About 33 million people in the United States claim some Irish ancestry, which is about 10% of the population. That’s made St. Patrick’s Day one of the biggest holidays of the year, built around Irish food, culture and music.
Of course, you don’t have to be Irish to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day! It’s become an annual excuse to relax and have some fun for old and young, alike. That’s why those throwing a party look for both kid-friendly St. Patrick’s Day party ideas and tips for an adults only St. Patty’s Day celebration. May the luck of the Irish be with you!
Kid-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Party Ideas
Here are a few ideas to create a fun, entertaining and kid-friendly St. Patrick’s Day party.
Dress Up In Green
Now’s the opportunity for your kids to wear green clothes and dress up like leprechauns. Graphic T-shirts are also a staple of St. Patrick’s Day, from the classic “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” to toddler apparel that reads” “Part Irish, All Trouble.” It’s a great holiday for face painting, as well, with shamrocks and rainbows popular choices to paint on the kids’ cheeks.
Eat Green Food
You can make green pancakes, cookies, cupcakes or popcorn. Or just get some green milk and a box of Lucky Charms! They color the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day, so why not your food?
Games and Inflatables
You’ve got a wide selection of bounce house options for kids – that’s always a good idea for the little ones. For the bigger kids, there are plenty of thrill rides, obstacle courses and slides that can keep them entertained for hours.
Teach Irish Music and History
Ireland has provided the world with a lot of music, including “The Unicorn Song.” Put some fun tunes on in the background for your kids’ party. Also, Irish history is very tied to American history, so telling the kids a few colorful tales about St. Patrick and Irish immigrants to the U.S. is a good way to make the day memorable.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
A staple of many kid-friendly St. Patrick’s Day party ideas is to load up everyone in the car and go downtown for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. They will hear plenty to Irish music and see traditional dress.
Adults Only St. Patty’s Day Party
An adults only St. Patty’s Day party is about more than just drinking pints of beer – although, if you do serve beer, get a good Irish brand such as Guinness or Smithwick’s. Here are some other ideas to please the adults.
Challenge the adults with some competitive carnival games. These days, that means everything from racing games controlled through HD video goggles and inflatable snooker to old-fashioned favorites such as the Hi Striker Bell Ringer. Or you can go big with Giant Jenga, Giant Chess and Giant Dominoes.
Inflatable Slides (Wet or Dry)
Special Food and Drinks
Many people think of corned beef and cabbage as a dish to serve on St. Patrick’s Day, and that’s fine. But it’s also mostly an American invention. If you want to “wow” your friends with a true Irish meal, consider making
- Lemony salt-roasted fingerling potatoes
- Irish brown bread
- Steak and Guinness pie
- Shepherd’s pie
- Skillet-roasted lamb loins
- Rhubarb tart
Put On Some Irish Music
If your tastes run toward the alternative, there’s the Cranberries, U2, The Boomtown Rats and The Pogues, to name a few. But for most parties, you’ll want the more traditional sounds of the Irish Rovers or Celtic Woman. For the American version of Irish folk-punk fusion, put on some Dropkick Murphys.
Learn Irish History
If you’ve got some people with Irish ancestry, they might enjoy learning Irish history through a trivia game at an adults only St. Patty’s Day party. History.com has an entire page of Irish history where you can find some ideas for questions.
To get you started, St. Patrick’s Day is named after Saint Patrick, who was brought to Ireland as a slave from Roman Britain when he was 17. He escaped but later returned to convert Ireland to Christianity, building schools, churches and monasteries.
Legend has it that he drove the snakes from Ireland and explained the Holy Trinity to locals by using the three-leafed clover.
He died March 17, 461. Centuries later, Irish immigrants to the U.S. turned St. Patrick’s Day into a secular event that celebrates Irish food, drink and culture. Its popularity has now spread through Irish expatriate communities around the world.