Oktoberfest Party Ideas For The Ultimate Autumn Celebration

Oktoberfest Party Ideas For The Ultimate Autumn Celebration

More than 200 years ago, the first Oktoberfest wasn't an ode to craft beer and oompah bands — it was a royal wedding celebration! The reception was such a hit that the Munich locals couldn't get enough, so they held another festival the next year... and the next year... and the next year! Today, Oktoberfest involves six million tourists, millions of litres of beer, and a lot of Bavarian pretzels!

Is your brain beginning to buzz with incredible Oktoberfest party ideas?

There's no need to travel to enjoy an authentic Oktoberfest celebration, nor do you need to sustain your revelries for sixteen days! You can gather some guests, tap a keg, and enjoy the festivities in your own garden. The challenge will be fitting over two weeks of German culture into just one day!

Are you up for the challenge of hosting the most authentic Oktoberfest themed party in town? We've gathered some tried and true ideas into an Oktoberfest party checklist to help bring Munich to you! Keep reading to learn more about these 200-year-old traditions, and how you can take part this year.

Begin With Authentic Beer

When you're gathering Oktoberfest party supplies for your authentic Oktoberfest theme party, always begin with the beer! It's the one element that you're certain to find at Oktoberfest celebrations the world over.

Only six Munich breweries have tents at the genuine German Oktoberfest. If you want to throw a truly traditional celebration, you'll ensure that one (or all) of these breweries appear at your gathering.

Those breweries are:

  • Augustiner
  • Hacker-Pschorr
  • Hofbräu
  • Löwenbräu
  • Paulaner
  • Spaten

Locals call the beer from these breweries "Oktoberfestbier." Many of these breweries will ship their beer to you. If not, consider a quick trip to Munich — we think it's worthwhile!

Traditionally, barrel tapping takes place at noon on the festival's first Saturday, and Spaten is the first keg tapped. If you don't manage to bring in a keg, you aren't out of luck. Oktoberfest-inspired beers will hit store shelves in late August, so stock up on some interesting six-packs and enjoy!

You can add an extra touch of authenticity when you select your glassware. Almost all beer comes in a one-litre glass mug called a Maß. If you anticipate that your guests will be enjoying their beer all day long, you may wish to offer plastic drinkware instead!

Oktoberfest Food

A Menu Fit for Munich

Oktoberfest party food is a feast for the eyes and the stomach! A bowl of salted peanuts simply won't do!

Munich's Oktoberfest is a massive festival, and most celebrants enjoy a multi-course meal during the festivities. The most popular food might not be what you expect: roast chicken!


One of the more popular foods associated with the festivities is the Bavarian pretzel. Luckily for pretzel fans, they're also authentic! While fresh, warm pretzels served with cheese are the platonic ideal of Oktoberfest decadence, hard pretzel sticks are also appropriate.

Main Course

For the main course, you may choose to serve traditional German sausages such as Bratwurst, but roast chicken reigns supreme. You can serve both proteins with sauerkraut, red cabbage, German potato salad, or spätzel.


The most traditional pudding is a heart-shaped gingerbread biscuit: a lebkuchenherz. Other local biscuit varieties are also popular.

Oktoberfest wouldn't be complete without a serving of apple strudel or black forest cake. While German chocolate cake is less traditional, it wouldn't be out of place at your gathering!


In place of pub nuts, you might offer glazed Bavarian nuts. Glazed almonds or pecans are popular fixtures after a night of music, beer, and dancing.

Oktoberfest attire

Dress Like You're Heading for Dresden

Another fun way to keep the theme going is to encourage a dress code. While your Oompah band will probably come dressed in authentic attire, why shouldn't your guests get in on the fun? The host should always get into the spirit by coming in traditional Bavarian clothing!

Be sure not to ask guests to come "in costume." The fixtures of Bavarian fashion are traditional garments, and fancy dress should always be a respectful homage to their culture, never a mockery.

Traditional Masculine Attire

Some guests may choose to wear lederhosen, which translates to "leather pants." These leather shorts are traditionally worn with suspenders with a coordinating shirt underneath.

Masculine guests might choose to accessorise with felt hats, leather belts with ornate buckles, or a traditional waistcoat.

Traditional Feminine Attire

Other guests may choose to wear dirndls, which are essentially lederhosen with a skirt. They consist of three main components: a blouse, a dress, and an apron. The skirt should be knee-length or longer in keeping with the traditional style.

Feminine guests may choose to accessorise their dirndls with flower crowns, traditional cardigans, or braided hairstyles.

Non-Traditional Options

Not all guests will have a pair of lederhosen in the closet waiting for your invitation. Novelty shirts can add a thematic touch of whimsy for guests on a budget.

In many cases, guests can approximate traditional attire using clothing they have on hand. A pair of khaki shorts with a buttoned top and suspenders can pass for lederhosen, and a simple dress and apron make for a fine makeshift dirndl.

There's no need to make the dress code mandatory, but you should let your guests know that dressing up is a fun and festive part of the Oktoberfest experience!

Rock Out To Authentic Oompah Music

No Oktoberfest gathering would be complete without the playful and distinctive sound of a German Oompah band!

Oompah doesn't describe one particular style of music but covers a variety of traditional musical styles, including polkas, waltzes, and landler music.

Most oompah bands range in size from three to ten players. You'll commonly see musicians playing clarinets, trombones, trumpets, tubas, drums, and accordions. Every group is unique, with some contemporary oompah bands doing things in modern and unique ways!

Why is Oompah music so iconic? It has to do with call-and-response. Some instruments (often the drums, tuba, or accordion) mark the downbeat, so it sounds like a lively conversation between instruments.

At a traditional Oktoberfest party, the band will play inside the beer tent. Guests will sing and often dance along!

One of the most popular interactive Oktoberfest songs is Fliegerlied. Do your research and learn the words and the dance so you're ready when the band starts to play. Teach your guests and you'll all be in for a wonderful time!

The most popular song of all is Ein Prosit. You will want to have the lyrics (with phonetic pronunciation) on hand. During Oktoberfest, an experienced oompah band will play this traditional ditty as often as every thirty minutes!

Be aware that Oktoberfest is the busiest time of year for Oompah musicians. If you want to ensure that a group will be available for your event, be sure to book early. An authentic Oompah experience is difficult to fake!

Oktoberfest tent

Pitch a Beer Tent Fit for a Berliner

What about Oktoberfest party decorations? The most iconic sight at Oktoberfest in Munich is the beer tent! The six major beer breweries each sponsor a beer tent, and there's a party inside each one!

To achieve that sense of authentic ambience, you may choose to rent a tent yourself. You can host the festivities outdoors. Your garden or a local park can easily transform into the streets of Munich with the addition of a dedicated beer tent or two!

Deck out your tent with atmospheric lighting. String lights look fantastic. Make sure you have some extra lighting if your celebration goes into the evening!

In Munich, each tent has Biergarten tables from wall to wall. These are narrow picnic tables with benches. You can rent authentic Biergarten tables, but they are more difficult to find around Oktoberfest season!

It's traditional to decorate with blue and white, the colours of the Bavarian flag. Incorporate the colours in as many attractive ways as you can!

Decorations might include:

  • The Bavarian flag
  • Blue and white streamers
  • Blue and white ceiling banners
  • Blue and white helium balloons
  • Evergreens or wreaths
  • Brewery insignia
  • White mums or daisies in blue containers
  • Yellow flowers in beer bottles or growler vases
  • Blue and white checkered table coverings
  • Barrels (with or without beer inside)

You can even use your appetisers to help create a festive atmosphere! Some hosts hang their massive Bavarian pretzels from stands or hooks as accessible, snackable decor!

Whatever you use to decorate, your goal should be to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Guests should feel welcome to eat, drink, sing, and dance from the moment they walk in. A combination of traditional and creative decorative elements should get the job done.

German Oompah Bands for Hire
German Oompah Bands for Hire

Get your Oktoberfest party off to a roaring start with an authentic Oompah band.

Put the 'Fest' in Oktoberfest With Entertainment

It can be easy to assume that Oktoberfest is an insular affair taking place entirely inside a tent. Munich's Oktoberfest is actually a sprawling festival featuring Ferris wheels, rollercoasters, and log flumes! While you don't need to hire a carnival, it can be fun to incorporate some extra entertainment.

Fancy Dress Parade

A traditional component of Munich's Oktoberfest is a parade in which locals can show off their traditional attire. If you do choose to incorporate (or encourage) a dress code, you might decide to celebrate the guests who have chosen to participate. Get your Oompah band in on the fun and allow each dressed-up guest to strut their stuff!

Drinking Games

It wouldn't be Oktoberfest without drinking, and drinking is more fun with drinking games!

The oddest but most common game is Hammerschlagen, in which players attempt to hammer a nail into a stump using the pointy side of a hammer. The catch? You must accomplish this in a single blow, and guests who miss must down a pint!

Flunkyball is a team game best played outdoors. Teams should begin by standing around a closed beer bottle. Each player should hold a beer in their hands, but shouldn't drink...yet!

Teams take turns nominating a member to throw a ping-pong ball at the unopened bottle. If they hit it, the team must open their beer and begin to chug! They can't stop until the other team retrieves the ball.

The game is over when one entire team has finished their beer!

In Germany, locals have also taken to playing Looping Louie as a drinking game. The only rule is that if you get knocked out, you must drink. The task gets harder as the game progresses!

Oktoberfest Photo Booth

You might also want to have a photo booth on-site for your guests to enjoy! A sprawling Oktoberfest arch makes a great backdrop and also doubles as fantastic party decor. You might include a few props for guests who haven't come in costumes, such as felt hats and flower crowns.

Other fun props might include oversized beer steins, giant Bavarian pretzels, or an accordion. You can also set up a "face in hole" photo prop where guests can pose with their friends!

Embrace Autumn With Our Oktoberfest Party Ideas

The first Oktoberfest was a party so wild and wonderful that Munich residents kept it going for hundreds of years! When you put these Oktoberfest party ideas into action, you might inspire a new annual tradition.

It all begins with the authentic sound of a genuine German oompah band! Live music adds a sense of activity and ambience to a celebration of any size. Get in touch today to discuss booking an incredible Oompah group or one of our many marvellous musicians!