Archive for the ‘80′s fancy dress’

Celebrate Women’s History Month Comments Off

Posted on February 25, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

s HIstory Month!March is Women’s History Month; there are bound to be loads of great events going on all over the country to celebrate.

A great way to celebrate is to dress up as your favourite woman from history. Here are a few suggestions:

EarhartAmelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic. She also famously disappeared in 1937 during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I was the last of the Tudor monarchs, and famous for bringing a period of peace and enlightenment to England. The country thrived throughout her reign, despite many having misgivings about her abilities as a queen.

Pocahontasdownload (2)
Made famous by the Disney movie, Pocahontas was a real woman, princess of the Powhatan Tribe. She helped to establish peace between her tribe and the colonists.

Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great was Empress of Russia and widened the country’s boundaries during her reign. A very powerful Russian Empress, she was of course feared by many and incredibly strong.

Queen Victoria
“We are not amused!” Victoria was Britain’s longest ruling monarch (soon to be surpassed by our current Queen Elizabeth II). The sun neverset on the Victorian British Empire, and she was known for being very tough and in control.

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale was a nurse during the Crimean War – a time when there was really no such thing as a nurse! She is famous as the founder of modern nursing, and for not listening when men said she couldn’t do something!


Can you think of any other women from history who would be great to dress up as?



Win a 70′s or 80′s Fancy Dress Costume of Your Choice Comments Off

Posted on February 23, 2015 by Karl Young

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National Storytelling Week Comments Off

Posted on January 28, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

s National Storytelling Week!


This Saturday marks the beginning of the fifteenth National Storytelling Week. From 31st January to 7th February we will be celebrating the most ancient art form of them all. Everyone loves a good story; it’s something we learn to enjoy at a very young age, and which never leaves us.

National Storytelling Week celebrates all sorts of stories; from telling people how your day was, to biographies, to children’s books or even TV dramas. Storytelling is something everyone gets involved with, and is something that enriches every culture and every life.

National Storytelling Week takes part in schools, museums, hospitals, and even care homes each year. If you’d like to hold your own event, you can contact the Society for Storytelling and they will send you a pack.

What sort of storytelling event could you put on?

Grandparent Storytelling

If you have children, get them together with a group of their friends and have grandparents take turns in telling stories about their childhoods and how they were different. Children love hearing about “the olden days” – even the 1980s is “the olden days” these days!

Fancy Dress

Our favourite idea, obviously – have a party and get everyone to dress up as their favourite character from a story.  This gives you a massive scope for costumes, since every single character you can think of is a character from a story – Batman, Wonder Woman, Peter Pan. Fairytales, children’s books, heck, you could throw a Hunger Games party – Hunger Games is a story!

Consequences Party

Invite friends over and play a huge game of consequences. Remember that game from childhood, where you write the first line of a story, then fold over the top and pass it to the next person to add their line. It’s a great way of making up a really creative story and having fun, and can work with all age groups.

Put on a Community Play

The most important part of National Storytelling Week is the storytelling part of it. It’s a great chance to hear stories – both made up and real-life, from those around us. Fancy dress is a great way of immersing ourselves in that story; a community play can be a great way to get to know those around you, as well as learn new skills – and dress up!

10 Last Minute Fancy Dress Ideas for New Year’s Eve Comments Off

Posted on December 31, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball



That week between Christmas and New Year just sort of disappears, doesn’t it! You spend most of the time trying to figure out what day it is, with New Year’s Eve being some mythical date somewhere in the future… and then before you know it, it’s December 31st, you’re going to a party tonight and you’ve just realised it’s fancy dress!

What can you do?

There’s always the option of doing a Wednesday Addams: “I’m a homicidal maniac; they look just like everybody else” – but frankly, that is a cop out and although you might think it seems really cool… all of your friends who have gone to the effort of putting a costume together will not be so impressed!

Here are a few last-minute ideas to get you through that fancy dress party tonight:

1. Put your pants on outside of your trousers, make a mask from a piece of material, and a cape out of a sheet or duvet cover  - and make up a silly super hero name! Who says you have to be one of the ones the comics have already thought of? Think outside of that box, and be your own superhero!

2. Collect up all the discarded chocolate wrappers from the floor (don’t pretend there aren’t any down there!) and fix them onto your jumper; you can go as a box of chocolates! This one has an added bonus: if there really are no wrappers lying about, you have the perfect excuse to eat what’s left of the Christmas chocolates, in order to make a costume!

3. A toga! Grab a sheet from the airing cupboard, and follow these simple instructions:


4. Raid your wardrobe. Do you have a suit? James Bond! Some leggings, vest tops, bangles, necklaces? Madonna!  A black dress and some safety pins from the sewing kit? Liz Hurley! It’s highly likely that you have the makings of a passable costume in your wardrobe already!

5. Olaf from Frozen. This is easier than it sounds, and super trendy at the moment. Find a white top and trousers. For a girl, you can make a tutu with a piece of elastic and some netting if you like. (if you don’t have any netting to hand, a net curtain will work at a push) On the white top, stick two or three large black dots – you can cut these out of cardboard or similar. Draw sticks on the arms… to be Olaf’s stick arms. You can make a simple Olaf mask from a paper plate, cutting out eye holes and a smile for the mouth. Simple!

6. Be a zombie! This is perhaps the most simple of all. All you need is some old clothes, a bit of make up and some fake blood. Who doesn’t have those things hanging around the house? Tear holes in your old clothes, make them dirty and dusty and apply fake blood liberally. For your make up, you can go as simple or as gorey as possible, depending on the time and resources you have available.

7. The tin man. Everyone has some of that ridiculously wide foil left over from the Christmas turkey! Wrap yourself up in it, and you can be a tin man, a space man, all sorts. You could even pad it out a bit, and go as a pinball – genius!

8. Draw or print off a “decepticon” logo (from Transformers) and wear it over a normal outfit. You’re a robot in disguise! Obviously, this is only to be used as a very last resort as it’s along the lines of Wednesday Addams and a bit of a cop out!

9. If you have blonde hair of around chin length, use gel or hair spray to stick the front of it up on end – and voila, you’re “Something About Mary!”

10. We saved the best for last… go to the shop and buy some balloons. You need lots of either green, purple or red ones. Blow up as many as you can, and tie them to your clothes to form a bunch of grapes. Genius, right?


So there we have it. Ten last-minute fancy dress ideas for New Year.

What have we learned from this? Next time, order your fancy dress costume from Fancy Dress Ball well in advance of the party!

Fancy Pretending to be a Time Traveller? Comments Off

Posted on December 03, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

Pretend to be a Time Traveller Day! (1)


Next Monday, 8th December, is Pretend to be a Time Traveller Day.

What do we do on Pretend to be a Time Traveller Day?

… pretend to be a time traveller, of course!

The idea is that we all pretend to be a traveller from a different era for the day – and you can choose any era at all!

The obvious choice for this is Dr Who… but which Doctor will you be?

Or you could be…

  • Marty McFly
  • The Terminator
  • Fry from Futurama
  • The Traveller from HG Wells’ The Time Machine
  • Colonel George Taylor from Planet of the Apes
  • one of Bill and Ted

Of course, you don’t need to be a character from a movie or TV show; you could just be a normal, common or garden time traveller who’s never made it onto the screen. You could choose to be someone from a utopian future where everyone lives forever and there’s no illness – kind of like the future of Bill and Ted where everyone wears those cool glasses and weird pastel outfits. Or perhaps someone from a dystopian future where things have gone really bad and society has broken down, it’s every man for himself and you don’t go out without a gun.

One really fun idea is to be a time traveller from the past – a mad scientist who’s accidentally figured out how to travel into the 21st century. You could dress as a 19th century scientist who’s been fiddling about in his workshop and accidentally opened a door into the future – spend all day flummoxed by automatic doors, traffic lights, mobile phones… everything, really! This can be really good fun, especially any time an aeroplane flies over. Imagine how someone from the past would react to a TV – probably by answering it back, or attempting to look behind it to see where the people are. Steampunk costumes are great for this sort of character – Steampunk is a genre of science fiction inspired by the newly industrialised civilisation of the 19th century and featuring steam powered machinery.

You don’t even need to be a scientist – you could be anyone, from any era, who has unwittingly ended up travelling through time to the 21st century. The world is your oyster!

This is something you can have great fun with, especially if you and a friend opt for the “we can’t tell anyone we’re from the past/future; they’ll think we’re mad!” thing. Have fun with other friends, work colleagues and the general public by being completely confused by revolving doors, jump in fear whenever the tannoy speaks in a shop or train station.




Terminator, 30 Years On Comments Off

Posted on October 22, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball




I’ll Be Back!

It’s hard to believe, but the iconic Schwarzenegger movie is 30 years old on 26th October! That’s right; the original Terminator came out in 1984.

The film started when James Cameron, the director, was ill on the set of Piranha II: The Spawning in Rome. He went to bed, and had a rather disturbing dream about a metallic torso dragging itself from an explosion, holding kitchen knives. This dream became the launching pad for the story of the Terminator; Cameron wrote the first draft of the film when he returned to California from Rome. Lucky his nightmare wasn’t about clowns, or it would have been a whole different type of film, wouldn’t it! When Cameron told his agent about the idea for Terminator, the agent hated it and told him to stop working on it, and do something else. Luckily, Cameron has never been one for listening to others, and fired his agent instead of canning the film idea.

When the film first went into pre-production, the studio wanted OJ Simpson to play the Terminator. He was a big star then, much more well known than Schwarzenegger. Cameron refused though, as he didn’t think Simpson would be believable as a killer… this was some years before Simpson was arrested and tried for the murder of his wife!

Schwarzenegger was originally put forward to play Kyle Reese; Cameron wasn’t keen on him for the role, but he did agree to meet with him. His plan was to pick an argument with Schwarzenegger, and then use that as an excuse not to cast him. That didn’t quite go to plan though; when the two met, Cameron quickly became convinced that Schwarzenegger was his Terminator!

When the film first came out, it wasn’t exactly a blockbuster; it performed well for the time of year (post Summer, pre Christmas) but wasn’t a massive hit. In 1985 it was released on VHS and Betamax and again, did ok but wasn’t a raging success. Still, thirty years later people still watch it. They still buy it; they still talk about it; they still discuss which of the three movies in the franchise is their favourite, and why.

The franchise is still going strong, with Paramount set to release Terminator:Genisys starring Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, and Schwarzenegger back in the title role. There are two more films planned, too – which brings the total to 6 movies – not bad for a feverish dream in Rome in 1982!

So, how best to celebrate 30 years of the Terminator? Obviously, you need a Terminator costume, a great big fake gun (though don’t go wandering about in public with a fake gun!), and dark glasses. Then you need to perfect your Austrian robot voice, and deliver all of the best lines with a dead straight face.

Let’s Rewind the 80s! Comments Off

Posted on July 30, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

In honour of the Rewind the 80s festival on August 15th, we thought we would indulge in a little 80s nostalgia…

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The 1980s was the decade that gave us MTV. Can you imagine life without it now?

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Michael Jackson’s Thriller came out in 1982 and is to date the biggest selling album of all time.

The 1980s were definitely Jackson’s best years; he is the icon of the decade.

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The 80s also gave us Whitney Houston, the amazing singer who later went on to become the most awarded female act of all time.

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Closer to home, we had Duran Duran. Not quite as big as Jackson or Houston… but still great!

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The Police were also pretty big in the 1980s… and so was their hair!

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We also had U2 breaking onto the music scene with arguably some of their finest albums.

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And of course, who could forget Dire Straits? They didn’t really have the iconic look, but they definitely had the iconic songs!

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… but if iconic look is what you’re after, look no further than Adam and the Ants!

The question is: which was your favourite?

Have a Fabulous Alphabet Party, From A to Z! Comments Off

Posted on July 28, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

Screenshot 2014-07-27 at 20.19.30

Alphabet parties are  all the rage at the moment.

Whether you choose B because your name is Brian, or G because your name is Xavier and  nobody will come dressed as a xylophone,  a letter is a great way to inspire people to use their imaginations and come up with fabulous fancy dress ideas.

Of course, with an alphabet-themed party, everyone will be singing ABC-related songs… this one is our favourite at the moment:

A Grade “A” Party

A is a very popular letter for a party theme – because there are so many great ideas!

Here are a few…

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A-Grade Music

If you’re having an A-themed party, you will need to think of musicians beginning with A. Here are a few:

  • Abba (durr, obviously)
  • ABC (this band are good for ALL alphabet parties!)
  • AC/DC
  • A-Ha
  • Peter Andre (don’t pretend you don’t know any of his songs)

A Zed-Tastic Celebration

You might think there aren’t many costumes beginning with Z… really though, you just have to think a little more creatively.

Why not challenge your guests…

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Zedtabulous Music

Can’t think of any musical acts beginning with Z? Fret not; we have inspiration for you right here!

  • ZZ Top (obviously!)
  • Zero 7
  • The Zombies
  • Frank Zappa (oh yeah!)
  • The Zutons

If you’re planning an alphabet-themed party, don’t forget to check out our website for some great ideas!

Was 1984 the Best Year for Movies? Comments Off

Posted on July 23, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

Can you remember 1984? It was thirty years ago, so you could be forgiven for not recollecting much of what went on. What did happen though, was that lots of awesome movies were released!

We thought it might be fun to take a little walk down memory lane, and rediscover the awesomeness that was 1984…


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“We came, we saw, we kicked its ass!”

Did you know…

  • Most of Bill Murray’s lines in the movie are ad-libs. Almost none of the scenes were filmed as scripted!
  • Until the release of Home Alone in 1990, this was the highest-grossing comedy movie of all time.
  • John Candy was originally cast to play Louis Tulley, but he quit because his ideas for the characters were rejected. He left early in production and was replaced by Rick Moranis.
  • The scene at the party where Louis Tulley mingles with his guests was taken in one continuous shot and almost entirely improvised.


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A Nightmare on Elm Street

“One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…”

Did you know…

  • Over 500 gallons of fake blood were used to make this movie
  • In the scene where Nancy is attacked by Freddy in the bath, actress Heather Langenkamp spent twelve hours in the bath!
  • The words “Elm Street” are actually not said at all during the movie
  • The film cost around $1.8 million to produce – and made that cost back in its opening weekend.


Screenshot 2014-07-22 at 09.59.25The Terminator

“Hasta la vista, baby!”

Did you know…

  • The famous “I’ll be back” line was originally scripted as “I’ll come back.” Schwarzenegger was relatively new to speaking English at the time, and originally said it as “I will be back” until James Cameron suggested he shorten it.
  • Mel Gibson turned down the role of the Terminator. OJ Simpson was also considered, but it was thought he was “too nice” to be believable. Tom Selleck turned the role down because of his commitment to his series Magnum PI.
  • Once he had been cast in the movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered so indispensable that production was put on hold while he went to film Conan the Destroyer first. James Cameron didn’t have time to make another movie in the meantime, so he did some writing – and wrote most of Aliens!
  • James Cameron seems to have had a bit of a “trademark” going with actor Michael Biehn. While playing Kyle, his hand is bitten by another character – something that then happens to Biehn’s characters in both Aliens and The Abyss!


Screenshot 2014-07-22 at 10.22.01The Karate Kid

“Wax on, wax off”

Did you know…

  • The yellow classic Ford from the famous “wax on, wax off” scene was actually given to actor Ralph Macchio by the producer; he still has it.
  • Macchio was actually 22 when he filmed this movie.
  • Mr Miyagi actor Pat Morita is credited as Noriyuki “Pat” Morita because the producers wanted to promote his Japanese heritage.
  • When Daniel and his mother are talking to each other outside the karate school, you can hear her voice but her lips aren’t moving.


Screenshot 2014-07-22 at 10.33.21Gremlins

“Bright light, bright light!”

Did you know…

  • The set for Kingston Falls is the same one used for Back to the Future the following year and the theatre that blows up in this movie is the same one Marty McFly crashes into  in Back to the Future.
  • The voices of many of the Gremlins were done by Michael Winslow – the man with all the funny voices in Police Academy.
  • Mogwai means devil or demon in Cantonese
  • The script was written by Chris Columbus, who went on to direct the first two Home Alone movies. A clip of It’s a Wonderful Life appears in all three movies.


Screenshot 2014-07-22 at 10.45.42Police Academy

“Move out, maggots!”

  • Michael Winslow (with the funny voices) was also the voice of all of the public service announcements at the academy.
  • Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Michael Keaton and Judge Reinhold were all considered for the role of Mahoney.
  • Leslie Halliwell was the film buyer for ITV, but he resigned when ITV decided to show Police Academy in the UK; he believed some of the scenes would encourage criminal behaviour!
  • Police Academy was the most popular film of 1984 in Germany.


Other fabulous films released in 1984: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Neverending Story, Footloose, Romancing the Stone  and This is Spinal Tap.

Can you name a year with a better crop of movie releases? We can’t!

Don’t forget, we cover most of these movies in our fancy dress store!

Time Machines at the Ready! We’re Going Back to the 80s! Comments Off

Posted on July 21, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

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This weekend sees the Back to the 80s Festival in Trentham Gardens.

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Trentham Gardens are formal Italianate gardens that are part of the Trentham Estate in Staffordshire. The gardens alone are worth a visit; they have undergone a massive redevelopment and regeneration since 2000 and now include a garden centre and crafts centre as well as other leisure attractions. Concert tickets allow all-day access to the gardens, so you could make a day of it! Highlights include a boat trip across Trentham Lake, a “barefoot walk” and fourteen cafes and restaurants – so if you’re not in the mood for bringing a picnic, you can always eat when you get there.

Of course, if you’re going to a “Back to the 80s” concert, fancy dress is expected. 

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Why not dig out your old banana clip (don’t pretend you didn’t have one; we all had one!) and wear it again? Extra points if you also get the crimpers involved!

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Don’t worry if you don’t have a banana clip – get down to the chemist and buy as much hair mousse and spray as you can carry, and opt for this ‘do – it works as well for men as for women, which is an added bonus! The makeup is also a classic ’80s look… how did this stuff ever go out of fashion? It’s amazing!

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Or how about trying this look? It’s actually pretty tame for Cyndi Lauper, don’t you think?

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Here’s another classic ’80s look – shoulder pads that could poke your eye out! We dare you to turn up in this one!

We know what you’re thinking: what about the men’s outfits? Don’t worry, we have that covered…

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This guy is so cool, he’s had his photo taken anonymously for fear of being mobbed!

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Perhaps this is more up your street? Ripped denim, messy hair, chains?

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Really though, this is the ultimate men’s ’80s look, isn’t it? Throw in a mullet for good measure, and you’re laughing… or the people around you are, any way!

There is just one one thing remaining that no 1980s fancy dress costume would be complete without…

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