When deciding how to decorate for an Oktoberfest party, first know that Oktoberfest is a grand celebration, not a humble affair. Maybe you won’t have the same 7 million visitors as the original Oktoberfest in Munich, but there should definitely be fanfare, streamers, color, volume! And a bunch of signs you can’t read! Everything short of hiring your own pyrotechnics company is grrrreat.
Besides, what is Oktoberfest without streamers and flags? Without lights and banners? Well, it’s a couple of dudes getting together to drink each other’s homebrews and listen to Band of Horses. And that’s not very wanderlusty.
For your backyard bierfest, all you need to know are these few tips on how to decorate for an Oktoberfest party.
How to decorate for an Oktoberfest party
If an authentic-ish Oktoberfest party is what you’re after, you’re in luck. I’ve spent years at Munich’s Oktoberfest just staring blankly at the beer tent decorations so you don’t have to. (Alcohol is fun!) And it’s based-off-the-original or bust in my book. There’ll be no “photo booth props” at my shindigs. The only cheese you’ll find here is for dipping your Oktoberfest pretzels into.
For everything else, check out these tips on how to decorate for an Oktoberfest party.
Base your Oktoberfest party decorations on actual Oktoberfest
This is Oktoberfest—the world’s largest beer and folk festival, not a child’s birthday party. (Though, while researching for this article I did find a page on how to throw an Oktoberfest-inspired birthday party for a ONE YEAR OLD. Seems a little overboard? Then again, filling baby bottles with apple juice and inciting a chugging contest also seems like something I would definitely do. *I do not have children.)
Back to my point, we’re all adults and should party accordingly. Again, this is not a kids’ party. Your at-home Oktoberfest should not look like a Pinterest board exploded in your backyard. Real Oktoberfest does not incline itself with things like lace-tied wheat bundles or calligraphic chalkboard menus.
Take a look at some actual photos from Oktoberfest and base your Oktoberfest party decorations around those. You really don’t need a ton of decorations—the Oktoberfest music, the Oktoberfest party foods, and the traditional Oktoberfest outfits will all help to bring your backyard bierfest together.
Though Oktoberfest is an affair with flare, it’s important to keep your décor to a minimum. No one wants to be tripping over props, signs, balloon arches, and whatever else erupted from Mount Pinterest.
Choose your favorite Oktoberfest beer tent and mimic it
One easy way for how to decorate for an Oktoberfest party is to just straight up copy the original. Look no further than your favorite Oktoberfest beer tent.
If you’ve been to Oktoberfest in Munich, you definitely already have a favorite beer tent. (Which is it? I wanna know!) If not, a simple image search for “Oktoberfest beer tents” will get you some great inspiration.
For me, my favorite tent is the Hacker-Pschorr Festzelt. So for Oktoberfest party decorations I would choose:
- Light blue streamers
- Small puffy clouds (easily cut-out from poster board)
- Something like these gold star lanterns (which you can totally use again for your at-home German Christmas market in a few months)
- Pine garland wrapped with gold streamers
- (Check out the photo below.)
For Armbrustschützenzelt: Green and white streamers, and faux animal heads on the walls – hey, there’s an Oktoberfest motif for everyone. Bonus points for everyone who shows up with their own crossbow. (Yes, there’s a crossbow-shooting range inside the Armbrustschützenzelt.)
For Augustiner tent lovers: Bright green and black streamers, wreaths with light blue ribbons. Or take it twelve steps further and create these amazingly elaborate wreaths also found inside the Augustiner tent:
Stick to a Bavarian motif
If you are planning to go the route of more traditional party decorations: banners, themed plates and napkins, balloons, etc., be sure to stick to a Bavarian motif, not a German one. There is very much a difference and I’m not just talking about the colors.
Oktoberfest party decorations: what else you’ll need
If you really want to show off your knowledge of Oktoberfest details, there are a few ways to take your Oktoberfest party decorating up a notch. Some other things to consider for how to decorate for an Oktoberfest party include:
I know this goes against everything I’ve said up until now, but hear me out. For whatever reason (coughalcohol), these childish balloons are super popular all over Oktoberfest. With the drunk grown-ups. For optimum Oktoberfest authenticity, be sure to have on hand:
Those who have been to the real Oktoberfest will love the extra attention to detail! Tie them together to a chair or, for a frighteningly realistic effect, don’t tie them to anything and just let them float up into your ceiling.
The chicken hat
When people buy these chicken hats at Oktoberfest, I can’t help but groan. But if you don’t impulsively buy dumb, embarrassing stuff you definitely don’t need, did you even drink beer by the liter?
There’s someone in almost every group who buys a chicken hat at Oktoberfest. And you know what? Everyone freaking loves it. Add a little bit of that real Oktoberfest dweeb vibe by getting a chicken hat or two for your at-home Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest party supplies
Let your authentic beer tent-esque party decorations, the food and Oktoberfest party beer, music, and attire all do the talking. Pair all this up with some simple white:
- Party plates
- Actually this package has all of that.
- White tablecloths
- Or, better yet, this “gold” tablecloth that will help your tables look more like a beer garden table.
…and your party will look more like Oktoberfest and less like Wiesns gone wild.
How to upgrade your Oktoberfest party decorations
So you’re coming up with how to decorate for an Oktoberfest party and you’re looking to drop some real cash? Here are a few fun ways to upgrade your Oktoberfest decorations:
- Get some real beer garden furniture at beergardenfurniture.net. Gah, if only I could’ve registered here for my wedding.
- Have some wooden barrels on hand. At Oktoberfest, Augustiner (Munich’s oldest brewery) still serves their beer out of traditional wooden kegs. You’ll need to head to Etsy for these as oktoberfestbeerbarrels.com is unfortunately not a real thing.
- Make the original Oktoberfest welcome sign. (pictured above) This would be super easy to recreate on fabric or vinyl.
- Get some horses. Just kidding. Okay I’m not. Don’t go buy horses or anything, but if you’ve got them, you sure as hell better decorate them too.
How will you decorate for your Oktoberfest party?
Let me know below!
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