Have a Lucy Theme Party, 50s era dress, music and fun for all ages!

by ImagineMDD

Ideas on how to throw a fun I Love Lucy themed party with dress up, activities and music selections to delight adults and kids, take you back to 1950s fun times

I Love Lucy Dress Up, 1950s Activities

Here are some fun I Love Lucy-themed party ideas. These are for every age. Think, too about ideas for day care and day camp activities and rainy days. I Love Lucy ran from 1951-1957. These were the baby boom years, television was in its inception. 2011 is a banner year as it would have been Lucille Ball's 100th birthday.

Along with The Burns & Allen Show's George and Gracie (their show running on CBS 1950-1958) and Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, Lucy and Desi showed a fictional onscreen couple who were also married in real life.

To this day I Love Lucy has remained a favorite and iconic program repeated continuously since its original airing. Lucy Ricardo is a popular costume for Halloween, masquerade parties, 50s sock hops and more. Maybe less well-known, but there actually are Ricky, Ethel and Fred impersonators out there. :-)

For parties and more. Here are some starter ideas for activities for your next masquerade or fancy dress party. When you're looking for something to do with your day care or day camp kids. What about rainy day activities or sleepover fun?

High-tech or low-tech, you can come up with a fun Lucy-show-inspired activity. As with so many clever party activities, you can look for ways to incorporate recyclable materials into the mix. Shredded paper can be used to make a wig. Visit a thrift store for costume ideas or accessories for all four of the main characters.

Lucy and Ethel were included on a list of TV's Most Dynamic Duos: Presented by the Paley Center for Media, which aired early September, 2012 on ABC.  The pairs were selected by a poll conducted by Nielsen Media Research. The only other early television team was Ralph and Alice Kramden (The Honeymooners).

Were this not enough, I Love Lucy Day is October 15th. The show premiered on October 15th, 1951. Another perfect excuse for a party. Considering the date, it is also a fine time to throw a party, trying out any Lucy-inspired Halloween costumes you may be planning.

Party music, bring out your bongo drums!

Have a Conga Line!

They didn't have CDs and MP3s in the 1950s. If you want to be authentic to the era, you'd have a turntable and vinyl LPs and 45 records.

Not long ago, when we bought our current turntable, the salesperson told us it was the last one in the store. I don't know if they're easier or harder to come by these days. Kind of sadly, a lot of vinyl records are being used for craft projects these days. At least the materials are being repurposed. Some are being made into amazing pieces of jewelry.

You don't have to have the original records to have the music of the time thank goodness. The tunes you choose will depend on your guests and how deeply into the I Love Lucy theme you're choosing to go. You'll find some audio CDs by Desi Arnaz and his orchestra. Babalu! Desi Arnaz Conga! is available on CD as well as other great music by the artist. icon

What else might the Ricardos and the Mertzes might have been listening to when they had a party? We'll provide a list of a few big hits of the 1950s to get you started.

Jimmy Buffet has a wonderful song called Pencil Thin Mustache that mentions Ricky Ricardo. You may well enjoy the other references in the song, too. Hey Ricky, by Weird Al Yankovick is a fun tribute to the show.

If you have a pair of bongos, they'd be a great addition to this party. Many a 50s-style sock hop has had 45 records fashioned out of construction paper or cardboard hanging from the ceiling as decoration.

You can make a round cake with dark icing and decorate it around the border like a vinyl LP.  Use a fork to make the grooves like you see in records.


Here are just a few of the songs that were hits during the run of I Love Lucy:

Earth Angel: The Penguins
Goodnite Sweetheart: Spaniels
Hey Good Lookin': Hank Williams
Hound Dog: Elvis Presley
I've Got A Woman: Ray Charles
Maybellene: Chuck Berry
Rock Around The Clock: Bill Haley & His Comets
Shake, Rattle And Roll: Joe Turner, Bill Haley & His Comets
Sh-Boom: Chords
Tutti-Frutti: Little Richard
Why Do Fools Fall In Love: Teenagers
Your Cheatin' Heart: Hank Williams

She's my missus and I'm her man,
And life is heaven you see,
'Cause I love Lucy, Yes I love Lucy, and Lucy loves me!

 -- excerpt from theme song

World Record Lucy Lookalikes August 2011

August 2011 saw a new World Record set for the most people dressed up like Lucy (in her I Love Lucy role) in one place at one time. It was at the annual Lucy Fest in Jamestown, New York this year for what would be her 100th birthday.

From the press release put out before the event:

"The official criteria include the signature red up-do hairstyle, red lips, and dress/attire corresponding with something Lucy Ricardo wore on an episode of I Love Lucy.

"'We’ll have Lucys from Australia, Great Britain, Japan, Canada, and of course a large contingent coming from California and a number of states in between. We expect a minimum of between 500-1000 participants on August 6.'”

Ricky, Fred and Ethel-impersonators were also on hand.

How many Lucys could you gather together at your party? Break the record for the number of Lucys in your living room at one time? How many Fred Mertzes will fit on your patio?? Would your sister-in-law love to try dressing up like Ricky with his ruffly-sleeved Tropicana Nightclub shirt?

The beauty of many of these costumes is that you may find them at a vintage clothing shop, at a thrift store or better yet you may have something that qualifies in your own closet!

World Record-Set by Lucy Lookalikes in Lucy's Hometown

Ricky Ricardo, Babaloo bandleader costume

This costume can be hard to find but that's OK. It's pretty easy to create a DIY version. Shop your closet or local thrift store. Wear a man's wig or slick back your hair. Can you portray Ricky or Fred Mertz?

Cuban Bandleader Adult Costume Ricky Ricardo costume includes jacket and pants. Shirt and shoes are not included.

You can supply the drum, start the dancing and singing. Do you need a wig? Lucy and Ricky are a pair.

I Love Lucy Costumes for Adults and Kids

Be Lucy as you answer the door and hand out treats on Halloween

I Love Lucy Adult Wig Complete your I Love Lucy Adult Costume with this wig. This includes a reclosable vinyl bag and insert. Fits most teens/adults

I Love Lucy Classic Adult Costume

This classic I Love Lucy Adult Costume includes:
Satin dark blue dress with white polka dots
White apron trimmed in ric rac with imprinted logo
Satin hair bow

Choose your size

An officially Licensed I Love Lucy™ Product


Wig sold separately. [elsewhere on this page]

I Love Lucy Adult Plus Size Costume 


Child-Sized Lucy Wig and Costume:

Girl's I Love Lucy Costume Wig

I Love Lucy Costume Child Costume Choose size

Bring back the fun-loving star, Lucille Ball, from her I Love Lucy episodes and let the good times roll.

For Ricky Ricardo, you can go with the bandleader look, donning a rumba or salsa shirt complete with the ruffled sleeves. I've also seen these called Calypso shirts. You think of Ricky as wearing suits or even a tuxedo, all of course, circa 1950s.You could don a dark man's wig and/or slick your hair back.

Fred would also usually be seen in a suit, with or without the jacket. Fred's tastes, and his profession, allowed him a broader taste in patterns and styles of suit.

For Ethel, it would be fun to take a trip through the vintage clothing or the thrift shop and see what 1950s era housewife outfits are to be found. Glam her up or down as you like. A blonde curly wig can be worn or do up your hair like hers.

I Love Lucy Makeup Tutorial

Food Ideas

Arroz con pollo, or "rice with chicken," is said to be the favorite dish of both Ricky Ricardo and Desi Arnaz.

Consider adding some Latin, even Cuban fare. Rice, beans, plantains. Cafe con leche. Check online, research your local library and have fun creating dishes along with your kids.

It's always fun with a party to name food items after the theme. Take names of Lucy episodes or names of the characters and use them for names of the dishes. Fred's special Flan or Frijoles? Ethel's Enchiladas? Babalu Buñuelos or Babalu Burgers, Ricky's Red Sauce? (Maybe that should be Lucy's red sauce!)

A famous episode of the show had Lucy and Ethel taking jobs in the candy factory. Chocolates are just about always welcome at a party.

Consider simple and classic 50s diner food, hamburgers and hotdogs. It can be great for an outdoor barbecue and fun for guests of any age.

Try to fashion your burgers or maybe the cheese to go on top in a heart shape, the logo for the I Love Lucy show?

I Love Lucy on DVD : Have an interactive party!

Have a video showing: I Love Lucy - The Complete First Season The I Love Lucy Season 1 DVD started it all. Can you make a commercial just like Lucy did?!


Sure to be more ideas for activities. Enjoy a quote-along, a sing-along or if you have the drums, guitars and other instruments you may have a conga line and a dance-off, too!

The grand prize of the evening? Someone's Christmas or Birthday gift? A gift for yourself? The complete I Love Lucy series on DVD: I Love Lucy: The Complete Series No commercials, No network watermarks. Lots of music and fun.

Lucy Does a TV Commercial, "Vitameatavegamin"

Can you make a commercial like hers?

The "Vitameatavegamin" episode is a fun one if you want to screen some shows at your party.

Friends, especially kids and tweens, might like to try making their own commercials just like Lucy. Can you set up a camera and monitor so they can view what they've shot? Does someone have a phone with a camera and a way to show the commercials that were made? Come up with a new brand name.

Create your own label with the name and logo. Place it on a water bottle or soda can, then make your commercial! Are you ready for a close-up? This an be a fun party idea or a creative activity for a camp group or just for a rainy day.

Sassy Lucy Costume


The Sassy Lucy Adult Women's Costume Sassy Lucy Adult Women's Costume

This is the Sassy Lucy costume.

Includes: dress with apron, hair bow, wig.
Not included: Shoes

Make your own wigs : Activity for Kids

Kids might enjoy trying to make Lucy wigs from curling ribbon, foam board, construction paper or shredded paper. What else can you think of?? Here are some links with ideas on how to construct wigs.

Depending on the age and ability of the kids who are creating the wigs, remember that adult supervision is best. Use of scissors, ballons and other items is often called for in when making wigs.

Whichever method you choose for a party activity, day care project or just rainy day fun, be sure to read the instructions first so you'll have the supplies on hand. Sometimes a balloon, a soccer ball, etc. may be substituted for a head form.

Stocking up when there's a sale after a holiday for instance is a great idea so you'll have things like ribbon and construction paper in your art and craft stash.

Make your own wigs from different materials:

"To make a paper wig, all you need is some sort of paper, a head form, a wig cap, and other craft supplies like scissors, glue, tape, etc. For paper, you can use newspaper, magazine pages, brown paper bags, construction paper, or any kind of paper that you can cut into strips.

"You can also use curling ribbon but that can get a bit expensive if you are making an entire wig using curling ribbon. But, you can add some curling ribbon to a paper wig for added color and more style." -- Excerpt

Wacky Wigs Scholastic Magazine has tips for making wigs from pompoms a simple stocking cap Materials Needed: two large balls of yarn (per wig) felt and other decorations fabric glue cookie sheet

Lucy Show Activities

A famous episode of the show had Lucy and Ethel taking jobs in a factory. They were packaging chocolates as the candies came along a conveyor belt. While the friends seemed to be doing the job well, their supervisor sped up the belt and as the candies came at them faster and faster they were soon overwhelmed with a swarm of incoming candies, more than they could handle! This is one of the classic episodes of I Love Lucy.

How could you incorporate this into your party? Anything from a table of candies to some kind of activity. Get a timer and see how fast teams of two or three guests can wrap and box either chocolates, gum drops or candy substitutes such as small toys. A prize for the fastest, neatest person could be a DVD of the show? A handmade Lucy hairbow? You name it.

Choose your own favorite Lucy episodes for inspiration. If it's summertime, consider the famous episode where Lucy stomps grapes for wine. Get a child's swimming pool and fill it with balls or balloons? Be as messy or silly as you want, depending on the age range, safety and the kind of party you're having.

Lucy had to re-build Ricky's barbecue brick by brick once. This is something else that could be turned into a party game. Give kids or teens blocks, Legos or even ask them to construct a tall perfect cupcake art piece with cake and icing? Lucy was using bricks and concrete. Get out the timer. Make up your own rules.

When you start looking for ideas in the episodes of I Love Lucy, it'll be hard to find a show without a fun game idea as Lucy was always hatching some kind of a plan!

What ideas do you have??

Updated: 09/16/2013, ImagineMDD
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What are your favorite Lucy episodes? Favorite 1950s songs??

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katiem2 on 06/26/2012

Lucy is so much fun, I'm a red head and love the party idea, the 50's clothes are such fun and Lucy is good for lots of fun and laughs. Thanks for the great idea. :) K

Jen Anne Ritter on 03/26/2012

This would be a great theme for my 30th birthday party next year. :)

traveller27 on 08/25/2011

There were a lot of hilarious episodes...there's one where Ethel and Lucy are making cakes in a factory...

petunia on 08/16/2011

Oh that candy-wrapping episode is probably my favorite - or the one where Lucy and Ethel are stomping grapes. I never thought about a Lucy party - gotta send this to our daughter! Fun read and great ideas!

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