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DIY Children’s Halloween Costumes Comments Off on DIY Children’s Halloween Costumes

Posted on October 19, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

diy-halloween-kids

 

Halloween is on its way! Have you been invited to a Halloween party yet? These days lots of schools and nurseries allow children to come in wearing a costume, and then there are parties at youth clubs, and Brownies or Cubs or whatever else. And if you’re not doing any of that, you’re still not off the hook – because they will need a Halloween costume to go trick or treating!

Fear not! Here are X DIY Halloween costumes for children that you can knock up without too much bother…

1. Ghost

We thought we’d start with the most obvious and easy. All you need is an old bed sheet – and perhaps a belt to hold it in place. We won’t insult your intelligence by telling you to cut eye holes…

2. Skeleton

You’ll need old black trousers and a long sleeved top. You can buy a cheap plastic skeleton mask from your loal pound shop. Find a picture of a skeleton (Google “cartoon skeleton”) and use white paint or chalk pen to draw the bones onto the costume. Don’t forget to draw the bones on the back as well as the front!

Extra points if you use some creepy glow in the dark paint  for the bones!

3. Olaf from Frozen

We’ve found this super easy tutorial for making a DIY Olaf costume. All you need are white clothes to wear underneath!

4.  A Cat

This one is easier than you think. Find brown or black trousers and top for the body of the cat. For the ears, you can either buy a cheap set from the pound shop, or make your own using pieces of cardboard stuck to an alice band. Draw on some whiskers using an eyeliner or eyebrow pencil. You can make a tail using an old piece of brown or black material; either just cut a long strip and sew onto the back of the trousers, or sew a wider piece into a tube and stuff with cotton wool or old tights.

5. A Witch

You’ll need a black skirt and long-sleeved top for this one. Accessorise with a black cloak – if you don’t have one, an offcut from the fabric shop will do. You can get a witch’s hat from your local pound shop, and can use green face paint to really add to the look!

6. A White Rabbit

You’ll need an adult’s old white sweatshirt for this: the larger, the better (unless your child is very small!). Take a look at the full tutorial here.

7. Raining Cats & Dogs

This is one of those genius costumes that looks great, but is actually really simple. Find a rain poncho or old waterproof. The sort of thing you buy cheap at theme parks is perfect. Next you’ll need an old umbrella and some cuddly toys – cats and dogs, obviously. If you don’t want to hang your cuddly toys from the umbrella (poor pussies and pooches!) then you can use cut-out pictures stuck onto card. You can use a template, print it out, colour it black and stick it to card. Then you use thread to tie the cats and dogs to the umbrella. The final piece of the costume is, of course, welly boots.

 

So there you have seven super-simple DIY Halloween costume ideas for children. If you decide to try any of them, don’t forget to send us a photo on Facebook or Twitter!

Celebrate World Farm Animals Day Comments Off on Celebrate World Farm Animals Day

Posted on September 30, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

 

world-farm-animals-day

This Friday, 2nd October is World Farm Animals Day.

The day was actually created in memory of Gandhi, who believed in treating all living beings with respect. The idea is to highlight the poor conditions suffered by some farm animals, and to promote awareness in the hope of improving their lives.

That all sounds quite bleak and miserable, doesn’t it. We can also celebrate farm animals though. A great way to do this is to visit a farm. We’re always seeing in the news that children these days think milk comes from the shop, or eggs just magically appear in a box. These days many children genuinely don’t know where there food comes from and a visit to a local farm can help with that.

Here are our top ideas for celebrating World Farm Animal Day:

  • Community farms are great to visit because they often have initiatives where children can get involved in the farming process – by feeding animals or collecting eggs. This helps them to become familiar with the idea of a farm and farm animals. And by spending time with the animals, they will be more inclined to see that farm animals deserve respect and care, just like their pet dog or cat.
  • If you can’t get out to visit a community farm, we have a fantastic idea for a way to celebrate World Farm Animals Day. You’ll never guess what it is… fancy dress! You could create your own farm at home, school or work. Each dress as a different animal, paint your faces and really get into character.
  • If you don’t want to paint your face, check out these brilliant farm animal mask printables.
  • Make a donation to an animal protection charity in honour of World Farm Animal Day
  • Use your initiative and artistic skills to decorate farm animal cupcakes or biscuits. Mini marshmallos make great sheep wool, and chocolate buttons are great spots for fresian cows!
  • Failing all of that, just watch this suer-cute video of mini pigs:

 

If there is anything in this world more cute than a mini pig enjoying having its belly scratched, we don’t know what it is!

Let’s Throw a Mexican Party! Comments Off on Let’s Throw a Mexican Party!

Posted on September 14, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

guacamole-day

Everyone loves guacamole, right? A lot of Mexican food can be really spicy and perhaps a bit too much to handle – but guacamole is so creamy and cool, it’s perfect for everyone.

You may have noticed that we love any excuse for a party here – and to us, Guacamole Day on Wednesday 16th September sounds an awful lot like an excuse for a Mexican themed party.

mexican-party

So what if the weather is starting to cool down, autumn is beginning and everyone’s gone back to school? We can still have a fantastic fiesta!

Food & Drinks

Firstly, you want some amazing guacamole recipes like these – after all, it is Guacamole Day!

We’ve found this fantastic blog post with loads of ideas for a Mexican themed dinner party; you can use any or all of these to cater for your party!

And here are some amazing taco recipes as well.

Decoration & Games

We love these Mexican paper crafts – you can make them beforehand as decoration, or lay out a table with supplies and have your guests make their own decorations as part of the party.

Of course, you can’t have a Mexican themed party without a pinata. We’ve found this brilliant tutorial for making your own

Outfits

Oh, come on – did you really think we would have a feature on Mexican themed parties without mentioning Mexican fancy dress?! As if! We love fancy dress!

One fantastic thing we came across is this set of printables for a Mexican wrestler mask. How cool are they!

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have a gazillion avocados to cut, twist and spoon in preparation for Guacamole Day on Wednesday!

Two Decades of Toy Story! Comments Off on Two Decades of Toy Story!

Posted on September 07, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

toy-storyTwenty years ago, the genius that is Toy Story first showed in American cinemas. Can you believe that?

All three Toy Story movies are available on Netflix this month, starting with the first one being released this Friday, the 11th. Are you excited? We are!

When it came out in 1995, people were not sure about the idea of an animated movie. Would it be any good? Would it hurt our eyes to watch a cartoon for that long? Would it be believeable? Their doubts were soon blown out of the water by Buzz and Woody and the story of Andy’s toys. Now considered to be one of – if not the – best animated movies ever made, Toy Story is possibly the ultimate buddy movie and also achieved that rarest of things: two sequels that were just as good as the original, if not better.

With 20 years of viewing, people of all ages love Toy Story and it’s one of those classics you can sit and watch with the kids, and laugh as much as they do.  Why not organise a family Toy Story viewing this weekend, complete with Buzz Lightyear costumes, popcorn and – of course – a bevvy of toys on the sofa.

Here is some great Toy Story trivia to help get you in the mood:

  • The animation team perfected the movement of the toy soldiers by gluing a pair of trainers to a piece of board and trying to walk around on it!
  • In early versions of the script, Woody’s love interest was to be a Barbie doll – but Mattel, the company that owns Barbie, declied to have her in the film as they thought it would be a flop. They obviously changed their minds after the success of the first film, since both Barbie and Ken appear in later movies.
  • Whenever a character blinks, their eyes bline one after the other, not together – keey an eye out for that one when you’re watching! (see what we did there)
  • All of the cars have a November 1995 number plate – because this is the month the movie was released.
  • Many people will know that Disney animated movies usually have a hidden Mickey head. In Toy Story, it is in the form of a “giant watch” clock on the wall in Andy’s bedroom.
  • Just below the back of Buzz’s waistband, you can see the Disney registration trademark. (pause buttons at the ready!)
  • Andy’s last name is Davis – but we only know this because the actress who voices his mum is listed in the credit as “Mrs Davis.
  • At the beginning of the movie at Andy’s birthday party, Sarge is looking through binoculars at the partygoers, you can see that all of the children are the same character model as Andy, just with different skin tones and clothes.
  • The carpet in Sid’s house has the same pattern as the carpet in the hotel from the movie The Shining (ask your parents if you don’t know)
  • When Sarge looks through his binoculars for the first time, they are upside down
  • Woody tells Buz that his “laser” is just a “light bulb that blinks” – but when Buzz tries it out, it does make a single red dot – so it must be a laser rather than a light bulb!
  • In some scenes, Andy’s mum’s minivan has a sunroof – but in others, it doesn’t.

Enjoy looking for these in the movie!

To infinity, and beyond!!

Last Minute Bank Holiday Ideas Comments Off on Last Minute Bank Holiday Ideas

Posted on August 31, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

last-minute-bank-holiday

Today is not just a Bank Holiday Monday; it’s also the end of the last weekend before everyone goes back to school, and the Autumn term begins. Before we all start to look ahead to Halloween, and then (gulp) to Christmas. For many, this weekend signifies the end of the Summer.

So what are you doing, sitting there in your dressing gown, reading a blog post on the internet? Go and make the most of your day!

If you’re feeling uninspired, here are a few ideas to get you started:

Be a Tourist

If you can get to another town or city for a visit, brilliant. Go and visit new places, experience new things. But if you can’t travel, for whatever reason, you can still have fun in your home town. How long have you lived here? We bet you’ve never actually visited a lot of the attractions the tourists come to visit, have you? Take a trip to your local Tourist Information Centre, and see if there’s a guided walk you can attend, a museum or monument you can visit, a National Trust site you can go and explore. There are probably loads of fun things for you to do right on your doorstep, and you’ve just never noticed them before.

Have a Picnic

Of course, a fancy dress picnic is our preferred kind, and we wrote a blog about that a few weeks ago. But if you don’t have any fancy dress outfits to hand (what sort of person are you?!), or the weather isn’t looking too clever, here’s a brilliant alternative. Go to your local supermarket and buy picnic food, preferably including paper plates and novelty napkins. Then come home, spread a blanket on the floor and pretend you’re having a picnic.

Embrace the Great Outdoors

It’s important to note that this is not reliant on the questionable British weather! You can have tons of fun outside splashing in puddles, as long as you bring some dry clothes along to change into! Go for a walk in the woods, along the beach, hike in the hills. Get some fresh air before everyone goes back to their stuffy office or suspicious smelling class room tomorrow. Enjoy being able to see the sky, even if it rains in your eyes when you look up!

Do Some Arts & Crafts

This one works best if you have children; they have the sort of imagination that can make an alien space ship and a doll house out of the empty boxes in your recycling bin. But it can be fun for the whole family! Empty the cupboards and find things like empty boxes, PVA glue, old scraps of newspaper or wrapping paper, bows, ribbons, paint, the whole shebang. Cover your dining room table in newspaper, put everything out, and see what you can come up with!

Go to the Cinema

There are some great films at the cinema at the moment; why not pick one and go along? Make a proper day out of it by treating yourselves to popcorn and sweets on the way in. If you’re really looking to make it an event, you could always go in fancy dress. After all, what is a trip to the cinema if you’re not in fancy dress? Everyone dresses up as a super hero  when they go to the cinema, don’t they? Same as going to the library, right? Right?

Have a Cinema Day at Home

If you don’t fancy traipsing across town to the cinema, why not have your own cinema at home? Sort through your dvd collection, borrow some from a neighbour, or just switch on Netflix and choose some movies. Don’t forget to head to the shop for some popcorn and snacks first though – and of course, don’t forget your fancy dress costume!

Invite a Friend Over to Play

Yes, we get that if you’re reading this you’re probably not the sort of age range for a play date – but how often do you spend time just chilling out with a friend? Have a look at your social media, and if one of your friends is clearly having a duvet day at home alone, invite them to come and hang around at your place for the day. You could watch movies together, have a pub lunch together, go for a walk together… or you could be a bit sneaky, and rope them into helping you clean your kitchen! The possibilities are endless.

 

We hope you’ve found our list useful; the idea was to offer you some last-minute Bank Holiday ideas that won’t break the bank. Hopefully by this point you have long since stopped reading this post because you’ve flung off your dressing gown and are off to embark on a super-fun day out. Have fun! And if we’ve inspired you, do please let us know!

It’s International Tiger Day! Comments Off on It’s International Tiger Day!

Posted on July 29, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

Its-International-Tiger-Day

Today is International Tiger Day! Anyone who’s old enough will remember that in the 1980s, tigers were the face of a certain massive fuel company, and you could get fabulous tiger t shirts, hats and all sorts of things… what ever happened to that? Those tiger t shirts were so cool! They also had the slogan, Put a Tiger in Your Tank! Then there’s the famous Tony Tiger from Frosties… They’re grrrrrreat!  Is he still around and saying that? We’ve not seen an ad for Frosties for ages! Do kids eat Minecraft cereal instead these days? International Tiger Day is not really about either of these tigers; it’s about protecting tigers as a species. Did you know that if we humans continue killing tigers at our current rate, tigers will be extinct within five years – they’ll probably only exist in zoos. That’s shocking, isn’t it? In the last 100 years, we’ve lost 97% of all wild tigers. There are now only around 3000 living in the wild today. International Tiger Day is about raising awareness of this, and helping to protect tigers. What can you do to raise awareness? Tell your friends it’s International Tiger Day! Dress up as a tiger! Sign a petition to close tiger farms in China. One great – and fun – way to celebrate International Tiger Day is to paint your face as a tiger. Here’s a really great tutorial that doesn’t look too difficult…

As the school holidays are in full swing, celebrating International Tiger Day can be a great way of teaching children some fun facts about tigers. For example…

  • No two tigers have exactly the same stripes. They use their stripes as camoflage in their natural habitat.
  • Tigers are good swimmers (unlike other cats!) and often cool off in a lake or a stream when it’s hot.
  • Tigers are the largest cats in the world. An adult can weigh up to 363 kg – about the same as ten 10-year-olds!
  • Tigers don’t eat vegetables – they’re carnivores and live only on meat.
  • A tiger’s roar can be heard up to 3 kilometres away.
  • Fossilised remains of tigers have been found in China that suggest tigers have been on this planet for up to 2 million years!
  • Today there are five subspecies of tiger: Bengal, Indochinese, Sumatran, South China and Siberian.
  • Caspian, Bali and Javan tigers are all subspecies that have sadly become extinct.

Can you find any more cool tiger facts?

Back to the 60s: A Guide for Ladies Comments Off on Back to the 60s: A Guide for Ladies

Posted on July 20, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

Back to the 60s

 

We love 1960s themed parties; there are just so many fabulous costume options to choose from! Here are our five favourite 1960s fancy dress party outfits:

1. Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Audrey Hepburn fancy dress

 

 

 

If there’s one thing that screams 1960s, it’s Audrey Hepburn in a black evening gown, long cigarette holder in hand and long gloves to boot. Everyone loves the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s and by arriving at your party as Holly Golightly you’ll ensure you’re instantly recognisable – and that you can get away with calling everyone Fred or dahling. Or both.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Swirly Hippie

60s hippie fancy dress

 

 

Think of the 60s, and we all think of hippies! We’ve loads of different hippie outfits available on the site, but this one is really swirly and floaty; we love it, maaann!

 

 

 

 

 

3. Operation

 

operation costume

 

 

The board game Operation was invented in 1964 by an American university professor. It continues to be amazingly popular to this day, and this costume is instantly recognisable as the well-loved game. Even better, there’s a male version of the costume too – so if you’re going with your partner, you can have matching his ‘n’ hers costumes!

 

 

 

 

 

4. Tie Dye Hippie

tie dye 60s hippie

 

 

 

Okay, we know we’ve already featured one hippie outfit, but there are just so many to choose from – and they’re all so different! Tie dye patterns are synonymous with the 1960s but the bright colours on this outfit are great for a party atmosphere too.

 

 

 

 

 

5. Swinging 60s Dress

swinging 60s dress

 

 

 

The swinging 60s were full of ladies wearing funky mini dresses in bright, block colours. This dress is perfect for that look, with the bright black and pink blocks and matching hat. Team it with some knee-high platform boots and OTT, thick, fake lashes for maximum effect!

It’s World Goth Day on Friday! Comments Off on It’s World Goth Day on Friday!

Posted on May 20, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

World Goth Day

This Friday is World Goth Day… are you prepared? World Goth Day is a day when the goth scene celebrates all things goth. So how can you join in?

First of all, take this handy quiz to see if you are in fact a goth already!

Next, do your make up like The Crow, the ultimate goth movie.

 

Now, go and find all the black clothing you can. You may need to buy some. If it’s PVC or leather, all the better. Buckles are also good, as is black lace (no, not Agadoo!) If you’re really stuck, take a look at our site for some great goth fancy dress costumes.

Hair is a major part of the goth look. You might not want to go the whole hog and dye your hair jet black – so a wig could be a good idea! Goths do have a wide variety of styles for their black locks, but our favourite is that of Robert Smith from The Cure. Here’s why:

 

We’ve no idea just how much back-combing and hair spray is involved in this look, but we really love it!

Alternatively, if black is a bit… dark for you, you could bleach your hair so that it’s bright white and put some coloured stripes in.

The next, and possibly most important step, is the music. Although there’s a lot of fashion and style surrounding the goth scene, it originally started in England in the early 80s after the post-punk scene. Bands to look out for are Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and Sisters of Mercy.

Finally, go to the World Goth Day website and download some music and posters and… other gothy stuff.

 

And there you have it: World Goth Day for beginners!

Happy Leprechaun Day! Comments Off on Happy Leprechaun Day!

Posted on May 13, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

leprechaun day

 

Today, May 13th, is Leprechaun Day – an entire day devoted to those little tiny elves of Ireland.

Of course, we celebrated St Patrick’s Day earlier in the year, and leprechauns are usually a part of those celebrations – but it’s generally felt that these guardians of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow really deserve their own special day! We’re not making this up; there really is a day just for leprechauns.

The origin of this particular day is just as myserious as the leprechauns’ hiding places for their pots of gold – but it’s definitely an actual thing, and people actually celebrate it.

Leprechauns have been a large part of Irish folklore for thousands of years. Unlike traditional fairies, they have a reputation for playing tricks and being somewhat mischievous  – but they are still well-loved by all.

Lgend has it that if you can catch a leprechaun, he has to give you his pot of gold – but of course, leprechauns don’t want to give up their gold, and so can be very resourceful when it comes to defending it.

If you can’t catch a leprechaun today, a good way to celebrate is to appreciate and nourish your own pot of gold – by making a deposit to your savings account, or by looking wider at other valuable things in your life, such as friends and family.

Of course, another great way to celebrate Leprechaun Day would be to dress up as a leprechaun – and that is definitely something we can help you with! You might have noticed that here at Fancy Dress Ball we jump at any excuse for a bit of fancy dress. Hopefully all of our staff got the memo about coming in dressed as leprechauns today…

Celebrate VE Day in Style! Comments Off on Celebrate VE Day in Style!

Posted on May 06, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

VE Day

 

This Thursday, 7th May, marks seventy years since VE Day and the end of the Second World War in Europe. To mark the occasion, the government has announced three days of celebrations including a parade through central London, a concert and a service of thanksgiving.

But what if you don’t live in London? Don’t panic, Mister Mainwearing! Just like on the original VE Day in 1945 there will be street parties and celebrations held all over the UK. Unlike the original VE Day though, our food won’t be rationed – and bananas, tea and sugar will be freely available!

This may well be the last big celebration that veterans of the Second World War will live to see so it’s bound to be something worth writing home about. Most local authorities have planned events for the public to take part in, but there’s nothing to stop you having your own, mini celebration.

In 1945, Victory in Europe was celebrated by waving Union Jack flags, tea parties in the street and big bonfires on communal land. Some of the bonfires even had quite realistic effigies of Hitler sitting on top. To celebrate VE Day in true vintage style, you need to do away with the speaker systems, the dance music and the designer clothes. In 1945 people danced in conga lines down the street in tea dresses and military uniforms. The atmosphere was of jubliation and celebration, but also of a big, family picnic. Despite years of rationing and not having a great deal of food, people pulled out all the stops to put on a big feast for the day.

The sort of foods eaten in 1945 included tripe (a cow’s stomach! Yum!), powdered egg (don’t ask us, we’ve no idea how to powder an egg), fish (not subjected to rationing) and corned beef fritters. Foods such as bacon, butter, sugar, tea and meat were rationed until 1954 and because of the lack of imports, many children didn’t see their first banana until well after the war had ended. In fact, during a recent TV documentary John Craven noted that the first time he saw one, he tried to eat it with the skin still on!

Of course, many things other than food were difficult to get hold of during the War. Unable to get stockings, many women would attempt to dye their legs with tea, to make it look like they were wearing them. Some would also draw a line up the backs of their legs, as in those days stockings had a seam that ran up the back of the leg. Clothing was rationed as textiles factories were switched over to the war effort, and there was a big drive to “make do and mend” old clothes.

During the war there was a major drive to encourage women to remain glamorous. As the war drew on, makeup supplies became limited and factories were given over to armament production. In 1942 using metal for lipstick or compact cases was banned and a lot of makeup was supplied as just a refill for existing packaging. Still, everyone knew Hitler disliked cosmetics, and women were encouraged to be glamorous as part of the war effort: it was their duty not to let their appearance go. The slogan “Beauty is your duty” was printed in magazines, and women eked out the last sliver of lipstick or the last puff of powder, using it right up to the very last dab. Beetroot was often used as a lip stain and some even used boot polish as mascara! (we really don’t recommend the boot polish though).

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