Themed parties are a great way to get creative and give people plenty of conversation starters.
An ‘anything but a cup’ party is a college classic and I’m sure you’ll be invited to more than one in your lifetime.
You don’t have to be in college to throw one of these parties, but in terms of mess and spillages, it probably helps.
In this article, we are going to give you some fantastic ‘anything but a cup’ party ideas (see also “30 Red Flag Party Ideas – What Is A Red Flag Party And How Can You Dress For One?“).
What Are The Party Rules?
This party theme is pretty self explanatory, but let’s go over the rules just to be clear. Everyone at the party has to bring their own vessel to drink from, but the rule is, it cannot be a cup.
Not only is this a great way to get people talking, it is also hilarious to see what people come up with.
How To Throw An Awesome Party
To make things a little more interesting, you can reward guests with prizes for the most inventive cup alternatives.
This could be anything from chocolate, candy, or a medal for the occasion. There could be first, second, and third prize and even a little speech to really make the moment special.
With this party theme, anyone hosting this event should be warned that things can get a little messy. Those with poorly-thought drinking vessels may break or spill.
We would suggest having plenty of cleaning supplies handy and maybe protecting anything valuable or hard to clean before the party starts.
Anything But A Cup Ideas
A condiment bottle makes a great makeshift cup, but a clean one of course.
You may have to try to deodorize the container before drinking out of it so you don’t have beer that tastes a little too much like ketchup.
Spray bottles are a great, yet ineffective way to stick to the anything but cups rule. These can be purchased for less than a dollar at a homewares store or big chain store like Target.
If you already have one around the house, make sure to thoroughly clean any potentially harmful chemicals out of it beforehand.
Hollowed Out Fruit
Hollowed out fruit is a classic cup alternative! Melons, watermelons, pineapples, and coconuts are all fruits that are perfect to drink out of.
You can eat the fruit and use the shell to make a fish bowl to share with friends. Fruit is sturdy and won’t break on you (unless you drop it).
A bucket is a solid cup choice. It’s cheap, it’s sturdy, and you can fit a lot of liquid in there.
They aren’t the easiest to carry around with you though… Our top tip for drinking out of a bucket is to find a really long straw or your arms may get tired.
Watering cans are fairly easy to source and many of us have them in our gardens already. We would suggest checking for creepy crawlies and leaves before using it as a cup though.
You may need to figure out the easiest way to drink from your watering can, but that’s just part of the fun!
This is a super easy option. It’s not the most inventive but it will do the job if you’ve left it a little late and can’t find another more creative cup solution. Plus, it’s really easy to drink out of!
Tea pots are great as they have a spout for easy pouring, although watch out it doesn’t spill all over your clothes.
We would suggest buying an inexpensive tea pot at a homewares store rather than using your Mom’s fancy China.
Water guns don’t have to be reserved for water! Go crazy with a water gun or super soaker at anything but a cup party.
Any size will do, but just make sure it doesn’t leak everywhere before you take it with you. The life of the party is usually the person who has a water gun full of beer.
A bowl is a somewhat dangerous option depending on the size and depth.
Have you ever been walking through the house with a bowl of soup only for it to slosh over the sides and go everywhere? Yeah, well that will happen if you fill it with other liquids too.
This one may sound strange, but it will make sense in a second.
If you own a pair of overalls or a shirt with a big pocket at the front, you can use a thick plastic bag to fill with liquid and discretely tuck away in your pocket. Drink from a straw for easy access.
Do you have an empty fish bowl in the house? Have you ever walked past a thrift store and seen one in the window and thought, that would be great to use as a cup?
Well maybe this is your sign to find that bowl and take it to your party.
There are plastic syringes you can purchase on the internet or at a party supply store that are made specifically for drinking from! They are a great way to do shots and easy to fill up.
A gravy boat is another solid cup alternative as it’s sturdy and easy to drink from. Finding one may be a little difficult as they aren’t as common as some of the other items listed here.
If you borrow one from your parents, don’t break it!
Small Sports Cone
What do you get if you turn a small plastic cone upside down? The perfect drinking vessel! If you are a part of a sports team, see if they have any of these laying around that you can borrow.
Thoroughly clean to prevent getting mud in your drink before using. .
If silly isn’t really your thing, why not try a hydration backpack? This option is both efficient and easy to do.
These can be purchased at a sporting goods store or an online retailer for a good price. You can even use these again and again for non-party related activities.
Baby bottles are super easy to find and are great for these types of parties. This also guarantees you won’t spill anything and leave creating a mess to everyone else.
If you have enough liquid to fill a vase, then why not use a vase? This is another object that many people usually have around the house or in their parents house.
If your vase is glass, be super careful not to break it as that would be a phenomenal mess to clean up.
Another household staple, the humble saucepan. Easy to find, easy to use, easy to clean.
We don’t mean a grocery store bag that has holes in it, that would be silly. A plastic zip-loc bag is suitable in this situation as it’s stronger and sturdier than most. It may be difficult to hold and drink from though…
Trophies that have a ‘cup’ shape sitting on the top can be used as a makeshift cup at a party. This is also a great way to show off any trophies you’ve won!
Drinking test tubes are a thing, how crazy! They can even come with their very own corks to keep everything in place.
Although you can’t fit much in these, they are super fun and will be a great talking point.
Ice Cube Tray
A little unconventional but still an alternative to a cup is an ice cube tray. You could go a step further and freeze any of your drinks that are suitable and use the ice cubes to drink from!
We’ve not tested this theory out yet so it may not be the best for holding liquid, but it’s definitely worth giving it a try. Plus, you get to eat a bunch of pringles beforehand which is always a bonus.
Viking Drinking Horn
To make a lasting impression with a group of people, what better way to do this than with a viking drinking horn.
If you’re willing to spend a little extra money on one of these, you won’t be disappointed. They can also be used again and again, so it’s an investment really.
Empty Candle Holder
Candles don’t last forever and we often think of ways to use the empty candle holders, well here’s an opportunity to finally do just that.
Some may think it actually is a cup depending on the shape so be prepared to defend your cup choice.
Cleaning Supply Bottles
Empty cleaning supply bottles are a useful alternative to a cup.
Due to the nature of the products that have been in the bottles beforehand it’s important to thoroughly clean them to ensure you aren’t absorbing any chemicals.
The big plastic or glass jug that comes with a blender is another fantastic choice.
These are better suited to sharing drinking with others due to their size. Get some friends together and make a tasty cocktail.
A toothbrush holder minus the toothpaste is an inventive way to stick to the no cup rule. You can use one you already have or buy a cheap one from a homewares store instead.
If you have a cookie jar in your home then you may want to polish off the rest of the cookies, clean out the crumbs and take it to your anything but a cup party.
The lids make them even better as there’s no spills!
Empty Trash Can
Go big or go home with an empty trash can. This doesn’t have to your actual trash can, you can pick up a cheap plastic one from a store for a few bucks.
We recommend not filling it up till you get to the party as it’s going to be heavy.
Your dog probably won’t mind if you want to borrow their bowl for one party as long as you give them a few treats in return. Any other type of pet bowl can also be used in this situation.
When we say plastic shoes, you can actually line a croc or sandal with a plastic ziploc bag and use this as a drinking device.
This can be great to hide away and make it look like you’re actually drinking from the shoe. We suggest avoiding dirty smelling shoes though.
Whatever you call this: a coffee pot, a french press, or a cafetiere they can be used in a similar way to a tea pot or water jug.
Be warned that coffee addicts may get the wrong idea so using a clear pot is preferable.
Is it a college party without a beer bong? Everyone wants to be the beer bong guy as they are usually the most popular people in the room.
This one should probably come with a warning though as if you’ve not used one before, they can get EVERYWHERE.
If you decide to go down this route, use a clean gas can. You can buy this at gas stations for a few bucks.
No matter how much you clean an old gas can, you won’t be able to make it safe enough to drink from and it’s absolutely not worth the risk.
Plastic Bath Toys
Remember those plastic bath toys you used to have as a kid? The ones that absorb all the water and make a huge mess, yeah those.
Well, they may not be the easiest to fill with liquid but they will make everyone laugh a lot.
Kitchen items are the way to go for a last minute cup alternative as many of them are made for holding food and drink items. Tupperware items also have lids which makes anything you need to transport to the party much easier.
One that is often overlooked is the cocktail shaker. It’s technically not a cup so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. However, people may expect you to whip them up a cocktail at a moment’s notice.
You don’t own a cauldron? Well it’s time to go buy one for anything but a cup party then. Once you’re done you can use it for spells and other cauldron related things.
Coconut shells are easier to find than you may think and they will give you the feeling of being on a tropical island rather than a college cup party.
We’ve talked about kitchen items and haven’t mentioned utensils. One of the only ones suitable for this purpose is the ladle, you may want to team up with a bowl to make it easier to use.
Some Other Simple Cup Ideas:
- Mason Jars
- Cereal Box
- Soap Dish
- Measuring Scoop
The Bottom Line
There you have our comprehensive list of cup alternatives that are perfect for your next party that has this theme. We hope you enjoyed our list of ideas to use for anything but a cup party (see also “Amazing “Anything But Clothes” Party Ideas“)!
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