Public Service Announcement.
The politics of dress-up parties is an extremely deceptively complex beast. The unavoidable tear, and the eternal struggle of pinning down precisely where the balance is between “no effort” and “sorry, i just choked on absolutely nothing at all, could you please repeat to me exactly how much you payed for that costume?” is a precarious situation to be in. Nobody wants to look like they tried, which is odd, because no-one wants to look like they didn’t bother either. This statement rings true for the party hosts as well. The choice of theme is delicate; push too hard and there is a fear of alienating the more timid of your potential party-goers. Everyone knows that the mathematical equation to your actual guest list goes something along the lines of:
People Who Turn Up =
(people who clicked attending X 40% – 75%**) + (people who clicked maybe X 10%) + (people who clicked not attending X 1%) + (between 5 – 20 family members/people who aren’t on facebook/random people**)
Between 1.1 & 2**
**Depending on social stature/amount liked/ability to attract female attendees/reputation of throwing hectic parties.
So the last thing you want to do is reduce that number in any way, unless of course, your reputation of throwing hectic parties is through the roof, in which case, equations become nullified, and you could probably throw a paper bag themed party and still be turning them away. If you are one of those people, stop reading here.
Oh so you’re all still with me…carry on then.
On the flip side, if you push too little, the resulting output can quite easily become a half-hearted affair of weak attempts to satisfy given costume parameters.
While it somewhat perplexes me, a lot of people can be rather self-conscious of their chosen costumes. And while it’s clear that ‘safe’ and ‘broad’ party themes can obviously be unnapealing and come off cheesy, specifying too greatly can have the effect of excluding those who aren’t as extroverted or carefree as you or other party-goers may be.
To determine an exciting theme, we must first pinpoint the areas where creativity ends, and boring shxt begins. Firstly, dress-up parties really don’t need to be an excuse to dress like a slxt (is that a cuss word?). Femininity is encouraged, but sluttiness is so 2007. Secondly, don’t do something you’ve heard of before, or worse, been to. Why? Why. Do. It? and thirdly, a thirdly is always required to justify the use of a firstly and a secondly, but I don’t have a particular thirdly at this moment, so this will act as that for the time being.
Let’s get into it.
The Theme: Suit Up or Frock Up.
The Rundown: Unfortunately this one goes directly against the initial intention of the clothing options it employs. A suit or dress is, in societies eyes, the pinnacle of class and sophistication (Randwick will have something to say about that). And while I certainly dig that notion, I dig it in everyday life. Not now. Not here. This is a motherfxckin’ party yo, not a day in the office.
What This Theme Says About You: This theme is the sign of an uninspired or uncreative host. Sorry to be harsh, but it’s true.
Suggested Alternative: 50’s, see below.
The Theme: Pimps & Ho’s
The Rundown: Obviously taken from the glamourisation of gangsta, violence and sex culture. At one point this idea would have been original, and shxt, maybe even entertaining. That time has long passed. This is possibly my most hated dress-up theme.
What This Theme Says About You: Not only does it look unimaginative and uninspired, but you also run the risk of either a) boring the shxt out of everyone you invite, or b) upsetting the (only slightly) more feminist of your potential attendees. It also says that you think jokes that were made in 2001 are still funny.
Suggested Alternative: Pimpesses & Man-Ho’s. Nuff said.
The Theme: 50’s
The Rundown: A good easy classy theme. This is how you say ‘Suit Up’, without being lame. Guys keep it simple, and ladies, really get a chance to shine. I mean c’mon, that fashion is off the motherfxckin’ chain. But unfortunately it too suffers from a bit of the ol’ dreaded overuse.
What This Theme Says About You: You’re not a creative power plant, but you gots some taste motherfxcker.
Suggested Alternative: All you need is a bit of a tweak…perhaps something along the lines of: 50’s. Suspenders entirely necessary. Obviously this means different things to males and females, and both variations are awesome.
The Theme: Halloween
The Rundown: Everyone’s favourite “holiday”, turns the entire city into one big dress up party. Holding a Halloween party on a Halloween weekend is certainly not going to incite much excitement from those who’ve been there and done that. While it’s not at all lame, or anything really too bad, you could definitely benefit from being a little more creative with your approach.
What This Theme Says About You: You are aware that it’s Halloween. Congratulations.
Suggested Alternatives: Freddy vs. Jason or Alien vs. Predator (including victims), Tim Burton or Johnny Depp, October’s Birthday, Teen Slasher’s…you know, the usual.
The Theme: Hawaiian
The Rundown: I went to one of these once. I rapped and stuff. Don’t remember much else.
The Theme: Superhero
The Rundown: I dig superhero parties. It’s surprisingly underdone, and it is seriously broad…thanks Marvel. It also provides great breathing room for the more extroverted slash larrikin of the bunch to sport their full wares, ie. underwear on the outside.
What This Theme Says About You: I’ll be honest, not a lot. But as long as the party’s good. Who gives a f.
Suggested alternative: If you want to tighten it down a bit, maybe try something like <specific superhero’s> villains. Heroes like Batman and Spiderman have a catalogue of awesome secondary characters that would often get overlooked otherwise. Someone dressed as Dr. Oc would be dope as hell. And you could make a secret rule that anyone who dresses as The Joker gets humilated in some form.
Or fxck it, just do a Villain party.
The Theme: Doctor’s & Nurses
The Rundown: Yet another girls dress slutty, guys dress borderline normal. It is boring me, feed it to the lions.
What This Theme Says About You: Boring, uncreative yada yada yada
Suggested Alternative: Drunk Surgeons. Think about it.
The Theme: 80’s Aerobics
The Rundown: I found this idea whilst googling “dress-up party ideas”. Genius.
What This Theme Says About You: BOSS. Or something to similar effect.
Suggested Alternatives: Anything 80’s wins.
Obviously there are mountains of themes that haven’t been explored here. But most of them do fall into the categories that have been vaguely outlined. The point is, choose your party theme wisely because you don’t want to either scare your potential attendees away before actual invitations are sent (if they are still actually sent), and you certainly don’t want to bore people before they’ve managed to read the address and event description.
The cruel irony is that I will need to wait another 355 days until my birthday comes around again, and writing this article has made me hella geed to have a party. Fxck you reality.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the above article are the views of the author and the author only. In fact, I challenge you to find anyone who agrees with this. But don’t mind me, I’m just here to save your life.