Eight great tips for dress-up parties

Kids love nothing more than to dress up and so to get an invite to a fancy dress party is a hot ticket item in preschools and school yards everywhere! If you’re thinking about making your child’s next birthday a fancy dress party, the possibilities are endless, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Here’s 8 top tips for throwing a fantastic fancy dress birthday party that kids and parents will love you for.

Fancy dress party tip 1 – Decide on what sort of fancy dress party it is

The first thing you need to decide when thinking about hosting a fancy dress party is whether you are going to have a specific theme, or if you are throwing a ‘dress as whatever you like’ party – leaving the fancy dress open to little party goer’s imaginations.

While you may think it’s easier to leave the costume idea ‘free for all’, having a theme is great because you can plan the whole party around it, from the design of your invites and decorations to the food you’ll serve on the party table.

A defined theme can also help mums to find a costume for their little one without scratching their heads and wondering, “What on earth am I going to dress her up as?”

Fancy dress party tip 2 – Top party theme ideas

A theme doesn’t have to be anything complex. In fact, you can keep it easy, for example by throwing a pink party where everyone and everything at the party is donned in pink, or go for something a little more specific, like a superhero party.

Your child may already have his heart set on a theme but if not, here are some ideas:

  • Garden party – bumble bees,  garden fairies , butterflies and lady bugs
  • Pirate party – pirates , anything with skull and crossbones on it and other swashbuckling outfits
  • Harry Potter party – witches, wizards , Hogwarts students and dragons
  • Under the sea party – mermaids, mermen, Ariel and all creatures that live under water
  • Fairy party – think tutus paired with wings, fairy costumes and Tinkerbell outfits
  • Letter party – pick a letter, say ‘F’ and dress in all things starting with this letter – Firefighter, fairy or fortune teller
  • Princess party –  fairytale princesses, queen outfits, tiaras and LOTS of glitter!
  • Superhero party – Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Wonder Woman, or basically any hero with a cape
  • Pink or purple party – dress head-to-toe in your favourite colour

Fancy dress party tip 3 – Theme your invitations

If you are going to have a themed fancy dress party, be sure you set the tone of the party with a cute invite in the style of your theme. For example, for a garden party you might want to make invitations that open up to form a butterfly.

Fancy dress party tip 4 – Give plenty of warning

Fancy dress parties require at least one weeks’ more notice than ordinary birthday parties. You don’t want to be known as that mum who sprung a fancy dress party on all the other mothers at the last minute, giving them zero time to whip up a costume or even buy one online.

Fancy dress party tip 5 – Fancy food

Keep the fancy dress theme going with the food you serve. For example, jelly boats are too-cute for a pirate party and flower fairy cupcakes and biscuit wands are perfect for a fairy or garden party.

Kidspot’s party food section also has oodles of recipes and our party food slideshow will give you all the must-have party table favourites.

Fancy dress party tip 6 – Fancy decorations

You can really go all out when it comes to decorations for a dress up party, so don’t hold back! The only thing that may limit you is your imagination and budget. But even then you don’t have to break the bank with decorations. Just stick to your theme and you’ll be surprised how many decorations you can actually make on a small budget. Head to discount shops and visit craft stores to make your own decorations.

Fancy dress party tip 7 – Have a back-up costume

It’s a good idea to have a spare fancy dress outfit on hand if a child happens to show up at the party without one. All it takes is for a mum to accidently overlook the fancy dress component on the invite for a child to turn up in plain clothes at a princess party. Even if it’s just a spare tiara or a superhero cape, have something on hand for dress up emergencies.

Fancy dress party tip 8 – Fancy party favours

Keep your fancy dress theme going right through to the lolly bags you hand out at the end of the party with lollies that match your theme. You can also fill lolly bags with things other than sweets – cute rubbers, stamps, temporary tattoos or stickers. Or even decorate the actual lolly bags with themed stickers.


  1. kymmage 30/08/2018 at 7:16 pm

    I love fancy dress parties. I have them for myself almost every year! The kids love to dress up as well. Recently we did a super hero theme party and that was fun. Most kids dressed up and it made the food and decorations, etc so much easier. It all just comes together when there is a cool theme, including costumes. You can also add in an activity to make a hat, or a mask or something to the theme. That way everyone has something to wear in theme even if you did the last minute invite!

  2. Bevik1971 27/08/2018 at 4:42 pm

    My daughter has only been to 1 themed birthday party and it was a princess theme so pretty easy. Not sure if it would be so easy if it was something else? But really the giving a bit of notice would be awesome and I’m not one to go out and buy something especially for a party, I think that’s a waste of money. The number theme is pretty cool leaves it open to lots of choice 🙂

  3. dawnblyth 27/08/2018 at 1:58 pm

    This is something that scares me every time I hear the word ‘fancy dress’. As a parent on one income, its hard to afford the fancy options of dress ups that are available at the shops. I think this is why we have avoided having dress up parties at home. When my son has had to go as something ‘dress up’ for school, we have tried to use what we have at one in terms of clothes etc. I think we have gotten through with this idea quite well. I think if we remember to look at what we have in our home first, before spending lots of money, then we can offer come up with something great at very minimal cost.

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