Costume Party Etiquette

Choose an appropriate costume for your next party.
... Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Perhaps you are the kind of person who rolls your eyes at the thought of dressing up to attend a costume party, or maybe you are the one who is always secretly picking out the next Halloween costume. Observing basic costume party etiquette can make your next dress-up event a successful and enjoyable occasion.

1 Do You Have to Wear a Costume?

Yes. Even if you despise dressing up in character, you must wear a costume to a party if the invitation clearly states that it is a costume party. Everyone else at the party is bound to feel a little uncomfortable and nervous, but the guest who arrives sans costume will certainly disappoint the host.

2 Declining the Invitation

Be honest with yourself and the party host. If you do not want to put forth the effort to get a costume, or you are truly not able to get a costume together, regretfully decline the party invitation. It is better to not attend the event than to arrive dressed inappropriately.

3 Costume Creativity

Getting a costume together does not mean you have to run to the nearest costume shop to purchase or rent a glamorous costume. Simple homemade outfits can often be more elaborate, creative and better quality than those you can buy in the store or online. Classic costumes like a cowboy, witch or magician are easy to put together with items from your closet. Really standing out at the party may require a little more thought and a trip to your local craft store, but you never know -- your clever and witty costume can wind up being the hit of the party.

4 Selecting an Appropriate Costume

Before deciding how you want to dress up for the party, ask the host if there will be children attending or if it will be adults-only. Avoid scary or overly sexy costumes for family-friendly events, and choose makeup over a mask if you plan on talking to new people. Political costumes may also be in poor taste. Another consideration is how well you can move around in your costume. Practice sitting down, driving and going to the bathroom in your costume before you fully commit to wearing it for an evening.

Kimberly Dyke is a Spanish interpreter with a B.A. in language and international trade from Clemson University. She began writing professionally in 2010, specializing in education, parenting and culture. Currently residing in South Carolina, Dyke has received certificates in photography and medical interpretation.