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Top 10 Best College Theme Party Ideas


College party
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Costume and theme parties are a huge part of college life. After all, college is one of the few times in life where you can get away with dressing in crazy costumes, and convincing your friends to do the same, on a regular basis. I mean, how often do your parents talk about going to an ABC party?

If you think you’ve been to every kind of themed costume party there is, think again. There are so many party themes to try! Below, I’ve listed the top ten best college party themes:

10. Tight and Bright

This one is a lot of fun and gives you a chance to be creative with clothes you have, or borrow from friends to create a look that’s cute and fun.

The rules: any article of clothing you wear has to be both brightly colored and skin tight. This one is especially funny for guys, who aren’t as used to wearing tight clothing, and usually come up with some funny outfits.

9. Snowpants or No Pants

Don’t worry: this doesn’t have to be as lewd as it sounds. Guests have the option of wearing snowpants to the party, or “no pants.” But, this doesn’t mean you have to show up in your undies if you don’t have snow pants to wear; it’s another chance to get creative. Wear a skirt – after all, a skirt isn’t pants.

8. Masquerade

If you’re a Gossip Girl fan, I’m sure you’ve fallen for the romance and mystery of a classic masquerade party. The best part is, you only have to buy a mask to come to this party, and the rest of your outfit can be whatever you like. Usually, the theme is more formal, but you can shake things up with a “Halloween Mask-erade”, and have everyone don black, with a scary or silly Halloween mask on top, instead of the fancy feathered variety.

Here’s a fun example of an outfit you can sport to a masquerade:

mask, shoes, dress, necklace, tights

7. Ugly Sweater

This is one is perfectly timed for this holiday season, super easy, and really fun. Almost everybody has some kind of ugly Christmas or holiday sweater – you know, the kind your grandma knits you with a large, lop-sided Rudolph on the front?

Have everyone wear their hokiest sweater and then vote for who has the ugliest sweater! It’s a fun take on a holiday party that’s perfect for the college scene. For more, see our tips on what to wear to an ugly sweater party!

6. Black Light

This is a fun party idea, especially if you’re a creative type. Swap out your regular light bulbs for black light bulbs (available at any hardware store) and have all the guests arrive in plain white tee shirts that they don’t mind getting ruined. The fun part comes with highlighters, which you can use to write and draw on each other’s shirts. When the black lights are switched on, the writing will glow, and you can check out everyone else’s artwork.

5. ABC (Anything But Clothes)

Again, don’t freak out at the name of this party. It doesn’t mean everyone shows up in the buff. Instead, you have to fashion an outfit out of materials other than clothing. I’ve seen girls use Monopoly money, maps, garbage bags, and flags to make really cute dresses and outfits.

ABC parties are fun, cheap, and creative, and can lead to some really fun Facebook photos. This is another theme party where a best outfit contest can add some extra incentive to be really creative.

4.  Rubik’s Cube

Rubik's cube
photo credit

This party theme starts out simple, but quickly gets out of control. Everyone shows up wearing one item of clothing for each color on the Rubik’s cube (white, red, blue, orange, green, and yellow). Then, once you get to the party, you swap clothing items with other guests until you can create an outfit of one solid color. Tip: accessories like gloves and hats make this process a lot easier.

3. High School Stereotype

Were you a geek in high school? A jock? A cheerleader? A band kid? Well, dig out that old uniform and show up at this party as a high school stereotype of yourself.

If you didn’t fit into a box so easily (and, let’s face it, most of us didn’t) you can either pick an identity, or dig out some embarrassing threads you used to think were cool, back in your grade nine days.

2. Alphabet

Pick a letter of the alphabet (your initial? your school’s name?) and have everyone wear a costume that starts with that letter. For example, the letter N could have people showing up as nurses or ninjas. It’s a challenge to come up with something unique, and a lot of fun to see what other people come up with.

1. Toga

Okay, this isn’t exactly a new idea… In fact, it’s probably the oldest college costume party idea in the book. But still, would you really want to go through four years of college without attending at least one toga party?

If you still haven’t done it, now’s the time! The best part: it’s as cheap as pulling the sheet off of your bed. Check out this site to learn how to tie it properly, and let the memory-making begin.

What do you think?

Which types of theme costume parties have you been to? What was your favorite? Which ones didn’t work out so well? Leave a comment and let us know!

Posted on on November 27, 2010 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , , , ,

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54 Responses to “Top 10 Best College Theme Party Ideas”

  1. 1
    November 27th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I love toga parties, but mostly because I was in Latin Honor Society in high school :)

    What about parties themes based on a certain decade? An 80s party? The possibilities are endless!

  2. 2
    November 27th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I’ve been planning an Ugly Sweater party as a reunion for my high school friends over the past few weeks. Needless to say, I was happy to see this post in support of wacky party ideas. :)

  3. 3
    November 27th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    My best guy friends had a black light party last weekend before everyone went home for Thanksgiving break. They used neon pink balls for pong, and mixed highlighter liquid with water to fill old liquor bottles for decorations. It was hands down the best party of my two and half years of college.

  4. 4
    November 27th, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    An alphabet party is new to me–sounds like fun! I can’t wait for this year’s Ugly Sweater Party with my friends…such a great way to celebrate the holidays :)

  5. 5
    November 27th, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    My god I adored this post!

    I most definitely must attend/host numbers 6, 5, and 2.

  6. 6
    November 27th, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    My favorite theme party that I have gone to was an Alice in Wonderland theme party. Everyone came dressed up as a character from the movie. Some people went all out for their costumes. My friends and I however took the budget friendly approach to our outfits. We bought white t-shirts and spray paint to make the cards.

  7. 7
    November 27th, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    awesome post :) i was wondering if you could do a fashion inspiration post on the movie Burlesque. i saw it yesterday and the movie blew my mind.
    thanks :)

  8. 8
    November 28th, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    My friends and I LOVE theme parties. One of my favorites was a ‘nerd’ party, everyone wore dorky outfits and then we ended up singing karaoke and playing the board games we thought we’d retired from for good in middle school. It was hilarious to go to a party where you could be embarrassing for once.

    My other favorite was a candy-land themed party, everyone dressed as a character from the game, and the whole house was decorated like willy wonka.

  9. 9
    November 28th, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    i always do a theme party for my birthday,but rubix cube parties are SO much fun!!
    i really want to do a theme for my birthday next year where everyone has to have a whole outfit for less than $10 :]]

    Charlotte xxx

  10. 10
    December 3rd, 2010 at 10:29 am

    When I was in college, which was just a few years ago, one of the fraternities annually held a “StopLight” party. If you were single, you wore green. Taken, you wore red. And if you were just casually dating, talking to someone, or it was complicated, you wore yellow. It was a great way to meet people, especially if you were single.

  11. 11
    December 6th, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    I did the bright clothes. I wore bermuda shots that were blue but with pink stripes along with leggings, and a pink t-shirt. I gave pop so to speak. I definitely got noticed by guys.

  12. 12
    February 8th, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I had a friend hold a birthday party and everyone had to come dressed up as someone who had the exact same birthday as them. Check out It was a really fun idea

  13. 13
    March 30th, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    my friend had a green card themed party last week everyone had to dress up like an immigrant it was fun but you have be creative to come with an original costume

  14. 14
    April 13th, 2011 at 1:24 am

    V-Neck Party. Easy and fun as hell. Just play house music all night. huge hit

  15. 15
    October 22nd, 2011 at 2:23 am

    i studying fashion designing.. in our they conducting portfolio.. so i need a unique theme to design a female garment.. pls suggest some ideas n help me

  16. 16
    October 23rd, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Awesome article thanks for sharing! I will deffo use some of these ideas!

  17. 17
    November 17th, 2011 at 10:42 am


    an abc party is not an alphabet party…it’s “Anything But Clothes.”

  18. 18
    November 21st, 2011 at 12:18 am

    number TWO on the list..Alphabet party. She said nothing about an ABC party…….

  19. 19
    December 1st, 2011 at 2:01 am

    These are all really great ideas. I personally enjoy the High School Stereotype one; that is creative. A few that I’ve seen or heard of are Cowboys and Indians, Stoplight and Neon parties. For the stoplight party people who are taken wear red, people are are just talking to someone where yellow and single people where green. The neon and cowboys and Indians parties are both pretty self-explanatory. College is a great place to get creative with the party themes.

  20. 20
    January 9th, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Katy- What do immigrants dress like exactly?! LOL. That’s an extremely racist idea. You wouldn’t say that if you’ve actually been to other countries. I’m sorry, but that’s just really offensive. Been to Paris, Rome and London. Everyone dressed the same. So I really don’t know what you mean.
    Now if you said, dress in traditional clothing of different countries, then that’s another story.

  21. 21
    February 28th, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Love the ideas and just a note to all of you College people – Mostly the Gals – Trust me ladies you will be looking for these party ideas again in your 30’s and 40’s!!! Never stop the fun – I now have some new ones for the next party I host!

  22. 22
    March 8th, 2012 at 1:50 am

    When I was in college, which was just a few years ago, one of the fraternities annually held a “StopLight” party. If you were single, you wore green. Taken, you wore red. And if you were just casually dating, talking to someone, or it was complicated, you wore yellow. It was a great way to meet people, especially if you were single.

  23. 23
    April 19th, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    You could do your own pub quiz night and be the quizmaster.
    Here you can download an awesome free quiz:
    Everything is already done and it even has answer sheets and everything. I’ve done it before and it’s great fun.

  24. 24
    May 7th, 2012 at 12:18 am

    I have been hosting theme parties for the past two years in Nairobi, Kenya and people love them! One of the most fun themes was the White T-Shirt Party (Number 6 on this list).

  25. 25
    August 4th, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Gym bros & yoga hoes !

  26. 26
    August 16th, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I LOVE the ugly sweater idea- that’s really funny! We did a tutu theme – that was tons of fun. Tutu Spirit has every color/color combo. Love the sweater theme!

  27. 27
    October 11th, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Theme parties we’ve thrown over the past 6-7 years:

    Urban Cowboy
    White Trash
    Jersey Shore
    Revenge of the Nerds
    King Pin (Bowling)

  28. 28
    October 22nd, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    You just gave me some nice ideas! Thanks :)

  29. 29
    November 19th, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I have been to a couple of theme parties and my absolutely favourite one is called ‘Couple-Up’. Whoever organizes it has a lot of stuff to do but I tell you it’s the funniest thing ever!! You gotta think of famous couples like James Bond and a bond girl or even Spongebob and Patrick and then put every persons’ or characters’ name on a piece of paper. Let everyone who’s coming take one and then the persons have to dress up as their character. Simply you don’t know who your partner is so you will find that out on the party. It’s really funny to see what people came up with and just a good laugh throughout the whole night!!
    For ex: I’ve been Cinderella yet, Fiona (from Shrek) and Ariel the mermaid
    I had tooooons of fun so try it out!

  30. 30
    April 9th, 2013 at 11:21 am

    This is a really fun list. I’ve been to a Masquerade party- they’re so fun! I haven’t heard of a few of these like the Rubik’s Cube, but what a great idea! Decade parties are always fun too!

  31. 31
    April 20th, 2013 at 5:44 am

    We have had some ripper parties over the years

    Hair Rock – come dressed as your fav 80’s rock star eg – axel, tommy lee, anyone from poison….

    Beer Party – girls come dressed as beer servers (eg October fest or hooters) boys come as beer drinkers (eg workmen, trady) everyone brings a 6 pack of beer starting with the first letter of their name and the Aim is to drink the Alphabet in beer! Keep a score board!

    Every 4 years – Olympics party – cant go wrong and some fun party games -eg hula hoop contest!

  32. 32
    August 29th, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    We’ve done White Trash, Sports Hos and Pros, Naughty Nurses and Dirty Doctors. Saturday Night Live, Toga, Super Heroes, Pirates and Wenches, Animal House, Woodstock, Pimps and Hos. They are always fun because people come ready to have a good time!!

  33. 33
    October 6th, 2013 at 6:43 am

    wot shud i wear for my freshers party..
    its theme is fashion disaster! :(

  34. 34
    January 19th, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Really wanna try number 4 out

  35. 35
    March 9th, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    or do like the GilmoreGirls do and do a year 2000 party! with uggs and music from Britney Spears and Destiny’s Child, now that sounds like funn!

  36. 36
    March 22nd, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Personaly, I like ABC ideas : Anything But Clothes OR Anything But Cups

  37. 37
    April 13th, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    The best parties I went to in college were a foam party (that was a blast but had to throw my clothes away because I couldn’t get the smell out) and a “Get Lei’d” – Hawaiian theme but the play on words made it a lot of fun.

  38. 38
    July 28th, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Tight and Bright – I love this idea!!!!! x

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