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A costume party (American English) or a fancy dress party (British English), mainly in contemporary Western culture, is a type of party where guests dress up in a costume. Enjoy reading as we give you fun facts and our favorite examples of costume parties.
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United States
Costume Parties are especially popular in the United States around Halloween, when teenagers and adults who may be considered too old for trick-or-treating attend a costume party instead. Halloween costume parties are occasionally featured in popular movies, such as Mean Girls.

Costume parties are also popular during the Carnival season such as at Mardi Gras
Popular practices included wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades- Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday" (in ethnic English tradition, Shrove Tuesday), referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which started on Ash Wednesday.

Science fiction, fantasy events, movie openings and book releases.
Costume parties are also held for popular science fiction and fantasy events, movie openings and book releases. Website theonering.net held a The Lord of the Rings dress Oscar party that was attended by Peter Jackson. Star Wars parties were held to celebrate the opening of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Many bookstores have held Harry Potter themed parties to celebrate the releases of the series' later novels, and some movie theaters have had Potter-themed celebrations as the movie adaptations have been released.

Larger scale 'parties' are often related to organised societies or conventions.
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Fancy Dress Parties in Britain
The origins of fancy dress parties in the UK can in some respects
be traced to masked balls of the 18th century period, although
Fancy Dress parties of the modern kind are a largely Victorian
conception expanded upon by the Edwardians.

Notable amongst early events in the 20th century was the Chelsea
Arts ball. Such events were often elaborate affairs and for the most
part confined to those with considerable means.

Amongst the general population, costume parties also occurred
with increasing frequency from the late 1940s onward, although for the most part the costumes were simple affairs until the mid 1970s. Prior to 'cheap' costume imports from the Far East (late 1990s) most costumes were either hired, or home constructed. Retail purchased costumes is in respect of the UK, a largely modern phenomenon (late 1990s onward) although 'accessory' items had been available for some time.

Coupled with the modern trend in costume parties, 'retro' fashion as a costume theme (such as a 70s or even 80s fancy dress) are also popular in the UK, the costumes to some extent parodying or pastiching the fashions of earlier decades. Amongst the most popular parodied costumes are: Audrey Hepburn (as Holly Golightly); Madonna in her classic stage outfits and more recently Lady Gaga.

Fancy dress parties are popular year round in the UK. Bridget Jones features the popular and classic theme "Vicars and Tarts". Fancy dress parties are also a favorite of the British Royal Family. Prince William celebrated his 21st birthday with an "Out of Africa" theme, Princess Beatrice chose an 1888 themed party for her 18th birthday, and Freddie and Gabriella Windsor celebrated a joint birthday party with a pre-French Revolution courtly theme. Prince Harry infamously wore an Afrika Corps uniform with a Nazi armband to a "Colonials and Natives" themed party in January 2005. There was a large international outcry after the Sunday tabloid News of the World published a photo of him in the costume. Smiffy's, Britain's biggest fancy dress costume company, said it not only banned the imitation desert uniform but refused to make any Second World War German items. Its chairman, Ray Peckett, said in an interview to the Daily Telegraph at the time, that it never had and never would do so: "Wearing a Nazi uniform is exceptionally offensive".
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Japan
In Japan, costume parties are closely related to cosplay.
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80s fancy dress
Since the nineties, until late in the Noughties, 80s fashion had been shunned widely by the public young and old. This meant the only time people generally ventured into 80s fashion, was at an 80s fancy dress party [7] or Halloween. The most popular costumes researched for 80s fancy dress are the 80s Madonna Look, 80s Punk fashion and fluoro / neon clothing. Some of the easiest and cheapest 80s costumes include Rambo, 80s Samantha Fox and 80s Tom Cruise from Risky Business and Top Gun. Another alternate 80s fancy dress costume idea, is to visit the charity clothing stores and look for 80s dresses, 80s prom dresses and 80s denim, including high waisted pants and acid wash, also known as stone wash. In 2010, buying 80s fashion is an easy 80s fancy dress costume idea, due to 80s fashion experiencing a resurgence in popularity, spearheaded by celebrities such as Ke$ha, Rihanna and Lady Gaga.
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Events and Themes
There are many annual events that generate the chance to dress up in fancy dress costumes; Christmas, New Year, birthdays, Hen and Stag parties and Book Day, amongst others.

Halloween is the most popular costume or fancy dress event of the year in western society. Halloween originated centuries ago, the Celts believed that on the 31st October the line between the living and the dead became distorted, condemned souls would come back to reek havoc for the night. In defence the Celts would dress up in ghoulish costumes to scare evil spirits away.

Within many fancy dress events a theme is usually present, and with fancy dress outfits often from Hollywood films such as Star Wars, Grease, James Bond and Spider-Man. Themes are also extremely popular with fundraising events, such as the Great Gorilla Run, where 1,000 people dressed as gorillas in London in aid for Great Gorillas, a charity that focuses on the endangered species.
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Other Popular Choices for a Costume Party

Mime Costume Party:  A mime party is a gathering of persons dressed like mimes
who have been invited by a host for the purposes of socializing, conversation, and
recreation with mime activities. The typical dress is black and white. White face and
white gloves. Mime parties are extremely fun!

Pirate Parties / Swashbuckling Party:  Dressing up like pirates! You would think
pirate parties were just for kids but pirate parties are actually celebrated more by adults
than by children. Favorite foods served are recipes like Skull Cheese Ball Ideas,
Skull Sandwiches, Skull Rice Crispy Treats, Skull Cake and Crunchy Bones. Visit our
pirate food section for food facts and more fun recipes.

Mexican Fiesta Party:  Great Mexican music, Mexican theme foods like nachos,
tacos, salsa, guacamole and corn chips are favorites. Pinata games are always played.
Dress in colorful clothes and dance dance dance.

Western Party / Giddy-Up Party:  Guest dress in Western theme clothes. Be a
cowgirl, cowboy, Indian, sheriff, horse etc. Serve buffalo meat, sausage, beans, rattle
snake, steak, beer, whisky etc. If party is outdoors; fireside cooking is a must. Go
ahead... bake those beans on the fire.... bowl them up then eat them!  Activities could
be horse riding or roping games. Giddy-up parties are great for kids too. Just leave out
the booze and serve milk.
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See Also:
Party Planning
Costume Party
Weird Party Ideas
Weird Holiday Parties
Shocker shaker and shamer parties
Theme Party







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Resources:  This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article costumeparty /  and other related pages. Top photo stock
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A Medieval Fancy dress party