Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom is, without a doubt, one of the most anticipated events every year.
Starting in August, guests attending the party are invited to celebrate Halloween Disney-style, complete with costumes.
But, wearing a costume to a theme park in the middle of Florida brings its own unique set of challenges.
To help out, we've put together our list of our favorite tips for planning your Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party costumes.
As you can imagine, Disney doesn't usually like adults wandering through the parks dressed up as their favorite characters, and in fact, on regular park days guests over the age of 14 aren't even permitted to wear costumes in the parks at all.
But, during special events like Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party the rules are a little different.
The easing of the costume rule is one of the things that draws guests of all ages to the parties, and, with the explosion of people participating in cosplay events throughout the country (and around the world) there is no end to places from which to draw inspiration.
But, even though the costume rules during the party are a lot more slack than during regular operating hours, there are still some policies guest must follow.
What are the rules for costumes at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party?
Keep your costumes family-friendly
First it is important to note that Disney does reserve the right to deny admission or to remove people from the park if their costume is considered inappropriate. Basically, costumes should not have a negative impact on other people that are there trying to enjoy the party.
I had a teacher once that only had 1 rule: "don't do stupid stuff." That kind of applies here.
Keep your costume to something that is going to be okay for people of all ages to be around. Disney says specifically that costumes "must be family-friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive, objectionable or violent."
Don't pretend you're the REAL Cindy
Unlike a regular park day, guests of all ages are allowed to dress as their favorite character. But, if you want to dress like Cinderella the rule is you are not allowed to pose for pictures or sign autographs for other guests.
That is a big "nope".
Keep the lifelike weapons at home
I can think of lots of characters or costumes where a weapon of some sort could be an accessory.
While you may want to make things look as realistic as possible for a party with your friends, the rule at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) is that weapons may not be so authentic that they could easily be mistaken for the real thing.
So, keep the realistic sword at home and pack the fun foam one, instead.
Disney specifically says the following items are acceptable: transparent wings, plastic light sabers, toy swords, and tutus.
(Anybody else want to put together a costume specifically combining all 4 of those items now?)
Don't wear something that could harm somebody else
I have seen some massive costumes constructed for events. Huge, elaborate things that must have taken hundreds of hours to make.
But, the deal with MNSSHP is that your costume needs to be something that won't hurt somebody if they bump into you. And, considering how many places you could be standing shoulder to shoulder with other guests there are lots of opportunities for people to accidentally bump into you.
In addition, your costume needs to be something you can control. For example, don't plan to wear something that has pieces to it that you could accidentally strike somebody with if you turn around.
It can be hard to not whack people in the face with a simple backpack, so if you're known in your family as "the person most likely to take out a row of people with a bag" you may want to rethink you "Buzz Lightyear with 5 foot wings" costume.
Dress up as Buzz if you like, but keep his wings folded up.
Save the masks for the kids
Masks that keep the eyes visible and ones that don't cover the entire face are fine for anybody 13 or under, but not for adults.
If you are 14 or over, masks of any kind may not be worn.
Instead, consider using face paint.
Looking for more face paint and makeup inspiration?
The Disney Parks Blog has a post with 5 different makeup tutorials like this one:
Remember Edna's rule
Edna isn't dumb; she knows the best way to stay safe when you're around lots of moving parts on the attractions:
Well, you can wear a cape to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party BUT it can't go past the waist so I guess in this case the rule is more like "no long capes".
And, along the same line, your costume also can't drag the ground.
Both of those rules are for safety.
Even if you don't plan on riding any of the attractions, long capes and costumes can be stepped on (causing you to trip) or caught in things like doors.
What will the weather be like?
When I think of Halloween I think of cool fall evenings and pumpkin everything and lots of years where, as a kid, I had to wear a coat under my costume because the temperature was in the 30's.
So, if you come from a milder climate where "fall" means "sweater weather" you may not realize that even though you are planning on attending a Halloween Party the temperatures will feel more like summer.
In Florida, it isn't uncommon for the temperatures to be in the 90's through the fall, especially with the first parties staring in mid-August!
And, to make matters even more exciting, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties take place during Hurricane Season.
But even if there are no hurricanes in the forecast there is still always a chance for rain (it IS Florida, after all).
So - don't let the excitement of the party distract you when packing.
Prepare before you go by reading our tips on how to handle the weather because the parties are very rarely cancelled meaning even if it looks like rain it will still go on.
Make sure you pack weather gear and if you are planning an elaborate costume that can't get wet, bring a backup just in case.
Should I wear my costume all day?
If you plan on attending a party we strongly recommend that you at a minimum plan some downtime in the afternoon for a nap. Party tickets are expensive and you don't want your evening ruined because you're too tired to enjoy it.
But, if a nap isn't in your plans and you'll be heading to the parks without a chance to get back to grab your costume before the party, we recommend you plan on storing your costume in a locker at the park.
What are some ideas for costumes?
First of all, you don't even have to wear a costume at all.
And that is perfectly fine. Lots and lots of people don't.
But, if you're thinking about dressing up and you've never attended one of the parties we have some suggestions to help you out:
- Dress for the weather. Head-to-toe Sulley fur may look AMAZING but you would roast 2.4 seconds after leaving your hotel room. Plus, can you imagine the smell of that fur after you sweat in it? Yuck!
- Wear cute shoes if you must, but bring a backup pair in case your feet get tired. And they will get tired.
- If you plan on riding the attractions, make sure you can do things like sit down in your costume.
- And, make sure you can easily go to the bathroom in your costume, too. You don't want to find out after consuming 32 ounces of Diet Coke that you can't get your costume off by yourself.
- Consider that fabric. Some fabric may be cute on but it may cause chafing in some, ahem, delicate areas. Think about wearing something underneath to protect the skin and/or use items like Body Glide to help reduce the friction.
- For little ones, keep their costumes to something that they can easily move about in. And, again, remember that it is likely to be hot so keep the costumes lightweight for them, too.
- Remember that anything you bring into the parks will have to be screened - so if you're in a giant costume with 52 layers of billowing fabric that screening is going to take a long time. Make it easy on yourself (and the people screening you) and try to limit the number of layers you are wearing.
- Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween party is a perfect time for Disneybounding. New to Disneybounding? Think of it as using everyday clothing items to stylishly dress as your favorite characters. It's not a costume - its a lot more subtle but it is still a lot of fun.
- Going in a group? Think about coordinating your costumes.
- Simple things like plain t-shirts and homemade ears can make for a cute look - plus, you'll be a lot more comfortable like that than you might be in a heavy dress.
- Look for inspiration in the attractions. Disney is famous for their movies but don't be afraid to think outside the box when trying to decide what to go as.
- Want a costume that will be easy to move around in? Try searching places like Pinterest for "running costumes" or even "runDisney costumes". There are lots of cute ideas that would be perfect for MNSSHP.
- Speaking of Pinterest, we have an entire board dedicated to costume ideas and it is a great place to start for inspiration:
Follow Shannon, WDW Prep School's board Disney World Costume Ideas for Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on Pinterest.
Can't I just buy a costume?
Sure! Even though lots of people make their own, there isn't any reason why you can't buy a costume to wear to the party!
Places like Amazon and Etsy are a great source for entire costumes as well as accessories.
Just remember that costumes that you buy can be made of fabrics that aren't great for the hot and muggy Florida weather so be careful when choosing it.