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How to throw a Shark Week party

POSTED: July 15, 2017 2:40 p.m.
Whitney Butters Wilde/

If Shark Week programming isn't enough, add more shark to your party by watching "Finding Nemo."

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The countdown is on: We have less than two weeks before Shark Week swims back into our lives and takes a bite out of our time — and productivity — as America's obsession with these big fish is fed.

Discovery's 30th annual homage to all things shark starts July 23 with a lineup that includes everything from “Phelps vs. Shark,” where Olympian Michael Phelps will race against a great white shark, to “Alien Sharks: Stranger Fins,” a journey to find the world’s strangest sharks, and more.

It’s become a pop culture pillar, an event millions of Americans tune in to watch, celebrities tweet their excitement for and sitcom writers joke about, including when Tracy Morgan’s character on “30 Rock” advised to “live every week like it’s Shark Week.”

For all you shark lovers out there wanting to share your enthusiasm for your favorite television event of the year, there’s no better way to kick off the week than with a shark-themed party. So before you sit back and sink your teeth into this year’s programming, here are a few tips for planning your own Shark Week extravaganza.


Establish the theme from the moment your guests walk in with shark decorations.

Party supply companies such as Oriental Trading have all sorts of shark lanterns, balloons and posters to choose from, and multiple Etsy shops have printable decoration designs for purchase.

Other inexpensive options include creating a garland out of pool noodles, or the blog Frugal Coupon Living has a list of places to find free printable decorations, including shark straw covers, water bottle covers and shark facts.

Or kill two birds with one stone by using your refreshments as decorations. provides a recipe for Fish Bowl Gelatin that can serve as both a centerpiece and a treat.

And, as always, Pinterest is every party planner’s best friend. Simply search “Shark Week party” and find more ideas than you could ever use.


Get everyone decked out for the party with shark hats.

The hats can be as simple as a fin cut out of cardstock or construction paper and glued to ribbon or a ring of paper.

Or, for the ambitious party planner, the National Wildlife Federation provides a pattern for a shark hat made of craft foam that looks like a shark head, complete with a gaping mouth to show off the shark’s pearly whites. ModCloth even has a tutorial for making a hat that looks like a shark is eating the wearer’s head.

But for the extremely ambitious, The Whoot has crochet patterns for all sorts of shark apparel, from hats to slippers to blankets to clothes for your cat. But unless you’ve already started a crochet binge or are the world’s fastest crocheter, maybe you better save this project for next year’s Shark Week party.


No shark party is complete without a few shark bites … to eat.

Food site All Recipes has a page devoted to Shark Week recipe ideas, including savory seafood dishes such as Fiery Fish Tacos, crab dip and coconut shrimp.

For dessert, party planning blog Hello My Sweet suggests making life-preserver donuts by covering donuts with white frosting and decorating them with strips of red Fruit Roll-Ups. Another option is to make shark cupcakes topped with a shark fin. There’s a tutorial on how to make edible fins on I am a Baker. Or, simply frost cupcakes with blue frosting and place a shark gummy or a paper fin on top.


Take your Shark Week viewing up a notch by playing Shark Week Bingo. has Shark Week bingo cards that can be customized and downloaded. Depending on how many people you'll have at your party, the website offers packages of 10, 25, 50 and 100 randomly generated cards.

If watching Shark Week programming just isn’t enough for you, plan on including other shark-related activities at your party.

Turn on a classic shark movie like Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws,” or if you’ll have little shark lovers at your party too, “Finding Nemo’s” Bruce and his Fish-Friendly Sharks support group will do the trick.

Create a variation of pin the tail on the donkey by pinning the fish in the shark’s mouth, or, for a more grisly version, pin the scuba diver in the shark’s mouth.
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