The 6 Best Dress up Party Themes for Adults You Should Try

adult man in a dress up with wig and sunglasses

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Great dress up party themes for adults are easy to come up with but not always so easy to execute. Anyone can come up with a perfect plan for a “Grease” theme party, for example. But do you have space, the time, the resources, and, most importantly, the people to pull it off?

Grandiose party ideas often end in disaster. So do themes you might think are fun but others may not. Don’t plan a hunting theme if your friends are vegetarians. A “Call of Duty Theme” may not go over well with your mostly female workplace. There is a lot to consider when looking for a party theme, and the first step in planning is brainstorming.

Planning Your Adult Theme Party

Stay away from extreme niche interests like “My Little Pony.” While there are plenty of available props and even a strangely rabid adult fanbase, you’re unlikely to find very many people in your social group who share such a specialized interest. The same goes for gender and age-specific themes unless that’s exactly what you’re aiming for.

People love a chance to dress to the nines or don a costume, however. And the best dress up party themes for adults, or for anyone, will appeal to the widest range of people.

Your party space

best adult party themes: a party venue waiting for guests

The amount of room you have available for your party makes a significant difference when you’re considering the best dress up party themes for adults. Say, you’re planning an outdoor party by the pool for 20 people, and it starts raining. Do you have room inside for those 20 people, plus the food and drinks tables? Will it ruin the ambiance and overall theme of the party?

Make sure before you plan anything that you have both the room and a contingency plan. You’ll thank yourself later.

Invite a good mix of people

Some of the legendary party hosts of all time became known for their soirees for choosing a wide variety of fascinating people to invite. So, while you may feel most comfortable inviting only a handful of your closest friends, consider opening up your sphere of influence. When you’re planning a big celebration, choose friends and acquaintances from different areas of your life.

Food and drink doesn’t have to be complicated

Even if you decide to go all-out on the decorating theme, you don’t always have to be so particular about the food and drink table. A good party food menu includes choices for all guests, even those on dietary restrictions. So, while it may sound fun to serve wild game pies for Tudor or medieval dress up party themes for adults, most of your 21st-century guests would probably rather you didn’t. Decor and plating touches can do a lot to transform your food table to fit the theme.  

Provide adequate notice

When planning dress up party themes for adults, you owe it to your guests to give them enough notice to create or find costumes. If dressing up is the focus of the party, give your guests time to do it right. For large, formal parties, send your invitations to arrive at least six weeks before the date. For small, informal gatherings — say a Rocky Picture Show screening at your home — give your guests at least two weeks to find a lab coat or pink suit.

The Six Best Dress Up Party Themes For Adults

We choose the following six themes because they’re fun, easy to find supplies for, and diverse. Your friends and coworkers will be able to express themselves with each experience. Whether they want to be funny, serious, sexy, or just plain cute, these themes allow them to find and harness their creative sides.

1. Space

best adult party themes: the mars probe

Space — The final frontier. When the theme is space, the costume possibilities are endless, and the decorations are easy. The beauty of calling it “Space” and not choosing a particular genre is that not only will you save yourself time building model nacelles and cardboard bat’leths. As for party supplies, the campier the better.

Your guests will arrive to the awesome sights of paper planets, creative lighting, space-themed snacks — and a room full of the best costumes from this galaxy and at least one other far, far away.

Great costumes for this party are going to be easy to come by. The obvious sci-fi apparel is, of course, more than welcome. Anything Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, Battlestar Galactica — and the list goes on — is fair game. You could also go sci-fact and dress as your favorite real-life astronaut.

Build your own costume ideas include rocket ships, planets, and meteors, a sun, a moon, and, of course, the all-new Space Force. People will have no problem finding something that works with this ever-expanding party theme.

2. ‘Westworld’ And The Wild West

best adult party themes: a wild west street scene

“Westworld” is in. Cowboys and Indians; black hats and white, all began to fade away until robots happened. Because — Steampunk is just so cool. Your typical bank robber will now come complete with the battery pack he stole from a live bait aerator. The barmaid with the puffy dress will convince some poor schlep she’s interested, only to pretend they’ve never met 10 minutes later.

Whether you love the show or hate it, it will make for a great twist to an already fun party. Decorating for the wild west is pretty easy as well. A nice DIY touch to any wild west party is to buy old-looking cork-topped bottles and use them for the bar. Little touches like that turn ordinary parties into memorable occasions.

Aside from the “Westworld” theme costumes, your friends can also have some fun with horses, arrows through their head, and other tomfoolery connected to the era. The Wild West theme certainly deserves its spot on the list of the best dress up party themes for adults.

3. Superheroes

best adult party themes: guests at a superhero party

You can’t go wrong with superheroes. Aside from the wide array of available costumes, this theme gives people real choices. Not only are there multiple incarnations of every comic book hero ever created, Chuck from accounting can also come as “The Super Stapler.” Marge from your cousin’s bowling league decided to be the Nacho Ninja and your boss, who you thought had no sense of humor at all, came dressed as an on-time version of you.

Superhero parties inspire people to create. The host is no exception. Leaning in this direction means you either love the genre or you know of a Harley Quinn outfit you will just rock. Decorating is a breeze as well. Hit your local party city, pick a few heroes and dedicate a room to each. The Batcave bathroom is through Gotham Kitchen and down the Hallway of Justice — second door on the left.

4. Princes And Princesses

best adult party themes: people dressed as disney princes and princesses

There is not a campier theme on the planet than Princes and Princesses. The idea of royals may seem outdated these days. But, the live action versions of every Disney Princess bringing grownups back to the movie theater, maybe they’re not so passe. And what could be more fun and escapist for adults a real-life ball? Just because we grow up, doesn’t mean we have to lose touch with tales about fantasy lands of castles, magic, and dragons. And Daenerys Targaryen.

Decorating for Princes and Princesses is easy as well. One fancy dessert table satisfies the menu requirement. Lacey bows with flowers tied around things at random and signs that start with “Ye” are a must. Picking a friend to play King or Queen for the duration will add depth to the party and create smartphone video moments that will circulate on social media for as long as there’s an internet.

5. MasterChef

best adult party themes: competition at a Masterchef party

The “MasterChef” party is brilliant. You have to either assume the role of Gordon Ramsay or have a friend volunteer. You can, of course, have up to three judges. All you need to decorate are some printouts of the show’s logo and some creative appetizers. The guests take care of the rest.

The Masterchef party is one of the best dress up party themes for adults because the main course is brought by your guests. Your invitation announces that you’re hosting a dress up party and potluck. Their dish, dessert, or store-bought contribution will be judged for originality, flavor, and plating.

When done right, the results will be hilarious. Nobody will ever forget your “Masterchef” party. Your guests can come dressed as their favorite celebrity chef or just some wacky home cook from Piedmont, North Dakota with a beaver tail and something to prove.

6. ’80s Hair Band

best adult party themes: people in 1980s hair band costumes

In 1989, if you knew three guitar chords, you could play three songs by Guns N’ Roses and Poison’s entire discography. It was truly the time of massive hairdos, power ballads, and stadium shows featuring blinding laser lights and spinning drum sets.

Your ‘80s Hair Band party gives your guest the opportunity to put on a wig and some leather and air guitar the night away. The soundtrack will be epic, the food will be pizza and the memories will last a lifetime.

Decorating for the ’80s couldn’t be easier. Retro 1980s posters, lunchboxes, and other memorabilia are readily available. And ’80s clothing is even making quite the comeback. And the hair? The women will love you for giving them the chance to tease like it’s 1985.

Never Forget Your Party

The biggest mistake you can make is not taking enough pictures and videos of your guests having fun. Throwing a successful party is something to be proud of. Set up your devices around the party to record whenever possible. Take the time to do live recording sessions with your friends. Have them talk about the party while it’s still going on.

You’re assuring that your friends, neighbors, and coworkers will all know that an invitation to one of your parties is something special that doesn’t come lightly. After all — you throw bashes based on the best dress up party themes for adults.

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