In 1797, women swooned and fainted when they saw London haberdasher John Hetherington wearing his new creation, the top hat, making it perhaps the first crazy hat. Women don't swoon anymore, and there are no more haberdashers. But you can still have a lot of fun planning a crazy hat-themed party.
Don't settle for those standard pointy birthday hats for your child's next party. Instead, make crazy hats a theme. Ask invitees to bring their own crazy hat, or provide materials so they can decorate their own. Look for inexpensive hats at craft stores, garage sales or thrift stores. Provide glitter, feathers, streamers and ribbon. Add glue, and the kids can watch while they create a custom chapeau. You can also provide a stack of colourful paper and ask the kids to fold their own hats. Adapt games for a hat theme, too. For example, instead of musical chairs, try musical hats. Put a box of hats---one for everyone, minus one---in the centre of the circle. The kids circle the box while the music is playing, and when it stops, they rush to get a hat. The child who can't get a hat is out.
A crazy hat party for adults is a great icebreaker, because everyone looks silly in a crazy hat. For a garden club spring luncheon, ask everyone to wear their favourite gardening hat. You could also ask members to bring flowers from their gardens while you provide the plain straw hats for them to decorate. For a Talk Like a Pirate Day party, have a stack of newspaper with instructions on how to fold a pirate hat---eye patches are optional.
For sewers, weavers, knitters or crocheters, hats are popular projects because they are small and quick. For a craft guild party, give prizes to participants who bring hats in various categories, such as warmest, most colourful, ugliest, largest hat or the hat that started out as something else. Appoint a "judge" and give appropriate prizes such as pattern books, yarn or notions. Everyone must model their entries, of course.