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Discussion Starter #1
how do you let everyone know that costumes are a must?

This party is held every year at the same time. I spend 2 months and 1000.00 dollars preparing and it is very stressful.

This year's party consisted of 69 people (adults and kids). I had 4 kids show up just for the prizes, presents and such...no costumes at all not even make up. 9 out of 10 of the adults came in street clothes. The invites state you must wear a costume...or be turned into a toad....but no one dresses up.

I feel used...quite frankly...that they are taking the party for grantid and all the time and money and effort I put into it is no longer appreciated. All I ask each person is to dress up...no need to spend lots of money...just dress up crazy.

How can I change the way they are arriving? I am really thinking of no longer having the party anymore because of this and also the lack of help that we get with setting up...but that is another story...
 

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That really sucks and I totally sympathize with your position. It's hard to go to a lot of work/trouble/expense and then see people who don't seem to appreciate it or be willing to give the slightest effort while enjoying your work.

I say, if they arrive costume-less, have embarassing costumes on-hand to dress them up in before they are admitted to the party. Include costumes that are from Rocky Horror, a baby, a princess (for the straight gentlemen), etc. They should learn their lesson for next year. Either that or turn them away at the door. They won't forget that. Just say "sorry, as per the invitation, costumes are a MUST. No admission without a costume."
 

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Clarification: Not A Man
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i like sheepies idea and it sounds like it could work well, but as for the time you have until your next party, maybe you could send them something describing your disappointment to them.

let them know how much time and effort you put into the party.
tell them that if they aren't going to make the small effort of putting a costume together then you just wont put a big party together.
or that you wont have a party at all if they aren't going to participate in the festivities and follow the instructions on the invite.

i feel really bad for you, and what happened to you is part of the reason i don't try to have parties myself.
too many people i know and would invite wouldn't show up in a costume, or expect me to have one for them.

i think simply informing them of how hurt you are about your party not turning out well could make them see that a little thing like dressing up in a costume isn't such a hard thing to do.
;) don't give up hope, and call it quits so soon, who knows perhaps you can set up a costume list for next year, that way people have no excuse to not dress up.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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I would also seriously consider who you are inviting and editing your guest list.

You could always put in LARGE PRINT that if no costumes are worn, they don't win any prizes or get any goodies.

And I agree about the box of embarrassing costume pieces that they will have to put on to be admitted, if you can't get it through to them.

Is there anything stopping you from asking the costumeless why they didn't bother? And telling them that it is making you sad and ruins your party? And that you may not be inviting them anymore unless they show up with at least a token effort at a costume?

If they are close enough friends to where you are inviting them, I would think they would be close enough friends for you to talk to them about their lack of participation and how that makes you feel.

OR....

You could adjust your expectations.

I am having a party with a costume contest, but I'm not upset if people show up in regular clothes. I'm just happy if they come and have a good time, but I reward those that put effort into wearing a costume with the contest.

It's about a 50/50 mix of my invitees that do wear and don't wear costumes. I am fine with that and don't let the costume issue ruin my enjoyment of my party.
 

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You need to get the tide turned so that the majority wear costumes - then those that don't feel foolish.
We had a few this year come without - but most dressed up. Everyone seems to recognize the extreme effort that goes into what we do, and dressing up is the least they can do.
If it really bums you out that much and costs that much then nix the party next year and if you want to get it rolling again the following year, just start inviting those who you know will participate.
A few years ago I had gotten to the point where I really got tired of doing the party. We really enjoyed getting everything ready for Halloween night and all the TOTs. The party was a pain. So we skipped it. It was really a good thing because when we decided to start doing it again, we started having everyone contribute towards the food. We figured we were providing atmosphere and booze.
You would be surprised out how well this has turned out over the years. The spread that ends of occurring is beyond anything I could come up with. It gets better and better each year because everyone tries to get more creative. And it takes so much of the stress of it all off of us as the hosts.
So maybe just take a year off, rethink how you are doing it. Maybe not having the party will make them appreciate it all the more if you start back up.
 

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I agree also. The twisted funny costumes or you wear your own. NO addmitance without some sort of costume and I also like the idea that if you aren't in the spirit of the party, then you can't participate in the games/prizes. It's only fair to the people who have dressed up and if they see people getting prizes without having to then why should they next year. It sounds harsh but, it's the way the party is designed. Our big Halloween party had about 200 people coming but, over the years there isn't even a Halloween theme. NOTHING. Nobdy dresses up, there isn't any decorations. This year we decided not to even go. We are letting the rest of the club do all the work in protest.
I say stick to your guns and do as the good people above suggest.
 

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A Great Pumpkin
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So sorry to hear about the leeches that came to your party - blood suckers... I agree with the above suggestions. My suggestion was going to be that when they RSVP ask them what costume they'll be wearing so you'll recognize them. Then you can reiterate that a costume is mandatory, and you'll have some fright wigs for them to wear during the party if they don't wear a costume of their own. I know, kind of harsh, but that's really ignorant when you've indicated coming in costume is part of the fun!
 

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You had a costume party with 69 people and only 7 came in costume (10%)? That sucks!
Id do what others here have said. Next year, put that COSTUMES ARE MANDITORY on the invitations. No Costume, No Admittance!
State that if they dont come with one one will be provided, then get a bunch of those cheap Mardi Gras masks or clown wigs and hand them out to those without costumes. Maybe also make signs for them to hang around their necks saying things like "This is my lame costume" or "This is all I could come up with"

That or just dont invite people who will disrespect your party and how you want to run it.
 

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I agree with everyone else's ideas, make them wear " embarrasing" costumes so next year ( if they're invited) they'll remember what happened and hopefully chose to wear their own costume.

Or maybe you could have other people/friends they know emphasize how important wearing costumes are at your party...This year at our party 2 people came without costume and I didn't even have to say anything to them, my friends did it for me! They all know how important it is to me for everyone to dress up, they gave the 2 people who didn't wear costumes such a bad time that I felt that I didn't have to say anything more. Needless to say, I don't think they'll come next year without a costume.
 

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Grand Poobah
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Maybe circulate photos that show people wearing costumes so they don't have that fear of being the only one wearing one....

We keep a box of costumes that people have to pick from if they show up without one.
 

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put it large on the invite-

NO COSTUME- NO BOOZE

Should work wonders.

Seriously though, I don't know if there's much you can do. We had 1/2 of my wife's family come to our costume party wedding in street clothes. We provided them with fluorescent hawaiian lei's from Oriental Trading Company. They hated every minute of it!!!
 

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If you could figure out how to make a bunch of donkey eared headbands, you could pass them out to all who don't come in costume. Then they would be appropriately dressed, like jack*sses!
 

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Warlock
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I've been to friends' parties that required costume and seen the Big Box O' Stupid Hats employed on offenders. It was enforced by a sadistic bartender who wouldn't acknowledge a non-costumed person. To get a drink you needed a costume to to don one of the stupid hats--and they were all pretty stupid. He also refused to serve top shelf hooch to non-costumed folks--even if they wore the stupid hats. He served generic beer and off-brand sodas to those who refused to follow the edict of the hostess that thou shalt arrive costumed. I tend to like costumes so I was fine, but seeing this really makes me knuckle under and costume up even on the rare occassions i'm not feeling into it. As for what constituted costume, well he was pretty easy going--mask or make-up was enough. More than that was better. Unmasked and w/o make-up better have obviously costumed clothing. I swear he served rubbing alcohol to folks in street clothes. And it *was* entertaining to watch.
 

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I start telling people in July to start planning their costumes, and stress from that point that costumes are mandatory. Those who do turn up without are dressed in binbags (with arm and head holes, of course). Everytime the party getes mentioned I stress "costume mandatory".

It's suprisingly effective, and people seem to be getting the hang of it! It's just a case of stressing it enough in the first year, and people get better after that.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
thank you all for agreeing with me...and the suggestions...but I did have stupid costumes one year for them to wear if they came unsuited, but that didn't help. One year I had only about 4 out of 60 people who didnt dress....(last year)...but this year nothing...

I did ask them when they entered..."Where is your costume" and they looked at me and stated..."Dont have one". If most of these people werent family and close friends, I wouldnt have let them in...but most have little kids who do so enjoy the games and activities. So to turn them away would be ruining it for the kids.

Even my help's kids didnt show up with a costume on. When I express that it makes me unhappy...they laugh and say...but you do it for the kids not the adults....B.S. the adults get as many prizes as the kids do. And what kid wants to sit at a Halloween party with only them in costume and everyone else looking normal.

Maybe next year I wont dress up for the party!!!!!!!!!!That's an idea.

Oh well...some time and thinking will decide what happens next year.
 
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