Opinion: Themed Parties: Quantity or Quality?

By Jackie Carney and Tim Coogan

Jackie Carney - The more themed parties the better

Before launching into my argument as to why theme parties are an upgraded version of the average party, I feel its important to clarify that, yes, I am a freshman, someone still adapting and navigating the BC nightlife scene. However, being a freshman gives me a fresh perspective with which to view the different types of parties without any cynicism or narrow-mindedness. And I’ve been here long enough to know the typical party choices can get monotonous. Enter: the theme party.

One of the best things about a theme party is the anticipation. Unlike a regular weekend night at the Mods or off campus, a theme party offers both structure and suspense. They are structured in that once you’re invited, you know the theme, location, and most likely, who else is on the guest list. However, the suspense comes in with what you and everyone else should wear. Save the classic toga party (which I still find to be enjoyable), most themes allow for variety and interpretation. The thrill of choosing your attire puts the fun in the “getting ready” part of going out, without taking the fun away from the actual party. For a typical event, getting ready consists of deciding which crop top and jeans ensemble hasn’t already been debuted. When preparing for a theme party, you get to exercise your creativity and break out of the typical party uniform. When else are you going to be able to don your outrageous clothing items and accessories that have no other appropriate function?

Getting ready isn’t the only great thing about theme parties. Theme parties provide an environment that can actually be MORE fun than the average rager. One way is manifested in the fact that most theme parties are invite-only: if you don’t know about the theme, chances are you aren’t getting in. While this could be viewed as exclusivity, I see it more as an opportunity for you to party with your friends, instead of the random seniors whose Mod you crashed. You also don’t have to worry about flirting with the door guy to get in; your costume is the golden ticket. And there’s no way you will know everyone there unless you’re the host, so the opportunity to make new friends and flirt it up with strangers is still widely accessible.

Image via Ambrey Rice / Gavel Media We Love Getting Ready for Mathletes vs. Athletes!

Photo courtesy of Ambrey Rice / Gavel Media
We Love Getting Ready for Mathletes vs. Athletes!

Speaking of making new friends, theme parties will actually aid you in becoming the social butterfly you’ve always hoped to be while out and about. First,  you can quickly scan the room and determine who is worth your time based on the caliber and uniqueness of their costume. Call me judgmental, but we are all guilty of forming biases based on appearance, and theme parties allow you to more quickly and effectively decide who stands out. This is by no means an endorsement of the “judge a book by its cover” mentality; I am simply affirming that, in my experience, being selective in who you approach, or who you let approach you, is key, and using context clues through costume choice is not a bad strategy.

Second, costumes provide the perfect conversation starter. Its absurdly easy to just approach the guy or girl who you’ve been checking out all night and compliment their costume. Even better, make fun of it to jumpstart the playful banter. You might get a kiss, an after-party invitation or even just a good friend out of it. I think we can all relate to the excitement of becoming someone other than ourselves for a night, and theme parties allow you to not only physically alter your appearance but to also to embolden your personality and leave all your anxieties behind. And if you must go to another party, at least you’ll stand out!

The reason I enjoy and look forward to theme parties is because, in my experience, they are a deviation from the ordinary and expected. Not every weekend is a theme party weekend; most consist of the BC routine that we all simultaneously love and hate. Of course there are theme parties that fall flat, but that’s a risk we always take when we decide to go out anywhere, regardless of the party type. There’s a definite thrill in being able to switch up your routine, and theme parties provide that excitement. Don’t become jaded. You have the rest of your life to go standard parties. Soak up all the themes while you can.

Tim Coogan - Themed parties are sacred: Quality over quantity

As opposed to “jaded” or cynical,” I prefer to consider myself a man of integrity.  I believe that the BC campus has gone a little overboard on the whole themed party–thing. If we want to truly be men and women for others, we have to set an example and prove that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to themed parties.

When one dares to “throw down” with a theme, there has to be a certain level of originality and commitment. Unfortunately, those are the two qualities many themed parties on campus lack. People are submitting themselves to cheap, recycled themes that aren’t worth dressing up for.

Commitment and passion are what a lot of themed parties these days are missing. In fact, studies show that Millennials are 40% less dedicated to a theme than previous generations. That’s a real statistic. Rather than bash on some weaker ideas though, we have to be inspired by those with dedication.

Take a rumored eight-man suite. Allegedly eight lovely girls decided to have a “pool party.” Their common room was decked out to look like a beach. Those lovely ladies even bought an inflatable pool and filled it up with sink water, a game changing move. The girls weren’t going to settle – and none of us should have to either.

Photo courtesy of Anjali Patel / Gavel Media Girls Who Theme Right

Photo courtesy of Anjali Patel / Gavel Media
Girls Who Theme Right

Originality is important. Although, while you are definitely better than “Corporate Hoes and CEOs,” you don’t want to seem too out there. It should allow people to dress up in a funny way with meaning. People aren’t going to respect  an eclectic mix of articles of clothing as the theme. Seriously, if you have something along the lines of a  “Bow Ties, Button Downs, and Bandanas” party you will be those people with  a themed party  described as “too indie.”

Themes should seem inspired. Unfortunately, a themed party can be used as a cheap ploy to trap you in some sweaty off campus basement. While some find theme parties liberating from the typical “BC Uniform” – a term that I personally detest – this is where I find them restricting. Your themed costume inhibits spontaneity to hop around from party to party. Every costume you wear essentially limits the potential for a magical journey of a night.

Photo courtesy of Collegerag.net

Photo courtesy of Collegerag.net

I’m only a sophomore, but I feel as if  a lot of the themes already seem old. “Classic” themes are ideas that have been worn out by years of abusive overuse. At this point if I hear “toga party,” I just imagine how inconvenient carrying a bed sheet around all night would be because the novelty of these "classics" has worn off. We have to keep the theme party scene fresh.

Jackie and I both agree on one thing though. Don’t ever be that person who shows up costume-less. Doing that is basically a slap in the face to your host and screams “I hate fun, the person who invited me, and I should never be invited anywhere again.” Because then it isn’t a worn out theme that puts a damper on the night - it’s you.

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Tim Coogan