Potters, otters, and fancy dress

drakeygirl's picture

My son went to nursery decked out as Harry Potter today in honour of World Book Day. It was a thoroughly convincing costume - he does have his own, real-life, small, zig-zagged shaped scar on his forehead, after all. Thank God I had the foresight to bash his head against his Grandma’s telephone table when he was 18 months old, hey?

It got me thinking about fancy dress, and the odd costumes I’ve worn over the years.

My Saturday job as a yoof was working in a music shop mainly aimed at the school music market, selling music for piano exams, recorders, and the like. *RANDOM OTTER FACT ALERT*: It was owned by the wife of children’s composer who wrote the music for Geminee Geminii, the barking mad (in more ways than one) choon sung by Johnny Morris about Terry Nutkins’ otter.

Now, downstairs was the music shop, but upstairs, bizarrely, was the fancy dress department. (No, I didn’t see the link, either). Me and my mate often used to purloin the costumes when we were invited to any fancy dress do. We weren’t good at sticking to themes - a fact that can be illustrated by telling you that we went to a Halloween party dressed as vampire bumble bees, just adding a set of plastic fangs to said costumes purely because they made us laugh (their crowning glory was black terry-towelling balaclavas with deely boppers on). Incidentally, I 'pulled' that night, unwittingly discovering the only teenager in the universe with a bee fetish.

Years later, my ‘hen’ night from work (a company awards do with everyone else in black tie and posh frocks) saw me decked out in a full-size, football mascot-type, Foghorn Leghorn-style chicken number. (I didn’t actually choose this, they poulet-ed a fast one on me, I hasten to add). This didn’t go down too well with a miserable colleague who didn’t attend, and who happened to win an award, which of course I decided I should collect on his behalf - resulting in his name under a picture of a chicken in the company magazine.

But perhaps the weirdest fancy dress I wore was a homemade astro-turf number for a Singalonga Sound Of Music theatre show, where I went as ‘The Hills’, just so when people asked me: “What are you?”, I could reply: “I’m alive! With the sound of music!”

So, please share, what are your fancy dress highlights or lowlights?

up
8 users have voted.

Comments

Is amazing.

and so to bed with a smile on my face.
P.S. You don't have a copy of you accepting the award dressed as a chicken do you?
P.P.S. great thread title as well

I think I do - somewhere in a pile of boxes in my loft. It may take some rummaging...

Halloween was no longer a sweet and innocent night of candy begging. It was a night of anti-social acts of revenge. Weeks in advance, eggs had had vinegar injected into their poles with a syringe stolen from my mate's dad ( a doctor, not a junkie).
Flaming dogshit and tissue doorstep surprises for the teachers we most despised were also par for the course. ( that'd be Mr Keane and Mr Looby btw)

Halloween 1984, I wanted to be both Halloween Jack and Aladdin Sane and my cool older sister gave me a pretty cool lightning flash with clown make up, specially bought from the Magic Shop on Mallow Street.
I didn't look cool though. I looked a mess... But not as much of a mess as Mr. Keane's doorstep .

At my school it was a tradition when you left after nine years to have a fancy dress day the day before graduation.
No classes, just hanging out in the school yard (more or less drunk from the liquid breakfast picnic that started the day in a nearby field) before all the classes joined hands and danced through all the classrooms. Sometimes text books would end up being burned on a ritual bonfire...
Anyway, for my costume I decided to go as a fallen angel. I took a long white nightie (the kind we wear when we celebrate St Lucia here in Sweden in December) and cut off the sleeves and cut the skirt really short with slits on the sides, and a plunging neckline. Sewed a pair of stuffed black wings and attached them to the back of the dress, which I wore with a studded belt in the waist, black fish-net tights and very high heeled black pumps.
I made myself a halo out of some steel wire; two circles, one sitting on top of my head and the other floating above it (but very much to the side of it, as if it had slipped askew and was about to fall off completely) connected to the first one but this one completely wrapped up in thick tinsel.
The dress had a bunch of patches stitched on to strategic places, on which I had written all kinds of more or less dirty and/or irreverent jokes.
And as a finishing touch I was heavily made up and had black lipstick and black nail polish.
My best friend was dressed as a grotesque and very cheap looking prostitute...we had to take the subway from my place to get to school in the morning rush and people stared as if they'd never seen a couple of naughty girls before... ;-)
We met our head teacher when we got to the school yard, a very religious old woman. She stared right through us, lips pursed as if she was sucking a lemon. Mission accomplished! (We hated her)

Homemade is always best.

... Cheltenham years ago. I went as a biblical shepherd and my girlfriend went as a burglar, complete with black & white hooped t-shirt, mask and a big bag labelled "swag." I was the shepherd and she was my crook. Geddit?

At the same party, my friend John went as Jonathan King, his girlfriend went as Billie Jean King and her brother was Martin Luther King.

The theme was "famous Irish people" - so plenty of croziers, Finn McCumhaills, rugby players, that sort of caper. My Bangor native friend and I rolled up (the worse for wear, it must be said) in full Orange Order regalia and proceeded to march stone-faced around the house to a deserved torrent of good-natured abuse.

Pretty much the only time I've ever got it half-right. Useless at dressing up.

I decided to attend as an old school golfer. Plus Fours. Tweed Cap. Correspondent shoes. A small leather pencil bag with a mashie and a niblick. I looked splendid. The only slight issue was that I had the wrong date so when I turned up at the friends' who were throwing the party (only, the following week) their response was - literally - to fall to the floor clutching their sides.

I went to a party when I was about 23 on a boat in Bath. I was unprepared so got whatever I could from the shop. It was supposedly Mozart but could have been any eighteenth century celebrity as it had tights, wig, buckled shoes etc. What I did not realise was that there was a pre-ordained pub crawl around Bath which was completely excruciating for me but hilarious for everyone else. They had gone minimalist, which meant, for example, wearing a normal suit with a naval hat and saying you were Prince Charles. Oh how the locals laughed, and my sour faced response only encouraged them. They are probably still talking about it now.

I'd have sworn she was a young sea lion.

The old otter/sea lion word blindness/classification mistake. I can't believe I've made such a rookie error! And I've used it in the thread title, too, so I can't sneak in a crafty edit and make out like it never happened.
I obviously got my Geminees, Geminiis and Tarkas mixed up. I blame Johnny Morris, and that god-awful racket he's making.

Or rather, Velma from Scooby Doo. (orange polo neck, red skirt, orange socks, red shoes, done, nice and easy)

BTW that's my favourite thread title of all time ever ever ever

but it contains a glaring error, as has just been pointed out above. Having worked as a sub-editor, this is going to haunt me.

By the way, I chose my avatar precisely because I did once dress as Velma Dinkley from Scooby Doo at a works fancy dress party. A combination of genetics and pies ensured I had to be Velma not Daphne. (Can't believe I forgot to include this in my list of fancy dress triumphs/disasters!)

Your list of the required garments is completely correct, but you missed out the pair of coke-bottle specs that I had to keep dropping on the floor and scrabbling about for. Oh, and my colleagues who made up the rest of Mystery Inc showed a little more foresight than me - they'd brought a change of clothes for going on to the nightclub after the party finished. I hadn't. Jinkies!

that he'd probably be surprised by the number of, ahem, fan art depictions of Velma there are on the internet. "I wouldn't" he said.

which are very Velma-ish. Because they're already part of me, I forgot to include them in the list :-)

...we had an album covers party. There were some terribly inventive outfits (the pyjama bottoms and angel wings combo from 'Woodface', the girl who arrived in a rumpled tie dyed blue linen dress which had, on closer inspection, a small dolphin-motif brooch attached to the front and who claimed to be the soundtrack album from 'The Big Blue') but my favourite was my chum Jonathan who upon arrival after a long and dusty car journey elected to have a shower prior to the party. He'd neglected to arrange anything for his costume in advance and so star-jumped naked from the bathroom to the garden claiming to be "...that bloke off the front of 'Hemispheres' by Rush"

I shan't forget in a hurry.

in your personality around the age of 20/21. When I was a student, each year there would be a (boozy) Christmas dinner in Hall that was generally Fancy dress. The first time I went, in my penultimate year, I just took it at face value and wore a dress - "Fancy Dress". No imagination, but a bit of a laugh.

The year after, in stark contrast to the year before, four of us decided to go as Medieval Knights. As Engineering students we took this as a practical challenge and spent hours in one of our rooms crafting suits of armour, swords and shields from sheets of card. Having a crucifix shaped slit in your helmet doesn't make it easy to shove the sprouts in, but the shield was useful for deflecting the inevitable stuff chucked our way.

Disappointingly, at the end of the night, I was half cut and pissed off, so I chucked the costume in the bin.

I've never been in fancy dress or to a fancy dress party. Strange that.

A good friend's wife, several years ago, was invited to a "fancy dress" party.

She and her mate, also invited, spent a couple of weeks piecing together the most fantastic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes. Green body paints, green swim caps, papier mache shells, swords, nun-chuks, the works.

On the evening of the party they were in full battle dress and heading out the door when they received a text from someone already at the event. It read:

"For god's sake don't come down here - it's black tie".

No idea how the confusion had occurred, but it makes me laugh every time I think about it.

Mine would have texted me to say: "For God's sake, get down here quick - all the people in fancy dress can't wait to see your costume."
The bastards.

..by that extraordinary Johny Morris clip I can't even begin to think about fancy dress. One of the strangest things I've seen on the Tube for quite a while. They certainly pulled out all the stops with full orchestra and children's choir.
The juxtaposition of the sealion romping around in the car with Johny barking away in the background! Gosh! Bizarre doesn't even begin to describe it.

I've never been to a Fancy Dress party either.

I've always wanted to. In fact we were invited to a friends 40th last year, which was fancy dress but with one thing and another we couldn't make it. It was a World War 2 theme. I was planning on going as an Evacuee. They live in the country, you see.

Anyway, at the next Mingle I shall go as Rob C and Rob C can go as me. Gosh, I hope Rob C's handsome too!

... your underpants? When people ask, you can tell 'em you're a premature ejaculation. When they ask for further clarification (which they inevitably will), you say "I've come in my pants!"

It didn't get the laugh I'd hoped for the first time.

However I lacked a whip. Where does one get a whip? Anne Summers it was.

I had never been before. How hard could it be to go into a shop which sells whips and buy a whip? Lordy it was hard.

In I went. The bit near the door was fine, all silly sexy costumes, but the "equipment" section was near the back and I could feel myself getting a trifle intimidated by what was there. Nervously I perused the shelves. Some of this stuff looked positively eye watering. An assistant approached me. She was cute and French with what I can only describe as a "saucy" voice.

"Can I 'elp you zir?"
Voice goes several octaves higher than usual "Erm, I'm looking for a whip please."
One of her extremely cute eyebrows shoots up. There is a little half smile on her face.
"We have whips, follow me." She takes me to a dark corner of the shop and gives me a whip. "Zis one ees ver' popular."
It may be popular, but it's a cat 'o' nine tails. Indiana Jones did not wield a cat 'o' nine tails.
I nervously squeak "This isn't the right type of whip." Lady saucy gives me anuzzer half smile. *cough* "I need a bullwhip. Erm. You know. Like Indiana Jones." The other cute eyebrow shoots up. She thinks I'm some kind of whipper guy! I'm blushing like a teenager "It's for a fancy dress party." I want to scream "HONEST!" I don't.
Plainly amused by my visibly flustered appearance she said "I looooove Indiana Jones." and handed me my bullwhip. The power of speech has left me. I scurry out of the shop. I have never been back to Anne Summers again. I now tend to dress up as Dr Evil when I have to do fancy dress.

...to a gangster/moll fancy dress party a couple of years back. Quite a posh do, so hired a lovely flapper dress, headband, cigarette holder, etc. Should have looked like the sexiest thing since Scott Fitzgerald. Unfortunately, being of the short, fat variety, I looked exactly like Margaret Rutherford as Madame Arcati. My best friend and I laughed all night, but I've rarely felt so inadequate.

I was invited to a 1920s flapper party, when I was eight months pregnant.

I looked like an enormous fringed aubergine with limbs.

Not my finest moment.

About 12 years ago - I think the last time I went to a fancy dress party. The theme was "Saints And Sinners".

It was surprisingly effective: A Dumbledore beard cut down to size, some Groucho glasses (this was before I had my own), some cords and a green body warmer from the charity shops, and a fucking massive prop syringe, about 18" long. I've got the pictures somewhere.