We’ve all been there—you’ve been invited to a party by an extroverted friend, and you simply have to attend. The invites are all sent out, the banners on their social media profiles have all been changed, and the party favors are all purchased. However, when you get your invite, you realize that right there in bold writing at the top are the two words which you hoped you wouldn’t see: fancy dress.
To be fair, you probably should have seen it coming; it is a theme party after all. Still, the thought of having to turn up at a birthday party or Halloween gathering in a silly costume is hardly your idea of fun. Yet, it really can be. Look, no one is suggesting that you have to become a cosplayer and use only the finest fabrics to dress as a hyper-detailed facsimile of an 80’s action movie character. There are a lot of ways that you can not only come up with a great costume without breaking the bank but also have fun putting it together too. Let’s have a look at a few of the more popular themes as well as a few ideas on what you can do to dress and impress.
The 80s Theme
Who doesn’t love a party with an ’80s theme, really? Everything back then was so cool; the music was excitingly electronic, the big hair-styles (which were bigger than the heads they were on), the cassette tapes would bulge from everyone’s pockets, and everything seemed coated in neon colors. Ok, anyone who lived through that particular decade will tell you that it’s looked back on through rose neon-tinted lenses, but the parties that are themed in honor of those years are nearly always a night to remember. There’s a reason the 80s theme party is so popular a choice, and that’s because it’s both easy to prepare for and has fewer limits for how far you can take your apparel.
With the 80s party, think big hair, neon everything, and plenty of bright-colored leg warmers. Awesome 80s inspirational looks include Cyndi Lauper (complete with moused strands of hair, leather jacket and boom box), Madonna, who at this phase of her career was in hair ribbons and tank tops, or (if you’re feeling particularly adventurous) a computer console character like Donkey Kong, Mario, or Frogger.
Halloween & Hollywood
Strangely enough, when it comes to Halloween, which was originally a religious festival, little of the theme is to do with the occasion itself. One could even argue that the point of dressing up for October 31st is simply for the sake of it. Halloween has a bit more of a laissez faire theme. Pretty much anything goes, so go wild. Most often, people will dress up as their favorite movie characters and stars, and this can be typified as in one of two ways. Either you can dress completely as the character would, in which case you’re erring on the side of cosplaying, or you can dress close to the character but have one great looking prop. For the latter, think “Wilson” from Castaway or Thor’s hammer.
If you’re going down the route of a full costume, then you’ll need a bit of creativity. You don’t need to be completely accurate here (so if you’re going online and sourcing clergy shirts and holy water pots from Cokesbury, then you may be taking things a little bit too far). Just download an image from the internet of the character you want to dress as, and get as close as you can within reason and budget.
Remember, no one else is going to have the same photo to check your appearance against, so “close-to” will do. If someone does call you out on your inaccuracies, then clearly they’ve missed the point of a party.
Heroes & Villains
Again, the same rule applies: you don’t have to break the bank or even a sweat. Keep it simple and fun. You’re not going for complete accuracy, in fact, a little touch of the blatant homemade quality will make your costume even more quirky. If in doubt, go with the obvious: James Bond has a tux, Superman has a torn shirt, The Hulk is green, etc.
A final point which bears repeating is that every party, themed or not, has to be one that fits in with the CDC guidelines regarding parties and events. Even if that means it has to be postponed until later, just make sure that you are safe first and foremost. The last costume anyone would want to wear is a hospital gown.