Event and Activity Ideas

The most important factor for long-term success is developing a program of regular events and activities that give members a reason to stay and non-members a reason to join. Here are some ideas for events and activities to increase interest on the part of members and non-members. You will want to choose ones based on the interests of your target group(s) and what is available to you in the way of local venues. These suggestions are just to help get your creativity sparked.

“Goes to” / “Meet up” events

  • Community celebrations
  • Historic commemorations
  • Seasonal parades
  • Re-created historic sports team games
  • Movies with good costumes
  • Local conventions
  • Wine, Cheese, Chocolate, Heirloom tomato tastings

Themed Picnics

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Middle Earth
  • Jane Austen
  • Mondo Croquet (sledge hammers & bowling balls) — see Mondo Croquet rules
  • Shakespeare
  • Picnic by era – 1930’s, 1950’s, etc.

Venue based events

  • Castle – Court of Love, Game of Thrones, Fairy tales
  • Historic House – use a theme from the era (Gatsby, Little Women, Zorro)
  • Wood Paneled Venues – Hogwarts, Middle Earth, Elizabethan, Renaissance, Dickens
  • School Auditorium – 1950’s Sock Hop
  • Parks – Elves & Faeries, Robin Hood, StarWars Endor, Romantic era poetry, Nature
  • Beach – Pirates, Regency, Smugglers
  • Outdoor Ice Skating Rink – Victorian
  • High-tech Glitzy Bar – Science Fiction
  • Pub – WW II Britain, Pirates
  • Vintage style restaurant – use a theme from the era (Edwardian Soda Fountain, 1940’s Diner)

Informal Meetings

These have a number of names – Salons, Stitch ‘n’ Bitch sessions, etc. Basically you work on / help others with costumes for upcoming events


Invite a local “expert” to come and teach. Popular topics might be:

  • Hats
  • Ribbon embroidery/trims
  • Decorative cockades
  • Simple Jewelry
  • Beading
  • Masks
  • Hairpieces
  • Caring for vintage garments


Have members with special interests research and give a talk or lecture on a topic of interest. Note: These can work even for chapters whose members live further apart or for SIGs whose members can live anywhere using a conferencing tool like Google Hangouts On-Air or FreeConferenceCall.com. Mix it up by combining a in-person event with an online event if you have many local members and some remote members.

  • Historical era topic – Viking dress, 1920’s for men
  • Particular fashion topic – Bustles, New Look, Steampunk, Collectible Neckties


  • Hold your own bazaar
  • Go to museum sales
  • Go to theatre company sales


Costume Photo Booth: At public events, set up a photo booth where people can have their pictures taken, then email the pictures to them. Provide simple costume pieces (e.g. hats), props, and signs that people can use in their photos. One iPad based app that makes this easy is IncrediBooth.

Community Outreach

It’s easy for chapters to put on events just for members, but it’s also important to plan activities that involve their communities, too. It’s not only a way make a difference locally, but also a great way for the community to learn about costuming and all the other things that your chapter does. Here are a few ideas:

  • March in a parade on the Fourth of July or other community celebration in costume
  • Volunteer on a local Habitat for Humanity project wearing chapter T-shirts and caps
  • Help your public library organize a themed event (e.g. Jane Austen, Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc.)
  • Organize a visit to a children’s hospital wearing costumes of favorite characters
  • Make hero capes or pillows to distribute to children facing surgery
  • Sew soft head coverings for cancer patients who have lost their hair to treatment
  • Work with a child welfare group to put on a costumed picnic for disadvantaged youth
  • Collect “gently used” Halloween costumes for disadvantaged youth