After all, what does the big festival in Munich have that you don’t? Other than the millions of visitors, dozens of acts and entertainers, and hundreds of tents, vendors and carnival rides…Ok, so maybe that wasn’t such a fair question after all.
But what you do have is an opportunity to take one of Germany’s most famed celebrations to the comforts of your own home—or an appropriate nearby venue.
We’re going to help you through it, one Oktoberfest party tip at a time.
10 Tips to Host the Ultimate Oktoberfest Party
You know the basics of an Oktoberfest party—beer, tent, pretzels—so we won’t cover those. The following Oktoberfest party tips will help you incorporate the details that make an Oktoberfest party a true celebration. Impress your guests with the finest Oktoberfest party they’ll ever see outside of Munich!
Tip #1: Bier garten. Nothing is more Oktoberfest than a festively decorated beer garden. You can create your beer haven underneath a big tent or out in the open of your own backyard. Just make sure to provide plenty of picnic table-style seating that’s sturdy enough to support the dancing, seat-switching and large amounts of food and drinks for which guests are likely to use the table—simultaneously, no doubt. Decorate your beer garden with lights, wreaths and streamers, and lots and lots of color.
Tip #2: Munich brews. While there are six traditional Munich breweries that provide beer for the big celebration, you can choose whatever beers you think would fit your party. Keep in mind, though, that guests will likely ask something along the lines of “Where’s the German beer?” In the event that soliciting kegs of traditional Oktoberfest beer is out of your reach and/or too expensive, you can still go the domestic route, but consider purchasing a select amount of Munich-produced bottled beer with which to launch the party. Later, use the empty German beer bottles to line the tables as a part of your decorations. For example, such beer can include those brewed by: Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu, Löwenbräu, Spatenbräu.
Tip #3: Carnival games. Oktoberfest is an actual festival with plenty of carnival rides and games to entertain guests of all ages. Even if your party is going to be an “adults only” celebration, you can still incorporate games, making participation mandatory or voluntary at your own discretion.
Tip #4: Cookie necklaces. This dessert treat that serves two purposes: first, it showcases a special message or a guest’s name, and second it makes for a delicious late-night eat. These heart-shaped decorated cookies are worn around the necks of loved ones, children and adults alike. Consider creating necklaces as trophies as prizes for the carnival games.
Tip #5: Ein Prost. The traditional “kick-off” song to any German drinking celebration. Use this opening gesture as an opportunity to cheers to great friends, great food, even better drink, and the heck-of-a night ahead of you all.
Tip #6: Roasted chicken. The smell of roasted chicken is just about the only thing present at an Oktoberfest celebration, and it’s usually strong enough to overpower the aroma of beer. Treat guests to delicious roasted chicken, halved and served with a side of potatoes, just like the German vendors offer their visitors in Munich.
Tip #7: Blue and white. These unofficial colors of Oktoberfest should line every table in your beer garden. The famous checkered pattern can be found covering tables and hanging from ceilings in almost all of the tents in Munich. Consider blue and white streamers to add a splash of color and festivity to your beer garden enclosure and/or your beer tent.
Tip #8: Decorative sweets. Much like the cookie necklaces, sweets serve two purposes at an Oktoberfest celebration, the first being decoration. Hang sweets and treats from your beer tent ceiling, like they do in Munich. Write messages and phrases on some of those treats and hang them with big pretzels and cookie necklaces. As the night goes on, guests can grab a treat from the ceiling to munch on while they enjoy your party while also inadvertently helping you clean up your venue.
Tip #9: Glass mugs. Das boots are popular, but the 1-liter glass mugs are the most common way traditional Oktoberfest celebrators prefer to drink their beer. Of course, 1-liter is quite large, so consider offering guests a smaller-sized glass mug as their drinking vessel for the evening. As a party favor, let guests take their beer mugs home to remind them of all the fun they had at your event!
Tip #10: Lederhosen. Yes, people at Oktoberfest really wear traditional German ensembles. When you put together all of elements of a really great Oktoberfest party, having guests dress in the traditional garb really is the icing on the cake. It makes the celebration feel like the real thing. As a host or hostess, you’ll be expected to be wearing this type of outfit. Don’t have one? Well, you’re in luck, because Oktoberfest celebrations are so close to Halloween that you can visit the nearest costume shop and find appropriate outfits for men, women and children alike. Then, after the party, you can store it away until next year’s celebration!