Updated on: Feb 15, 2024
Beyond the basic dancing and conversation, guests enjoy special activities that are geared toward the theme of the occasion. A costume theme party is a classic theme for hosting a party. Who doesn’t love dressing up as their favorite character? Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with clever ideas on your own for games and activities for your costume party. Fortunately, the list we’ve created offers direction for various activities that will provide copious amounts of excitement at your next costume or attire party.
Costume Theme Party Decorations
Decorations are a must for every party. A costume theme party is no different. Since there is no specific theme for a costume party other than the wardrobe, here are a few ideas to get you started on a great party atmosphere.
1. Pick a Theme
Have a certain object be the centerpiece of your decorations. This includes anything from mirrors to flowers to candles, or anything that can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, forms, and colors! A good theme would coincide with the costume theme. If your costume party is a Harry Potter theme party, then have your decor be elements from the book/movies.
2. Pick a Color Scheme
After choosing a subject, choose three to five colors to be your color scheme for the decorations. Choosing a full rainbow is an option, but will most likely look confusing or chaotic.
3. Canopy Effects
Hang tulle or other fabrics from the ceiling to create a canopy at parties. You could also hang the fabrics from the walls to create an air of elegance throughout the decorations. Balloon arches are very popular now and easy to make so don’t be afraid to play around with some balloon decor.
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4. Decorate with Accessories
Hang costume accessories such as masks, hats, glasses, or gloves from the walls and doorknobs. Not only will this add some clever flair to the party, but guests can also use the accessories to throw a quick costume together or help accent the one they're already wearing.
5. Be Practical
Set up tables with mirrors for guests to use to throw some makeup on or arrange their hairstyles and outfit. If using candles, make sure they are in safe places so no one damages their costume!
Costume Theme Party Activities
6. Dress-Up Relay
Divide guests into teams. Provide each team with the same costume apparel. Each person on the team must take turns putting on the costume, running to a designated spot, returning to his or her team, and removing the costume for the next person. Try to put on outfits that will make it easier for you to move. Don’t pick anything too complicated.
7. Snapshot Capture
Hire a photographer or ask a friend to take posed pictures of guests in dress-up. You could rent a photo booth for the guests to use themselves as well. The photos offer wonderful souvenirs to remember the party.
8. Mystery Identity
Before the party, request that one or a few attending guests play the role of the “mystery guest.” Request that the mystery guests never talk to anyone or disclose any information about themselves and have a costume that masks their identity very well. At some point in the party, have other guests guess who the mystery guest is.
9. Murder Mystery
For costume parties, murder mystery games are ideal. There are multiple “scenarios” to look up online. Each guest plays the role of a character and, if possible, should dress accurately. Depending on the scenario, the guests might have pre-determined dialogue or actions to take. Ensure that everyone is comfortable with their character and knows their role. While this activity is lengthy, it is incredibly fun and will be remembered by all guests for a long time!
10. Costume Awards
Set up a makeshift stage area for guests. Select an announcer to introduce the guests to their costumes. Create different voting categories such as Cheapest Costume, Best Use of Makeup, Most Original, and so on. Have the audience write down their votes on a piece of paper throughout the presentation. The more categories there are, the better. Everyone loves to win. At the end of the party, reveal the winners!
11. Guess the Costume
This is played similarly to the game “Guess Who.” Tell one guest to write down the name of another guest on a piece of paper. The remaining guests should then ask questions to determine the identity of the selected guest. For example, someone could ask, “Is the person wearing makeup?” or “Does your person wear a mask?” Guests will be able to determine the name of the guest that was written down using the process of elimination.
Costume Theme Party Favors
Party favors and gifts are a nice way to say “thank you for coming” to your guests. Favors can be theme-related or simple sweets and treats. Here are a few ideas for you:
12. Goodie bag
Goodie bags are easy because all you need are a few elements and a cellophane bag. These elements could be keychains, small candles, personalized pens, bracelets, and candy. These are just a little something for your guests. The contents of the bag completely depend on your theme and who your guests are.
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Ornaments are nice around the holidays. You can buy personalized ornaments to commemorate the day so you and your friends will remember it every year.
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14. Shot Glasses
Shot glasses are great adult favors. These shot glasses can have masks engraved on them or the date of the party. If your party has an added theme, that could be the subject of the shot glass as well.
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15. Colored Lens Sunglasses
Colored-lens sunglasses are really fun and iconic. People can even wear them on a day-to-day basis to elevate any outfit.
Costume Theme Party: Conclusion
A costume theme party will be loved by all of your guests. They leave a lot of room for expression and creativity. This just might be the theme for your next party. With these insights and tips, you’re well on your way to hosting a great event. You can also check out our budget worksheet to guide you through managing party expenses! We also provide a variety of party ideas for inspiration for your next event.
Written by Jessica Clark and Matvei Mozhaev; Contributors: Jack Leduc and Chris Legere