Having been the staple diet of TV and film comedies and having an endless popularity with University students on both sides of the Atlantic the Toga Party continues to fascinate just as much today as it did when we were all younger!
Select this theme for your next fancy dress costume party and you can transport your guests back to a time of general decadence and excess – especially with the parties held in ancient Rome and Greece. We won’t dwell too long on what went on at THOSE parties surfeit to say that they probably all had a great time and didn’t remember much the next day or week! Now you don’t have to duplicate everything that they did to have a great time so we’ll concentrate on what we need to do to throw a great Toga themed party of your own.
For an awesome party you need to ensure that you have got the right theme and the right context. The hosts of the truly great parties have all considered carefully the needs of their guests. This means considering what age groups will be attending and what are their likes and dislikes – the majority of the people you are inviting should be your friends and you should know roughly how they will react to different scenarios.
For example, if the party is for adults, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a simple Toga Party but if want real excitement why introduce another factor and base it around the world famous Caeser’s Palace hotel in Las Vegas? This would allow you to give your party another twist as you could include a modern casino feel coupled with a toga costume theme.
The best parties need the best invitations. Why? Well it’s where the party should begin. We’ve all received a party invitation on a piece of plain paper which contains the simplest of details or worse we’re invited to a party with a few words. Okay, I’ll grant you that it works and that people will attend but it will never get anyone excited, it will never build a sense of anticipation. To get the excitement going from the earliest stage you need to think a little more imaginatively.
If you are holding a Roman or Greek toga party you could use a laurel wreath for the basis of your invitation and either write the invite wording on the leaves of the wreath or onto a separate card (luggage labels work well) which you could age with a tea stain and coffee granule spot before attaching to the wreath itself. To age these cards or paper if you wish, simply soak in a tea solution until the desired colour is achieved and whilst still wet/damp, sprinkle a few coffee granules on which will dissolve into patches of a darker colour. Allow to dry thoroughly before using use.
Alternatively if you can acquire some plain small pottery urns of jars, you could write your invitation on a card, roll it up and the give it to your guest to break open to retrieve the surprise. If you have opted for the Caeser’s Palace theme you could use any imagery or symbolism related to that. It’s about attention to detail and showing your guest that you really care about all of the detail.
Whatever interpretation you have put on your Toga themed party, the heart and soul will be the fancy dress costumes. You could invoke the rule that if your guests aren’t wearing a toga costume, then they won’t be allowed to come in. If you’re going this route you must state it on the invite and it is a bit harsh, better would be to have a small stock of white sheets, safety pins, simple rope belts and a few laurel headpieces to hand to ensure that everyone is involved.
If you want to make your own simple toga, it’s nothing more than a piece of linen or cloth and the easiest solution is to use a plain white or slightly off-white bed sheet. Do not get the one with the elasticated corners unless you want to spend hours trying to turn them into pockets! Wrap the cloth around you about 1.5 times and then throw the rest over your shoulder. It’s usual to wrap it at waist height for both sexes and use the excess which is thrown over the shoulder to create the modestly bodice. Some may want to wrap at chest height first!
There are some fantastic reasonably priced togas available to buy either at your local costume shop or from one of the many reliable fancy dress retailers to be found on the internet. Most will have a wide selection of costumes and should also have an array of finishing prices which should include, sandals for men and women which lace up towards the knee commonly in brown or gold, laurel wreath headpieces in green or gold, Roman or Greek costume jewellery and belts.
The decoration of your party room will depend on the actual theme you have chosen but for a simple toga party you need to attempt to recreate an ancient Greek or Roman setting. Some prop hire companies will have everything you need from external lanterns through to imitation columns and busts on pedestals. If you cannot run to this, why not print out some pictures of busts and columns and ‘tac them to the wall. Garlands of vine leaves and Roman numerals and Greek character cut outs from your computer will also look effective and give you good wall coverage.
Other decorative finishing pieces would be terracotta pots and urns with plenty of grapes and vine leaves and you can easily opt for candles instead of electric light. For inspiration about other decorative pieces for your party you could visit the library or alternatively watch National Lampoons Animal House to pick up some alternative ideas.