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More Niche Themes For Your Next Penn State Party

Last year, we brainstormed Penn State party themes way more creative than your typical, overdone Jersey Shore-themed functions. Although this theme, and many others, are tried and true, they get old after a while.

In honor of the upcoming toga-themed day, we decided to run it back and come up with even more Penn State-inspired niche party ideas to spice up your event. Whether it’s for a 21st birthday pregame, post-gameday apartment party, or small get-together, here are some ideas for your next function.

Penn State Current Icons

For this theme, each party-goer gets to pick their poison from a slew of Penn State icons.

For example, if you want to sport a bald cap, headset, and a Nike sweat set, then you’re set to pull up to the function as James Franklin. If you’re feeling presidential, grab a bob-cut wig, a pair of glasses, and a pantsuit to pull off Penn State President Dr. Neeli Bendpudi. Now, if you want to be the life of the party, you can grab a pair of jeans and a red hoodie to show off that Willard Preacher look.


Two major blockbuster hits, one party (that’s hopefully also a hit). After all the buzz from “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” and the TikToks surrounding both movies, how could you not want to have a double-feature party? Although this isn’t Penn State-specific, we actually have our very own Barbie at Penn State… TikTok sensation Katie Feeney. So, it’s pretty on-brand.

The ladies can grab every article of pink accessories they own. The gents can rock a fit paying homage to Ken, the OG simp, with either a tracksuit or a Hawaiian shirt if you’re feeling lazy. If you’re a guy who isn’t on Team Barbie, you can show up in a brown or black suit, a fedora, and a tie to make the party ~explode~ with energy like one of the many scientists from “Oppenheimer.”

Penn State Squirrels

We know ’em, we (kinda) love them. So why not turn those little critters into a fun theme?

After a squirrel made its debut on the football field during the Penn State-West Virginia game, it’s safe to say this theme is sure to make each party-goer go nuts.

Grab some fuzzy ear headbands, a faux-tail, and a brown or gray shirt, and you’re all set! If you’re feeling extra nutty, you could grab some trash to stick onto your shirt, or maybe even a football to show that football fanatic fur ball some appreciation.

Dress Like Your Major

Surely, you know the typical stereotypes for each major. Now, you can embrace those stereotypes by dressing up as your major.

If you’re studying business, grab your suit and maybe a briefcase (filled with brews, naturally). If you’re a nursing major, all you need are some scrubs and a syringe filled with the vodka of your choice. If you’re a STEM major, you can rock a lab coat with a drippy fit underneath. If you’re a communications major, you can rent out a camera and be the party’s own personal photographer. The list goes on, but you get the gist.

Signature Bar Drinks

We all know the bars downtown have some immaculate signature drinks. You can never get enough of them. If they taste good (and get you drunk fast), then they’ll certainly look good as a party fit.

If you’re feeling ~dirty~ make a splash at the function by wearing a purple-coded outfit to plug Champs’ “dirty sprite.” Or, you can sport a trashy look, with a Redbull in hand, of course, by going as the Phyrst’s signature drink, the Trash Can. Again, the list goes on.

Nittany Lion

This theme is pretty simple. Grab a pair of lion ears at McLanahan’s and call it a day. However, you can’t forget his iconic blue and white striped scarf.

If you want to be the best-looking lion at the function, you can sport one of the Nittany Lion’s many elaborate costumes like Prince, Cher, or Ferris Bueller, to name a few. These guys might take a little more effort, but the payout will definitely be worth it.

Downtown Eats

After the party, you’ll most likely find yourself pounding El Jefe’s, D.P. Dough, or Yallah Taco, to name a few. Bring those late-night eateries to the function by dressing up as your favorite downtown grub spot.

Find a cheap taco suit online, or make your own out of old t-shirts, and choose to represent either El Jefe’s or Yallah Taco.

WARNING: This WILL cause a heated debate.

If tacos aren’t your thing, you can grab a white shirt and a white, feathery boa, and roll up to the function as a chicken, honoring either Are U Hungry or Big Dean’s Hot Chicken.

Happy drinking, Penn Staters.

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About the Author

Evan Halfen

Evan Halfen is a junior broadcast journalism major from Newark, DE, and is one of Onward State's writers. Evan loves all things Penn State, tailgating, being loud, just about any beach, and his puppies, Butterscotch and Wentzy. You can direct all your suggestions, roasts, and jokes to his Instagram: @e.evan.halfen.n or email: [email protected]

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