There’s no doubt about it, silly, elaborate or outright scary costumes have the power to turn an average party into the shindig of the year. Whether you’re looking for ways to spice up your hen’s night, turn a corporate event into a talking point or just want an excuse to have fun, give your guests an exciting costume goal to aspire to. Here are a few fresh ideas for a fancy dress party to impress.

Havana nights party

Instead of the regular Hawaiian or beach theme, why not party the Cuban way? Fedora hats are a must for costumes, along with fancy fruit headdresses, outrageous florals and ruffled shirts and skirts. One of the best things about this theme is the music, with salsa tunes to get everyone in the dancing mood.

Hand out mojitos to guests on arrival and make your own Cuban sandwiches with tasty pickles and relishes to go with pork, ham and Swiss cheese. Deck out your venue with props like dominos, oversized fake fruit, vintage Cuban posters, tableware featuring palm leaves and plenty of bold colours.

Rocky Horror party

You don’t have to wait for Halloween to get ghoulish when you throw a Rocky Horror-themed party. Take your cue from the cult classic and drape your venue in black and red, with cobwebs, plastic spiders, cut-outs of red lips and fake blood dripping from any surface you can safely put it on.

Creepy vintage props set the mood too, as do plenty of candles and a few feather boas for guests to use when the mood strikes. As for costumes, this is a great excuse for everyone to be as wild as they like, with Frank-N-Furter’s mad scientist look, Magenta’s crazy maid outfits and Columbia’s sequins. Naturally, don’t forget to do the Time Warp more than a couple of times.

Shakespeare party

Take medieval costumes up a notch by using Shakespeare for inspiration. Throw it out there for guests to come as any Shakespearean character they like best, or narrow it down to one play. For example, A Midsummer Night’s Dream offers the perfect excuse to turn your backyard into a magical wonderland.

To create an enchanted woodland, hang an array of fairy lights through the trees, dress tables with fresh greenery, use a fog machine to create a sense of mystery and don’t be shy with glitter, whether it be in hanging jars or sprinkled across surfaces. Costume ideas include Queen of the Fairies, Bottom and the naughty jester, Puck, but anything from forest nymphs to floral wreaths would suffice.

Hot dog party

When you tell people you’re throwing a hot dog party, prepare yourself for an onslaught of extra guests. The only requirement is that they have to come dressed either as a hot dog, a condiment, a vintage hot dog stand vendor or anything else that’s related to the classic snack. Their reward for amusing you, themselves and everyone else, can be a hot dog cart complete with tasty toppings. Go all out with hot dog decor via a red and yellow colour scheme for tableware, balloons and streamers. In terms of activities, nothing less than a hot dog eating competition will do!