Question: What is an event that will bring your friends and family together for some good company, a bit of competition, and a whole lot of fun? If you answered “trivia night,” you are correct! While it can surely be a blast to attend a public trivia night, preparing and hosting your own trivia night can be a special experience for both you and your guests. Here are some steps that will help you build an evening to remember.

Step 1: Choose a format for your trivia night!

As Trivia Master, you will have full creative freedom to decide how your trivia night will be run. There are many different types of gameplay from which to choose. Some opt for a Jeopardy-style board with columns of questions of increasing point values. Others read out a list of questions and have teams write their answers on a sheet of paper. Hosting a virtual trivia night is also a possibility. You get to decide!

When planning, you may want to consider a couple of questions. Would you like your trivia night to have a specific theme? If you are hosting in person, how would you like to arrange your seating? How long would you like your event to run? These are the kinds of considerations to keep in mind and plan for, but you don’t need to make it too difficult on yourself.

Step 2: Think up some questions!

Generally speaking, you’ll want to prepare about five to ten categories of questions for your trivia night. Decide beforehand which categories you wouldn’t mind cutting out if the night is running too long, keeping in mind that it’s always better to have more rather than less prepared. 

Some ideas for trivia categories include:

  • The classics: science, geography, sports, books, music, and movies. See if you can create a fun twist to make these more general categories memorable!
  • Niche or local interests: if you and most of your attendees share an interest in a more specialized topic (say, for example, “Marine vertebrates” or “Roads in our county”), these categories can be a hit. Just try not to make your questions impossible for those who may not be as familiar with these topics.
  • Lightning rounds and tiebreakers: having a round or two that changes up the format of your gameplay can keep your attendees on their toes!


Check out these books for inspiration: 

Random Illustrated Fact : A Collection of Curious, Weird, and Totally Not Boring Things to Know

Trivia meets its match. Did you know that Napoleon was once attacked by rabbits? Or that the Mars Rover sang itself “Happy Birthday”? How about the odd ingredient Civil War soldiers used to make coffee? From Jupiter’s diamond showers to why pirates wore eye patches to the delightful link between dancing goats and the discovery of coffee, this collection of obscure and fascinating facts is brought to you by Mike Lowery, an illustrator and connoisseur of the offbeat. Featuring four gatefolds and hundreds of infographic webs that connect the trivia in dozens of surprising ways, it’s a little book that delivers endless delight.

Stuff you Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things

The duo behind the massively successful podcast “Stuff You Should Know” offers an unexpected look at weird, fascinating, delightful, or unexpected elements of a wide variety of topics, featuring new subjects that they’ve long wondered about and wanted to explore.

The Ultimate Book of Pub Trivia by the Smartest Guy in the Bar: Over 300 Rounds and More Than 3,000 Questions

Challenge yourself, challenge your friends. Or make it official and host a night of fun, enlightening, and hilarious trivia. The pub quiz is a cultural institution, and bartender Austin Rogers is singularly good at it, not only as the long-time host of a hugely popular New York City quiz night, but also as a 12-time Jeopardy! champion whose earnings of over $400,000 are the seventh highest in the show’s history. He knows a whole of just about everything, and he knows how to run an uproariously entertaining quiz night-all of which he shares in this bible of pub trivia. The Ultimate Book of Pub Trivia by the Smartest Guy in the Bar features over 3,000 questions sorted into more than 300 rounds of well-balanced and smartly curated quizzes for hours of amusement with family and friends. The topics include pop culture, sports, history, and pretty much everything else under the sun, including Random Sh*t: Reflecting its clingy proclivity, Bindwood and Lovestone are archaic English names for this plant (Answer: Ivy). Sorted by difficulty level, each page is annotated with did-you-know facts, jokes, and other marginalia, and throughout the book are mini-chapters with fascinating history, legendary bar stories, tips for winning Jeopardy!, and useful advice on how to run your own pub trivia night. It’s the perfect gift for trivia lovers, pub regulars, and Jeopardy! fans.

Step 3: Set the mood with some food!

If you’re having an in-person event, nothing gets the party rolling like good food and drinks. Pub fare and party appetizers are trivia night classics, but you can always think out of the box with your menu. CCPL’s collection has a multitude of cookbooks with fresh and interesting cuisine ideas, such as these: 

Spectacular Spreads: 50 Amazing Food Spreads for Any Occasion

In this follow-up to Beautiful Boards, The BakerMama takes her super-popular snack boards to the next level-incorporating the cutting board and more-with 50 delicious, inspiring, family-friendly, and easy-to-recreate food spreads and build-your-own food bars for entertaining and special occasions, holidays, breakfast and brunch, lunch and dinner, and desserts and drinks, including spreads like: Build-Your-Own Omelet Station Build-Your-Own Breakfast Tacos Build-Your-Own Baked Potato Bar Top-Your-Own Pizza Station New Year’s Eve Appetizers Spread Cinco de Mayo Spread Christmas Cookie Decorating Party Spread Graduation Party Spread Ladies Night In Spread Tailgate To-Go Spread Make-Your-Own Ice-Cream Sandwich Bar Blend-Your-Own Smoothies Bar Craft-Your-Own Cocktail Bar and much more! In Spectacular Spreads, The BakerMama shares even more of her tips and tricks for effortless, stress-free, and foolproof entertaining that will not only impress guests, but also feed a hungry crowd. Visually exciting and deliciously enticing, the spreads and bars are comprised of easy-to-find fresh and prepared foods and are arranged in beautiful, artful, and whimsical ways. Every food spread is accompanied by a gorgeous, large photo and simple step-by-step instructions.

Drink Lightly: A Lighter Take on Serious Cocktails with 100+ Recipes for Low-and No-alcohol Drinks

Explore the lighter side of serious cocktails with 100 recipes for creative low and no-alcohol drinks from the craft cocktail veteran behind New York City’s beloved Nitecap bar. Drink Lightly presents a relaxed style of drinking that goes down easy but is soundly rooted in the technical precision of craft cocktails. Award-winning bartender Natasha David’s approach to low-alcohol, aperitif-style drinks goes far beyond the formulaic–bitter liqueur plus soda–and takes full advantage of an incredible and vast array of low-proof spirits, liqueurs, and wines, along with flavorful fruit and herbal infusions. The result is a collection of creative, genre-pushing drinks that surprise and delight. Offerings are effervescent and light in effect, but complex in flavor, ranging from savory and herbal to floral and aromatic, depending on your mood. Inspired by the joyful rhythms of life and gathering, recipes include delights such as the Lillet Rouge-spiked Kitty Cat Chronicles and the Wiggle Room, a vermouth and soda on a tropical vacation. The drinks are organized by refreshing Gulpabale Thirst Quenchers that invigorate the soul, Party Starters for a crowd, Decadent Treats for some frothy indulgence, end-of-the-night Slow Sippers, and non-alcoholic pick-me-ups. Served up with whimsy and a wink, Drink Lightly will delight novices and professionals alike with its joyful spirit and lighthearted offerings.

Step 4: Don’t forget some music!

A peppy playlist can create an energizing atmosphere and can be the perfect background noise between rounds or while your teams deliberate their answers. 

Did you know that you can stream up to three hours of music and download three songs per week with the library’s subscription to Freegal Music? Access Freegal to start streaming!

Step 5: Reward the winners with prizes!

You don’t need to break the bank with expensive prizes, but nothing stokes your guests’ competitive spirit more than a tantalizing reward. Check out Creativebug for all kinds of crafting projects your guests would love to receive as a prize.

With an awesome prize up for grabs, your friends and family will be playing to win, but rest assured everyone will have a great time regardless!