Halloween is almost upon us! Authors Heidi Rice and Elisabeth Hobbes give us their thoughts on the day, their love of dressing up, and show us their favourite costumes...
I am, I will admit, a huge Halloween aficionado. Each year when the boys were growing up we would drag out the ever-growing boxes of scary decorations and steep our house in creepiness – complete with black plastic ivy, foam gravestones, fake bat and rats and a dead bride and groom – and have a big Halloween party on the Saturday before the 31st October.
There is something magnificent about making your mates dress up as ghouls and goblins, witches and werewolves before you’ll give them a free drink of blood-red punch. And then we’d take the boys trick or treating with their friends on the day – the rule was you only knocked on the doors with a pumpkin in the window… It’s a code that worked brilliantly and added mad fun to the gathering gloom as the kids would rush from house to house searching for that lit pumpkin and the key to sugary treats.
These days they’re too old for that, but we still decorate the house and they have a huge Halloween party without us (but I suspect with a lot more booze!) and take their young cousins trick or treating on the day…
But I think my costume abilities reached their peak in 2014 when we had our last big family Halloween get together and I ‘accidentally’ discovered that the outfit I’d dragged out of our dressing up chest turned me into Little Dead Riding Hood and my husband – purely coincidentally – had dressed up as the Big Bad Werewolf (again he’d pinched an old costume from the box)…
Here’s a few pics of us, and the rest of my extended family, all ready for the party that year, before our creepy guests arrived for their free punch!
I’m not hugely into Halloween but I love any opportunity to dress up (as anyone who has seen Facebook photos of my on-going quest to dress up in every National Trust property in the country can testify) and I have longstanding goth tendencies so it’s the perfect night for me.
My default Halloween costume as a child was a ghost because it meant getting to wear a big white sheet with eyeholes and go ‘whooo’ at people. The kids in my street would all meet up and head out together to visit our houses (strict rules about bothering strangers were drummed into us). One year I bought a glow in the dark teeth and pair of glasses combo that I wore on top of the sheet and as I had figured out I could cross my eyes it was a great effect. That was a good year but as this was back in the 1980s there are no photos.
At university I went through the cat stage because black leggings, black t-shirt and a tail made from a pair of tights was easy and I could draw whiskers on with eyeliner in five minutes flat. Basically, something I could cobble together quickly with minimum effort (and black tights) was the order of the day.
I’ve been a spider more than once, with the added bonus that it also works for Roald Dahl day at school.
Some times a mask would be as much effort as I’ve managed. I loved my Weeping Angel mask (I bought the Doctor Who magazine especially) but it genuinely terrified my children so it lasted for five minutes. I’ve never gone in for the ‘sexy’ costumes you can get on EBay: sexy policewoman, sexy secretary, sexy nurse, sexy serial killer, etc because surely the point of Halloween is to scare people, and while the sight of my thighs sticking out the bottom of a knicker-flashing ‘sexy witch’ outfit would be terrifying, it would be for the wrong reasons entirely. Besides, Morticia Addams proved you can be 100% hot in a full length, long sleeved black dress with no flesh on show.
For that reason, my favourite costume is Bellatrix Lestrange. She’s such a fun, psychopathic, unpleasant character and I got to perfect my mad eyed look. I took a great deal of effort over it, suspecting I’d be able to wear it more than once, and it did make an appearance at World Book Day. The dress is made from various bits of Arabic dancing costumes I had lying around and a pair of (you guessed it) tights chopped up to make sleeves. The wig started out as elegant ringlets until I teased it beyond repair.
I’ve still got it stashed away in the wardrobe and as I’m planning to help out at our local Autism group’s Halloween fundraiser she might get released from Azkaban for one more time.
You can see some of my favourite costumes, below!
Do you have a favourite Halloween outfit? Show us your #halloweenchic on social media. We'd love to see your pictures!