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National Storytelling Week Comments Off on National Storytelling Week

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!

Dress up as Breaking Bad Comments Off on Dress up as Breaking Bad

Posted on January 26, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

Dress up as Breaking Bad

 

Everyone who has seen it agrees that Breaking Bad is one of the best TV shows ever made. Everyone loves it and was completely hooked throughout all of the five seasons, and in 2013 it entered the record books as the highest-rated show of all time.

So of course, it’s the perfect show to base your fancy dress outfit on!

 

Walter White

The basic Walter White costume is very simple. You need a pair of beige chinos, a sensible shirt buttoned right up to the collar, and some large glasses. A bald cap would also be a good choice, as would a stick-on moustache and goatee. Job done!

Here’s a fantastic photo of Aaron Paul, who plays Jesse in the show, dressed as Walter White – and Bryan Cranston, who plays Walter, dressed as Jesse.

Heisenberg

Yes, we know – Heisenberg is Walter White – but it’s a very different look! Okay, it’s not a very different look – essentially all you need is a hat. But still. Different character. More mean.

Meth Lab Walter/Jesse

This is brilliant, and super easy. You essentially only need one piece of clothing for it: this yellow boiler suit! This is a great costume; everyone will instantly know who you’re supposed to be… well, they might wonder whether you’re Walter or Jesse, but you can fix that with a pair of glasses!

Jesse Pinkman

Jesse’s standard outfit is a pair of way-too-baggy jeans and a massive, over-sized hoodie. Top it off with a beanie, and all you need to perfect is your swagger. You need to have a good swagger to pull of Jesse. And you need to say “b**ch” all the time too.

Skyler White

The tricky thing about Skyler is anyone knowing who you’re supposed to be. A woman with a blonde wig and a dress could be… just a woman with a blonde wig and a dress! The best way for a woman to be obviously Skyler White is to turn up at the party with Walter!

Hector Salamanca

This is a great one, and if you do it right, it’ll be really obvious who you are! You’ll need some chinos, a short sleeved shirt and a straw fedora hat… oh, and a wheelchair, a service bell like you would find on a hotel reception, and some clear plastic tubing to thread behind your ears and under your nose. Hey presto! The service bell will show people exactly who you’re supposed to be.

Here’s a fantastic photo of Bryan Cranston (who plays Walter) dressed as Hector at a Breaking Bad wrap party:

Game of Thrones Fancy Dress Comments Off on Game of Thrones Fancy Dress

Posted on January 19, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

Game of Thrones Fancy Dress

Winter is coming… er… well, actually it’s already here! We’ve already shown you how to throw an epic Game of Thrones party, including dressing up as Khaleesi. Here are some more ideas for Game of Thrones fancy dress.

The Night’s Watch

Things you will need to dress up as the Night’s Watch:

  • a great big sword
  • a cloak made from animal fur (faux, obviously)
  • black trousers and top
  • combat boots
  • a very serious, scowly face.

If you want to go as a particular character from the Night’s Watch, the best way to distinguish between them is the hair!

King Joffrey

The thing about King Joffrey is, he’s a big old spoilt brat – and it’s that more than the outfit that will pull off your costume! You will of course need to have blonde hair and a crown, and a tunic that comes down to your knees or thereabouts.  Joffrey also usually has a sword about his person, so you’ll need one of those. Most of all though, you need to practise that “sucking a lemon” pout.

Tyrion Lannister

Er… you need to be pretty short to pull this one off, what with him being a dwarf and all.  Basically, you need a pair of boots that are a bit too big for you, a dagger rather than a sword (a sword would drag along the floor behind him so he has a dagger on his belt), and a tunic made out of some thick, itchy-looking material.

Ned Stark

Sean Bean has famously played a string of characters who all met a grizzly end early on – and Ned Stark was no exception. This would be a great costume to put together – you’ll need a spike and a fake head, and loads of fake blood. Put a wig on the fake head and impale it on the spike, then dress yourself up as a headless body. This one’s sure to gain a few admirers!

Cersei Lannister

Cersei Lannister is Joffrey’s mother, and not a very nice lady. To dress as Cersei you will need a long dress with a fitted top, long arms and a full skirt. This along with a long, curly blonde wig should do the trick – just practise doing the female version of Joffrey’s lemon-sucking face!

So there you have it; five great costume ideas to dress up as a Game of Thrones character. Of course, if you want to be a little different you could go as Hodor (you’d need to be very tall and big to pull it off though), or perhaps Arya or Catelyn Stark.

 

2015: A Look Ahead… Part 2! Comments Off on 2015: A Look Ahead… Part 2!

Posted on January 07, 2015 by Fancy Dress Ball

2015- A Look Ahead (1)

Welcome to the second part of our look ahead to 2015, where we share all of the fantastic fancy dress opportunities going on…

July

July 1st is Canada Day, Canada’s national day. Dress as a mountie, or another famous Canadian… like… er… Avril Lavigne! The second is World UFO Day, so there is plenty of scope for alien costumes, and then it’s International Tiger Day on the 29th. Rawr!

August

August is a great month for fancy dress: the 8th is International Cat Day, and if you want to go a little more hardcore, the 10th is World Lion Day! If cats aren’t your thing, the 26th is Dog Day too! If you’re not into dressing as an animal, dust off the Christmas costumes and celebrate Be An Angel Day on the 22nd.

September 

September is Chicken Month! It’s possibly not practical to dress as a chicken all month… but for part of it? If you’re not really feeling the love for the chicken costumes, what about waiting for Teddy Bear Day on the 9th? The 13th is Roald Dahl Day, which is definitely something to look forward to. Of course, everyone knows the 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day – obviously, you’ll already have that one marked on your calendar. And then, we round off the month of fancy dress fun on the 26th with Lumberjack Day!

October

As the weather turns colder, the fancy dress outfits become more fun, right? October has plenty of opportunities for bonkers fancy dress outfits, with World Farm Animals Day on the 2nd, and World Animal Day on the 4th. Then we have Mad Hatter Day on the 6th, World Octopus Day on the 8th and a definite favourite: Punk for a Day Day on the 25th! Of course, October is also the fancy dress high-point of the year, with Halloween on the 31st! We always look forward to this one!

November

November is fairly quiet for fancy dress, aside from the obvious Guy Fawkes Night. The 3rd is Jellyfish Day – that would be a fun costume to put together! And the 10th is Sesame Street Day; which character will you dress as?

December

December is a fantastic month for fancy dress. Aside from all the festive fancy dress opportunities, there is World Wildlife Conservation Day on the 4th – why not dress as a panda? International Day of the Ninja is on the 5th; the 14th is Monkey Day, and the 21st is International Dalek Remembrance Day. Imagine the fun you could have getting a costume together for that one!

 

And there we have it: 2015 in a nutshell. We hope you’ll stick around and see what else is going on through the course of the year!

 

 

 

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

Posted on December 31, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

10

 

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!

It’s Just a Jump to the Left… The Best Rocky Horror Fancy Dress! Comments Off on It’s Just a Jump to the Left… The Best Rocky Horror Fancy Dress!

Posted on November 24, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

Rocky Horror Fancy Dress

 

Who doesn’t love the Rocky Horror Picture Show? Whether you’re going to see a live show, or just going to a fancy dress party, Rocky Horror costumes are fantastic fun to dress up in.

Rocky Horror has a massive cult following across the globe, with people going all-out to dress up as their favourite characters when they go to see the stage show. There is a great tradition of audience participation at the shows, and at screenings of the movie.

So if you’re going to see a show, or the movie, or to a party, who will you dress up as?

Magenta

Although she’s not in it much, Magenta is a favourite character for fancy dress. Named in the credits as “a dometic,” Magenta is the castle maid – so in order to dress as her, you will need a maid outfit.

Another requirement is big, bushy, wig – and bright red lipstick.

Columbia

Columbia is another favourite for fancy dress. Credited as “a groupie,” she sports a sparky gold jacket and matching top hat sparkly bodice and hot pants, cropped red hair and a squeaky voice. Basically, get hold of as much glitter as possible, and cover your outfit in it.

Riff Raff

He might not look particularly glamorous, but Riff Raff is a really popular Rocky Horror character – possibly because in the movie, he is played by Richard O’Brien, the Rocky Horror Show’s Creator.  To dress as Riff Raff, you need a balding head with the remaining hair long, lank and blond, an ill-fitting suit, and a bit of a hunch back (a small pillow under your jacket should do it). Don’t forget to practise that creepy sneer!

Dr Frank N Furter

We saved the best for last! You will need a corset, some stockings and suspenders, red lipstick, offensively high heels… perhaps a blood-stained doctor’s cover-all for the lab scenes.

Any Other Character

Don’t worry if you don’t fancy one of the main characters; the beauty of Rocky Horror is that there are so many people to choose from!

Costume essentials:

  • Heavy eye make up and bright red lipstick
  • Stockings and suspenders
  • Novelty sunglasses (star shapes are best)
  • A corset – sparkly if you like!
  • Ridiculous heels – or if you can’t walk in those, platforms
  • A feather boa
  • A sparkly top hat or novelty party hat

As long as you’re wearing some or all of these, you can pass as a character from Rocky Horror easily – and have a fantastic time!

 

Oh, one last thing you’ll need to know… you’ll need to learn this dance (of course)

 

Movember: The Best Fancy Dress Costumes Featuring Moustaches! Comments Off on Movember: The Best Fancy Dress Costumes Featuring Moustaches!

Posted on November 12, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

Movember moustache costumes

 

November is also Movember – the month when men grow moustaches in order to raise awareness for men’s health issues. There’s already some cracking facial topiary out there, we’re really impressed. The only problem is, if you’re going to a fancy dress party during November, what do you do? The rules of Movember are that you keep your fabulous ‘stache for the duration of the month. So you’re going to need a fancy dress costume that allows for your fantastic facial hair… Never fear! Fancy Dress Ball is here! With our fabulous suggestions, you’ll be so desperate to wear one of these costumes you’ll end up throwing your own Movember party!

 

 

Ron Burgundy

Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

Anchorman was released in 2004 and quickly became outrageously popular. If you’ve not seen it… what is wrong with you?! Go and buy the dvd, right now. Then come back and appreciate the fact we’ve put the amazing Ron Burgundy at the top of our moustachioed list!

 

Stay classy!

 

 

 

 

 

Super Mario

One of the most famous moustaches in the world, this tiny plumber has been fighting the… er… Bowsers and Warios of the gaming world for

nearly 30 years.

 

The costume is actually really simple – a pair of dungarees, a red cap, white gloves… and a cracking moustache.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albert Einstein

Possibly the most famous scientist in the world, the man who brought the world E=MC² (let’s just pretend we know what that means, shall we?)

 

A chance to show off a cracking moustache!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling inspired yet? Other movember fancy dress suggestions include one of the 118 men, Keith Lemon, a pirate, a hippie, Colonel Mustard, Shakespeare… the possibilities are endless!

Oh, and don’t worry – we also stock fake moustaches, for those of us who are… a little more moustachiely challenged!

 

 

 

 

European Day of Languages Comments Off on European Day of Languages

Posted on September 15, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

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September 26th is the European Day of Languages. There are over 6000 languages spoken in the world, and behind each one lies a rich and diverse culture. The European Day of Languages aims to celebrate this worldwide diversity, showing people across Europe how important languages are, and how fun and enriching it can be to learn a new one.

 

Most of us learned French at school; it is the country closest to us, and the 18th most spoken language in the world. Learning French gives children a taste of a language that is not too complicated to learn, and the opportunity to visit our closest European neighbours.  There are many languages in the world that are more widely spoken.

Chinese is the world’s most widely spoken language, with 955 million native speakers – but arguably, if you’re not planning a trip to China any time soon, it might not be of much use to you. Spanish is second most widely spoken, and as well as being the main language of Spain, there are also native speakers in Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, parts of the United States, Cuba, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and many more places. Learning Spanish can give you a real advantage in the modern world.

But what if you’re not interested in learning to gain an advantage; what if you’re studying for fun? In that case, why not try Russian (which also involves learning a whole new alphabet), or perhaps Tagalog, the language of the Philippines? Learning a new language can be really interesting and fulfilling as a hobby. Once you’ve learned some of the language, you can visit the country to try out what you’ve learned. You can learn about the culture, about the country’s history and about the people’s day to day lives.

Because their brains are still developing, children are usually better able to pick up new languages – the younger the better! If you have children, why not celebrate European Day of Languages by learning some key words and phrases from different languages? You could make it fun by allowing the child to choose a word, and then look up its meaning in lots of different languages – how many languages can you find?

Here are a few to get you started:

Hello!
French: Bonjour
German: Hallo
Spanish: Hola
Swedish: Halla
Finnish: Hei
Africaans: Haai
Croatian: Bok
Swahili: Habari

You could learn about the country and maybe dress up in their national dress and cook some of their traditional food. It’s fun for all ages to explore different cultures and languages. Many languages have words that don’t even exist in English, for example the German word schadenfreude, meaning taking pleasure in someone else’s misfortune; or perhaps the Danish word for skimming stones, plimpplampplettere. Looking for these words can be great fun and very enlightening!

 

 

Freshers’ Fancy Dress Comments Off on Freshers’ Fancy Dress

Posted on August 25, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

 

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Freshers’ Week is almost upon us, and to us that means one very exciting thing: tons of themed fancy dress parties!

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There are always loads of themed fancy dress parties for Freshers’ Week; all of the local bars usually have events on and it’s a great way to get to know your fellow students whilst also having a great time!

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You don’t need to spend a fortune on outfits though; if there are several themed events you’ll want to keep your outfits as low-budget as possible (don’t worry, everyone else will too!)

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In this photo, you can see the main costume is a onesie with a bit of face paint. Head bands and hats are also a good place to start!

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In fact, let’s just get one thing straight right now: all students need a onesie.

We’re sure that’s written somewhere in your prospectus.  The more ridiculous/novelty, the better.

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And if you’re really strapped for cash (or, you know, lazy), you can always just put on a bit of make up and a novelty headband and say you’re a mouse!

Hooray for Carnival! Comments Off on Hooray for Carnival!

Posted on August 18, 2014 by Fancy Dress Ball

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Next weekend is the August Bank Holiday weekend, and that can only mean one thing: Notting Hill Carnival!

On Sunday 24th and Monday 25th August the streets of Notting Hill will come alive like nothing you have ever seen before – and with events in the days leading up to the carnival, it’s bound to be a fantastic weekend!

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Notting Hill is one of the largest street festivals in the world. Let by the West Indian community, it is full of bright colours, West Indian music and fabulous West Indian food. It began in 1966, and has gone from strength to strength.

You cannot do Notting Hill Carnival in an understated way; you need bright colours, feathers, sequins, and glitter!

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If you’re going this year, your outfit shopping list should include things like grease paint, over-the-top makeup, massive fake lashes, ostrich feathers, diamantes… you get the idea.

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There is no such thing as an over-the-top costume for Notting Hill Carnival!

We love this tutorial for fabulous carnival make up – male or female, you need make up!

Being one of the largest carnivals in the world, Notting Hill attracts a massive crowd. Here’s a picture from 2012:

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This year, Visit London have produced an illustrated guide to the carnival, with top carnival tips and details of all of the events going on.

We’re off now to prepare our outfits… see you there!

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