Does Halloween mean an expensive hire outfit? No, says Emma Beaumont, just get cracking with the make-up and scissors
Fancy dress shops are the outcasts of the High Street. Maybe because they are unwanted for the vast majority of the year, only coming to life in the last week of October.
They are unloved until we need prosthetic noses or cat masks. Perhaps this is why they seem so happy to peddle us synthetic “sexy” outfits at outrageous prices.
In the name of research I stumbled into the promisingly named Festival Of Fun on Goodramgate. This was no carnival.
I was confronted by what seemed like the entire student population of York, milling about and debating whether a sexy Cleopatra outfit says Halloween. Hint: it doesn’t.
Things got worse when I spied various aggressive No Photo signs. This was bad news. I certainly wasn’t going to commit to buying Zombie Sailor Girl without counsel from my friends.
But the worst aspect of Halloween shopping is that it removes all the fun and creativity of dressing up, and charges you a premium for the pleasure.
Why lose £30 on a pre packaged zombie bride outfit when you can easily make your own cheaper and less flammable version?
This is not Art Attack, just an almost offensively simple guide to a cost effective and individual Halloween outfit.
The only thing you need buy is fake blood, which you can now pick up in pints… handily.
From chatting to the excited students it seems the aforementioned zombie / corpse bride is a big pick for 2013, striking just the right balance between “ugly scary” and “not, like, try too hard pretty”.
But whilst they were spending the remnants of their student loan on this costume, a better version can be homemade with much less exertion than it takes to battle teenage girls for the last old, blood stained wedding dress.
Take an old white nightie (if you don’t have one, the charity shops on Fossgate / Walmgate are a good, inexpensive option), then pad it out with scrunched up newspaper, safety pinning it underneath.
This creates that desirable bridal puffball. It doesn’t matter if the safety pins show as it rather adds to the deranged look.
Then muss up the dress with dirt, fake blood and an old masacara. Repeating on your face. The look should be that of a general mania.
If you can find any scraps of lace, use as a belt.
You could always accessorise with a zombie groom, but be warned people loathe “couples outfits”, and the “groom” may run away when coerced into doing this.
The Dead Prefix
Perfect for the uninspired at Halloween, this is the ingenious idea of adding the prefix “dead” to any regular costume; the easiest way to reuse previous outfits, transforming them simply by adding a little smattering of fake blood.
See for example Dead Dolls, Dead Hippies, Dead Hipsters or Dead Politicians.
A top choice could be the Dead Footbal Fan. Simply don all the kit / memorabilia that you own from your favourite team, and then add those “deathly touches” of the blood and pale face.
Trendy pop culture reference
Halloween is a different creature in America. Pretty much the biggest event of the year they use it as a chance to dress up with little regard to how ghoulish their costume is.
Indeed early indications suggest that year’s hot costume is “the Miley Cyrus”. Whilst I’m not advocating hitting Coney Street in a latex bra, the hairstyle alone is instantly recognisable and achievable.
For a more British pop culture reference, why not try Ruby from the Great British Bake Off. Simply accessorise your normal outfit with curled hair, an apron, cake tin and a pained expression.
Men could try impersonating silver fox Paul Hollywood garnished with loaf of bread.
To give this look a more Halloween flavour you could use the old prefix trick for a Zombie Ruby…
For Halloween traditionalists, the creepy child is a winner. Taking its inspiration from the Addams family, all you really need is severe gothic neatness and a sickly face. For girls, tight plaits and a white collared shirt are advised whilst boys should perfect a clipped side parting.
Ahh a pun, how hilarious people will think you are when you rock up in this, you joker.
Even if for some reason your friends aren’t as comically attuned as you, this outfit wins for its value.
Simply staple old cereal boxes to a T-shirt, carry a plastic knife and your audience awaits.
Tip – I like to use small variety packs for an even more unhinged look.
A Ghost Sheet
A classic. If all else fails, stick on a sheet with wo eyeholes cut in. People will marvel at your old school and nonchalant approach to Halloween dressing.
So there we have it, six ideas for the cheapest and laziest Halloween outfits. Demonstrating that you don’t have to spend money on uninspiring attire. And let’s face it you had fun.
- Six spooky things to do for Halloween in York
- Hallowscream at York Maze is ‘the best and worst thing ever!’