Tips for Throwing a Costume Party

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Costume parties are just not for Halloween; any party can easily be turned into a costume party, and the element of coming as someone else can add a whole new dimension of fun, friskiness and kicking back. If you are thinking about making your next event a costume party, here are some helpful tips for planning this night of fun.

Theme or No Theme?

The first thing you need to decide is whether you will have a theme or if everyone can just come in whatever type of costume they desire. People will have great fun either way, but parties where a particular theme ties everything together from the decorations to the food can really create a fun little world that you and your friends can inhabit for hours.

There are endless themes for a costume party, but here are a few to get you started. There is the classic Arabian nights, where you can get rid of the furniture and throw down some colorful pillows for seating; you can dress up as Cleopatra or a sexy belly dancer. Speakeasy themes can also be fun—turn your home into a bar full of gangsters and flappers. If you are a fan of the 19th century and Victorian eras and you and your friends are all about the sci-fi, you can find plenty of steampunk costume accessories, such as the steampunk aviator hat to commemorate the age of steam. There is the fairy tale theme, famous couples, Carmen Miranda, characters from literature, deserted island, Hollywood celebrities and Camelot.

Food Considerations

For costume parties, it is best to keep the food simple—appetizers and snacks. Make the party late enough that people will have already eaten dinner. Nothing too messy since you don’t want people ruining their awesome costumes. Any typical snack foods will fit the bill; if you are choosing a theme for your party, plan the offerings accordingly. Arabian nights, for example,goes well with the typical Middle Eastern fare such as hummus, pita and couscous. Fresh fruit, tropical drinks and grilled fish can work great for a deserted island party. Good choices for a speakeasy party would be bar foods like nuts and olives.


For a costume party, you may not need much more than some good music playing in the background; but, there are some games and other activities that can be fun. Maybe you could hire a dance instructor for the evening to teach a dance in line with your theme, like belly dancing, the tango or swing. A costume contest is always fun—ask people to bring a written description of their costume that you can read while they are walking down the makeshift runway.

Take Lots of Pictures

Take lots of pictures of all the guests; this way, when you send out cards thanking the guests for attending your party, you can include a few select snapshots of your guests throughout the party. It will add a nice touch to the card and your guests will love the pics.