How to Host a Family Trivia Night

Before we start our pointers on how to host a family trivia night, here is a trivia about trivia games. Did you know that trivia games began in the United Kingdom in the 1970’s and was called pub quiz? It was a way for pub owners to get their establishments filled up on days when customer traffic would be otherwise low.  

In time, the game grew popular worldwide. Today, trivia quizzes are very popular in household games. It’s the kind of game everyone can participate in, irrespective of age or gender. 

This is one game you can’t afford to leave out if you are ever going to have anything like a family reunion, fundraising, or a party game. It’s so much fun to play and enjoy!

Pre-planning the Family Trivia Night

Trivia may have originated from drinking bars as a quiz pub, but it has found a way to household homes. 

When preparing to enjoy a trivia game at home, here are some pre-planning tips you might want to consider doing.

Prepare the Trivia Questions

There are so many ways you can source trivia questions. You can get them from apps, online, video games, books, board games, and even from old newspaper cuttings.  

Having a list of questions isn’t enough though. If you really want to have a wonderful family trivia night, you have to plan how to make the questioning sessions very exciting. 

A great sense of humor, flair for drama, and a sharp wit will go a long way. You don’t need an abundance of all these traits, just a touch of each. But, if you know someone with good emcee skills, you should bring them on board to anchor the games with the questions.  

You should also prepare a way to keep score. Determine whether to use pen and paper or a score-keeping app. You must also establish a scoring system and basic rules.

Arrange the Game Scene

Your game space is important. Create enough space between seats to allow teams or individual players some private space. Whatever furniture you use, ensure they are very informal and as comfortable as possible.

Prepare Snacks and Drinks

Make sure you have enough snacks and drinks available to last out the entire family trivia night. You could either have your food delivered or it can be home-cooked. It could also be a potluck-style. As for the drinks, be sure to provide a wide variety for the invited players.

Trivia Formats

The basic gameplay for the trivia game has remained relatively unchanged from when it was first introduced. It’s a group game where you have teams of three to five people. Each team gets a card, a sheet of paper, and a pencil to write down answers to a round of five to ten questions. 

Scores are taken after each round, and the team with the highest score wins. If there is a tie, more questions are asked until a winner emerges.  

However, there are different formats in which the game can be played. They include the following:

Picture Format

The picture trivia format is where players try to identify the image shown during the round. 

Questions and Answer Format

As the name implies, this trivia format is made up of simple questions, and players are expected to write down the answers on their answer sheets.  

Usually, there could be multiple choices called out but this method is usually avoided because of its tendency to dim the excitement level while adding unnecessary extra time to the game.

True or False Format

This is more of a straightforward question-and-answer form. All the players need to do is write down whether the statement is true or false.

It is usually more interesting to combine this trivia format with the one above in a round.

Audio Format

This involves playing a soundbite of a song or voice recording, then asking the players to identify either the title, the speaker, the singer, the setting in which the audio was made, or the time and place it was made.

Video Format

Just like the audio and picture format, questions can be asked about what or who are being shown, where and when was it shot, what is the setting, etc. Sometimes, the video may not be accompanied by any sound.

Taste and Smell Format

You can blindfold your players all at once and give them each something to taste or sniff. They are expected to identify the item solely through their sense of taste or smell. The item being identified is usually an edible item.

Random Media Format

You could come up with pictures, songs or short videos of any of the themes below, and players are expected to look at or listen to the media and write down what they see. 

Make sure you have the equipment for presentation like a TV screen or a projector.  You could play sounds on media player or print images large and clear enough to be seen.

Game Rules

  1. A trivia game consists of 10 rounds with 10 questions each.
  2. Correct spelling on the answer sheets is not always required. However, the judges must be able to recognize and understand your answers.
  3. Each question has only one correct answer. Submitting more than one answer or general descriptions will be scored as incorrect.
  4. Neatly write your answers. Use the pencil provided on your table in case you have to erase. 
  5. You could only use your second chance—or mulligan—once each round. However, they cannot be used for bonus questions.
  6. Answer sheets must be returned to the judges’ table during the time allowed at the end of each round.
  7.  Changing of answers and applying mulligans are not allowed once the answer sheets have been turned in.
  8.  Electronic devices or other resource materials are strictly prohibited for use during the trivia game. Teams found to be violating this rule automatically forfeits the round.
  9. If you must take a call during the game, please do so outside of the trivia game area.
  10. Correct answers will be announced at the end of each round. 
  11. If you feel your team score is incorrect, notify the judges’ table as soon as possible.
  12. The trivia host, in consultation with the judges, would have the final say on any disputed answers.
  13.  In the event of a tie, a tie-breaker question would be used to determine the winner.

Trivia Categories

While you have a truly bewildering array of subjects from which you can create your trivia questions, it is a nightmare to know exactly where to begin. Think of the categories as the ‘mental pigeon holes’ from where you can organize your thoughts and conjure up trivia questions with far less sweat.

Here, we have listed some broad categories from which you can formulate your trivia questions.

Contemporary History

Knowing what is ‘contemporary’ for each team means you have to know their age, as well.  Asking questions of events and happenings within living memory tends to stir the emotions more than events in the distant past.  


This covers knowledge on cities, towns, rivers, and other geographical features. The unique and fun thing about geographical questions is that everyone believes they certainly know something others do not.

Pop Culture

Pop culture has the biggest fan base of all themes. Under pop culture, you will find TV, movies, music, celebrity gossip, fads and commercials.

Local Trivia

How about trivia from your local neighborhood or town? You could center your questions along the latest neighborhood or town gossip, achievements, events, and many more.


Try to know who is the current president, his predecessor or maybe the local town mayor.  You could ask questions about political parties and their leadership.


Sports is an immensely popular category. Almost every American is a fan of one or more teams from different sports categories. There are a whole lot of questions one can prepare from a sports theme.

Family History

You could ramp up the night’s fun with questions touching on family history and traditions.  Such family trivia also strengthens family bonds by taking everyone down memory lane in a fun way.

How to Make Trivia Night Enjoyable

It’s important to prepare well before commencing your family trivia night; there is no substitute for preparation. Take the needs of your guests into consideration and ensure a perfectly comfortable atmosphere of relaxation for everyone. 

More than the snacks and the drinks, make your family trivia night even more enjoyable by putting on a few gimmicks. You could arrange for some form of dress up, which is in conjunction with your trivia night’s theme. If that is too excessive, you can at least have each family or each team color code with one another.

Don’t just decorate the players, you should decorate the venue too! Decorate your home with equally matching themes. And last, but not the least, don’t forget the prizes! Make sure that you have prepared a grand prize for the winning team, as well as consolation prizes in order of ranking.

We hope this article gave you all the fine ideas you need to host your own amazing family trivia night.

Laura is the force behind Gathered Again, transforming family gatherings into unforgettable memories with expert tips and a heart full of passion. Join her mission to celebrate the magic of family connections, one event at a time.

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