This blog was inspired by the ad for www.costumebox.com.au currently on TV. To me it indicates a tipping point of sorts - have you ever seen costumes advertised on TV? The costume party is officially BACK. However, to anyone like me, they never went away. But like all trends, it comes and goes and I have been predicting for years that they are growing infinitely in popularity - you would only have need attended a Social Diary party in the last 4 years to see me making a pretty loud point. But how to throw a party that truly terrifies a certain percentage of the population?
Here are some tips.
Accept the fact that you'll scare some people off.
But hey, who wants them anyway? *KIDDING*. OK so some people find it scary or too much effort - here's what I think the breakdown is:
20% UGH it's costume that's so scary
20% UGH it's costume I couldn't be bothered
40% YAY it's costume, FUN!
20% YAY it's costume I'm going to have the BEST costume there. Watch out, I'm definitely in this percentile band!
Always have a theme that has an 'easy option':
The best themes are able to be translated 'lazily' - ie, from anyone's wardrobe at home, whilst still having the scope for amazing creativity for your more interesting guests. Some examples of past Social Diary parties:
Social Diary High
Easy option: school uniform - everyone has a shirt & tie at home
Creative: prom queen, nun, coach
Social Diary REHAB
Easy option: Nurse. All you need is a white dress with a red cross!
Creative: Britney, Amy Winehouse, giant ecstasy pill
Valley of the Dolls
Easy option: Barbie. Anyone can look like a slut!
Creative: Buzz Lightyear, Green Soldier, Pinocchio
Easy option: farmboy/girl: everyone has a flannel shirt
Creative: Carton of milk. Need I say more?
No costume, no entry. OK that may be a little harsh but nothing like putting the fear of God into your party guests. Everyone fears they will be one of only 10 people who dressed up and feel like a fool - but without question the best costume parties are the ones where the 10 people who didn't dress up feel foolish. Be bold. Go hard or go home!
Incentive never goes astray...make it worth their while with a seriously good prize. My fave? When Mark Cavanagh won a trip for 2 to Paris (business class, naturally) for going as a Yum Cha waitress to the opening on WokPool in Darling Harbour. He was doing PR for Market City at the time and told them he needed a trolley for a photo shoot, which he then proceeded to slam into guests angrily shouting "What You Want? Gow Gee? PORK BUN!" A costume is elevated to lofty heights when the wearer stays in character for the evening.
Which leads me onto the obvious....what to do when you receive an invitation to 'stume? The only answer is to do it properly or not at all. Take it seriously and think outside the costume box. For many girls, the opportunity to dress like a slut and get away with it with good reason is very appealing. I've dressed like a slut before and it's very liberating - the most obvious occasion being when I attended a party at the Playboy Mansion. My outfit was apparently so convincing that I was actually mistaken for a bunny...chalk one up for some seriously false advertising and a great set of chicken fillets. But that said, I gained serious respect from my bestie Juliet at the REHAB party for dressing as an old lady (Betty Ford) and throwing myself into a sea of girls dressed as saucy nurses. Sometimes you need to put your vanity aside in the pursuit of authenticity.
For some people, it will always be a much loved opportunity to go wild and get creative. God bless my mother for instilling such a passion for costumes in me from an early age - I have hundreds of photos of me as Raggedy Anne, witch, ballerina etc to the point it's literally in my DNA. However, I also appreciate that for some it's frightening - so when in doubt, go in a pair or group for safety. At BOO! in 2007, my friends and I went as the entire cast of The Rocky Horror Show. We moved around the party as a pack and loved the reactions of other revellers. A great option for the shy or newbie costumer!
The one truly fabulous thing about dressing up is you can literally become someone else for the night, and anyone who knows me knows that all it takes for me is a pair of skates. Preferably my prized white quads, complete with orange stoppers. Life is always more fun on wheels, and once I have them strapped to my feet I'm elevated to another level. And who knows what could happen?
For any disbelievers or lazies - back in 2001 one of my besties Claudia and I were invited to a "Pimps 'n Hoes" party. Both being passionate Rollergirls, we decided to go as matching cops in full denim flared catsuits, complete with aviators, batons, sheriff badges and cuffs. The taxi pulled up outside the party and we sat in the gutter strapping our wheels on - then rang the bell and skated through the house, down the stairs (stair rolling is surprisingly easy and never fails to impress) and ended with a double twirl in front of the DJ. Rounds of applause ensued and I introduced Claudia to my DJ'ing friend, who was holding the party. Cut to 2010 - and the two are blissfully married, and living in LA with their two young sons. Never, EVER underestimate the power of a good costume.