Do you ever wonder why some parties are so great that guests will remember them for years, and others just flop? The answer may lie in the city where a party is hosted.
For an event such as a costume party to succeed, several factors should come together in its favor. Such factors include the proximity of potential guests, availability of party supplies and affordable drinks, party planners, and safety.
Not all cities are equal when it comes to meeting these needs. In this article, we’re going to answer the question: What are the best and worst cities for a costume party?
Our Rankings at a Glance
If you want to get an idea of where your city ranks when it comes to throwing a fabulous costume party, here is a summary of the best cities in this regard.
What makes the Best Five Cities Special?
A great city for a costume party provides guests with an all-inclusive experience. What makes the top five cities in our overall list special?
Austin: Everything a Party Animal Needs
Shelby Hodge of Culturemap Austin clearly explains why Austin is a great place for a costume party.
She says that the city has “…667 bars, 137 music venues, and 52 dance clubs.” Hodge adds, “We’ve also got a handful of beer gardens, 6 country dance halls, 18 jazz and blues venues, 10 pool halls, 31 karaoke bars, and a few piano bars for good measure.”
Boston: The Small City That Punches Above its Weight
Ask anyone in Boston to describe their city, and they will tell you that it’s a tiny city in Massachusetts that punches above its weight.
Those who host parties in Boston can be assured that guests will not have to worry about getting to the venue. The Boston subway system, affectionately known as the “T,” provides an easy way of getting around.
Since the Boston city center is not so big, party guests can walk to the venue from almost anywhere in the city center.
San Diego: Innumerable Opportunities to Explore Nightlife
The trip planning website Holidify.com says, “When it comes to setting standards for extravagant galas and fun, nothing beats nightlife in San Diego and its hottest parties on the west coast of California.”
The website adds, “For a casual beach town like San Diego, there are innumerable, top-notch opportunities to explore like nightclubs bumping with upbeat DJs, international live shows, comedy, arcade games and cocktails that are works of art.”
Los Angeles: The Symbol of Diversity
Ask anyone that’s ever lived in a multicultural society, and they’ll tell you that such societies are more outward-looking and open-minded. No other place fits the definition of multiculturalism like Los Angeles.
The luxury real estate firm RubyHome.com reports that the residents of Los Angeles come from 140 countries and speak 180 languages. Do we still need to explain why this city is in the top five?
Houston: All the Facilities to Host A Great Event
The conference management firm Kenes Group says that Houston has all the features required to host a great event. The company reports that the city has over 6,000 flights departing every week. That’s more than 850 flights a day.
The Kenes Group adds that party guests have access to more than 2,400 taxis on the ground. For those who want to arrive at a costume party in style, the city has around 1,700 limos.
Those who may want to stay after the party and explore the city can choose from over 10,000 restaurants.
To come up with the best cities, we compared 193 cities in the US using statistics related to the weighted factors below.
In weighing the factors, we considered each factor’s influence on the success of a party.
- Gen Z + Millennials as a percentage of the population: Let’s face it, young adults are more likely to party, and they have fewer responsibilities. So, the higher the percentage of young adults in a city, the easier it is to get those folks to a party. Therefore, we assigned 30% of our index to this factor.
- Alcohol freedom ranking: We gathered state-level data on the alcohol freedom ranking from FreedomInThe50States.org/alcohol. This factor is weighted at 20%.
- Violent crime rate: It’s hard to let loose at a party if you’re nervous about your personal safety. We gave this aspect a weighting of 20% of our index.
- Supply of party stores: We obtained the data for the number of party stores in or near a particular city from Yelp, and we gave this aspect a weighting of 10%.
- Rankings by other publications: Even though the rankings from other publications are often based on anecdotal evidence, we have also taken them into account and given this factor a weighting of 10%.
- Salary data for party planners: We looked at city-level salary data and allocated a weighting of 10% for this factor because it is not always necessary, as not everyone needs a party planner for their party.
The city scoring the highest in each category above is the best, and the one with the lowest in each category is the worst.
We excluded Washington, DC, and six other cities because we couldn’t get consistent data for all the important variables.
Best by Gen Z and Millenials Population
Alyssa Meyers writes for MorningConsult.com, a provider of research-driven primary data. She reports on a survey attempting to determine the percentage of Americans planning to celebrate Halloween in 2021.
Meyers report shows that in 2021, “Gen Z was also generally more inclined to attend parties and don costumes than the general population.” She adds that 38 percent of Millenials indicated that they planned to party like it’s Halloween.
To determine the rankings in this list, we simply looked at the population of Gen Z and Millennials in a specific city. The assumption is that the higher the percentage of young people in the city, the easier it is to get folks to your party.
Here are the top five cities based on Gen Z and Millennials populations:
- Tempe, Arizona
- Tallahassee, Florida
- Fort Collins, Colorado
- Denton, Texas
- Norfolk, Virginia
The bottom five:
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Hialeah, Florida
- Torrance, California
- Scottsdale, Arizona
- Cape Coral, Florida
From the bottom five lists, it’s clear that cities in Florida have fewer Millennial and Gen Z partygoers. Even though the state has many cities at the bottom of the list, it still has some great cities to throw a party, like Tallahassee, which takes the second position in this category.
Best by Safety and Security
If you run an event like a costume party, your biggest responsibility is to ensure that all your guests have as much fun as possible in a safe place. Being safe means that no one will be injured, assaulted, robbed, or molested.
Even though it’s possible to hire security guards for an event, this will cost more money but not necessarily guarantee that the event will be safe (or fun!). For this reason, a city with the lowest violent crime score takes the top spot.
Here are the top five cities in this category:
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Knoxville, Tennessee
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana:
There are five cities with the same score at the bottom of the rankings:
- Virginia Beach, Virginia
- Newport News, Virginia
- Hampton, Virginia
- Richmond, Virginia
- Norfolk, Virginia
Best by Alcohol Freedom Ranking
While it’s perfectly normal to have an alcohol-free party, many people enjoy themselves more when they have had a glass or two. Alcohol can help people relax and find it easier to mingle with strangers.
Specific local government restrictions on alcohol distributions, times when you can buy, where you can drink, and who can drink can affect the experience of individuals at your party.
For this reason, costume parties in areas with more alcohol freedom are likely to rock.
It looks like the people responsible for ensuring alcohol freedom in most cities know the importance of ensuring that beer is constantly flowing at parties. We say so because, in this category, we don’t have a top 5; we have 55 cities in the top spot.
At the bottom, we have the following cities:
- Four cities are vying for this spot:
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Montgomery, Alabama
- Mobile, Alabama
- Huntsville, Alabama
- Boise City, Idaho
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Best by Party Supplies
The ability to get last-minute supplies before a party starts – or even during the party itself – is an important factor in determining how successful the party becomes.
An article published by Huffpost.com lists some of the most common things people forget when planning for a party:
- Toilet paper
- Tables and chairs
So, an excellent city for a costume party would be one where you can quickly dash out and salvage the situation if you’ve forgotten something important or when supplies run out.
But which cities will those be? Here are the top five:
- Rancho Cucamonga, California
- Hayward, California
- Glendale, Arizona
- Hollywood, Florida
- Sacramento, California
In the bottom five, we have two cities with the same score for the second-worst city:
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Clarksville, Tennessee
Four cities have the same score in the very last place on the list:
- Springfield, Missouri
- Amarillo, Texas
- Columbus, Georgia
- Springfield, Missouri
Best by “Best Cities to Party” Lists
Even though there is no standard formula for determining the method for judging the best city for a party, we believe that a city that keeps appearing in lists from credible publications is likely to have something special.
Based on the data we collected, here are the eight cities tied on the number one spot:
- Austin, Texas
- San Diego, California
- Los Angeles, California
- Chicago, Illinois
- New York, New York
- Miami, Florida
- San Francisco, California
- New Orleans, Louisiana
We have skipped the bottom five in this category because there are dozens of cities tied for that spot.
Best by Affordability of Party Planners
Even though not everyone needs or can afford a party planner for their event, they can be incredibly useful for those who don’t have time or experience to plan, organize, promote the event, and manage other aspects related to a party.
When it comes to party planners, you would want to get the best party planner at the lowest budget.
These five cities will give you just that:
- Corpus Christi, Texas
- Fort Collins, Florida
- Thornton, Colorado
- Rockford, Illinois
- Denver, Colorado
The bottom five spots belong to the following cities:
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Yonkers, New York
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Syracuse, New York
Now that we know the best and worst cities in each category, what insights can we take from the lists?
The Best Costume Parties Aren’t Always In the Big Cities
When looking at the top cities in each category above, it becomes clear that the top cities in the US, like New York, Chicago, and Las Vegas, don’t appear. In fact, the big cities of Chicago and New York don’t make it into the top ten overall, coming in at positions 11 and 15, respectively.
However, a few big cities, including Houston and Los Angeles, are in the top five overall.
Generally, cities in Alabama score very low overall. As you can see, four cities from the state have the unenviable position of being in the bottom four overall.
Alabama lacks alcohol freedom
If you’re wondering why Alabama cities are the worst in the overall list, just look at the alcohol freedom category, and you may get your answer. While over 55 cities from different states are tied in the top position in terms of alcohol freedom, there is no single city from Alabama among them.
California wins in party supplies
It’s easy to forget important supplies when hosting a costume party. With four cities in the “Best by Party Supplies” category, California is the place that ensures a party is never spoiled by a shortage of supplies.
It’s unsafe to party in Virginia
If you look at the “Best by Safety and Security” list, you will notice that the five cities at the bottom are all from Virginia. This means that partying in the state is not a very safe affair.
However, it doesn’t look like the poor ranking in the safety and security category has affected the state much because, in the overall list, the worst-performing city in Virginia ranks at number 103. That’s 90 spots better than the worst city overall.
Expensive party planners are New York’s downfall
New York is a great city according to the “Best Cities to Party” lists, but the fact that it’s generally expensive could be why it doesn’t feature in the top ten overall.
As noted from the “Best by Affordability of Party Planners” category, party planners in New York charge an arm and a leg. It’s not hard to guess why they need all that money: the Empire State lifestyle can be pricey.