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The Ultimate Costume Party Ideas Guide

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‘Tis [always] the season! The season for fantastic parties! I can’t wait to get out all my decorations and start dressing up my house for all the exciting shindigs to be had. Starting off the party season is my favorite style of celebration- Halloween. Get ready for some great costume party ideas!

In this article, I’m going to break these down into themes, then into ideas that will cover the decoration, food, and entertainment side of costume party planning. Here’s a table of contents so you can see what I cover, that way you can read through or jump around.

Costume Party Ideas For Themes

Historical costume party ideas:

  • Egyptian
  • Ancient Greek/Roman
  • Medieval/Renaissance
  • Western- Cowboy/Saloon girl/Annie Olkly
  • Political Figures
  • 20’s- Flapper/Gangster,
  • 50’s- “I love Lucy” ish
  • 70’s- Hippie or Disco days
  • 80’s- Big hair rockers/dancers
  • 90’s- Goth/Grunge
  • 90’s Television

Television Costume Party Ideas:

  • The Simpsons
  • The Flinstones
  • The Jetsons
  • X-files
  • Marvel
  • DC
  • Anime
  • Friends – The Show
  • Seinfeld
  • Cheers
  • Golden Girls
  • Dallas
  • Stranger Things
  • Downton Abbey
  • American Horror Stories

Movie Costume Party Ideas:

  • Lord of the Rings
  • Breakfast Club
  • Back to the Future
  • Footloose
  • Caddyshack
  • 80’s Horror Characters
  • Indiana Jones
  • Top Gun
  • Karate Kid
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Disney Movies

Once you pick the theme of the party you can move on to the other pieces.

Costume Party Ideas – Invitations

Do you want to decorate your house to fit a certain motif or theme? Maybe you like a catacomb look. Do you decorate your house to look like a spooky castle?  Depending on what the look is, you will find a great invitation to suit your theme. Invitations set the tone for creating the perfect costume party but the first thing you have to do is set the theme.

Costume Party Activities:

queen of heart costume party idea

Photo Booth

If there is ever a time to have a photo booth at a party, this is the best time. Your friends will love commemorating the evening with pictures they can take home and post online. Below I’ll describe the DIY approach but you can also call around to local DJ’s or party rental supply stores and see if anyone has a professional photo booth they can set up.

Creating a costume party photo booth is easy with these simple steps:

  • Set up a curtained area
  • Check lighting and adjust if needed
  • Choose either a neutral background or one that fits your theme
  • A red curtain is a great choice as it has a theatre feel to it
  • Pick up a photo booth prop kit
  • Have a gorilla tripod stand for your guests’ cellphones
  • Pick up an instant print camera for immediate gratification

Costume Party Award Ideas-

costume party skull trophies
I loved this set of awards at my friend Kendra’s party. Super cute!

Awards are a fun incentive for people to go all out on their costumes. This is especially true if you make super cool trophies that people are dying to get. My friend Kendra has made the best trophies over the past years of parties. Everyone ups their costume value every year to compete for these coveted awards.

Ideas for Costume Party Trophies or Prizes:

  • Already made trophies that are generic in theme:
    • Oscar Movie Award Style
    • Classic Star Style
    • Golden Cup Style
  • Superlative Ribbons
    • Funniest
    • Scariest
    • Best Couple
    • Best Group
  • Creative DIY costume trophies
    • Halloween decor can be used- Kendra’s Skull on pedestal was perfect
    • Create your own on a stand
    • Pick a foam or plastic pedestal from a craft store
    • Your choice of accent on top
    • Paint and decorate it
  • Gift Cards
    • Maybe trophies aren’t your style
    • Pick up some $5,$10 and $20 cards
    • Music, Coffee and Dinner location are great choices
costume party ideas for a man

Costume Party Ideas- Foods

Black Bean Spider Dip

When throwing a costume party, there is so much to do when it comes to preparation for costumes, decorations, and entertainment that a potluck is the best option. I enjoy a potluck because:

  • It takes the pressure off one person creating a full spread.
  • This give your guests an opportunity to create one thematic treat.
  • You can even give a prize for spookiest dish!

Some of my favorite recipes for finger foods are:

Costume Party Decoration Ideas

People often use this incorrectly, I figured I’d share this quick video on how to properly use fake spider web so you don’t get frustrated. I love the way they used multiple layers to really make the look!

Costume Party Driveway Decorations Ideas- 

When guests arrive at my house, I want the lawn and driveway decorated to fit the theme!

Here is a quick list of driveway decorations ideas:

  • Foam gravestones
  • Light Up Jack-o-lanters
  • Skeleton pieces coming out of the ground
  • Dress skeletons in old clothing too!
  • Foam black bats are great to hang from trees and siding. These bats are so cute and they’re waterproof to last the season!

Costume Party Front Door Decoration Ideas- 

costume party front door decoration ideas
outdoor costume party decoration ideas
outdoor decorations for costume party

I picked up a few things from Dollar Tree to complete this outdoor look:

  • Spiderweb- don’t be afraid to go crazy, pick up several pack to do multiple layers
  • Pick accents (like these glittery spiders) in your favorite colors
  • String lights are great- try to find the ones that have battery packs if you don’t have accessible outlets to utilize
  • Gauze is an easy spooky accent to add to the layering effect.

Costume Party Entry Way Decorations 

costume party room decorations
costume party apothecary decorations

I love the apothecary look. I have always wished to go to Hogwart’s and be in the potions class. The antique nature of the amber glass with the crumbling and aged labels makes me giddy. This is how I create an apothecary look in my entryway.

  • The old bottles are a nice accent
  • Make your own with labels from your craft store and some decoupage glue
  • The cauldrons and stirring spoons add to the apothecary aesthetic.
  • Find a potions book or make your own
  • This apothecary look will be an easy way to decorate this often passed-by area.

Costume Party Fireplace Decorations

fireplace mantel costume party decorations
spooky costume party ideas for the mantel
spooky skull costume party decorations
costume party full mantel decoration ideas

Costume Party Decoration Suggestions

  • These Halloween items were all found at Dollar Tree!
  • I picked up some of the extras at the thrift store
  • Layering and adding spiderweb gives that spooky feel
  • My kids loved this the moment they walked in from school
  • Here are some more ideas for how to decorate your mantel for Halloween for little to no money! 

Costume Party Decorations- Living Room

costume party spiderweb decorations chair
costume party gauze window dressing
costume party gauze decorations
  • Gauze is cheap and easy to use
  • Quick window decoration to give height to the theme
  • Big glass jars can make a spooky feel almost instantly.

Costume Party Dining Room Decorations 

costume party food table ideas

I love the look of a spooky multitiered tablescape.

You don’t have to break the budget when creating a table scape. Create a halloween tablescape using items from the dollar store

Costume Party Music Ideas

There are so many options when it comes to great costume party music playlists. I have the BEST party playlist that always gets people moving. But some of the classics always come to mind.

  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller album is pound for pound a rocking good time.
  • Rockwell’s “Somebody’s watching me” is a classic song for this costume party.
  • Richard Cheese’s Aperitif for Destruction is a hilarious big band style of music that covers the most popular songs.
  • NOW that’s what I call Halloween- you can call me old fashion, but they really created a great playlist of halloween inspired songs that everybody loves. Let them do the work for you!

Costume Party Supply Shopping List


Coffin Invitations In A Box (1 dz)

Halloween Party Ticket Invitations, Realistic Halloween Birthday Party Ticket Invitations, Halloween Party Invitations

Photo Booth

Tinksky Halloween Party Photo Booth Props Creative Happy Halloween Pose Sign Kit for Party Decoration 47-pack

Funny Graveyard Tombstones – Halloween Party Photo Booth Props Kit – 10 Piece

Halloween photo booth props, Halloween decorations, attached to the stick NO DIY REQUIRED only by USA Sales Seller

LB 7x5ft Halloween Vinyl Photography Backdrop Customized Photo Background Studio Prop WSJ324

OUYIDA 5X7FT Halloween Theme Pictorial Cloth Customized Photography Backdrop Background Studio Prop TP17A

GripTight GorillaPod Stand PRO: Premium Clamping Mount and Tripod with Universal Smartphone Compatibility for iPhone SE to iPhone 8 Plus, Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy S8 and More

Kodak PRINTOMATIC Digital Instant Print Camera (Grey), Full Color Prints On ZINK 2×3″ Sticky-Backed Photo Paper – Print Memories Instantly


Fun Express Halloween Party Costume Contest Award Prize Ribbons – 12 Pieces

Amscan Best Costume Skeleton Plastic Trophy 9 1/2″ x 3″, Gold

11″ Halloween Orange Pumpkin Trophies – Black Midnight Halloween Orange Pumpkin Trophy Awards Prime


Fun Express Halloween Spider Webs Spiderwebs With Plastic Spiders – 12 Packs

amscan Spider & Web Decoration

Abkshine 4pack Battery Operated Purple String Lights, 50led Bright Mini Purple LED Fairy Lights, Battery Powered Halloween Lights, Portable Christmas Decorative Strand Lights

ziyue 10 Yards X 40″ Include Hanging Outdoor Indoor Scary Creepy Halloween Office Party Door Window Giant Spider Wall Yard Table car Lawn Cloth Decorations Cheesecloth Fabric (Black + Gray)

Fix Find Elegant Hanging Tinsel Garland – Halloween Themed – Metallic Purple with Black

Entry Way

Viscacha 5-Candle Metal Candelabra,Black

(12 Pack) 4 oz. Amber Boston Round with Black Poly Cap

Halloween Potion snake skull 9 laminated stickers labels party decoration

LABELS ONLY Halloween Small Apothecary Potion Bottles Harry Potter Party Prop

Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe Waterbased Sealer, Glue and Finish (8-Ounce), CS15059 Gloss

Embossed Leather Blue Stone 120 Page Unlined Journal with Clasp

GiftExpress 8″ Black Cauldron Made in The USA


Skeleton Decoration Bone Décor, Bag of Bones, 6 inches to 16 inches, 12 Piece Set

Anchor Hocking Heritage Hill Glass 0.5 Gallon Storage Jar, Set of 1

Colored Bottle Tree Bottles for Outdoor Garden Decor, Set of 6

Tinksky 20″ Black Large Spider Plush Toy Realistic Hairy Spider Halloween Party Scary Decoration Haunted House Prop Indoor Outdoor Yard Decor

Factory Direct Craft Package of 7 Assorted Size Artificial Pumpkins for Halloween, Fall and Thanksgiving Decorating

Living room

Prextex 19” Posable Halloween Skeleton- Full Body Halloween Skeleton with Movable /Posable Joints and 2 Sets of Body Accessories for Best Halloween Decoration

Table Scape

DII 54×72″ Rectangular Polyester Lace Tablecloth, Black Spider Web – Perfect for Halloween, Dinner Parties and Scary Movie Nights

Unique Spooky Night Party Bundle | Luncheon & Beverage Napkins, Dinner & Dessert Plates, Table Cover | Great for Halloween Parties and Themed Celebrations

3-Tier Cake Cupcake Stand Fruit Plate Elegant Desserts Candy Buffet Tray Display Stands, Family Dinner Wedding Birthday Party Serving Platter (Black)

Cake Plate Stand, Botitu 12 inch Black Metal Decorative Dessert Stand with Pedestal for Birthday and Wedding Cupcake Stand, Suitable for Displaying Cheese, Macron, Brownies Serving Stand(13 inch tall)


Aperitif For Destruction [Explicit]

NOW That’s What I Call Halloween


Costume Party Ideas
Article Name
Costume Party Ideas
If you are ready to throw a fantastic holiday party, check out my favorite costume party ideas to make your gathering a memorable experience!
Publisher Name
Thrifty Little Mom