6 Of The Best Ever Dress Up Party Ideas

I always get really annoyed when people moan and groan about dress up parties. My mates and I love dress up parties and we’re total nerds about them. I often have people asking me about planning parties (which is weird because I’m pretty sure I’ve never written about that) so I thought I’d share some of the best themed parties we’ve had, in case you’re ever stuck for a cool dress up theme. Warning: We take our dress up parties REALLY seriously.

6 Of The Best Ever Dress Up Party Ideas

Silly Hat Party

I’ve been to a few Silly Hat Parties but these are my two favourite hats I made. This is my Swine Flu Hat, made from a piggy toy and dust masks. I also have beer coolers on each side of my head because my headband was sticking into my head and this was my brilliant solution to that problem. I suspect it was a red wine fuelled decision.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.12.19 pm

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.50.50 pm

This is a Candy Tiara that I made from candy necklaces and wire. I worked weekends in a bead store at the time and apparently rosaries were all the rage. 

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 10.57.18 pm

These are my mates Steph and Stu wearing a Hollywood Sign Hat and Pez Dispenser Hat respectively.

Old People Party

My mate turned 30 a few years ago and had an Old People themed party. It was actually quite hilarious because most of us dressed like future old versions of ourselves. Like my mate Fliss in her bathrobe and me in a turban and jewels.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.16.24 pm

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.57.40 pm

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 11.24.00 pm

 Work of Art Party

I wasn’t at this party but I just love the idea. The idea was to come dress as a work of art or an artist.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.52.41 pm

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 11.08.18 pm

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 11.09.07 pm

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 11.09.45 pm

 The League of Pissweak Super Heros Party

This theme was heaps of fun. We all had to come as made up super heros. I’m Piker Girl because I had a reputation of partying hard until midnight and then I would fall asleep or get my mum to come pick me up. Piker Girl’s super power was piking, so I had a sleeping mask and teabags in my hair. My friend Fi is The Sexy Librarian. Her super power was taking off her glasses, shaking out her hair and becoming irrisistable to all men. There was also Mr Fantale who shot Fantale lollies out of his sleeves and The Tea Towel-er who would flick people with  tea towels.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 10.41.30 pm

Tim Burton Party

Another classic was the Tim Burton party. This is me dressed as one of Edward Scissorhand’s hairdressing clients… getting my hair cut by Edward Scissorhand’s. 

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.52.09 pm

Heroes and Villians

This is a simple yet very effective theme.

Frankenfurter gets felt up by Princess Mononoke.

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.15.19 pm


And here we have Frankenfurter, Danger Mouse, Puss in Boots and Joan of Arc.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.49.41 pm

We also got a pretty cool Two Face out of that party. Probably the best real life Two Face I’ve ever seen.

What was the best dress up party you ever went to? And what was your favourite fancy dress costume you’ve ever worn?

Do upload your favourite ever costume party photos. I’d love to see them!

Carly is the founding editor of Smaggle which launched in 2007 back when blogging was weird. She has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Cosmopolitan and Cleo magazines. Hoop earrings are totally her thing and she almost got run over by Myf Warhurst while out jogging one day.


  1. Ellie Scarf 2 years ago

    Love fancy dress – my favourite was a full on hire costume of the fantastic four, i was petrified about the neck to knee lycra, but it turns out that is like a full body spanx! Score! Love some of those ideas and wish I had read this before planning my Mum’s 60th – we are going with ‘Gla-nimals’ but Works of Art would have been perfect…

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      I had already moved to Melbourne by the time my mates had the work of art party! I was devastated! Must try to do one in Melbourne!

  2. Oh man, I’m all about the dress up parties. I’m the go-to person at work and with my friends if anyone needs a costume idea because I have boxes and boxes of stuff. I went to an retirement home themed party recently and spent the night with those velcro curlers in my hair – not fun the next day, but worth it at the time! I’ve got animal costumes (pre-onesies being ubiquitous), a Where’s Wally outfit, 50s, 60s, 70s, hats, wigs, you name it!

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      I’m actually pretty good at creating costumes from nothing because I HATE clutter. I’d never hire costume but second hand stores get a good work out when a party is happening.

      • I’m lucky that I live in a 2-bedroom place so I have two boxes of costumes neatly packed away at the top of the spare room cupboard. I’d never hire anything either – way more fun to make it yourself from op-shop goodies/terrible sewing efforts!

  3. Sarah Von Bargen 2 years ago

    One of the things I miss most about living in the Antipodes is your commitment to fancy dress parties. I think 90% of the parties I went to in New Zealand were fancy dress. In the US it’s like pulling teeth to get people to dress us – even on Halloween! 🙁

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      We really do! It’s a whole thing and my mates are I take it really seriously!

  4. Keep Warm (Danielle) 2 years ago

    I love dressing up! My friends and I have done sexy librarians, bridesmaid dresses, pirates, Olympic (I dressed like the flame… a lot of sequins). One of my favourite costumes was made up super heroes. I was Miss Direction: arrows pointing everywhere, smoke and mirrors in my hair and a red herring! So fun!

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      Ah! That sounds awesome! My mate and I went to a party as girls from Robert Palmer’s Simple Irristable. No pants and tuxedo jackets. We looked amazing!

  5. Wow, these are awesome dress up ideas! Love the Old People theme and The League of Piss Weak Superheroes – classic! Every year at NBA Finals time, we take turns amongst our friends to host each game. One year, to celebrate his favaourite team (Miami Heat) and his favourite player (LeBron James) making the finals, my husband decided to hire a full blown king costume, complete with crown and fur-trimmed cape. He was greeted with the biggest laugh from each of our friends every time he answered the door!

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      The old people theme was HILARIOUS! The guy in the pic on his own with the pot belly looks scarily like his father dressed up like that. The NBA things sounds AMAZING! What are you even into the NBA? I’m always curious when people follow US sports teams!

  6. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella 2 years ago

    OK you win at parties Smaggle. You always have a good time! 🙂

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      Actually Piker Girl is a real thing. I have a FANTASTIC time and then I crash and burn and need a nap. Pathetic. But I’m like a kid on red cordial right up until that point! 🙂

  7. Tanya 2 years ago

    I had a disney themed party for my 24th. The reason why it was my favorite was because my best mate showed up in the same costume as me (Cruela Devile). We were the only two Cruela’s and Im pretty certain everyone thought we had per-arranged it. It reminded me of the days me and my 5 year old best mate would pre-arrange wearing matching undies to school (we had bought the same disney princess 5 pack from K-Mart)
    The other day I heard about the ‘where would I be in 20 years’ theme. Apparently most went as old and fat but there were the few that came in their dressing gowns as unemployed or dripping in jewells as ‘super wealthy’

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      That’s a really cute story. It sound like you guys have an amazing connection. xxx

  8. Dr Na 2 years ago

    An extremely drunken Joan of Arc! Embarrassment… I think costume parties are always so much more fun – especially when your friends are a bunch of drama nuts and really go all out. Nice memories!

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      There was an even better one of Dave and Ted trying to get you out of your chainmaille!

      • Dr Na 2 years ago

        Yeah… Let’s not post that one, shall we? 😉

        • Author
          Smaggle 2 years ago

          I’ve got your back. And in your defense I think your eyes were just closed… it was fairly early in the night. My eye make up is still intact.

  9. Bollocks 2 years ago

    That brings back memories. Why we haven’t has a good ol’ fashioned boob-grabbing party in these parts for ages now.

    Drunk Na parties however…

    A favourite, though slightly outside the theme, was the zombie party. Everyone comes dressed normally except one guy who comes looking a little pale, a little unwell. Is that blood dripping from the side of his mouth? At one point in the party he bites someone, who needs to move to the bathroom (where we’ve stashed a bunch of make up) and he now makes himself up to look like a zombie. Then he bites someone who has to go get made up, then she bites someone… Before you know it half the party is crying for brains and chasing the other half who are squealing that akubra hats make them immune to the plague and then the host’s parents walk in the door….

    Night goes downhill from there.

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      I was just hinking that the other day. What was that party you went to as the invisible man and drank beer through a hole in a stocking? That was commitment.

  10. I held an Enid Blyton party once. i went as the land of birthdays from the Faraway Tree, we had a few Naughtiest Girls, some elves and fairies and bunch of other characters. Even though most people dressed up, there was always the cop-out option of being a member of the Famous Five.

    Also did a Cocktail Party once – as in dress up as a cocktail. I was a Tequila (to kill a) Sunrise – a sunrise with a bullet hole through it. That was a lot of fun too.

  11. Bec 2 years ago

    I believe my friends and I to be the kings and queens of fancy dress.
    Last year we hosted four costume parties; op shop, nautical nonsense, winter wonderland and 2013: the year that was.
    I went as a sailor, santa claus and a nameless Blurred Lines dancer to the latter three.
    Other themes I’ve loved include Euro trash, old people and Mexican (I went as Frida Kahlo and rocked that monobrow HARD).
    I’m going to start planning a costume party right now…

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      Frida Kahlo is a brilliant costume idea. I’ve got it tucked away for future reference… An appropriate theme will pop up soon!

  12. Monica Gomez 2 years ago

    The best costume party I’ve been to was by far the ‘dress as the stereotype from your country’ party my friend had while I was in grad school in Milan and 90% of the student body hailed from places other than Italy. We had men in lederhosen, Rosie the riveter, a hot dog, a gypsy, a kebab guy, a geisha (that was a man) and a couple of canadian mounties among other things.

    I was a piñata- not a traditional mexican piñata, but the kind you always see in TV shows and movies that I’ve never, ever seen in my home country. It did have some problems though, I almost caught on fire at different points during the night, and then it rained on the way home.

    • Author
      Smaggle 2 years ago

      Oh no! Element friendly costumes are so hard to maintain! What a great theme… although most of my friends are Australian so it might be a boring party for us. Lots of things and stubbies!

  13. Nicole 2 years ago

    The Tea Towel-er sounds like a villain!

Leave a Reply

The Strange Effect Being a Woman Can Have On Your Superannuation Fund

Sponsored by ATO (Australian Taxation Office) What's the state of your superannuation? Honestly? Like most women in Australia it's probably...