8 Very Fun Ways To Celebrate Your 21st Birthday That Aren’t Clubbing

Although the legal drinking age in our fair country is 18, we have adopted the American rite of passage that is the 21st birthday celebration.

While this can feel like an obligation to go out on the town and get hammered, that certainly isn’t for everyone. There are plenty more creative ideas for your 21st for those who aren’t into the club scene.

#1 Scavenger Hunt

There’s nothing better than pitting your friends against each other with some healthy competition, and a scavenger hunt does just that. It could be collecting items you’ve hidden around the neighbourhood, or challenges you’ll have your guests complete. It’s indisputably funny to watch your friends running round your neighbourhood like headless chooks, and it’s likely to be an experience they won’t forget in a hurry.

#2 Murder Mystery

What kid didn’t have a moment when they dreamed of being a detective? (Mine was inspired by Benadryl Cabbagepatch in Sherlock.)

The classic murder mystery party has a bit of a rep for being lame (gasp!) but it’s all down to your guests — encourage them to be as over-the-top as they can with their characters, as the more involved they are, the more fun the night will be.

#3 Thrifting

There’s nothing better than a cheap outfit, and thrift stores can be full of surprising hidden gems. A thrift-themed party is enviro-friendly (and gives your inner greenie the warm fuzzies), plus a whole bunch of fun as well. Award prizes for the person with the most glamourous, most unique, or most out-there costumes.

#4 Potluck

Your 21st birthday is the gateway to adulthood. But even if you don’t totally feel like an adult yet (and let’s be real, who does?), you can still act like one. Even if it’s just for one night.

Hosting a potluck not only reduces the cooking on your end, it also gives your friends an opportunity to show off their killer culinary skills. It doesn’t have to be a boring, stuffy deal — add some booze and a great playlist, and it’s just like your old-school house parties with a little added class.

#5 Wine And Painting

Nothing screams “we are grown-ups” more than a night of wine and painting. You could visit a professional studio that hosts special events, or just set up some canvases and an esky in your backyard. Add some mood music and a subject to paint (nude models, if you’re brave) and you’re set to go.

#6 Movie-Themed

There’s no real limit to what you can do with a movie-themed party. Think Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Great Gatsby, Harry Potter — anything you and your friends are into can be inspiration for the big event. Concoct signature cocktails, deck out your venue in decorations, and pick a prize for best costume. Let your imagination run wild.

#7 Masquerade

We all died a little inside when Sam had a heart-to-heart with Austin Ames in the fairy-lighted gazebo but he DIDN’T RECOGNISE HER under her TINY-ASS MASK. Harness that Cinderella Story magic in a masquerade party.

At the very least, it’s an excuse to break out your finery and drink some champagne (or cheap wine from a fancy glass), and feel like the prince or princess that you truly are.

#8 Spa Night

You can dress the classic spa night up or down as much as you like; have a full-blown professional treatment, or just mix up some DIY face masks in your kitchen. The only real essential for the spa night, or any good 21st celebration, is good company.