Fall in is full swing at the Disney Parks, and the Halloween parties are one of the most fun events of the season!  While guests can show up sans costume, I think part of the fun for adult guests is getting to dress up and traipse around like a five year old.  Here are a few tips for enjoying the parties incognito.

Who Should I Be?

While lots of party-goers choose to go the Disney route when choosing a costume, plenty do not.  Characters do play around quite a bit when seeing Disney costumes, but you may also get some good-natured ribbing when wearing non-Disney costumes, as well.


Another fun option is to choose a group costume when partying with friends and family.  I’ve seen several bands of Peter Pan casts, Wizard of Oz crews and Incredible families.  The major park nerds (which most of you may be) often base costumes on attractions with one of the most popular being the Haunted Mansion.  I love seeing hitchhiking ghosts, murderous brides and tightrope walking girls wandering the parks!

Get Park Wise: Low on time, cash or creativity?  Trying to talk Grumpy into participating?  Mouseketeer outfits are quick, easy and not too “costumey.”  Pick up some white shirts and iron-on letters.  Affix your names to the shirts a la the Mickey Mouse Club.  Pick up a classic ear hat in the park, and voila!  Almost instant group costume!

Another quick and easy costume? FastPass! White tee and iron-on transfer paper.

What Should I Wear?

When in doubt, go for comfort.  While a full body costume may look fantastic, is it practical for your plans?  If you’re wanting to hit the coasters during the party, will your hoop skirt fit on Space Mountain?  Will that gorilla suit make you pass out from heat exhaustion?  I do love seeing those of you who go all out, though.  There are some fantastic costumes at the parties!


I’m a fan of regular clothes being transformed into costumes.  Yellow skirt, red and blue top, red bow…hello, Snow White!  Aloha shirt, shorts, hike up your socks and carry your camera around your neck…cool and comfy tourist.


Are There Any No-Nos?

Yes-yes!  According to Disney, costumes should be child-friendly.  That means cover it up, keep it not-so-scary and remember you’re in a family zone.  Additionally, costumes should not be violent or offensive, have sharp or protruding parts that may strike other guests or include realistic weapons.  Masks are permissible, but they should not obstruct your vision, and Disney asks that your eyes be visible.  Any costumes that don’t meet the official guidelines and cannot be modified may result in a party-goer being refused entry to the party in the offending costume.  Another Disney biggie – guests dressed as Disney characters may not offer to pose for photos and may not sign autographs.

Taking pictures with other guests is a lot of fun, but remember that you can’t offer to pose for pictures when dressed as a Disney character.

More Tips

Consider bringing a change of clothes if you’re unsure about wearing your costume all night.  If you decide you want to ditch it midway through the party to hit the rides, you won’t have to buy a brand new outfit from the Emporium.

If you want to don your not-so-scary apparel throughout the party and you still want to ride, make sure your costume doesn’t have any dragging parts or dangling pieces that may trip you up when boarding or could get caught in a ride track.

Although it may ruin the look, remember your footwear!  You don’t want to have to run home before midnight because your glass slippers are killing your feet.

Little Flynn has tennis shoes under boot covers.

Have fun!  Get into it and enjoy your night out with thousands of other grown-ups running around in costume.  Nothing like trick-or-treating at Disney to make you feel like a kid again! Those are my Disney Halloween party tips, what are yours?

Have you dressed up for a Disney party?  What were you?  Any great costume ideas you’d like to share?

  • ghosty4

    Florida has some HOT Princes!

    • Ha! Yes, there is definitely some eye candy, as well as actual candy at the parties!

  • BradyNBradleysMom

    This is a really great column Jessica. I’m someone who loves Halloween but I am Halloween-challenged: I think I am the worst person in the world when it comes to thinking up costumes. I never can seem to find stores that have good costumes and I could not sew one to save my life. I get REALLY intimidated by the MNSSHP because some people who go have these gorgeous costumes and it makes me feel like a bad mom sometimes because I just can never get it together for Halloween. I don’t know how some people do it and look so amazing. I don’t have the costuming gift.

    However, yesterday on this forum in a trip report someone told me about “Disney Bounding” which I had never heard of. I spent about 3 hours yesterday researching this and my mind is officially blown it’s so genius. Jessica actually did it as Snow White in the pictures above: it’s wearing normal clothes that are just in the right color combinations of the characters instead of necessarily dressing in a “costume”. I’m going to try that this year. I just have to pick a group of characters we can go as.

    I love the idea of just finding normal clothes in the color patterns of characters and then some kind of little accessory to complete the look as the character. Like Jessica did with Snow White, and she could carry an apple or maybe have a little fake craft store bird she could have on her finger with a wire (like a ring) and sing to it like Snow White did in the movie. Little things like this I can handle.

    I swear “Disney Bounding” must be the greatest thing I have heard of in a while. It could totally change the way I see Halloween.

    • I’m guessing the term refers to the Tumblr? Haha! Never seen it as a verb. There are definitely come cute ideas there!! Good luck with future “costumes.” Definitely the most practical option for the parties.

      • BradyNBradleysMom

        I haven’t figured out what “Disney Bounding” means. I get the “Disney” part, but I don’t know why it’s called “bound”. I just learned about this yesterday. There must be some clever-cute reason for “bound”. It’s a play on words somehow, but heck if I know what.

        I haven’t figured out the “joke” in the name yet. I am sure it’s obvious and I will slap my forehead when I hear it, but I am just not hip to these things.

      • I’m pretty sure it’s from the DisneyBound Tumblr. She takes every day clothes and gives them a Disney twist a la Polyvore. Unless, of course, she got her name from some existing term.

    • DobbysCloset

      Dear B&B Mom — you are such a great mom, please do not feel deficient in the costume department. There are plenty of folks who can whip up couture but can’t parent!

  • Lord Alfred

    I’ve been to the MK during the Halloween party several times. While I’ve never seen a guest wearing anything that would be deemed too scary for kids, I HAVE been surprised at some of the risque Tinkerbells and other “sexy” characters that have gotten through. I’ve also seen some ill-fitting costumes that are way too small, resulting in a truly scary visual.

    • I hear you on that one!! I don’t want to see your rear if you happen to drop something or, you know, walk, and I really don’t care for my kids to see it either. Some people have no class or common sense.

      • DobbysCloset

        Fortunately most kids just giggle when adults get gross. As long as we don’t teach them to be judgmental. I think some grown-ups look in the wrong mirror before they leave the house…

  • whamo

    Yesterday a kid had on a great Peter Pan costume at Disneyland. I noticed not too many people wearing costumes or even Disney hats and shirts. At $40 a t-shirt it’s not hard to understand why. The selection of hats at the Mad Hatter isn’t as large as it used to be either. It used to be that almost half of Disneyland guests had some kind of hat and/or Disney shirt. And that wasn’t that long ago. I did see some really cool shirts and hats featuring the potato head from toy story.
    There was a cool sea breeze and sunshine at Disneyland yesterday morning, too, fantastic weather for the park. The lines weren’t bad either. Now is a great time to hit it.

    • I’d guess there are more costumes during Mickey’s Halloween Party, especially since adults can’t dress up during a typical park day. Sounds like a pleasant day, though!

    • BradyNBradleysMom

      I found a great online store called Threadless. They have a Disney shirt section. Really cool shirts with Disney characters on them, mostly the villains. Shirts are like $20 but a lot of them are on sale for $10. I buy them for my boys but the designs are good for adults too.

    • StevenW

      I don’t see the point of wearing a Disney shirt since the Halloween Parties are usually held at night and you might wear a light jacket over it.

      • BradyNBradleysMom

        Depends on where you live. If you’re coming from somewhere much colder then Anaheim or Orlando it feels like summer being in the parks, for me at least. If I’m coming from Illinois for instance and it’s 40 or 50 at night and I am in Disneyland or wherever and its 60, I am fine in my tee shirt.

      • DobbysCloset

        Or, if you come from the Pacific Northwest, you might wear a long sleeve thermal UNDER it!

        Yes, I was totally shocked when I moved up here from Los Angeles and saw girls wearing tank tops and flip flops in 66 degree weather…

    • DobbysCloset

      I am so grateful those $40 shirts end up in second-hand shops in my town when people get home and are too embarrassed to wear them in public!

  • lionheartkc

    Another important thing to think about is the weather. Unlike a con or other air conditioned event, the majority of the party events are outside and it can be A LOT warmer than you think, when you are wearing a costume. I was there a couple of years ago, dressed as Animal from the Muppets. I had a wig made of ostrich feathers that caused me to almost overheat when I was in a line that was blocked from any sort of breeze.

    • So true! That’s why we tend to go costume-esque instead of in a full costume. It can get steamy on those Florida nights for sure.

  • StevenW

    One should never wear a rubber mask as shown in that photo. It is way too hot and I don’t trust people who hide their faces in the theme park.

    I do think people should try to dress in the spirit of a Disney theme park. While not always in the exact characters, they can dress like a pirate/wench, a Jedi master, a prince/princesses, Indiana Jones style, or ghost host. Avoid things that make no sense in a Disney theme park like a nurse/doctor, zombie, and vampire.

    When you’re in the restaurants, the lighting is good enough to see what people are wearing, but it gets lost very quickly when people start going treating or on the rides. It is okay to not wear any costume.

    • Thanks for your opinions this week.

    • BradyNBradleysMom

      You can also just wear Halloween colors. Orange, green, purple, black. Those seem to be the best ones. And there are simple tee shirts with a pumpkin on them or whatever. They even have hats that look like pumpkins, like an orange beret with a little green leaf on top. That’s a simple “costume”.

  • DobbysCloset

    It is a great thing to open up my computer to a common sense column on Disney by Jessica.

    I find the idea of dressing up like an Original Mouseketeer, being that I remember…would be fabulous.

    If I were going I would want to dress up like the vintage Golden Era pre-war lady I ran off to Hollywood to resurrect in the 1970’s. Then I would go to DCA and pretend it really was Buena Vista Street in 1939.

  • Kevinsharris

    Disney sells pirate swords in the parks. Do you know if kids can bring in a plastic sword if they are being a pirate or ninja?

    • Only realistic weapons are prohibited. If you can tell it’s a fake, you’re good to go.

  • AvidTurtleTalker

    Every year, part of my process of choosing who/what to be for Halloween is if I’ll be comfy or not at the Halloween party. Every year I go as something Disney, but keep it simple. Two years ago, I dressed up as the EAC. Blue shirt, Jean shorts, puffy painted Memo characters, and a blue hat with a Squirt plush. It was a bigger success than expected and I was comfy. Last year, I went as Fix It Felix. I got my whole costume from a local Goodwill so not only was it easy and comfy, but very cheap too. This year, I’m going to be a chimney sweep and plan on getting everything at the Goodwill again.

  • Hastin Zylstra

    When I dress up for the Halloween parties, it’s sometimes fun to pick something that’s ‘out there’. Either something totally unrelated to Disney, or something that’s an inside joke for the Cast Members. Last year, I dressed up as a CAL/OSHA inspector for the Disneyland Halloween Party – and the cast and other guests thought it was a riot. Out in Florida, I dressed up as a Star Trek Commander – even with a functioning prop tablet and phaser!

    I’m always impressed with the guests that go ‘all out’ for their costume. We saw about 1/2 of an electrical parade once in CA.

    This year, we have a fairly large group (about 6) of us going a little more conservative as various Peter Pan characters, and I haven’t yet decided what kind of costume trouble I want to get into for our halloween cruise.

  • soletrain

    …sooooo u are saying leave my slutty tink costume in my closet!?!……hater