There’s an irony about Toga theme parties. It’s considered one of the oldest and most popular fancy dress themes out there, yet when it comes to actual Toga party ideas, there isn’t much out there.
Of course, the dress code part is easy and also essential. And without the toga, there is no party. Toga parties are usually connected to college parties, but they can be so much more than that.
Once you’ve convinced everyone to get dressed up in a tablecloth or bedsheet (uh… toga), you need to reward them for their courage to look silly just for you.
Toga party ideas aren’t just about drinking or trying to look like an ancient Roman. It’s about forgetting about your life and escaping into the past for a while. Let’s start switching on the time machine.
Before we get to our toga ideas…
To help everyone feel like they’re hanging out in ancient times, try and make your home resemble a Roman court. Hang a large white tablecloth or bedsheet as the backdrop to your party, then drape gold lame, gold ribbons and fake ivy vines along tabletops and shelves. Make sure to place jugs of wine and bowls of fruit around the room.
To keep the Roman mood flowing, create a soundtrack of flutes, harps and lyres and have them playing through your speakers.
Remember that tablecloth thing I mentioned? One of the first toga party ideas on here is the costume itself, where anyone not in gear as they arrive races against the clock to get dressed up. You can provide spare tablecloths and bedsheets for guests (or they can bring these themselves). People can decide for themselves if they want to wear a t-shirt under their toga or go bare chested.
Here’s a cool instructional video:
Create a Laurel Wreath
High-ranking Romans often wore a laurel wreath to show off their status and authority. When it comes to your party, no toga is complete without a laurel wreath to top things off.
To create that wreath, give each guest a cardboard headband and a glue stick and have everyone select items from a pile of accessories they can use to adorn their crown. Some examples: glitter, watercolor paints, feathers, buttons, coloring pencils and crayons, magazine cutouts, Sharpie pens. After the game is over and the best wreath is given an award, ask everyone to wear their crown for the rest of the party.
Which God Am I?
No list of toga party ideas is complete without diving into Roman mythology. This game is a take of the classic guessing game, Who Am I?.
Everyone receives a card with the name of a Roman god which they tape to their forehead. You will need to write these cards out in advance of your party; here is a website to help you out. Some example gods include Apollo (God of the Sun), Bacchus (God of Wine), Cupid (God of Love), and Neptune (God of the Sea).
Players take it in turns to ask yes or no questions until each person has guessed the name of their card. If you’ve got a large number of guests, have everyone mingling around the room and asking each other these questions. If your party group is small (less than 10 people), each person at a time gets to ask these questions in front of everyone.
Toga Fashion Show
Let’s face it, it’s not every day your friends get the chance to be half-naked at your place, let alone wearing tablecloths with pride. To give everyone the chance to show off their toga prowess, why not host a mini catwalk activity? Before launching into the show, give everyone time to spruce up their outfit by providing them with accessories such as makeup, props, sandals, ribbons, hair bands, and extra clothing.
As each person walks the catwalk, ask them to talk about their choice of outfit as well as give it a name. Some name ideas for outfits: The Roman from Rhode Island; Sparkling Spartacus; Jolly Julius; Toga Tania.
Roman Movie Night
Out of the toga party ideas on this list, this is one of the the hardest. Why? Movie parties are easy to set up, but when there are so many brilliant Roman movies to choose from, you’ll go nuts from all the choice. You’ve got movies about the Roman Empire (Ben Hur, 1959, won 11 Oscars; Spartacus, 1960); gladiator fights (Gladiator, 2000, starring Russell Crowe; The Last Legion, 2007, with Colin Firth); and Roman life (Agora, 2009, with Rachel Weisz; Pompeii, 2014, a love story set as Mount Vesuvius erupts). You need to decide if you will opt for one theme or mix them up.
Whatever film you decide to show, bear in mind their running times; Ben Hur is an eye-watering 3 hours and 50 minutes long. If you don’t want your party centered on just watching movies, you can opt to have them running in the background, so guests can dip in and out whenever they feel like it.
Ask everyone to stand together in a circle. There are only 5 commands to give the group: Sword Left (swing left arm to the left), Sword Right (swing arm to the right), In (one step forwards), Out (one step back), Up (jump up). This game sounds easy, right? It’s not, because players must do the opposite move of the command you give them. If you shout out “sword left,” players must swing their arm to the right; if you say “Up,” everyone needs to crouch down. Anyone doing the wrong move is out of the game. The last person is the winner.
Roman Art Scene
You will need to provide guests with sheets of drawing paper and their own pen/pencils to play this game. Get everyone sat together in a circle and give them 10 minutes to draw an object or a scene they would associate with Roman life. The drawings don’t have to be detailed or very artistic, but they do need to be clear.
When their time is up, each person passes their drawing on to the player to their left who then adds a different object to the drawing in the next 10-minute round. Keep the game going until all the players get their drawings back. They now get 5 minutes to try and tell a story from the drawing; best story wins. For more art ideas, check out our paint and sip party article.
The ancient Romans often indulged themselves in hours-long feasts set in lavish surroundings. When creating this idea, you will cook a hearty 3-course dinner. Your first course should consist of vegetables, shellfish and salads (the Romans ate rodents as well; but let’s not go fully authentic here). Their main course was made up of roasted meat such as lamb, beef, pork or fish. Make sure you serve your main dish on a large platter surrounded by roasted vegetables to give it a Roman twist. The last course ended with a dessert such as cake, pudding or fruit.
A Roman banquet often took place over hours, allowing for breaks between each course so guests could chat and drink wine. Wine is an absolute must, so make sure you’ve got plenty at your dinner.
Toga Dress Up Relay
This toga party idea’s a test of your guests’ speed dress-up expertise. In this game, you want teams to recreate the pose of someone wearing a toga properly – such as the guy in the photo at the top of this article. To make the game a challenging one, make sure to use a heavier and larger tablecloth as your toga, just to make things harder for your players.
Depending on your number of guests, divide everyone into groups of 4 and make sure each team has enough playing space. You want one guest from each team to be the model. Every group is given a box containing the following: a photo of the pose, the toga, the props to hold (such as fruit, a plastic skull, a rubber snake), a tiara, a pair of sandals, and any other bits and bobs to make their Roman even more unique. Set a time for the game, and on Go!, let everyone go at it. At the end of the game, the team whose outfit is closest to the assigned pose is the winner.
Rock, Scissors, Drink
Drinking is synonymous with toga parties, so we couldn’t not have a drinking game with our toga party ideas. The only props you will need are your hands, each representing an item: closed fist for a rock, first finger and middle finger as scissors, and palm for paper.
Divide your group into 2 even teams. The first players of both team displays their hand according to one of the items; if the items don’t match, they take a drink. Then a new pair of first players go for the next round. This is a fast moving game, so make sure to keep a timer. If you want more alcohol-based fun, make sure to check out a page of party drinking games.
Roman Silent Charades
You need to provide a small urn (or a vase) for this game, preferably one that’s shallow enough so people can reach in and out without their hand getting stuck.
Split your friends into 2 teams of even-numbered players. This game only works with even teams; if you’ve got an odd number of guests, one person needs to sit out. Make sure to swap this person out so they get to have a go in the game. Give 2 slips of paper to each player in only one team (not both teams) and ask them to write down one action people can act out onto both slips of paper. Collect all the paper slips, pop them into the urn and give it a vigorous shake. Everyone then dips in their hand and pulls out one slip of paper each.
On Go!, everyone starts acting out what is written on their slip – in mime only – while looking around the room for someone else doing a similar mime. When their “partner” has been identified, both must indicate with a silent signal that they’re a match, before sitting down immediately wherever they are. The last pair to sit is out of the game.
The pairs then reveal to everyone their mimes. Pairs with mismatched mimes are knocked out of the game. The remaining pairs are then re-split into two new teams, for a second round with new miming. The last pair standing (or sitting) in all the rounds wins.
Design A Sword
Just as high-ranking Romans liked to strut around in their laurel wreaths, Roman soldiers would keep their sword on them at all times. Before you play this game, you need to do some advanced preparation, namely create swords cut out from large cardboard sheets. It’s worth visiting your local art shop for supplies such paints, sparkles, marker pens and trim, and the cardboard itself. You will also need to set aside a large room for the “sword design” workshop so everyone can stretch out; if you’ve got a backyard or garden, then this is perfect.
Like the laurel wreath game, give everyone the chance to select what items they want to use from a pile of accessories before going off to make their sword. Set aside 30 minutes for their game, and ask each person to brandish their sword for a photo before talking through their ideas. Afterwards, give everyone a lanyard or sturdy string so they can wear their sword for the rest of the party.
Have everyone standing as still as they can as a statue. As the party host, move around the different players and change their pose, by adjusting their arms, head and body. All the players must hold their new pose without laughing and moving; anyone who breaks their pose or giggles is out of the game. The last person standing is the winner.
When it comes to toga party ideas, there’s so much more fun to be had than drinking the night way. There’s a lot you can do with a tablecloth and some imagination.