From Dress Code to Bookish Menus: Ideas for Hosting Literary Parties

If you’re itching to host an unforgettable literary-themed celebration that revolves around your shared passion for books, you’ve come to the right place.

Historical theme parties are an exciting adventure, offering both adults and kids a chance to step into the pages of their favorite books by dressing up as beloved characters. The right dress code sets the mood for the event, immersing everyone in the literary theme.

Kids in different costumes having party

In this article, we’ll take you on a creative exploration of various dress code and costume ideas that have the power to make your literary soiree a truly enchanting and memorable affair. From the persona of a renowned literary character, interpreting broader themes, or adding whimsical literary accessories, these ideas will magically transform your gathering into a captivating world of literary wonder and storytelling. Get ready for an adventure into the realm of words and imagination, where every detail matters and literary dreams come true.

Dress Code and Costume Ideas:

Dressing up is a central element of a historical theme party, and it offers a unique chance for guests to immerse themselves in the literary world. The dress code can set the tone for your event and enhance the overall experience. Here are some fantastic dress code and costume ideas to consider for your literary soiree:

Dress as Your Favorite Character

One of the most exciting aspects of a literary-themed party is the opportunity to embody beloved characters from literature. Consider hosting a dress-as-your-favorite-character party. Guests can choose iconic figures from their preferred books, allowing them to connect with the literary worlds they cherish. Whether it’s the enchanting realm of “Harry Potter” with wizards and witches, the epic saga of “Lord of the Rings” with elves and hobbits, or the timeless “Star Wars” universe with Jedi knights and Sith lords, the possibilities are endless. For example, attendees can channel their inner Jedi like Luke Skywalker, embrace the dark side as Darth Vader, or display their magical prowess as Harry Potter. These character-inspired costumes bring excitement and authenticity to your event.

Themed Attire Inspired by Books

For those who may not have a specific character in mind or wish to broaden the scope, encourage themed attire inspired by books. Instead of replicating a particular character, guests can interpret broader themes from their favorite novels. For instance, if someone adores “Alice in Wonderland,” they can wear whimsical and fantastical attire to capture the essence of Lewis Carroll’s world. If “The Cat in the Hat” is their choice, they can sport iconic red and white striped hats and colorful clothing. By opening the door to themed attire, you allow for creativity and interpretation, making it accessible for a wide range of book enthusiasts.

Literary Accessories and Props

Sometimes, the charm of a costume lies in the details. Encourage your guests to explore the world of literary accessories and props. These can add a playful and interactive dimension to your party. Offer an array of options, from Harry Potter’s wands and sorting hats to Alice in Wonderland’s pocket watches and tea cups. Consider incorporating book-inspired elements into your decor, such as vintage library cards or oversized, leather-bound books strategically placed throughout the venue. These literary accessories and props provide a more relaxed approach to dressing up while still immersing your guests in the world of books. Whether they choose to be characters from their favorite novels, opt for themed attire, or embellish their look with literary accessories, your historical theme party will be a splendid gathering of bookish enthusiasts who bring the magic of literature to life through their costumes.

Bookish Menu and Refreshments for Your Literary Soiree

Creating an enticing bookish menu and serving refreshments that align with your literary theme is essential to crafting a memorable historical theme party. It’s an opportunity to delight your guests and transport them to the worlds of their favorite books through culinary experiences. Here are some remarkable ideas for your bookish menu and refreshments:

Literary-Themed Food and Drinks

One way to immerse your guests in the world of literature is by offering literary-themed food and drinks. Take inspiration from your favorite books, such as the magical realm of “Harry Potter” with butterbeer, pumpkin juice, and chocolate frogs. These iconic treats can be recreated to provide a taste of the wizarding world. Delve into “The Great Gatsby” with champagne, claret, and mint juleps, reminiscent of the lavish parties from the roaring twenties. From ‘Sherbet balls’ to ‘Pumpkin Fizz’, your literary-themed menu can evoke specific moments and settings from beloved stories. Consider serving classic afternoon tea with lemon cakes to evoke the charm of Daisy and Gatsby’s tea party. These literary-inspired choices will excite book enthusiasts and bring the magic of storytelling to life through their taste buds.

Signature Bookish Cocktails

Signature cocktails can be a delightful addition to your bookish menu. Craft drinks inspired by your chosen literary works to enhance the theme and create a unique experience. For instance, for a Harry Potter-themed party, offer ‘Gin Rickeys’ and ‘Butterbeer’—these beverages resonate with the wizarding world and its characters. When hosting a Great Gatsby soirée, serve ‘Claret’ or ‘Sauterne’ to evoke the glamour of the 1920s. Don’t forget to include non-alcoholic alternatives like ‘Lemonade’ for designated drivers or younger guests. A well-curated selection of literary cocktails can add sophistication and flavor to your historical theme party.

People drinking beer holding the glasses

Catering and Homemade Options

To ensure your literary soiree is a culinary success, consider your catering options. If you opt for catering services, ensure they can accommodate your theme with suitable menus. Take into account the preferences and dietary needs of your guests. You might want to collaborate with caterers who specialize in creating bespoke menus tailored to your literary theme. Alternatively, if you’re inclined to prepare the food yourself, you can find recipes and guidance inspired by the books you’re celebrating. Homemade treats add a personal touch to your party, and your guests will appreciate the effort you’ve put into crafting the perfect literary-inspired menu.

Vegan and Dietary-Friendly Choices

In today’s diverse and inclusive society, it’s essential to offer vegan and dietary-friendly choices in your bookish menu. Ensure that your menu is accessible to all by including vegan, gluten-free, and other dietary alternatives. Consider the needs of your guests and provide options like plant-based versions of signature dishes and beverages. With the wide array of vegan and dietary-friendly ingredients available, it’s easier than ever to create a menu that caters to everyone’s preferences and dietary restrictions. This inclusivity will make your literary soiree welcoming and enjoyable for all attendees.

Literary Party Etiquette and Gratitude:

When hosting a literary soiree, it’s not just about the decorations and the menu; it’s also about fostering a warm and appreciative atmosphere. Delve into the art of literary party etiquette and gratitude with these subtopics:

Encouraging Respect for Books

In a literary-themed gathering, it’s paramount to cultivate an environment that encourages respect for books and reading. You can instill this value by making books an integral part of your party experience. Encourage guests to explore the books you’ve incorporated into your theme by setting up reading nooks or displaying literary quotes. Emphasize the importance of taking care of these books, especially if they’re borrowed from your collection or part of a book swap. Remind attendees that books are more than just decorations; they’re gateways to new worlds and ideas. By fostering this respect for books, you create a meaningful connection between the party and the literary theme, making the event more memorable.

Book Swap or Exchange

One of the most delightful ways to celebrate books at your literary soiree is by organizing a book swap or exchange. This allows guests to share their love for reading and take home new literary treasures. Set up a designated area where guests can bring a book they’ve enjoyed and exchange it for another from the collection. This not only encourages reading but also promotes a sense of community and sharing among your guests. You can even add a personal touch by having attendees write notes about why they loved the book they’re contributing. A book exchange not only enhances the literary ambiance but also leaves guests with a tangible reminder of the event.

Thanking Guests and Contributors

After the literary celebration draws to a close, don’t forget the importance of gratitude. Express your thanks to your guests for being part of the event and contributing to the warm atmosphere. This appreciation can be verbal during the party, through handwritten notes, or even through dedicated speeches. If you’ve involved contributors such as authors, speakers, or artists, make sure to extend your gratitude to them as well. It’s these expressions of thanks that elevate your gathering from a simple party to a memorable and cherished experience.

People holding thank you souvenirs

Bookish Party Favors

As the night comes to an end, offer your guests meaningful party favors that align with the literary theme. Consider providing each guest with a second-hand book with a personal note expressing your gratitude for their attendance. This not only makes for a thoughtful gift but also reinforces the value of books. Additionally, bookmarks are a lovely and versatile party favor. Cost-effective and customizable, bookmarks can be designed to match your theme or feature quotes from the books celebrated during the event. These favors serve as mementos that guests can cherish and are a way to express your gratitude for their participation.


When you embark on the journey of hosting a literary soiree, your primary goal should always be to have fun and create an event that lingers in the memories of your guests for years to come. Proper planning is the cornerstone of making your literary-themed party truly memorable. However, there is one last essential tip that deserves special mention when hosting these themed gatherings: always encourage your guests to participate actively. Create opportunities for them to engage in activities related to the theme, such as literary quizzes, book exchanges, or reading nooks. This active involvement will elevate your party to new heights, making it an experience that truly captures the spirit of literature and ensures everyone departs with memories to treasure. So, as you embark on your literary journey, remember that the magic lies in the details and the active participation of your guests, turning your gathering into an unforgettable literary adventure.