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Cheryl Leahy - How to Host an Adult Game Night

How to Host an Adult Game Night

When I was little, my parents rarely left us with a babysitter to hit the town. Instead, they gathered their friends for a game night and relegated the children the basement (where we inevitably watched inappropriate television and gorged ourselves on Doritos and other 80’s goodies).

If you’re inspired by game nights of the past, why not throw your own adult game night for your friends? I hosted one last year and it was an absolute riot! We got together with our neighbors the Saturday after Thanksgiving when we were all “familied out” and we laughed until our turkey-stuffed bellies hurt.

Here’s what I did to make my party a success and how you can too with minimal effort!

Cocktails for the Win!

Keep the theme going with a cocktail that plays right along. How about a Gold Medal Martini? Rim a martini glass with extra-fine sugar. Shake 3 oz. of Ketel One Citroen Vodka with juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon and 2 tsp. extra-fine sugar. Strain into glass and sip away!

Do you have beer lovers bringing their A game? Sketchbook Brewery has a Double IPA named Night Game that has a touch of honey for a unique game night-themed brew.

Attire: Get Comfy!

Since we were all slightly stressed from the holidays and ready to just relax, I asked all guests to come in their favorite PJ’s. We had footed onesies, matching flannels and someone even wore just a robe with (maybe?) nothing underneath. I wanted my guests to feel comfortable, and what better way to do so than to chill in your bedclothes?


Since “Game Night” is already a throwback, why not go full on “blast from the past” and serve food from your childhood? Totino’s Pizza Rolls are my absolute favorite snack from back in the day. I used to pop them in the microwave after school and burn my tongue every single time. You can either buy the original or make your own. There are tons of tutorials to help guide you in your quest for cheesy goodness.

Finger foods that don’t create a massive mess are key for game night. Who wants grease on their Game of Life? Sauce on their Scattergories? Mini pretzel dogs are two-bite treats that your guests will rave about and devour in seconds.

For dessert, make basic brownies and add dots of white frosting to create dominoes. Feel free to use a box mix. Ghiradelli’s turns out better than even my homemade batches! You can also make a Rice Krispies Treat chess board. It’s easy! Make a pan of the treats as usual and cut into squares. Top alternating squares with chocolate and vanilla frosting.

Want to create simple game night appetizer and dessert plates? Simply grab plates from the Dollar Store and a black oil-based Sharpie. Draw different dice configurations on each plate and place in the oven. Turn oven to 250 and heat for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and let plates cool inside.

The Games!

In terms of actual games, you need to read your crowd. Are they a a rowdy, occasionally crude bunch who doesn’t mind a little political incorrectness? Or are they strategists, prepping for the mental challenge of brain busters weeks in advance? Here are a few of my favorite games in each category:

A Little Lewd but Laughable:

Cards Against Humanity

Watch Ya Mouth NSFW Expansion

Bad People

Code Names Deep Undercover

Brain Power:

ThinkFun Escape the Room


Apples to Apples



Social Butterflies:

Camera Roll

However you decide to party, make sure to keep the competition friendly and the theme strong!

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