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How to Organize a Themed or Costume Party

Themed events, costume parties, and any events that require additional participation from its attendees tend to be met with slight disappointment. Some might even try to make up an excuse for not coming, which shouldn’t surprise you. Then, in the end, everyone eventually has a great time. But how can you make sure your guests know they will have a good time before they actually come to your themed or costume party?

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Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash

In general, people don’t like themed events because they assume that they will be expected to participate in some way. And they aren’t wrong. They will most likely have to come up with a costume, or they will be forced to engage in tired team-building activities. There are two reasons for their initial negative attitude. The first one, and the most obvious one, is that people don’t want to be bothered with all the preparation and engagement. This is, usually, what they will say as an excuse. The second one, the actual one, is that no one wants to be embarrassed. And themed parties seem like a good chance for someone to embarrass themselves. As someone who wants to be the perfect host, you need to make sure that you have resolved all of their doubts, even the ones they didn’t know they had and provided enough reassurance to transform your skeptical invitees into delighted guests.

Let’s start with the obvious – do people even like theme or costume parties event theme?

The biggest task ahead of you is choosing the theme for your event. This is a very important decision. It is important for you to have in mind that there is no wrong or right theme; there is only the one your attendees will enjoy, which is why it matters that you get their input as well. Perhaps something feels like a great idea to you, but your guests might have very different tastes and opinions.

One pro tip: list down themes for a costume party, like gothic, Victorian, and steampunk, and ask the possible attendees to vote. You can add links or inspirations so that guests know how to dress up in the gothic style or the chosen theme.

In the end, your goal isn’t to be right but to make sure they are happy, so listen to their input and act accordingly. And if you feel like their opinions are contradicting, just do what the majority feels is right. At least that way you will make sure that most of them are satisfied in the end. If your event is good enough, you might be able to sway even the biggest of detractors.

Encourage participation, but don’t force it

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Photo by Efren Barahona on Unsplash

It is completely natural that certain people might feel uncomfortable during huge gatherings, especially if they are expected to dress and act a certain way. That might increase their anxiety, and if you are persistent, they will, most likely, completely shut down. On the other hand, for extreme extroverts, any activity is great, and they can be your biggest party promoters. However, the majority of people fall in the middle – they won’t run away from the games, but they won’t run towards them either.

To combat this challenge, the best way is to have someone politely explaining the activities and gently pushing the indecisive to participate. If you want everyone to be in costume, but some show up without it, make sure you have a couple of extras to give away. Allow people to make their own choices and avoid peer pressure. If people feel comfortable enough, they will be more likely to engage in some unknown activity or put on a silly hat.

This is a party first and foremost – don’t forget that!

If you are really invested in your theme, you might forget that there is a lot of other planning to be done. Food and beverages, logistics and location, sanitation, and a place for coats. Event planning is such a big task that in some cases, you will have to hire an expert to do it. 

Depending on the number of people and the importance of your event, you might need to rely on someone other than yourself. Make sure that all of the needs are taken care of and that your perfect theme won’t be ruined by running out of cups an hour into the event. All the costumes in the world won’t help you then.

The most important thing to have in mind when planning a theme or costume party is to be aware that you can’t control it. Costume parties tend to have a life on their own, and sometimes your chosen theme might take a completely different turn. It isn’t so important to preserve its integrity as it is to allow your guests to enjoy and to have fun.  Themed or Costume Party

By the end of the night, you want your attendees to feel like they have personally chosen the theme and that the entire party was a wonderful experience. Stay in the shadows and make sure everything runs smoothly, and the guests will take care of the rest. 




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