Monthly Archives: December 2011

Fancy dress madness at the Maldon Mud Race

Entry forms and event details will soon be available for 2009’s ‘Maldon Mud Race’, an annual event which sees hundreds of competitors in fancy dress dash across the mud of the river Blackwater in Maldon, Essex during low-tide. The event, which often draws thousands of spectators and worldwide media attention, began in 2002 and regularly raises large amounts of cash for causes such as the Essex Air Ambulance and various children’s charities. Last year’s event rose over £30,000, and saw masses of fairies, sailors and a motley assortment of mud-drenched participants brave the freezing cold in early January, for a day of fun, prizes, and above all, mud.

The start of the fancy dress race is usually marked by the appearance of a minor celebrity, such as former X-factor contestant Amy Connelly, and generally takes place in sub-zero temperatures. The date for this year’s event currently remains to be set, but will take place at some point over the Christmas and New Year holidays, depending on the tides. If you’re feeling brave, why not sign up for the toe-chilling mud-splattering event, and get yourself sorted with a suitably unsuitable costume, such as a pirate, superhero or cartoon character. Details and registration forms, as well as reports and pictures from previous year’s events, can be found over at www.maldonmudrace.com.

If you can cobble together enough equally mad friends or work colleagues, there are also prizes for the fastest teams to cross the finish line.

Goodwood revival 2009

Not content to be simply the world’s largest historic motor racing meeting, the Goodwood Revival also serves as a magical portal to the fifties and sixties, with both competitors and spectators alike donning period fancy dress for the occasion.

Commemorating the 1948-1966 heyday of the Goodwood Motor Circuit, the three day event takes place each year in mid-September, and this year’s edition saw droves of gentlemen in dapper suits and ladies in 1950’s cocktail dresses. With special guests Buzz Aldrin, Stirling Moss and even Mr. Bean , the revival featured a range of classic racing cars, from fifties single seaters to classic Mini Coopers.

The spirit and atmosphere of the event is quite unlike anything else, and the costumed crowd are as much a part of that as the motors. From soldiers in full military dress and land girls to colourful post-austerity era swingers and teddy boys, everyone at Goodwood always puts in that extra bit of effort to look the part. Where today’s motor racing spectators tend to edge towards the casual, yet rather boring, jeans and T-shirt look, enthusiasts in days gone by would don their very best clothes, and after the end of World War 2 rationing people started to wear wonderfully colourful garments that banished the dull drabness of 1940’s fashion to the dustbin of history.

If you’re thinking of attending next year’s Goodwood revival you still have plenty of time to consider your fancy dress outfit. Smart old-fashioned army, navy and airforce uniforms are what’s in for men, while women lean towards looking like celebrities of the period, dressing up in Twiggy and Audrey Hepburn fancy dress costumes.

Run Santa Run!

Well we’re now into October and the nation’s shops are already hawking mince pies, advent calendars and other such festive debt encouragement upon us, so in keeping with the premature Christmas spirit, today we take a look at the upcoming Santa run occurring in Gwent, South Wales.

Taking place on 6th December around Bryn Bach Park’s lake, the fancy dress charity fun run is organised by Hospice of the Valleys, a local support organisation for cancer sufferers. The Christmas themed fancy dress code is not strict, and it is expected that all manner of elves, angels and wise men will turn out for the event, though the organisers hope to recruit as many Santas as possible, and are even offering free Santa Claus suits to the first fifty people to sign up for the role.

All profits from the run will provide funding for the Hospice’s work in providing aid for terminally ill people, and will take place alongside a parallel charitable event, the Winter Wonderland, which is expected to feature stalls, fairground rides, Santa’s grotto and an artificial ice rink.

Similar fancy dress events are due to take place across Britain over the festive period, raising money for a variety of charitable causes. The biggest of course will take place in London, and is expected to see several thousand St Nicks running 6km around the capital’s Battersea Park. Manchester meanwhile is hosting its own Christmas themed fun run to coincide with the big Xmas lights turn on, at which prizes will be awarded for the best costumes.

Don’t get yourself in a flap

Flapper girls are a staple of any 1920’s Hollywood Party. With sharp bobs, knee-skimming straight dresses and energetic dance moves, Flapper Girls were the essence of the Roarin’ 20s.

The meaning ‘flapper’ is thought to come from either the reference to a young bird – flapping it’s wings in an attempt to fly; or the less complimentary description of a young girl who rebels socially with short hair, short skirts, smoking and drinking. The Flapper Girl was made famous by screen actress Olive Thomas in the film of the same name in 1920. Clara Bow and Joan Crawford followed in Olive’s footsteps, becoming famous for their flapper-girl appearances and performances.

St. Valentine’s Day

Whether you’re single or a smug-married, no-one can escape the fact that love is in the air with Monday 14th February fast approaching. St. Valentine’s Day is often used as the perfect romantic backdrop to marriage proposals and weddings, with red roses, heart balloons and all things red being bought in their crate loads.
If you don’t want to spend hours trying to find a restaurant with an available table a deux, then why don’t you throw a party instead? Adorn your house with red love tinsel curtains, table confetti and balloons, and invite your guests to dress in shades of red. Alternatively, you could theme the night around famous Romcoms. Maybe a bunny girl will turn up from Bridget Jones’ Diary, or a theatrical performance may be on the cards a la When Harry Met Sally. Who knows?
Play some games like ‘Who Am I?’ Attach a romantic actor/actress/figure’s name/photo to your guests backs and see if they can guess who they are by the end of the evening. Better still – tell your guests who they are before the event and everyone can stay in character all evening and guess who each other are. Queen of Hearts, Cupid, Beauty, Jennifer Aniston, Chris De Burgh, and Mr. Darcy…the list is endless. Don’t forget your schmooze love songs. Span the decades with great love songs including Love Me Tender, Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You, Especially for You, She’s Love You.

Transform into DJ Love for an evening and give yourself an excuse to get all mushy. Ahhh!

Twas the season to be silly: Festive fancy dress

The festive season is a time for giving and goodwill, but it’s also a time for fun and downright silliness. This Christmas was no exception, as the brave, eccentric and mad took to the nation’s frozen towns and countryside for a range of fancy dress events across the country.

In the Manchester suburb of Rossendale, 132 runners took part in the annual Boxing Day fell race, the Whinberry Naze Dash. Many of those who braved the cold and snow to compete came in fancy dress, leading to the surreal sight of numerous Santas, pirates, superheroes, Jesus and the Pope sprinting through the frozen conditions.

One of the event’s organisers, Steve Duxbury, said, “It sounds a bizarre way to run off the excesses of Christmas Day but it’s a well established race on the fell running calendar and popular both with serious runners and those who enjoy a laugh in the festive season.”

The fancy dress fell running event was eventually won by an elf.
Over in Bolton meanwhile, Boxing Day revellers chose an altogether different approach to celebrating the festive season, as thousands flocked to the town centre in fancy dress. The Bolton Boxing Day fancy dress pub crawl is now in its third year, and saw an eclectic variety of costumed characters hitting the town’s pubs and nightclubs.

Little Britain fancy dress

Matt Lucas and David Walliams have returned to our screens recently with their new series, Come Fly with Me. But it was their unforgettable sketch series Little Britain that first captured the public imagination and spawned a thousand impressions and fancy dress costumes in schools and workplaces around the country. This week we present our guide to some of the major characters of the series, and how to pay homage to them by way of Little Britain fancy dress.

Vicky Pollard - Vile, obnoxious and often incomprehensible, Vicky Pollard is a send up of teenagers in modern Britain. For your fancy dress costume you will need one ill-fitting track-suit in bright pink, equally garish nail polish and hair scraped back into a Croydon facelift. Upon arriving at the party and asked if you have brought a bottle, say something like, “yeah but no but yeah but no, I was gonna but then Sharise called, an’ she’s cheatin’ on er’ boyfriend with that Matt from Busted…”

Daffyd – To be the ‘only gay at the party’, you will need a fancy dress outfit made of the tightest of tight rubber, accentuating your paunch (either real or fake). Then start practicing on your welsh accent.

Bubbles Devere
- A fat suit is definitely required for taking off this monstrosity of a woman. Over the top lipstick and an equally over the top posh accent also comes part and parcel of this fancy dress costume.

Marjorie Dawes – The terrifying Marjorie is leader of the local chapter of ‘fat fighters’, but is certainly some considerable way from her own ideal weight. A short blonde wig, chunky earrings, a suit and an undeserved air of superiority will enable you to pull off this fancy dress number.

Happy birthday Lewis Carroll

Chase away the January Blues with a Lewis Carroll Theme Party. Born on 27th January, 1832, Lewis Carroll (born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) went on to become one of the most famous author’s of all time. By far his most well-read titles being Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through The Looking Glass.

Carroll’s love of fantasy and fun lends itself to throwing an imaginative party full of off-the-wall Fancy Dress characters. From the expected Alice, White Rabbit and Queen of Hearts, to Flamingos doubling as croquet mallets, a hookah-smoking Caterpillar and talking flowers (were these the inspiration for Bill & Ben’s Little Weed we wonder?) Who can forget the Mad Hatter‘s Un-birthday Party, or indeed the playing card soldiers ‘painting the roses red’? With the classic book and animation recently re-made by Tim Burton, your guests will be inspired whatever their age ranges. Whether they are classic Alice purists or quirky modern film lovers. This is a Party Theme to unite us all.

The only limit to your Lewis Carroll Fancy Dress Party Decorations is your imagination. Choose mirrors, swirling decorations, hearts, animal props and checked cloth to adorn you room and tables. Add some shimmer curtains and red heart table confetti to inject some colour, and then fill the room with red roses, tea-sets, inflatable flamingos and decks of giant playing cards for a Wonderland-esque ambience. If there’s anyone who doesn’t get into the Alice Party swing, then…”off with their heads!”

Snowballs at dawn: Fancy dress battle royale

With many schools closed and transport networks coming to a standstill due to continuing snow this week, there seems to be only one logical course of action. A massive snowball fight!

Almost everyone, regardless of age, enjoys a good snowball fight. So why not make the most of the winter weather by having a snowball battle royale in your back garden or at the local park. Add to the fun by encouraging everyone to come in fancy dress.

Your fancy dress snowball fight could be a general free for all with everyone coming in whatever fancy dress costume they see fit, or you could have a set theme. For example you could have everyone dressed as soldiers in camouflage fancy dress and with plastic guns, or you could all come in seasonal fancy dress as snowmen, Santa’s, elves and angels.

You could even organise your massive snowball fight into teams, with each team coming as a different fancy dress theme. For example, Team A could all be dressed up as historical figures, Team B as Hollywood stars, while Team C’s fancy dress costumes could be based on villains from Doctor Who! Imagine- Genghis Khan chasing after Adam Sandler while the Dalek’s prepare to launch a surprise attack from behind a tree!

Christmas Eve fancy dress

While New Year’s Eve is a time for going out to celebrate, many people prefer to spend Christmas Eve at home with family. This year why not make it extra fun by dressing up in Christmas themed fancy dress. Here are a few tips to get your fancy dress Christmas Eve off to a flying festive start.

Decoration- Undoubtedly you already have a fine array of tinsel, baubles and Christmas lights adorning your living room, but why not add a few more? Mistletoe, fake snow, inflatable snowmen and other such festive fancies are a great way of getting everyone in the mood.

Fancy dress costumes-
The kinds of costumes worn at your Christmas Eve fancy dress party will  depend on the age ranges for which you are catering. For a family evening, traditional costumes such as Santa Claus, snowmen, elves, reindeer and angels will help make Christmas Eve that little bit more magical. For a more adult orientated party with friends, things may be a little racier, with sexy Mrs. Clause costumes, outrageous elves and zombie Santas.

Entertainment- On the stereo put some classic Christmas songs on, or if you don’t like any of those just stick The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’ on constant loop! Dig out some old board games such as Trivial Pursuit, or invent your own fancy dress Christmas themed games, such as pin the tail on the reindeer. When things start winding down, perhaps put on a classic Christmas movie.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!