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Halloween costume ideas for anyone who hates fancy dress

Updated on March 14, 2014

Halloween Costume Ideas for anyone who hates Fancy Dress Parties

It's nearly Halloween and a party invitation arrives. You check the date. You're free. Work has been stressful or the kids have been a handful. Yes you could do with a night out, in fact you fancy a good party, Your friends will all be there. It'll be a chance to have a good time. Then those dreaded words jump off the page to haunt you.

You've been invited to a "Fancy Dress Costume Party".

Your heart sinks, stress levels rise. What should have been a fun evening has now turned into a massive problem simply because you are one of those many, and I do mean many people who simply hate dressing up.

I'm hoping that this lens will help all of in this position.

all illustrations used courtesy of Paul Fuller.

witches hat
witches hat

Seven good reasons why someone may dread a Fancy Dress Party

There are many reasons why someone may dread the same Fancy Dress Party invite that excites their friends. I've asked among friends who have a dread of dressing up and came up with the following reasons:

1. You're shy, introvert, hate standing out in a crowd. Deep down you may actually enjoy the idea of dressing up, becoming someone else for the evening, but the thought of walking into a room in any costume makes you shiver.

2. A similar worry is wondering if there will be someone there in exactly the same outfit. That would be SO embarrassing, and of course, as you're already reluctant to wear this costume anyway, you'll feel they look far better than you.

Even worse:

3 You turn up and you and your partner or friend are the ONLY people there in fancy dress. Everyone else has chickened out leaving you the centre of attention and totally embarrassed even though you have the invite on your side!

4. You make no effort at all and you are the only person NOT in Halloween costume.

5. You think dressing up at all is "silly", embarrassing and certainly not the fun your friends seem to think it is. Maybe you have childhood memories of being dressed up as a pumpkin by adoring parents, or turning up at a school fancy dress and being teased. Maybe you are prefer parties where you can be yourself, not someone else.

6. You take a pride in what you wear and hate looking stupid. You hate ill fitting clothes and like to be confident at social gatherings which means having an outfit that makes you feel good. If you're a shape or size that makes finding decent clothes difficult, then fancy dress presents even more problems.

7. Finally you may dread the party because of the COST. You may resent spending your hard earned money on a costume you're probably only going to wear once. You may fancy the party but not the fancy dress.

Do you dread fancy dress parties or do you love them?

My friends are pretty much divided on this issue. I'd love to hear your opinions.

See results

Some Costume Ideas may help to change your mind

Hopefully I can offer you some ideas to help overcome a these costume problems maybe you recognise yourself in the reasons mentioned above.

If you are self-conscious or shy or just hate looking sillythen it's essential to wear a costume you feel happy in.

So my first tip is to choose a costume that isn't necessarily a costume. I'll explain. If you have a free choice in what to wear and there's no theme to the party then choose an outfit that's as near to normal party wear as possible.

The first 2 dresses shown below the gorgeous red flapper dress and sixties style make great party dresses as well as being in keeping with fancy dress. If everyone's in costume then you're part of the party as the fabulous flapper or the 60s dolly bird, if you are still confident in wearing mini skirts that is!

For example if you have an elegant long black or purple dress, use it as the basis for a witches costume. Add a black cape and classic witches hat. If you get to the party and on-one else is in costume, just ditch the cape and hat and you still have a lovely dress.

Another friend who is very self - conscious suggested the obvious: Wear a mask. Well of course you could buy a full face scream mask or walking dead zombie mask. That would certainly solve the problem, but these masks can be very hot and uncomfortable. But I didn't think that was what she meant, and it wasn't. Her suggestion was a mardi gras or venetian mask like the 2 below. Very classy, and you can wear with any elegant party dress.

Classic fancy dress costumes or Party dresses

Womens 1920s Costume Red Fringe Flapper Girl Dress * Womens US XL (fit 14 to 18)
Womens 1920s Costume Red Fringe Flapper Girl Dress * Womens US XL (fit 14 to 18)

I just love the Flapper dresses as they are close to normal party dresses, yet still in character if it's a fancy dress party.

Fun World Women's Feelin' Groovy, Pink, M/L 10-14 Costume
Fun World Women's Feelin' Groovy, Pink, M/L 10-14 Costume

If you've got good legs you'll love this retro party dress in 60s style.

Forum Novelties Women's Adult Venetian Mask with Hat, Red/Gold, One Size
Forum Novelties Women's Adult Venetian Mask with Hat, Red/Gold, One Size

Wear a gorgeous dress and add a touch of mystery with a venetian mask.


Superhero Costume Solutions

I'm coming back again to anyone who identifies with the problem of the "odd one out" Being the only person at the party in a costume, or the only person without one. These are the same problem, but seen from a different angle.

Another solution involves choosing a costume but not actually wearing it when you make your entrance to the party. Once you see how many are there in fancy dress you can decide to change discretely at the party, or to leave the outfit back in your bag.

A friend made a great suggestion. This applies to anyone who really does want to dress in a proper identifiable character costume but are held back by fears being different or having to make a grand entrance.

Her idea is to enter the party as Diana Prince and if everyone there is in fancy dress then reveal yourself as "Wonder Woman" after a quick change act.

This obviously works just as well with Clark Kent / Superman or indeed most comicbook superheroes and heroines.

Catwoman Costume, Adult
Catwoman Costume, Adult

Cause a sensation when you strip off during the party to reveal Catwoman.


Halloween Costume Ideas, to overcome your Party Fears

Classic costume ideas for all sizes

I've found some costume ideas on You tube which just might make a costume-hater change their mind.

I can personally recommend Ancient Roman or Greek costumes for anyone who feels uncomfortable at a costume party. The dresses are stylish, simple, elegant and comfortable to wear as well. There're definitely my own personal choice for a special party.

If you're a larger size they also look good and fit well. Most of the ladies styles will flatter in all sizes. Your ancient world outfit can make you feel romantic, mystical, sexy or powerful. If you feel good in your costume you'll be able to relax and enjoy the party this Halloween.

Costumes to make you change your mind - Stylish Costumes from the Ancient World

Glamorous costumes from the ancient world. Cleopatra costumes are great looking and comfortable to wear.

Just what it says, costume ideas for all the family from Ancient Rome. Elegant and lovely to wear. Help you to be confident in fancy dress.

Costume ideas from Ancient Greece. Very flattering for all figures.

Final words

Well I hope you enjoyed my lens and costume ideas. If you're wondering why there are no photos of me in fancy dress, you should have guessed by now that I'm one of those people who do dread the costume party invite. However given time, I may look one out and have the courage to publish it here, so watch this space.

You'll also see I haven't come up with any ideas to solve the problem of anyone who dreads Halloween Parties because of the cost of costumes. I thought this deserved a lens to itself. I'm off to work on that now and will put a link here when I've finished it.

I look forward to reading any comments or other ideas below.

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      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      I've always hated masks and I'm all thumbs with make up.

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      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      I have not worn a costume since I was 16 years old (18 years ago). Hard for me to think of one I'd feel comfortable (not idiotic) wearing.