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Get inspired with these awesome dress-up party costume ideas for adults for your next party or celebration, and watch those Instagram likes roll in throughout the night!
Dress-Up Party Costume Ideas for Adults
1. Complicated Starbucks Order
Gently poke fun at your coffee-loving friends in your own custom-made ‘Complicated Starbucks Order’ costume.
I’ll take a double espresso with oat milk, three shots of syrup, no whipped cream, extra foam, and three straws.
2. The 80s
Indulge your nostalgia for the bygone decade with a fun 80s-inspired costume. With an 80s theme, the creative possibilities are boundless.
Whether you want to channel the cast of Grease, Banana-man, or the brightly colored leggings and headbands associated with the decade, honor the era with style and creativity at your next costume party.
3. Your Favorite Emoji
Whether your preferred emoji is the laughing emoji, the sunglasses emoji, or the pizza emoji, it can’t be too hard to create a costume replica of your favorite with some yellow paper and felt-tip pens.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, try an obscure emoji, such as the yellow diamond or the squiggly line – though it might be a little more complicated to make!
Nothing is more likely to start a conversation – or a controversy – than turning up to a costume party dressed as an infamous politician.
Whether it be a politician of past or present, a political costume is guaranteed to attract attention – if you’re an introvert, maybe opt for something else!
5. Snapchat Filter
Whether your favorite Snapchat filter is the puppy ears, the polaroid frame, or the filter that transforms you into a cartoon, honor your favorite with this digitally inspired costume idea.
Creative & Unique
6. Rock, Paper, and Scissors
If you’re headed to a costume party as a group of three, get the guests laughing with a rock, paper, and scissors costume.
It’s one of the easiest costumes to create at home: three white t-shirts and a black sharpie will do.
The only downside will be having to explain your costume to each new guest whenever you’re separated from each other – so stick together all night and have fun!
7. Milk and Cookies
Another unique costume, this time for a couple or two friends: one party dresses up as a carton of milk, the other as a packet of cookies.
Again, the only downside to this fun costume is having to re-explain the concept to new guests when you’re not together. So simply stick together, and enjoy this cool and unique costume idea.
8. A Famous Painting
If you’re a fan of art or simply feeling creative with your costume, why not dress up as one of your favorite paintings, or as an iconic work of art that all the guests will recognize?
Recreating famous paintings such as Starry Night by Van Gogh, The Scream by Edvard Munch, or the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci will help rank your costume high in the originality stakes.
With an almost unlimited quantity of cheerleader costumes available to buy online, this classic go-to costume is a great choice if you want a stand-out outfit without having to make it yourself or spend hours applying face paint.
Team it with a pair of trainers and pom-poms for the complete look – for bonus points, prepare a cheer for your host!
Another simple costume for a last-minute dress-up party, the cat costume is classic and easy to create at home.
Simply draw a pair of whiskers on your face – for this, you can use a pen, eyeliner, or face paint – and team it with an all-black or all-white outfit. If you can, add a pair of cat ears to perfect the look.
A little more complicated than the cat costume, a Batman costume necessitates at least a mask – but the good news is you can create one at home yourself.
If you have any kind of black fabric that you don’t need – an old black t-shirt or even a pair of tights – you can hop onto YouTube and watch some easy tutorials on how to make your own Batman mask.
Team your DIY mask with a pair of black leggings, a black polo neck, and a sleek cape to finalize the iconic ensemble.
This simple costume consists of two items of clothing that most people have stashed away somewhere in their wardrobe: a pair of jeans and an oversized checked shirt.
Put these two together and combine them with some wellington boots and a pitchfork to create a traditional DIY farmer costume.
13. Men in Black
Do you own a suit? Do you own a pair of black sunglasses? If you answer yes to both these questions, you can create the iconic Men in Black costume without spending a single penny.
To recreate the famous neuralyzer – the pen that Will Smith uses to wipe memories – simply tape a bunch of silver pens together.
Another easy costume that you can create using items in your wardrobe: simply pair an oversized, barely buttoned shirt – preferably brightly colored – with some baggy trousers and a pair of sunglasses.
Add some homemade jewelry to complete the look. If you don’t have a baggy top or trousers at home, you can normally find them in a thrift shop or charity shop for little money.
Probably one of the easiest homemade, last-minute costumes, a skeleton costume requires only some black clothing, some face paint, and a skilled hand.
The skeleton costume is so notorious that you can find one cheap in almost every supermarket or go online for even cheaper prices.
Team your skeleton suit with some scary makeup – YouTube is full of excellent tutorials.
16. Harry Potter
Whether you’re more of a Ravenclaw or a Gryffindor, the numerous characters in the Harry Potter series offer boundless costume ideas.
Try to get creative with your costume – instead of opting for the classics, dress up as a less-important character, as a certain spell, or even as one of the moving portraits on the walls of Hogwarts.
Your fellow guests will admire your creativity, and you can bond with strangers over the subject of Harry Potter – who doesn’t love The Boy Who Lived?
With his iconic maroon suit and famous mustache, Ron Burgundy is one of the most recognizable film characters of the early 2000s.
Get your fellow guests quoting the film all night with this classic costume.
Whether your go-to gangster film is The Godfather or Goodfellas, honor your favorite with a costume inspired by the genre: think black and grey pinstriped suits, fedoras, leather gloves, and a cigar.
Add a stray black cat if you want to truly evoke Marlon Brando’s greatest performance.
19. Regina George
A white vest, a purple bra, and a pair of scissors are all you need for this iconic costume: channel your inner Mean Girl and turn up to your costume party dressed as Regina George.
However, you’ll need to be prepared for your fellow guests to quote the film to you all night! So fetch – or is it?
20. The Twins from The Shining
A great costume for a couple or two friends, indulge your spooky side by dressing up as the infamous twins from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
Don your matching blue dresses and white knee socks and haunt the hallways at the party venue!
Films from the 90s and the 00s seem to have had the best wardrobe departments, and the teen classic Clueless from 1995 is no exception.
Do your best Cher Horowitz impression with a yellow checked skirt and blazer, or recreate Dionne Davenport with a black and white checked combo.
Re-watch the film the night before the party to prep all the classic one-liners. “Did I stumble into some bad lighting?”
If you’ve always dreamed of living in a regency-era romance series, a dress-up party is a perfect excuse to put on a fancy period costume and play pretend as a character from Bridgerton.
Recreate some of the iconic looks from the Netflix series with empire waists, dainty lace gloves, and your best table manners.
23. Khaleesi, Game of Thrones
A long white dress and a blonde wig are all that’s required to recreate this classic look from the iconic Game of Thrones character.
If you’re a mega-fan of the HBO series and a Khaleesi costume is too easy or predictable for you, why not try a costume inspired by villainous Joffrey Baratheon or the scary Night King?
24. Rachel from Friends
The famous “Rachel” hairstyle from the 90s sitcom has become so renowned that you can now buy replica wigs online.
Combine a “Rachel” hairdo – or wig – with a pair of denim dungarees and white trainers to channel the character’s classic 90s look.
Who didn’t spend their Saturday mornings watching back-to-back episodes of Scooby-Doo, shocked without fail when the monster turned out to be the person we least suspected?
Indulge in some childhood nostalgia with a costume from the iconic cartoon. Opt for an orange jumper and red skirt for Velma, a purple dress with matching tights for Daphne, or blue flares and a white shirt for Fred.
26. Dwight Schrute
If your favorite TV series is The Office, one of the easiest characters to dress up as must be Dwight Schrute.
With his aviator spectacles, mustard-yellow shirt, and brown suit, you’ll be an instant hit with your guests – and your costume will double as a great icebreaker: “Have you seen The Office?”
27. “File Not Available”
If you’re really and truly stuck for costume ideas – or you simply left it too late to create or order one – grab a white t-shirt and a sharpie and write “error: file not found” or “error: file not available” over it. Nobody needs to know it was a last-minute costume!
28. An in-Joke
If you’re attending a dress-up party with friends, why not entertain them with an in-joke-inspired costume?
Maybe you once spilled a full strawberry milkshake down your shirt, or maybe at university, you had a favorite outfit that you wore every weekend (which is now hideously out of fashion.)
Whatever the in-joke may be, channel your creativity and make your friends laugh with a costume inspired by your funny memories.
29. Your Host
If the costume party you’re attending is hosted by a close friend, why not attend the dress-up party dressed as them?
Wear their signature look, arrange your hair in their preferred style and repeat some of their favorite catchphrases. Make sure the person you’re imitating has a sense of humor and can laugh at themselves, however!
30. Pun Costumes
A pun-based outfit is both funny and a great last-minute outfit choice; use your costume to highlight a play on words and make your fellow guests laugh – or roll their eyes – at your ensemble.
Good pun examples include a chill pill, a sweet tooth, raining cats and dogs, breadwinner. Do a quick google search for some workable puns and put your imagination to work!
Fancy or Extravagant Party Costume Ideas for Adults
Channel your childhood dreams of being a space-conquering astronaut with an extravagant NASA-inspired costume. You can even find inflatable jets online to pair with your spacesuit!
32. Hot Dog
While you might be able to find a reasonably priced hotdog costume online, the real extravagance is the heat and discomfort that you might have to endure in this costume!
On the plus side, if it looks terrible, nobody will be able to identify you in the party photos!
33. The Solar System
This imaginative costume requires some research, some handiwork, and a party venue with plenty of space – pardon the pun! Buy some small planet replicas online and use some sticks or string to tie them around your waist.
Alternatively, you can buy ready-made solar system hats or t-shirts. Your costume will truly be out of this world!
If you want to win the hypothetical costume competition – and you have an afternoon to spend applying green makeup to your entire body – opt for a Shrek costume and put all the other guests’ costumes to shame.
Green body paint, a white top, a pair of brown leggings, and a matching brown waistcoat are all you need to pull this off.
Add a pillow under your shirt and a pair of DIY ogre ears to pull off the look and honor the 2001 comedy classic.
Don’t settle for whatever’s in the wardrobe next time you’re invited to a fancy-dress party. With a little planning, you can show up in a costume that wows the crowd and gets everyone talking.
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