What Is a Pajama Party?

by Goody Clairenstein
Wear your pajamas out to a pajama party.

Wear your pajamas out to a pajama party.

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Pajama is a loanword in English, borrowed from the Persian word for loose-fitting trousers. A pajama party combines relaxation with food, fun and festivities so that a good time can be had by all.


A pajama party is so called because guests are expected to wear or bring their pajamas. In most cases, guests arrive at the party in their street clothes, then change into their pajamas as the evening progresses. The idea behind wearing pajamas is facilitating guests' comfort and relaxation.


A pajama party is usually synonymous with a sleepover, in which guests arrive in the evening and spend the night at the host's home in anticipation of a late night and little to no sleep. As such, pajama parties span two days in total -- the evening of the day the guests arrive and the morning to the early afternoon of the follow day. A popular pajama party element is cooking a hot breakfast or brunch the following morning once everyone wakes up.

Activities and Entertainment

Pajama parties usually revolve around games, activities and movies. Board games and participatory games such as Twister are perennial favorites at pajama parties for guests of all ages. Younger guests might play a version of truth or dare or "light as a feather, stiff as a board." A selection of movies can be made available to watch well into the night or until everyone falls asleep.


In addition to the possibility of providing dinner and breakfast for pajama party guests, late-night snacks are a must. Chips, pretzels, candy, soda, hot cocoa with marshmallows and ice cream are popular pajama party junk food selections. Pajama parties are seen as an opportunity to indulge -- one luxurious night marked by giving in to your sweet tooth's temptation or salt craving.


The pajama party venue should be set up with various bedding accessories. Extra mattresses are piled on the floor, along with pillows, cushions, blankets and throws. The bedding should share the same location as the television or other movie-watching apparatus so that everyone can get cozy and enjoy the evening.

About the Author

Goody Clairenstein has been a writer since 2004. She has sat on the editorial board of several non-academic journals and writes about creative writing, editing and languages. She has worked in professional publishing and news reporting in print and broadcast journalism. Her poems have appeared in "Small Craft Warnings." Clairenstein earned her Bachelor of Arts in European languages from Skidmore College.

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