Fancy Dress: Fails and Wins {Guest Post}

For those of you just emerging from a month-long concussion, Halloween and New Year’s Eve are over. That means we’re spared the embarrassment of watching grown men and women don ironic costumes for another year (or until Stella from accounts throws her annual ‘Valentine’s Day Fancy Dress’ embarrass-a-thon). Yet, despite what your horrified senses may have told you last Hallows’ Eve; fancy dress isn’t all bad. Believe it or not, we’ve even seen some good costumes over the years. 6 of them are below, but first let’s check out the 4 worst costumes of all time, because we both know it’s more fun that way.


#4 ‘Topical Satire’

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So you went as Jimmy Saville this Halloween. Congratulations, you’re both unoriginal and an awful person. Ditto Murdoch, or anyone else who has been in the news recently. Double awful-points if you went as any politician, no matter how ‘satirical’ your take. There’s a reason no kid wants to be a politician and that’s because they’re boring.

#3 Shock Value

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In a subtle variation on the Saville costume above, some choose to go as any of the following: Hitler, Stalin, Fritzl, Harold Shipman or Myra Hindley. Fun fact: saying ‘it’s a joke’ only works if your offensive statement was funny to begin with. When the height of your ‘hilarity’ involves dressing up as yesterday’s dictator, maybe it’s time to rethink your career as the office clown.

#2 Anything Outlandishly Expensive

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Look, putting effort in is to be commended, it really is. Winging over to a fancy dress shop and picking out something really you is also great; but putting together a costume that simply crowns you ‘king of the geeks’ wins you no friends. I’m talking about the guy who shows up as Aragon complete with forged chain mail. Or as Uma Therman with a genuine samurai sword. Or the Trekkie who came in his original series uniform Shatner once sweated in. Seriously, if you only came here to rub our faces in your Daddy’s wealth, we don’t want to know.

#1 No Costume

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Hey, no biggie, right? I just like, totally forgot it was Halloween. Man, I’m so far outside the mainstream. Well guess what, hypothetical hipster? Everybody here hates you.

And don’t try to style it out by telling girls you’ve come as ‘their dream man’. That’s almost as witty as leaning across the bar at closing time, the stench of beer and failure clinging to your breath and rasping ‘get your coat, you’ve pulled’. Nothing says ‘class act’ like painfully-unfunny punning.


Wasn’t that fun? Now swallow that bile and pay attention, we’ve got the best to get through yet:

#6 Classic Zombie

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Sure, it’s unimaginative, but when else is it permissible to live out your apocalyptic fantasies in real-life? For one day each year, you’re totally allowed to run around pretending the entire city has become a walking death pit, and no-one will try and stop you. Are you really going to throw that chance away?

#5 Anything Involving Effort

TARDIS costume

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Sure, anyone can go as The Doctor, but how many turn up with a goddamn TARDIS? Equally, going as Lord Dark Helmet from Spaceballs is kind of endearingly-geeky, but turning up as the entire cast wins you a special place in our hearts. Fancy dress is all about letting go, having fun and being a kid again. If you find yourself two days before the party, getting down and dirty with papier-mâché, you know you’re doing it right.

#4 Childhood Pop Culture Reference

Power Rangers costumes

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We all love our favourite childhood shows with a ferocity that will withstand any number of dire reboots, remakes and shoddy live-action versions (seriously, f**k that film). Going as our favourite character is only going to make us project that love onto you (in a non-sexual way). Want to spend all night having drinks brought for you? Tap into those collective childhood memories now!

#3 Bad DIY

Awesome DIY costume

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So you wanted to go as the cast of Thundercats, but left it till the last minute? Fear not: throw something together as cheaply and poorly as you can and we’ll love you for it. Props to anyone who spends days crafting their costume, but most of us simply don’t have the time. Your funny lo-fi homage to Lord of the Rings is going put us more at ease than someone’s filmic-ly accurate sword and chainmail ever will.

#2 Anything Sexy

Sexy Superman

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Guys and girls, this is one night you can get away with showing as much skin as you like – it’s Halloween, so whether you go for the slutty nurse, sexy superman, or topless firefighter, just remember it’s all good fun!

#1 Beast Jesus

Beast Jesus

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Okay, so it flies in the face of ‘don’t do topical’, but seriously: thank you anonymous costume wearer. Thank you.

Amy is a freelance writer and is currently writing for fun and sexy lingerie & fancy dress retailer Ann Summers.


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What Others Have Said:

  1. Raina DelRio says:

    Great tips and costume ideas for this year.

  2. The scary thing is that in your local (insert store) people often walk around like they are going to a costume party. And, that’s their everyday wear! I think you know which store I’m talking about. Pinterest has plenty of pins showing them.

  3. Linda Manns says:

    Very interesting. You never know just what you will see on Halloween. Halloween will be here once again before we know it

  4. cheryl lister says:

    There are some good ideas in there! Don’t know whether my last year’s owl costume falls into the good or bad column!

  5. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    There really are some very weird costumes out there. I think that anything where a bit of effort and imagination has been used are worth full credit.

  6. Wow those are some crazy costumes. Great post!