Let the Games Begin: How to Host Your Own Olympics Party

After waiting four long years since the last summer games, the 2016 Olympics are finally kicking off this week, starting with the opening ceremony on August 5th. This year, the two-week celebration will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and will host tons of summer sporting events, from swimming, track and field, and diving to soccer, basketball, and (everyone’s favorite) gymnastics.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan who eagerly awaits the historic event or you’re just a casual spectator who likes watching with friends, we’ve got the perfect idea for how to celebrate this worldwide event: with a party! Don’t know where to start? We’ve got the perfect ideas for themes, recipes, games, and what to wear—all with the rich culture of Brazil in mind. Check out two of our favorites below, then order a Fitness or Style Edit to get our prettiest pieces for the party.

Theme 1: Sports Spectacular

Considering that the Olympics brings hundreds of countries and thousands of athletes together to compete in more than 40 athletic competitions, a sports-themed Olympic party is a total no-brainer. Invite your most athletic and fun-loving friends for an afternoon of somewhat-healthy snacks and definitely healthy competition.

Dress code: Athleisure

Pull out your favorite workout leggings—bonus points if they’re printed and happen to match your sports bra—plus a lightweight tee and best sneakers.

Set the scene:

Go full-on Olympics mode with DIY Olympic rings, torches, and flags representing some of the countries competing. Deck out the space in red, white, and blue if you’re supporting Team USA, and weave in some yellow and green to add a little Brazilian flair.

As for music, crank up the Brazilian axé tunes—a popular genre that combines percussion, reggae, latin beats, and upbeat pop music—to keep the energy high and the party going.

What to play:

For this party, no sport should be off limits. Set up stations for events like badminton, basketball, volleyball, or table tennis, and if you have a pool, plan a diving competition, water polo match, or even some head-to-head races (butterfly, anyone?).

And of course no Brazilian-themed sports party would be complete without a game of futbol (or as you might know it, soccer). Split the group into teams and get a match going in the backyard. To up the competition, set a rule that the losing team has to stick around to help clean up post-party.

What to eat:

Start with a light appetizer, like this delicious Brazilian Vinaigrette Salsa. Next, fuel your athletic endeavors with a healthy, filling, and protein-packed Moqueca Baiana, a Brazilian fish stew that’s surprisingly simple to make. Finally, finish off the night with some sweet-but-tangy superfruit ice cream.

What to drink:

A day full of fun and games calls for an extra-refreshing beverage, and this Brazilian lemonade recipe doesn’t disappoint. Trust us: It’s not your average lemonade.

Theme Two: Carnaval

Carnaval is a Brazilian festival that takes place every February and is known for its enormous parades, music and dancing, and colorful costumes and face masks. Throw your own mini-but-extravagant carnaval to pay homage to the host city’s rich, fascinating culture and history.

Dress code: Paradise Chic

If you don’t want to create your own carnaval costume, do the next best thing: rock a bold, exotic print in a brilliant hue. Pair a top with white denim or shorts with a denim jacket to strike the perfect balance between sophisticated and beachy-chic.

Set the scene:

Lots of vibrant reds, purples, yellows, and oranges are key to creating a Brazilian-themed setting. Add some inflatable palm trees, baskets of tropical fruits and flowers, and colorful feathers and face masks to take the carnaval theme to the next level.

What to do:

Get party-goers in a festive mood with some traditional samba music, and host your own samba lessons or competition in true Brazilian fashion. If you want to get crafty, set up a mask-making station for guests to DIY their own carnaval masks, or hire a face painter to do elaborate designs inspired by the annual festival.

What to eat:

Start the night with platefuls of Brazilian cheese bread (known as Pão de Queijo), an addictively delicious snack eaten all over the country. For the main course, whip up Feijoada, Brazil’s national dish that combines black beans, pork, herbs, and rice. As for something sweet, you can’t go wrong with classic Brazilian fudge truffles, known as Brigadeiros.

What to drink:

No trip to Brazil—or any Brazilian-themed party—would be complete without a tasty caipirinha. This traditional cocktail is made with lime, sugar, and a sugar-cane alcohol called cachaca. Go for a classic version, or try one with a pineapple twist for something a little more out-of-the-box.

How do you plan to celebrate the 2016 Olympic Games?