Christmas post 6 – Fabulous fancy dress fun for less


DIY gangster hatLast year we were invited to a Xmas eve fancy dress party. So off we went to find costumes. First, we tried the city centre. We have three fancy dress shops in Brighton but it’s surprisingly expensive for a relatively crappy costume, costing £40 for a really poor quality, boring Batman costume. Ouch.

In the end we hired much better quality costumes instead of buying. But we felt we had to be very careful not to spill anything on them, which kind of ruined the spontaneity of the evening.  It got me thinking – how do you make a great job of dressing up without spending a fortune on a costume you only wear once? Here are some ideas.

Cheap fancy dress costumes for Christmas laughs

1. Hippy heaven

Dressing up as a hippy is fairly easy. If you’re not keen on looking silly, it can look great. And you don’t need to buy a ready-made costume. I’ve been shopping at Park Walk Brighton for thirty years. They sell affordable hippy chic and their stuff is so nice, such good quality, you can wear it again and again in everyday life as well as for fancy dress. They’ve got some gorgeous clothes, genuine bargains. And now they’re online, too. You’ll find them here.

2. Man in a dress

You could spend a fortune on ready-made fancy dress. But there’s one outfit for blokes that’s absolutely guaranteed to generate a laugh every time, and that’s the ‘man in a dress’ look. It’s simple too, brilliant for blokes who can’t be bothered with long, tedious shopping sessions. Just find a suitable-sized dress in your nearest charity shop, or a skirt and top (just as horribly funny!) and that’s it. Instant hilarity at a minimum cost.

3. Moustached lady in a suit

It’s equally easy to cross-dress the other way round. Just pick up a second hand man’s suit in a charity shop, or jacket and trousers, then scrape your hair back or gel it flat and draw on a moustache with eyeliner or eyebrow pencil. Of course you can buy stick-on comedy moustaches but they’re as uncomfortable as hell and keep falling off.

4. Dressing up at home with the kids

There are few things funnier (and cuter) than little kids in grown-up clothes. If your little ones are getting bored and fractious, dig through your wardrobe for unwanted or unworn party wear and let them loose on it. Just remember to keep a camera handy!

5. Simple costumes on a budget

Some costumes don’t require much work. Here are some ideas for creating your own look for less:

  • Bunch of grapes – cover yourself with purple or green balloons
  • Zombies – ripped clothes, red paint blood and grisly make-up
  • Gangsters – an old suit, a charity shop hat, shades and a toy gun
  • Ghosts – an old white sheet, black and white face paint, chains (cheap per metre from places like B&Q and perfect for Mr T costumes too)
  • Snowman – a painter and decorator’s white paper overall with buttons drawn on using black marker pen and some face paint
  • ‘The morning after the night before’ – messy hair, smudged make-up and crumpled party clothes
  • Clown – outsize colourful charity shop clothes and shoes plus plenty of face paint. You can crowbar a pair of your old shoes into a huge pair of charity shop shoes so it’s relatively easy to walk and they stay on
  • Ladybird – red clothes with black spots
  • Mushroom – red clothes with white spots

6. Charity shop hats

You can say an awful lot with a hat, and charity shops are full of them at this time of year. Add a white ribbon to a black hat for the gangster look, or buy one from Ebay for less than a fiver. Add corks on string for an Aussie costume. Make your own witch hat from thin black card, or a clown hat by adding massive cut-out paper flowers. Cover a hat with green fabric strips, wear orange clothes and bingo, you’re a carrot!

What about your ideas?

What’s your best ever DIY fancy dress costume? Wed love to know.


About Author

I’m Kate. I live just outside Brighton, high up on the South Downs, with my husband Tony and our three cats. I’m dedicated to saving money, spending less, buying wisely, cutting waste, re-using, recycling, re-purposing and generating cash from the stuff I no longer want.

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