Calling all social secs: Here are the best themes for your Wednesday Salvos socials

Stylish, simple and obviously humiliating

Wednesday night Salvos sports socials are the epitome of York culture. Where else would you find a policeman, fairy, cat and someone dressed in a bin bag in the same room dancing to Mr Brightside? That being said, it can be difficult to think of a new theme every time you have to organise a social and people can be reluctant (boring) when it comes to dressing up.

Luckily for all of you social secs or cool party planners out there, here’s a list of some of the best themes that won’t break the bank.

Anything but clothes (ABC)

Hear me out on this one. ABC definitely takes some commitment and it’s a bit risky if you’re not a natural seamstress. BUT it’s definitely a bucket list theme and the horror stories end up being funny eventually. Like wearing paper bags and getting caught in torrential rain. It’s york, of course it’s gonna rain.

I mean what are we paying nine grand for if not to dress up in crisp packets and get unsocially drunk?

Anything but a cup  (ABC)

Another ABC. This is the perfect idea if you are hosting drinks before going to the club. Some people can get really creative with this one but someone always ends up drinking something soapy and mildly toxic.

ABC can get very competitive and bonus points if someone commits to drinking out of a wok without spilling it down themselves.


Pure and simple. Everybody loves cats and cat ears are sooooooo cheap and easy to get hold of. Slap on some badly drawn eyeliner cat whiskers and maybe even wear some leopard print if you’re feeling crazy.

There is always a chance someone will dress up as Kat from Eastenders to try and spice it up a little bit too.


Hear me out on this one. Christmas-themed costumes but not at Christmas! This would draw so much attention to how crazy and free your group is.

Imagine the chaotic scenes if Santa attended Wednesday Salvos in April!


Whether it’s 80s leg warmers or 70s flares choosing a decade is always a crowd pleaser. People can join in with this theme and wear a cool outfit at the same time. The theme can also be extended to the drinks and music so you can fully immerse yourself in the decade.

You can guarantee that the pictures from this night will be by far the most Instagrammable too.

To make it extra fun, you could even get people to dress up as decades that they scored in the age-old Rice Purity Test. To see just really how well you knew each other.

Angels and Devils

This one is a real crowd pleaser. Most probably because everyone either owns devil horns or a halo and can stick a white or red top on, its just a fact. It also gives people the chance to experiment with some cool outfits and intricate makeup.

Or you can just stick the horns on your head if you can’t be bothered!

Back to school

A legendary theme and one that everyone has definitely already done. It’s always a fun idea and very easy to pull off.

Bonus points if you randomly brought your school tie to uni with you.

Dress as your degree

This one is iconic and the perfect way to get to know each other on a social. It can be a little difficult sometimes and the costumes end up being VERY tenuous but I think that adds to the fun.

A prime example is reusing the house Union Jack dress because you study music.

Dynamic duos

This is another theme that gives people the freedom to do whatever they want. Whether it’s Tweedledum and Tweedledee or Ant and Dec you can guarantee that this theme will get people and their besties hyped.

Mario and Luigi = a guaranteed crowd pleaser


Or any mythical creature really. You will definitely get whacked in the face with fairy wings on this night out but it’s really fun nonetheless.

This theme provides the perfect opportunity to go to TOWN with the glitter. It is guaranteed that you will be finding glitter for weeks afterward though. That stuff gets EVERYWHERE.

Film characters

Sometimes it’s good to keep the themes broad. This theme also gives people the opportunity to go as simple or as extravagant as they like. It’s also VERY funny to watch Indiana Jones doing a Jägerbomb with Elsa from Frozen.

The possibilities really are endless with this one.

Han, Leia and a Minion!

First letter of your name

This is a really versatile one and people can put in as much effort as they like. It is also really interesting to see what people can come up with and allows creative freedom to dress however you want. It can be VERY difficult, however, if you’re name starts with a more obscure letter.

Condolences to all of those with a name that begins with X.

Grease vs. Greece

This one was suggested to me by my very excited American housemate but I actually think it’s a clever idea. Some people dress as characters from Grease the film and others dress in Ancient Greece-inspired outfits.

It is undeniable that this is a clever theme. Big props to crazy US college parties for this idea.

Harry Potter

Surely everyone loves (or at least recognises) Harry Potter. A top tip for this theme is to use a stick from the trees near Heslington Hall as a wand. Add a bit of Derwent sparkle to your Hogwarts experience!

What could be more magical than wearing a bin bag as a robe?

Some people take this theme VERY seriously

Mamma Mia or ABBA

Another taste of Greece! But this time it is Greece wrapped in ABBA.

You don’t even have to spend all your money money money, just get your flares on and take a chance on Salvos.

Imagine how amazing you’ll feel when they play Dancing Queen on the top floor, elite vibes.


This is a Freshers’ staple. Make sure to go completely over the top with the glow sticks. I’m talking year six disco energy.

Bonus points if you invest in some of that luminous paint. Very cool.

Also very 80s vibes so killing two birds with one stone


A cowboy hat is a uni staple and those pink fluffy ones are the best vibes. Pair it with a checked shirt or something cow print and you’ve got yet another versatile fancy dress outfit.

Just make sure your hat doesn’t get stolen by a stranger in Salvos because that’s worse than heartbreak, trust me.

Shit shirts

A CLASSIC and super easy theme. Just raid that one housemate’s wardrobe (please don’t offend them) and you’ll find plenty of these.

Sports merch

Really easy for the sports teams. Some might say too easy. But it is a fun way to get everyone involved and make it clear that you ARE super sporty and popular even though you’re on your college’s sixth team.

Got to be careful not to stain your netball skirt you need for 9am training with red wine though.

We love a shared cheerleader costume

Top Spotify artist

This one is a really fun way to get to know (and expose) each other. People get really passionate and defensive about their top Spotify artist so prepare for conversation to get a little fiery.

RIP to all the Apple Music users.

So many beautiful Taylor Swift costume opportunities!

White lies

This is another good great ice breaker theme making it perfect for societies but also fun for friend groups. All that is needed is a white t-shirt and a black marker. You basically have to go around with a “white lie” about yourself written on a t-shirt. Such as i’m six foot when you’re actually about three x

Can be exposing and a little bit embarrassing but what’s new there.

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