No Packing Necessary!
Setting the scene: Get great decorating inspiration from the biggest bash in Latin America—Carnival! Recreate the street festival scene by incorporating tropical colors. Or, choose bold green and yellow, the colors of the Brazilian flag. You could also strew brightly colored sarongs across chairs to bring the beach feel indoors.
Activities: Brazilians like to incorporate music into every aspect of their daily lives—so make sure your party has plenty! The samba—one of the world's most famous dances—originated in Brazil, so make sure to have plenty of space for a dance floor. Play traditional samba music or add variety with a few bossa nova songs for a different vibe.
Food: Go all out with a Brazilian barbecue, called a churrasco. Use large wooden skewers to cook your favorite cut of meat on a charcoal grill. Serve with a traditional Brazilian side dish of black beans, empanadas and fried yucca.
Drink: Serve your guests caipirinha, a lime and sugar cane drink that packs a punch. After dinner, break out a strong cup of Brazilian coffee.
Party favor: Make sure your guests bring the party home by giving them their own Carnival mask personalized with bright feathers and sequins.
Setting the scene: Decorate your home in a safari theme and use garden torches to set the mood outdoors. Create your own beautiful centerpieces using tropical flowers and eucalyptus leaves.
Activities: The didgeridoo is a long, wooden flute created by the Aborigines, thought to be the oldest wind instrument in the world. Purchase didgeridoos for your guests to try out or make your own out of PVC pipe.
Food: Fire up the barbecue—shrimp on the barbie is a must! Oysters make a great appetizer, and a fresh fruit salad—with plenty of kiwifruit—is the perfect side dish.
Drink: Did you know Australia is the fourth largest exporter of wine in the world? Find a great bottle of Shiraz, Australia's most popular red wine.
Party favor: Send your friends home a handpainted boomerang, a classic Aussie souvenir.
Setting the scene: Welcome your guests by hanging "Cead Mile Failte" in your home's doorway, which means "100,000 welcomes" in Irish. Recreate Ireland's rolling hills with green tablecloths and place settings while you set the mood with traditional Celtic music playing in the background.
Activities: Create your own Blarney Stone! Tradition says if you kiss the stone, you will be given the gift of eloquence. Just remember—you must kiss the stone upside down to receive its magical powers.
Food: You can't go wrong with corned beef and cabbage—the perfect Irish dish.
Drink: No Irish theme party would be complete without Guinness! Make sure you have tall pint glasses on hand. Another great option is Irish coffee made with whiskey and heavy cream.
Party favor: Send your friends home with good luck by providing them with a four-leaf clover as a parting gift.
Setting the scene: To give your outdoor party a Tuscan feel, sit guests at a wooden table with no tablecloth. Use empty Chianti bottles as candle holders. Hang fresh herbs like basil or rosemary in bunches for aromatic appeal. Fill the air with the sounds of Luciano Pavarotti or Andrea Bocelli.
Activities: Italians are renowned for their love of sports, and though it might be tough to hold gondola races in your backyard, you could inspire guests with an afternoon of bocce ball or soccer.
Food: It's no surprise that the national dish of Italy is pasta! There are hundreds of ways to transform your penne into a masterpiece. Try using some of Italy's favorite accompaniments like sundried tomatoes, olives, roasted red peppers or parmigiano reggiano. You can even get the evening started with a tasty bruschetta or melon wrapped in prosciutto. And for dessert, gelato or tiramisu!
Drink: It is said that the average Italian drinks 26 gallons of wine a year, so why mess with tradition? But if you do, go with an Amalfi Coast favorite...Limoncello!
Party Favors: Don't let your friends go home empty-handed! Create a gift bag with a bottle of wine, some good olive oil and maybe even some chocolate-covered hazelnuts.
Setting the scene: Since bullfighting is a big part of the Spanish culture, use "matador capes" (or bolts of red fabric) as table cloths. Use traditional gaucho hats as decorations and even fake bullhorns as centerpieces. Set the mood with some classical guitar music.
Activities: One of the most popular and traditional art forms in Spain is flamenco dancing. Hire a group of dancers to perform for your friends—or better yet, bring in an instructor so you and your guests can learn the moves yourselves!
Food: What would a Spanish party be without tapas? The "little bites" are the perfect party finger food. For a main course, try seafood paella. And to sweeten the deal, créme caramel!
Drink: Wine, wine, wine...and sangria (also made with wine).
Party favor: Send you guests home with a CD of flamenco music, castanets and what else? Wine!
Setting the scene: To bring a touch of Parisian architecture into your home, decorate with posters of famous French landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe or the Louvre. Try placing French lavender throughout your home to fill the air with the unmistakable sweet scent of the countryside. And, what French-inspired party would be complete without featuring the fleur-de-lis? Look for linens embroidered with the mark, or accent napkin rings by adding one on top.
Activities: While soccer is a big sport throughout Europe, few countries are as known for cycling as France. Before your big dinner, you could have your own—more leisurely—version of the Tour de France in your neighborhood. (Winner gets out of washing dishes!)
Food: The French know food, and they know it well. Set up a crepe bar complete with sweet and savory fillings. You can also make the classic, coq au Vin, quiche or fondue. For dessert, crème brûlée!
Drink: Champagne, wine, pastis (aniseed-flavored aperitif) or cognac.
Party favor: Send your friends home with their own berets, some flaky croissants and one of France's famous "stinky cheeses."
Setting the scene: Take this party outdoors and use nature as your decorating muse. Arrange seashells, coral, tropical fruits and tons of brightly colored flowers. Add some lovely wind chimes to accent the breeze. And, don't forget reggae and steel drum music. You could also get a recording of the sound of waves crashing on the beach. Ahh, now that's relaxing.
Activities: Hire someone to come do traditional hair braiding. And, the kids will love a game of limbo.
Food: There's nothing like the tastes of the tropics. Serve your guests any variety of fresh seafood, or if they're really brave—jerk pork or chicken! Coconut shrimp is another crowd pleaser.
Drink: Anything with rum...or daiquiri or colada in the title.
Party favor: Give your friends the perfect little beach kit with a towel, sunblock, flip-flips, sunglasses, a book...let your imagination run wild.
Setting the scene: Decorate your home in all white with brilliant bursts of azure blue. Fill vases and bowls with bright yellow lemons, and place candles in beautiful gold votive holders.
Activities: Yes, they are known for discus and javelin throws, but this Mediterranean country also knows how to dance! Get everyone on their feet!
Food: Nothing screams Greece like lamb kebabs, feta, olives, oregano, olive oil, eggplant, seafood, hummus, tzatziki, grape leaves, spanakopita, moussaka, baklava...the list goes on and on.
Drink: Only one choice here—ouzo!
Party favor: Send friends on their way with a make-your-own-Greek-salad kit. Pack it full with the best olives, olive oil, fresh oregano and feta you can find.