adding a photo banner backdrop to your Oktoberfest Party.
2. German Posters
Anything German will go well with your Oktoberfest party. Go online and look for German posters to hang around your party.
When choosing decorations for your party, make sure you stick to a color scheme that is reminiscent of Oktoberfest. To do this, choose the colors of the German flag -black, gold, and red or the colors blue and white that represent harmony and peace. You could mix in some orange since this is the month of Halloween. You can use these colors on various items such as balloons, confetti, or tablecloths.
4. Biergarten Signs
When creating your ideal Biergarten it helps to add signs. There are several Biergarten signs on Etsy or Amazon you can use for your Oktoberfest party that you can keep long term as a memento of your event.
You can make or buy an inexpensive wreath for your party. Traditionally wreaths are hung above the dance floor during Oktoberfest. Making a homemade one is very easy and there are tutorials on YouTube.
Usually held outdoors, that is the ideal setting for an Oktoberfest party. Set up a pop-up canopy in the backyard with tables. The outside can be decorated with banners, balloons, and signs.
7. Mask Station
Make it clear that guests cannot participate if they don’t have a mask. Encourage guests to bring their own masks, and set up a table with disposable masks just in case they forget.
8. Oktoberfest Banners
Use banners to decorate the outside of your Biergarten canopy or outside railings to give it some character.
9. Oktoberfest Lanterns
Decorate the inside of the Biergarten tent with Oktoberfest lanterns.
10. Oktoberfest Balloons
A party is never complete without balloons to signal where the party is.
11. Beer Mug Weights
Have beer mugs placed around to perform certain roles for you such as holding down balloons or holding flowers.
12. Lederhosen and Dirndl
Oktoberfest Party Favors
13. Party Favor Boxes
There are some neat Oktoberfest party favor boxes that you can put your guest’s party favors in.
14. Polka CD
Remind your guests of the great German music you played at your party by giving them a CD to take home! Make a compilation of your favorite German music and hand out copies to your guests as festive gifts.
You can't have a party without candy! Usually, there would be a bowl of candy at a party, but to avoid everybody putting their hands in the same bucket, you could make small goodie bags. It is good to find some German candy to fit the theme as well.
16. Oktoberfest Candy Wrappers
There are Oktoberfest candy wrappers and stickers available to put over mini candy bars or Hershey’s kisses. A party favor box is never complete without some sweets!
17. Engraved Beer Mugs
What better way to remind your guests of your Oktoberfest party than to give them beer mugs to take home? Even better if you can get their names engraved on them.
18. Beer Can Coolers
Customized beer can coolers would make an interesting Oktoberfest gift that will make guests remember your party each time they crack open a beer.
An obvious festival choice – beer. This whole celebration would not be complete without the base of Oktoberfest. This is a great way for your guests to keep the fun going even after they leave your party. If you can, try to find a popular German beer to give them instead of American beer that they can find anywhere.
20. Alpine Hats
21. Oktoberfest Bracelets
Silicone bracelets are a common and cheap party favor to add to a party favor box. If someone sees your guest wearing it they may ask what it’s from.
22. Oktoberfest Party Temporary Tattoos
Add some fun temporary Oktoberfest-themed tattoos to your party favor boxes.
23. Photo Ideas
Set up a section of your party with a German backdrop and maybe some beer memorabilia. Be sure to have a limit for people in the photo booth to limit exposure. If you have props, be sure to include sanitizing wipes for guests to use after.
24. Oktoberfest Buttons
People also love buttons and can collect them as a hobby. People attach them to their bags or denim jackets. Those who do would love another addition to their collection.
25. Oktoberfest Ducks
Rubber ducks are a fun party favor and some people collect them as a hobby. Your guests are sure to say “wow that's cool” when they find these in their party favor box.
Oktoberfest Party Entertainment
26. German Music
Elevate the atmosphere with popular Oktoberfest songs. You could also turn it into some karaoke fun. There are several Oktoberfest music CDs and digital downloadable songs on Amazon or through Youtube.
27. Sausage Eating Competition
Order extra sausage if you plan on a friendly eating competition. Whoever can eat a plate of sausage fastest gets to win a prize such as an honorary Oktoberfest trophy.
28. Yodeling Competition
Germans are known for yodeling, so why not celebrate this by having your guests yodel? You can have contest games to see which one of your guests is the best yodeler. Not only is this fun, but it’s hilarious. It would be smart to have a mask when yodeling since people would be exerting their germs into space that others breathe in.
29. Fingerhakeln (Finger Wrestling)
Two people sit on the opposite sides of a table. Using a short-tied rope each opponent holds the rope with their middle finger and pulls their other opponent's arm in this unorthodox tug of war until one person's arm is pulled to the opponent's side of the table.
30. Drunk Dancing
After your guests have tasted different beers and have had a few drinks, have them do different dances! This can start with the electric slide and end with the chicken dance. Make sure there is enough room to dance to ensure there is social distancing.
31. Beer Stein Holding Competition
With a filled stein, hold the stein by the handle and place your arm out straight without bending it. Whoever can hold out the stein for the longest without moving wins. If your arm falls below ninety degrees you lose.
32. Pretzel Activities
Pretzels are a major part of Oktoberfest. Having your guests create their own pretzels at the party would be such a fun idea.
33. Beer Pong
It's not a drinking party without a game of beer pong! Use some extra Oktoberfest plastic cups and some ping pong balls to play a game of beer pong.
34. Alphorn Music Ideas
A famous instrument in Germany is the Alphorn. Let your guests get a taste of how to play by making your own. To do this, grab some cardboard paper towel rolls and paint them brown. Then, have your guests blow into them to make sounds.
35. Beer Pitcher Painting
Everyone can make their own beer pitcher to remember the celebration and use it for future drinking. These pitchers can be bought online or in a store and the paint can be found at almost any store.
36. Barmaid Strength Competition
In this relay race, you may want to focus on your strength rather than your speed. The goal of the competition is to balance as many filled or empty (host’s choice) steins as you can at once and make it to the end of the relay first or with the most beer left in the steins.
37. Beer Drinking Competition
Get a giant barrel full of beer and two steins or fill the guests’ plastic cups and have two participants chug as many full beer glasses as they can in two minutes. Winner to drink the most wins their own stein.
Oktoberfest Party Food Ideas
Oktoberfest is all about the beer and food. There are so many great food options to incorporate into an Oktoberfest party from appetizers, main dishes, and desserts.
Oktoberfest Party Appetizers
38. Snack Station
If you’re having a larger gathering, you may want to opt for snack foods instead of a full meal. This can be done easily with a few snack stations spread out around the party. Set out a few dips and pretzels for people to snack on.
An easy way to make this covid friendly is to purchase small plastic containers that are meant for things like ketchup and put small portions of dip into each of them.
Also, put the pretzels in little snack bags so nobody is sticking their hand into a bowl.
39. Bavarian-style Soft Pretzels
Bavarian-style Soft Pretzels are a common starter of any Oktoberfest Party. They are best served hot plain, with German mustard, or Obatzda (a Bavarian cheese delicacy).
40. Charcuterie Board
Serve a cheese platter with iconic German cheeses like Muenster, Limburger, Butterkase, and rye or pumpernickel bread.
Now let’s look at the main entrée options.
Oktoberfest Party Main Entrees
A thin piece of pounded meat cutlets fried in fat. Could be made with different types of meat such as veal, pork, beef, chicken, mutton, or turkey.
42. Kartoffelpuffer (Potato Pancakes)
Similar to latkes, Kartoffelpuffers fried potato pancakes can be served either savory or sweet. For savory, pair with yogurt herb sauce or pair with a meat entrée in place of boiled potatoes. For sweet, add powdered sugar and pair with apple sauce.
43. Bratwurst or Weisswurst (Sausage or White Sausage)
Sausage (and potatoes) is a staple of German cuisine. Bratwurst is usually made of pork while Weisswurst is a traditional Bavarian sausage that is made of ground veal and pork back bacon. The traditional cooking method is to boil the sausage with a pinch of salt and serve with sweet mustard. As for eating Weisswurst, and this may sound strange to those unfamiliar, the traditional method is to suck the sausage out of the skin in a technique Germans call zuzeln.
44. Roast Chicken
At any Oktoberfest event, you will see many rotisserie chickens. It is very easy to get ready-made roast chickens at the supermarket or you may make your own roast chicken in the oven.
45. Schweinebraten (Roasted Pork)
German roasted pork shoulder is slow roasted and served in a delicious, rich sauce. It is best paired with sauerkraut and boiled potatoes.
46. Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat (Swabian Potato Salad)
The Swabian-style potato salad originates from Swabia, a region in Southern Germany. You can create this dish with Yukon gold potatoes. They are boiled and sliced into uniform slices, and then combined with onion, beef broth, vinegar, salt, pepper, and mustard. The potatoes soak up the flavor and then are garnished with chives.
Homemade sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) takes a minimum of three days but the longer it sits the better it will taste. If you cannot plan that far in advance, check your local supermarket. It is an iconic side dish to pair with a meat entree.
Spätzle are deliciously soft egg noodles with a dumpling-like texture. It is meant to be eaten with gravy or cheese or seasoned with herbs and used as a side dish.
Oktoberfest Party Desserts
49. Apfelweinkuchen (German Apple Cider Cake)
German Apple Cider Cake is delicious and beats apple pie. It tastes just like apple cider with a layer of cream on top.
50. German Chocolate Cake
What's the difference between German Chocolate Cake and other types of chocolate cake? Using German chocolate, the chocolate is sweeter and has less cocoa than devil’s food. This type of chocolate is preferred by those who love sweet things but not the bitter aftertaste of cocoa.
Strudel is a layered pastry dessert filled with an often fruity sweet filling.
52. Praline Cake
A German chocolate praline cake would also be a fun option for your party. It is not a hard recipe to make and will be a crowd-pleaser.
Cider donuts or fried dough would be a great treat after a salty meal. To prevent any sickness exposure, make sure they are individually wrapped or handed to guests so that there isn’t any contamination.
54. Gebrannte Mandeln (Candied Almonds)
You have probably had gebrannte mandeln or candied almonds before. They are almonds coated in sugar and incredibly addicting.
Of course, it is not an Oktoberfest Party without beer.
Oktoberfest Party Drinks
A traditional Oktoberfest in Munich would serve beer from Augstiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbraü, Paulaner, and Spaten. If you cannot get your hands on an imported version, check your local liquor store for Märzen or Oktoberfest style brews.
56. Apfelschorle (Apple Spritzer)
You may also want to give people the option of non-alcoholic beverages as well. Apfelschorle is a common non-alcoholic drink in Germany using a combination of mineral water and apple juice.
57. Orange Cola
Orange Cola is also a popular non-alcoholic drink. You can recreate it with a combination of Fanta, Coca-Cola, and lemon.
Oktoberfest Party Supplies
58. Oktoberfest Plates
Paper plates are the best choice for a large party with a lot of food. There will be plenty to clean up after the party is over and you don't want to spend time washing dishes during a hangover.
The blue and white argyle tablecloths are a common Oktoberfest decoration. The colors signify harmony and peace.
Choose napkins that will match your plates and tablecloth.
61. Customized Drinking Cups
Using customized plastic cups adds a nice touch to your party. They can be used for your guests to drink out of, used for beer pong, and as a party favor. If it is too much for your budget you could also use paper cups.
You can use any silverware you would like. There are plenty of bulk plastic options available on Oriental Trading.
Oktoberfest Party Invitations
63. Lederhosen Invitation
This “Loosen your Lederhosen” invitation will remind your guests to dress the part in their lederhosen or dirndl and that there will be a lot of food at your event.
64. Beer Invitation
Let your guests know there will be a lot of drinking and beer games at your Oktoberfest party with a beer themed invitation.
65. VIP Invitation
This VIP customizable invitation will make your guest feel like an important person and signal that you put a lot of planning into hosting a quality event.
66. Ein Prosit Invitation
Let your guests know there will be plenty of beer and pretzels are your event with this Ein Prosit Invitation.
67. Birthday Party Invitation
Oktoberfest Party Ideas: Conclusion
Who said you need to go to Germany to enjoy an Oktoberfest party? With these ideas, you’ll be sure to feel like you’re right in the country. During these unprecedented times, it is still important to stay safe and follow COVID-19 precautions. So, say “prost” or “cheers” to everyone around you and start celebrating!
Written by Shannyn Apolaro and Nathan Rogers; Contributor: Jack Leduc