A Halloween Survival Guide

Need Halloween costume advice? Trust me, I’m a pumpkin!

Autumn is definitely my favourite season: the colder nights mingling with the burnt orange trees that are so reminiscent for a keen photographer like me. But aside from all of the pretty scenery, autumn is also the time for some of my favourite events of the year: Bonfire Night with the now traditional Grey’s Fireworks and the lasting perfume which lingers in the thick Autumnal air for days afterwards; the recollection of Harvest Festival at primary school and the last-minute preparations of tins and non-perishables. However, my favourite autumn event has to be Halloween. I have vivid memories of wandering through the streets dressed as a witch/cat/ghost with my sister and knocking on the doors of our neighbours who we were convinced were friendly, gathering quite an amass of sweets and the occasional apple and ‘go-ahead’ bar (I kid you not!). But Halloween when you’re older becomes a whole different ball game. As a helpful column on the lead-up to the big night, here are my dos and don’ts for costumes:

DO make an effort:

No-one likes a cop-out and whilst it may be fine to pass off a makeshift, five minute, costume when it’s just an average fancy dress party, this is no time for excuses. You’ve had time to prepare. It’s not like Halloween can creep up on you, and so you’re letting yourself and your fellow party-goers down if you don’t splash out on some fake blood or fancy dress make-up. It’s really not that difficult, and with the amazing fancy dress shops we have here in Durham, it’s possible to make a suitably scary costume for just a fraction of the pre-packaged ones on Amazon.

DON’T go full on ‘seduction-mode’:

As tempting as it may be to do a ‘Mean Girls’ as it were, and try your hardest to turn your Halloween costume into the perfect opportunity to attract the opposite sex, this is not the right time. This is the one time of year that girls specifically don’t need to look good, that’s the whole point! And if I could find the man (and it probably was a man) who decided that girls should wear sexy(?) costumes instead of the traditional back-combing of hair, crazy make-up applications and extravagant get-ups, then I would definitely dress him up in the attempt at clothing which is the Ghostbusters costume for women. Typing “women’s Halloween costume” into Amazon produces indescribable results: from the ‘sexy witch’ to the ‘dominatrix devil’ at least it’s possible to track their origins to the “frightening” costumes of our youth. Yet, slithers of lascivious sneak in: illogical policewomen edging towards indecent exposure, a sailor costume which would not keep you warm on the cold sea, and a Minnie Mouse which would ruin any childhood. The main point of this paragraph: it’s autumn, keep your clothes on!

DO use YouTube tutorials:

I’m not one for using YouTube tutorials, mainly because they’re usually made by people with extremely annoying accents, but at Halloween I make an exception. Whether it’s making a costume or doing some amazing make-up, YouTube is jam-packed with talented people who can break down their talent into steps that even a fool can follow. So even though a video may not provide you with all of the necessary tools to become Halloween noteworthy, it will help you more than just attempting to throw some fake-blood on a cheek.

DON’T get too drunk and forget you’re wearing creepy contact lenses:

Pretty self-explanatory. Wonderfully eerie as they may be, with the ability to transform oneself into a snake, cat or zombie (or possibly a combination of all three), they can be a pain if left in overnight, especially if you’re not used to wearing them.

DO put on lavish make-up:

My favourite examples are the unzipped face, the mechanical man and the Cheshire Cat.

DON’T forget you’re wearing the make-up and go to sleep with it on:

That’s not going to be fun for anyone. It’s just scary, and not the kind you want.

DO take advantage of the theme:

Remember it is Halloween, and take full advantage of this! I’m talking creepy cauldrons of decidedly dodgy punch, OTT accessories, lavishly decorated homes/rooms, clever pumpkin designs, and lashings of sweets, candyfloss and horror-inspired treats.

So that’s my list of dos and don’ts for Halloween, I apologise for the countless use of the word ‘Halloween’ and hope your costumes are as horrifying as possible (that is a compliment on this occasion). I’ve got my costume all planned and many deliveries are on their way from Amazon as we speak to put the final touches to it. Happy Halloween!

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