Whether you want to step back in time, cross the continents or get in touch with your darker side, there's a costume out there waiting for you in London. Here are five of the best dressing up parties in London (and check out photos and video from the London parties below).
The mother of all dressing up nights out, The Blitz Party takes you underground to party like it's 1939. A live swing band, sandbags and themed cocktails create a suitably wartime ambience. Girls look gorgeous in 1940's tea dresses but it's the gents that are the revelation at this event with WW2 uniform being the popular choice of outfit. Swoon.
And ladies, find out how to dress for the Blitz party
Feel naughty? Indulge in a clandestine tipple in the splendid Art Deco surroundings of the Bloomsbury Ballroom at the Prohibition Party. Swing Patrol run dance classes at the start of the evening so get there early to make the most of the wonderful live band. Dapper gents raise their trilbies to minxy flappers and elegant ladies in decadent gowns. A great event to visit if you're single.
Charleston your way back to the roaring twenties at one of these regular pop ups. Every month or so, the Candlelight Club puts on a 1920's-30's themed night with a specific slant. Previous nights have included Chicago, Shanghai, the Golden Age of Travel and Weimar Germany. Themed cocktails, a live Jazz band and entertainers set the vibe. Punters buy their tickets online and are only told the exact location a couple of days before the event.
Fancy a change from the local on a Sunday night? Then head down to Hula Boogie at South London Pacific Tiki Bar in Kennington. Step into the 1958 movie ‘South Pacific' where the stunning Miss Aloha is joined by the likes of Black Elvis to entertain you with a night of live 1940's and 50's music. Come early to take a rockabilly or Hukilau Hula Dance class. Dress code: Gents go rockabilly, while for the ladies it's va va voom 50's hula girls – all red lips and flowers flirtatiously tucked behind ears.
Belle Epoque – Dark Circus
Embrace your dark side at Belle Epoque's now regular Dark Circus party. Corsets, masks and drama are the call of the day in this collaboration between Belle Epoque and the distinctly naughty Torture Garden. Decadent cocktails are provided by Bourne and Hollingsworth and Torture Garden's acrobats provide entertainment. Needless to say, the dress code is NOT smart casual.
Carwash at Club Aquarium
The now legendary night, Carwash at Club Aquarium, has punters in leg warmers and dayglo headbands spilling onto Old Street into the early hours. With a shamelessly cheesy mix of 70's and 80's anthems, it's spring break circa 1982, with a combination of live drummers, dancers and of course, the swimming pool and jacuzzi.
Guerilla Zoo - It's Your Funeral
Guerilla Zoo, the people behind the annual Goblin King Masquerade ball, run the morbid monthly, It's Your Funeral. Bethnal Green Working Men's Club is the place where a notorious character is laid to rest at each event. A theatrical New Orleans Jazz style funereal march is laid on with live performances and punters dressed their sombre best.
This list is by no means exhaustive and London's place as a global centre of culture means there's always something new in the offing. Watch this space for more and let us know of any of your favorites that we might have missed!
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