What Not To Scare: Essential advice for Halloween fancy dress

03/10/2010 at 5:57 pm (Horror, Nightlife) (, , , )

It’s October, and Halloween’s almost here – my favourite festival of the year – and it’s time to think about fancy dress.

There’s a lot of choice when it comes to fancy dress.  Horror is the obvious one, and for many, that’s what Halloween’s about.  It is, after all, based on folklore surrounding the worlds of the living and the dead converging. But why dress up? In the original Celtic legends it was advisable to dress as something fearful,  or preferably someone that was already dead.  The spirits of the long-deceased would therefore believe that there was no one living around to possess.

In this day and age, undoubtedly due to the American influence, anything goes.  It’s pretty much an excuse to dress crazy and party. And here’s the tricky part, it’s not so much, “what do I dress as?” but, “how do I wear it?”

I have a few rules about fancy dress, although these are pretty flexible when making the right impression.

Don’t dress too impractically:

Yes, your cardboard Optimus Prime outfit looks amazing! It won’t look quite as amazing by the time you’ve scrambled out of the car.  Most costumes will be hot or a little uncomfortable.  Think about what you can deal with. Remember that while no one expects you to keep a mask on all night, you’ll want to keep up the look for as long as possible.  You also need to be ready to get your costume together fairly quickly for photos.  Make up and wigs can get itchy too, and be careful where you leave traces.  It was a little embarrassing in photos after I dressed as Paul Stanley from KISS how many people ended up with white faces.

Mobility in mind:

Chances are you’ll want to stand up, move around AND sit down during the course of the evening.  Hey, Spongebob, you won’t be getting out of that beanbag anytime soon! Dancing and heading to the bar may also be necessary.  Fairy wings have been known to really aggravate other patrons, particularly when flapping someone in the face at close quarters. That includes batwings too, people.

You gonna drink, you gotta pee:

Never over estimate your bodily functions.  Always assume, if you’re going to drink alcohol, basic motor functions will be challenged.  After four servings of punch and your eighth can of bathtub beer, things are going to get confusing.  Jumpsuits and armour may cause a problem, as do unusually placed buckles and fastenings. You don’t always have time to plan your escape.

Those are my basic guidelines for enjoying fancy dress, but everyone has a different view.  The most important thing is to enjoy it, and never take yourself too seriously.  Cost is also another thing to consider.  No matter how accurate your costume might be, chances are very few other people will notice.  I totally understand the need for authenticity, but it can take over.

Never forget, this is for one night – maybe two, you party animal – so think about budget.  Look fantastic, of course, but you may never wear that stuff another time.  No matter how great the costume looks, your friends will take notice.  “Austin Powers AGAIN is it?”

My last piece of advice is to go out, have fun and let your hair down.  This is your chance to really play another character.  Not too much though – plastic machetes only please.



  1. Toga Party said,

    love to browse your site…always found something new

    Toga Costumes

  2. Ian Jokers said,

    Pete, this is actually awesome, haha

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