So the month of October has rolled around yet again, and of course that means Halloween. What used to be the holiday most favoured by the US has now become the third biggest holiday for UK retailers after Christmas and Easter.
I think last year, with Halloween falling on a Saturday, it went kinda nuts in the UK and almost everyone everywhere was holding spooky parties (ourselves included, see above).
However what differs between the way we dress up in the UK compared to the US (and Canada, from what I remember when we lived there for a couple of years when I was little) is that here we tend to dress as all the spooky stuff: Witches, vampires, devils, zombies, random miscellaneous monsters and only things that a four year old’s creepy imagination would conjure up. (Many times I’ve wanted to ask a parent “What is he?” about their child when they’ve come round trick or treating…)
IN THE UK WE DRESS AS ALL THE SPOOKY STUFF ONLY: WITCHES, VAMPIRES, DEVILS, ZOMBIES, RANDOM MISCELLANEOUS MONSTERS AND ONLY THINGS THAT A FOUR YEAR OLD’S CREEPY IMAGINATION WOULD CONJURE UP.
But what us Brits find odd is that in the US anything goes – and I’ve noticed that means anything. Maybe it’s because the Brits are fond of a fancy dress party at any time of year (I’m thinking toga parties, “vicars and tarts” or any other random theme), so for Halloween we get our zombie thang on.
That said – we’ve always been fond of fancy dress in our family… No one shies away from it. Someone shouts “Fancy dress!” and we’re straight down the charity shop or searching eBay within seconds.
And that’s what was instilled in me by my parents since I was small: To us, fancy dress was not about going out and hiring or buying a costume, we always had to make our own from whatever you could beg, borrow or steal from around the house or a trip to Oxfam.
(Please note weren’t really encouraged to steal from Oxfam, or from anywhere really. Plus other charity shops are available.)
YOU COULD SHOP THESE HALLOWEEN ACCESSORIES IF YOU’RE NOT FOND OF DRESSING UP TOO MUCH…
So for your delight I’ve featured four really easy, cheap and handmade (or only part-purchased) Halloween costume ideas – with one true “Halloweeny” one and three others worn at other fancy dress parties (namely, the annual New Year’s Eve family party where we choose a theme and always try and out-fancy dress each other). I’ve described how I put together the outfits or where I sourced stuff from. Think my own wardrobe, family members’ wardrobes, craft supplies found round the house, charity shops, and eBay.
With all of those resources you can make just about anything…!
Have a wonderful Halloween, however you choose to celebrate it (like sitting in the dark praying that no one will knock on your door because you forgot to stock up on sweets? Been there, done that.)
ARE YOU A REGULAR HALLOWEEN DRESSER UPPER? DO YOU MAKE YOUR OWN COSTUME OR GO OUT AND BUY THEM? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!
1. Disney’s Cinderella in Rags
We had a Disney theme and although it would have been fabulous to go as a Disney princess (yes, even my then-42-year-old self wasn’t immune to the lure of being one of them), I thought it’d be easier (and probably cheaper) to do Cinders rather than Cinderella. The irony is that she was “Cinderella in rags“, but of course she was wonderfully clean and wasn’t wearing anything remotely shredded in the Disney version. Original post
All you need for Cinderella in Rags is:
- A pale blue ribbon for your hair (from my mum’s fabric drawer) OR
- A white headscarf (a piece of white fabric will do, e.g. from an old pillowcase, worn over the head and tied at the nape of the neck Jackie O style)
- A long sleeved blue t-shirt (from my wardrobe)
- A brown or black tank top / sleeveless sweater (from my wardrobe)
- A long brown or camel maxi or midi skirt (charity shop)
- A short white frilly apron (my mum’s)
- Black ballet pumps (from my wardrobe)
- A broom of twigs (AKA a witch’s broom, usually available with Halloween supplies)
- A wooden pail is even better if you have one
2. Willy Wonka
This never appeared on the blog because it was a few years before the blog began, so this is an exclusive for you… ! This outfit is actually a lot easier than it appears – you may have more of what you you need in your wardrobe than you think. You just need to source the wig and glasses and then make a hat, though you can buy them from fancy dress shops and eBay. (What did we do for fancy dress before eBay?!)
All you need for (Johnny Depp’s) Willy Wonka is:
- A top hat (fancy dress shop or made out of black sugar paper)
- Oversized white plastic sunglasses (eBay)
- A black or brown bobbed wig (eBay – this black wig is perfect)
- A long red jacket / blazer (charity shop)
- A dark, patterned neck scarf or cravat (from my wardrobe)
- Black… trousers, shirt/t-shirt, boots (from my wardrobe)
- Purple gloves (I just went for black ones I already had)
- A walking stick (I made mine from wooden dowling, painted white with a decorative drawer knob fixed to the end and painted with black/white swirls)
- Finishing touch: a curly “W” pendant (I made mine from card and a bit of gold paint)
- Missing from the picture: A watch chain which you can make from any long length of gold chain, DIY stores sell it
3. Japanese Anime Girl
I actually can’t remember what the theme was here (maybe it was a rare “no theme” year?). This outfit is also easy because unlike an actual named character, there are a lot of ways you can do this costume – you just need to have the basic look. (If you Google “Japanese anime girl” you’ll see what I mean.) The key elements are the hair, make up, short skirts and stockings – get those right and you’re pretty much there. Just make sure it’s bold and cartoony. Original post
All you need for a Japanese Anime Girl:
- A rainbow coloured wig, preferably a bob (mine was from Asos – like this one – but eBay is good)
- A ton of make up, including lashings of black eyeliner (whatever I had in my make up kit)
- A frilly white schoolgirl style blouse (from my wardrobe)
- A neck bow tie – plaid is good (made from a long strip of fabric from my mum’s dressmaking supplies)
- A pinafore dress or similar, above the knee (from my wardrobe, I pinned the hem to make it shorter)
- White stockings with black bow (mine were from eBay)
- Black Mary Jane heels (from my wardrobe)
4. Mexican Day of the Dead
This was probably the easiest costume to source, but rather than constructing a costume the work is in painting your face. Word of warning: Estimate how long you think it’ll take you – then double it. I think it took me about 1.5 hours to paint mine, but then I did the husband’s as well so I was glad when we were finally finished. The best thing to do is to have pictures to hand (thank you Pinterest!) but this day my parents’ WiFi went down, so I had to do it by memory #nightmare. Next time I’ll save the pictures to my phone…! Original post
All you need for Day of the Dead:
- Black and white face paint (eBay or fancy dress shop, Snazaroo is the thickest and best)
- Black eyeliner and dark lipstick (if you’re no good at doing it yourself you can buy Day of the Dead temporary facial tattoos)
- Black choker with cross pendant (both from my wardrobe, they’re very on trend and easy to find, try Asos)
- Floral maxi dress (from my wardrobe)
- Several large corsages / a flower crown (from my wardrobe, or you can make paper flowers, or try this deep red flower crown from Asos)
- About a metre of black lace (my mum’s dressmaking supplies)
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