How Do I Throw a Toga Party?

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  • Written By: K. Testa
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2019
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There are many fun and creative ways to throw a toga party, which is essentially a costume party based on ancient Greek and Roman culture. The toga party reportedly made its first appearance in the 18th century and, thanks to the popular 1978 movie Animal House, it remains a common theme for college parties, including fraternity and sorority functions. It can also be adapted as either an adults or kids party, for Halloween, or even a birthday party. The guests normally wear togas that they have bought or made, and the food and drink options usually include traditional Roman or Greek fare. Decorations, music, and games or other activities are often included to make the experience feel more authentic.

When planning your toga party, ask your guests to wear togas, which they can easily make out of white bed sheets. Toga parties are popular among college students, since they don't require much money or planning, although someone who doesn't want to wear a bed sheet can purchase and tailor his or her own toga costume. The outfit can be completed with sandals, as well as with items such as decorative scarves, rope belts, and gold jewelry. You might also wear a head wreath, or create a headpiece made of leaves or other greenery.


Decorations for a toga party can include hanging vines and greenery. Gold and white are common theme colors, along with purple accents, symbolizing royalty or wealth. Many people decorate with simple candles, while others try to incorporate opulent Roman and Greek architecture and accessories such as columns, pillars, and urns. Balloons are a festive and inexpensive decorating option, as well. Your choice of music for a toga party will depend on your personal tastes and the preferences of your guests; college students tend to enjoy party music, for instance, while an older crowd might prefer to socialize with classical music playing quietly in the background.

Typical food at a toga party often includes appetizers and finger foods. Platters of cheese, vegetables, and fruit, especially grapes, are also popular options. More examples of authentic fare are olives, nuts, and even oysters on ice, all served on ornate platters. Wine is the traditional beverage of choice at a toga party, but many people serve a variety of drinks, including non-alcoholic options such as sparkling grape juice.

Your guests will appreciate the small touches you incorporate when planning your toga party, such as sending invitations rolled up as scrolls and tied with ribbons. In addition to having food and music, you can plan activities to keep your guests busy. Some popular ideas include trivia competitions and costume contests.


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Post 3

@clintflint - I think that if anything people who are having a toga theme party are emulating a culture of excess and indulgence, who basically were more likely to be oppressors than the oppressed.

I always thought they were supposed to be based around those parties that they had in Ancient Rome where the people would eat and drink themselves silly and then visit the vomitorium to make room for more. Which, honestly, seems imminently suited to a college party.

Post 2

@Iluviaporos - Well, the thing is, the Ancient Greeks and Romans weren't oppressed by the ancestors of the people wearing the costumes.

Some might still argue that it's stereotyping and it basically is, not to mention completely historically inaccurate and would probably be offensive to Ancient Greeks or Romans. I don't know if it would be offensive to modern people from Italy or Greece these days or not.

But they aren't an oppressed people so I don't think it's a big deal. It's definitely not on the same level as wearing a Native American costume. There are many levels of racism and appropriation going on there, not least the fact that this is a living culture whose people are discriminated against

for wearing the same clothes that others use as a costume. And the items worn are often patterned after sacred clothes that aren't supposed to be used lightly.

As party themes go, I can think of much worse than a toga party.

Post 1

I've always kind of worried that this sort of party is too much like appropriation. Is there really any difference between wearing toga party costumes and wearing a racist Native American get-up on Halloween?

I know it's essentially just a way to get everyone slightly out of their comfort zone but just because it's a kind of tradition doesn't mean that it isn't wrong.

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