Halloween Ideas

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Halloween is still growing in popularity in the UK and is the busiest time for all of us in the fancy dress industry. At Props & Frocks we aim to provide you with the best Halloween costumes, make-up, wigs and decorations.

As well as stocking a great range of fantastic hire Halloween costumes, we also stock a huge range of costumes that you can purchase so you can wear it again next year. With some different accessories, it can be amazing how one costume can be made to look very different.

Halloween would not be Halloween without some spooky decorations and at Props & Frocks we have a huge range of fantastic Halloween decorations and animated characters to help theme your function room. We are happy to give you any advice to make your spooky event go off with a bang!

Whether you are looking to theme an entire room, dress up in a werewolf costume or just need some fake blood for a vampire costume, Props & Frocks is THE place to be seen this Halloween – or order online.

This is such a huge subject, we have split it into various sections (see left navigation) to help you to find exactly what you are looking for.

Seven Deadly Sins

Despite general touchiness about religious issues, from time to time costume themes with a religious flavour can crop up. We’re not really talking about the mundane Vicars & Tarts event, which, in fact, is not as common as it used to be, but more wide-range themes such as Heaven & Hell, Saints and Sinners and, the object of this piece – the Seven Deadly Sins. As with a lot of things, originality is everything, but here are a few guideline suggestions:

Lust – The obvious choice colour for this might seem to be Red for passion, hot love etc. – but this could conflict with others using red to denote the Sin of  Wrath, so something in Purple (as in Purple Passion) could be an alternative. That said, there are far more red love/lust-based outfits on the market than there are in purple. Of course you could just don your sexiest outfit, but if you have the enthusiasm/daring, you might choose not to bother with too much of a costume at all, strip down to the basics and let the body language do the talking.

Pride – Obviously you need to look good – well made-up or groomed – in your smartest finery (or perhaps some ostentatious designer-wear) and primp and preen throughout the evening. A hand-mirror could be a useful accessory in case the venue does not offer sufficient facilities to admire yourself. The alternative is a Peacock costume. Just to confuse the issue, if there are a small group of you, you could all dress as lions (A Pride of Lions – geddit?). As a double pun, if you are all in good-looking lion outfits, you will, of course, be dandy-lions!

Envy – The colour choice is fairly obvious – Green. Whether you choose to go head to toe green – turning green with Envy, or you decide to try something a little more subtle, like a green-eyed goddess with the help of some coloured contact lenses is up to you. Additionally, if you want to be extra annoying you could start trying to borrow bits of other people’s costumes and possessions!

Greed – Because food forms a central basis to Gluttony (below), this sin is probably best depicted through the medium of Money. It may come as a surprise to some, but the photocopying (or digital copying/printing) of British (and probably other) banknotes is slightly illegal, so this might be why some of the money-orientated outfits on the market feature representations of the US dollar. These include a bunny-girl style outfit and a Lady Luck featuring a boa created with dollar bill lookalikes. Males might opt for the gambler option or, cutting out the middleman luck element, go for a Bank Robber.

Gluttony – If you are male, a large belly (your own or hired in!) might be the way forward, although if you have a large opera-singer-style ‘jolly wobbly’ or hooped costume, you can channel Mr Creosote (the diner who explodes from overeating in Monty Python’s ‘Meaning of Life’). For females or those wanting a more subtle approach. a food-orientated costume, something involving chocolate or the Candy Girl from the Katy Perry California Gurls video might be useful.

Sloth – To depict this, you could just turn up as normal and say that you couldn’t be bothered to find a costume, but that’s a bit of a cop out. Nightwear is an alternative, or just wear mismatched clothing along with a dishevelled or unkempt appearance. For a really obscure outfit, go for a fur-based animal outfit with three amphibians attached to it –  The Three Toad Sloth!

Wrath – As noted above, the colour which springs to mind here is red, being associated with rage, but a male might equally favour The Hulk, who got mean and green when angry (Girls  need not feel left out – the She Hulk is a valid alternative, although unlike Hulk, she retained rational thought and actions when in her green-skinned state). Equally, for the more adventurous, a depiction of the Hindu Goddess Kali might be an opportunity to push the envelope. She’s blue, with blood red eyes, has six arms, one of which wields a sword, and wears a belt featuring human skulls. It’s a challenge, and obviously the extra work involved on this might not be wasted as it could also come in useful for Halloween.

Meanwhile, returning to the red colour scheme, a Devil costume might suggest itself, although the Devil is associated more with guile and cunning than outright anger. That said, as this whole piece is about celebrating(?) sin, the Devil is probably the entity one would most associate with expertise in this field!

Top Ten Halloween Costumes

Top Ten Halloween Costumes

When choosing your perfect Halloween costume sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start. Do you want to go with a traditional outfit such as a Cat, Devil, the Grim Reaper, Witch or Wizard?  Or do you want something a bit more adventurous? Listed below are our top 10 Halloween Costumes to guide you through the Halloween selection.

10. Pumpkin One of the more traditional Halloween costumes, being based on a simple foam-based body in most cases. Great for kids and adults. Our Pumpkin Morphsuit costume continues to be one of our best selling Mens Halloween costumes

9. Skeleton A mainstream Halloween outfit, this has been on the back-burner for a few years, but was resurrected in recent years, with a twist, as the Voodoo Lord of the Dead and also the Sugar Skull look. The Lady Gaga ‘Born This Way’ video, which channels the ‘Skull-face look’ also helped. Another variation is the Skeleton Zombie costume. Take a look at our Skeleton costumes – ideal for this year’s Halloween events.

8. Witch (or Wizard) Witches are always popular at Halloween (if only for a short spell). Despite the departure of Harry Potter and his friends, the Wizard market is holding up reasonably well because, there can be both male and female wizards. That said, they are still not as popular as their traditional female counterpart, the Witch. We stock a great range of witch costumes & accessories, whether you choose to wear a sexy witch outfit, or stick to something a bit more traditional.

7.  Corpse Bride. A bit of a sleeper hit, especially as the film itself was released a few years ago, but they say you can’t keep a good bride down – even when she’s six foot under! This is a costume for which you can utilise any white bride costume. Emily (the Bride) was fairly ‘clean’ (despite a bluish skin tinge with the onset of death), but you can add some liquid latex and fake blood to get the best gory bride look you can if you wish. We have a Corpse Bride Costume on special offer, add some fake blood and you have a unique looking Halloween fancy dress costume. An alternative is the Skelton Bride, a counterpart to Baron Samedi and a variation on the Sugar Skull look mentioned above.

6. Beetlejuice A costume from the Tim Burton stable. This popular character is not too scary and the black/white striped ill fitting suit is a great visual concept not only for Halloween, but also for 1980s and Movie parties. Recently a female Beetlejuice costume has become available.

5. Vampire Thanks to the Twilight series and First Blood, the Vampire look has been in for the past few years. Traditionally Dracula has been the favoured Vampire and with our fantastic selection of capes for sale, this is an easy look to recreate. Using white and black make-up (which is available for purchase) for an unnatural pallor and the sleepless look, add our fangs to fully create the vampire and away you go.

The range of coloured contact lenses we stock are also great to give that bloodthirsty stare. Take a look at our huge range of vampire accessories.

Despite a recent surge in enthusiasm for zombies, Vampires are set to remain as THE top Halloween costume as it is so easy to put your own costume together without the need of purchasing a complete costume. With so many films having a vampire theme set in the modern day it has become even easier.

For Vampire make-up advice check our make-up tips (see left navigation).

4. Scream  This is a relatively simple but effective costume, based on Ghostface from the Scream movies, and he takes over where the Grim Reaper leaves off.  A black jagged robe, scream knife and mask is all that’s needed to create the ultimate scary look.

3. Cat A witch’s familiar and symbol of luck, the head to toe black feline look can prove quite the cat’s whiskers for the scary season. For those females who do not really want to do the scary route, this is a fantastic costume. Maybe you already have a black outfit you would like to wear?  Why not team it up with one of our cat fancy dress accessories? We stock a wide range to help you to create your Halloween outfit. And if you do not already have a suitable black base, then team the accessories with one of our fantastic catsuits to create the perfect feline look.

2. Miss Scissorhands Taking over from the popularity of Edward Scissorhands has been the female version Miss Scissorhands. This may be great for Movies parties but it has also become one of the must-have female costumes for Halloween. 

1. Zombie Costumes This is the most popular Halloween line as it works well for both males and females and, proving the zombie theme cannot be done to death, the zombie films just keep on coming – look out for ‘Life After Beth’ this season. There are, of course, plenty of off-the-peg zombie outfits available, and the range of professional zombie outfits have been flying out (here to die, gone tomorrow). For those on a budget, the zombie outfit has the benefit of being able to be thrown together from almost anything. We also stock some great zombie scars and zombie skin (or liquid latex) which is brilliant at helping you to create a peeling skin look.

 

Halloween Dress-up

Halloween Dress-up
When it comes to Halloween dress-up, in Britain we still try to remain true to the original spirit of the pagan new year festival celebrated at the end of October:  One last fling for the ghoulies and ghosties before the saints come marching in at the start of November.(The Latino Day of the Dead festivals reflect a similar ethos). That said, sticking to standard spooky/scary can be a little restrictive, and notwithstanding an upsurge in enthusiasm for zombies in recent years, working out variations on vampires, witches and skeletons can get a little repetitive.  So let’s try to do something different from the normal stuff and come up with some other suggestions:

We can start with a familiar Halloween decoration, the pumpkin. The seasonal classic film The Nightmare Before Christmas features leading character Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King. Arguably, he is more skeleton than pumpkin (and there are off-the-peg masks and costumes for the character), but as we take our first steps off the beaten track, why not substitute a pumpkin mask for his rounded skeleton face? Because masks restrict visibility and speech? No problem – just create a pumpkin face make-up. It’s something that is not often done (despite all the pumpkin carving designing that goes on), but there are many tutorials available online.

From there we can jump to the scarecrow (the pumpkins’ day/night job if they do not make it as Halloween decorations or soup/pie) and here you are looking to create something which scares more than crows.  Probably the best known ready-made scarecrow is the one from Oz, but whilst you could use the costume as a starting point, you might want to make the head and headgear more menacing. (If you do want a mask, but something different from a pumpkin, try making a simple mask from hessian or sacking).

Crows might have a part to play at Halloween (they certainly have a role in Celtic folklore, and are a sinister element in Game of Thrones) but unfortunately there aren’t many crow costumes on the market, so let’s work on other winged things:-

Bats – Of course, given that Bats are the given alter egos of Dracula and other vampire entities, which we are currently avoiding, these would probably not be your first choice for a novelty Halloween idea (which is why we mentioned them first, of course).

FairiesNot all fairies are necessarily good. Cheerleader for the Wicked Fairy tribe is undoubtedly Maleficent (an ‘upgrade’ on  Carabosse in the original Sleeping Beauty story). The original Disney version did not have wings (except when she turned into a dragon), but the more recent film has explained how she had her wings clipped. Meanwhile there is a wide range of other dark fairies on the market, using the trademark colours of red, black and purple and with wings ranging from curved gothic to designer- distressed. Match the outfit with a suitable wild wig and ‘evil’ make-up (slanting eyebrows are a good start) and you’re well wicked.

Fallen Angels – In another time and place, the main fallen angel was Satan, suggesting the Devil red be-horned route, which we have chosen to avoid. No matter – there are plenty of other interpretations of the fallen angel concept on the market, ranging from the Good Girl Gone Wrong  to the divine being who has embraced the Darkside. It’s true that most fallen angel outfits aim at the female client, but the inventive male can probably come up with a concept if necessary.

Insects
Given the sheer number of different varieties of insect, and the fact that quite a few of them are associated with aspects of horror and death, it is surprising we do not see more of them at Halloween events. Perhaps it’s something to do with not letting them near the food.

-          Cockroach. There is a very nice little Roach outfit available on the market, and you will certainly stand out (as others avoid you).

-          Death’s Head Moth. There are a wide variety of colours and designs of butterfly wings available for adaptation to make up this costume. We recommend the ones not based on a wire frame. All you have to do is find a black outfit and create a skull-face make-up.

-          Fly. There are actually a few ready-made fly outfits (with matching masks) on the market, but, as with all outfits, you probably do not want a full overhead mask, for reasons of practicality. If even the eyemask is a problem (some have you seeing multiple images in their quest for authenticity) then at least find/make some antennae and go for the Man-Fly mash-up from the Fly movies.(Help me! Help me!)   British clients might want to work with a ‘bobby’ policeman’s helmet (with or without blue flashing light) for a Bluebottle.

-         Spiders. The Perceptive Ones will note that a spider is not a Winged Thing, but it is an insect, and it involves itself with winged things (usually to eat – the Black Widow is an established Halloween favourite). With a few spider outfits of varying complexity on the market, it might make a suitable companion to a Fly outfit. ‘Come into my parlour…’

And whilst we are talking of non-flying insects, we might also drop another concept into the mash-up mix – use a 1960s grey Nehru suit or Sgt. Pepper outfit (should add some interesting Halloween colour) with a Grim Reaper outfit and do a Death Watch Beatle.

From the natural world (?) to the unnatural, and

There are those who feel that some toys are a bit creepy, full stop. The stare-y glass eyes, the permanent fixed expression, etc. can freak people out, and it is true that many a horror film has been based on terror toys – possibly the best known being Chucky from ‘Child’s Play’.

Trolls – Depending upon your ‘era’, some will remember these rather ugly rubber (usually) toys which featured shock hair in various colours. A new generation of these toys are apparently still made. More recently, thanks to Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and various other films, Trolls have been seen as large, ugly bad-tempered creatures (which rather takes them out of the toy cupboard). There is also a sub-species that infests the Internet with spiteful comments. For the purpose of a Halloween Idea, you could try and create any of these troll-types or, if there is a group of you, why not create a Halloween Cat/Pop Group mash-up with the Pussycat Trolls?

DollsDolls come in all shapes and sizes and, with the exception of the previously mentioned Chucky (who was a ventriloquist doll anyway), usually tend to be female. (Those with a potential male market are usually called ‘action toys’).  One of the most recently  seen is Annabelle from ‘The Conjuring’ (a sequel and spin-off are in the offing),  but there are many others. Annabelle is an example of a porcelain ‘pretty doll’ but others of the genre are more easily achieved and are available on the market.

Voodoo Doll – A crudely fashioned doll, incorporating some essence of an intended victim (eg. hair, fingernails) by which to cause harm to that victim. In theory an outfit anyone could throw together from old clothing. Make-up involves a crude sewn mouth and eyes.  Just add some giant knitting needles as the pins.

Rag Doll - Raggedy Ann (and male counterpart Andy) are more a part of American culture than British, but the principle is much the same.

Clown – Male or female, there are those who find clowns scary at any time of the year, not just Halloween. The advantage here is that you can create your own look to look as subtle or scary as you wish.

Teddies – Actually the only terror teddies we have actually come across are the ones that look deceptively cute and then reveal a dark side – usually sharp teeth, That said, the recent enthusiasm for zombies has not left this area of the toybox untouched and it might be possible to create a more distressed and gory creature – the UnTed.

Needless to say, there are plenty of other horror variations on a standard theme available on the market – the Fractured Fairy-tale characters (Ghouldilocks, Creeping Beauty, Sinderella for instance); the Sinister Circus characters to accompany the clowns above, and the permutations on zombies, which have been done to death but, of course, carry on regardless.

With the increasing trend towards doing it yourself, if you are looking to do something different for this Halloween, chat with us and see how we can help with your project.

Saw Costumes

Saw Costumes

Some horror film franchises get the general public’s attention and Saw is one of them. With official costumes available to purchase, or the option of putting your own costume together with just the masks, Saw’s popularity continues every year.

The Saw films (there have been seven since 2004) are arguably a leading example of what has been termed torture porn. You might think the Saw theme ride at Thorpe Park was scary, but these films are in a class of their own and not for the faint-hearted. Without giving too much away (because that would be cruel) the films were initially based on the hunt for a miscreant called the Jigsaw Killer, Jigsaw for short. Jigsaw delights in settling his subjects various tests and puzzles by which in theory, they may redeem themselves of crimes and wrongdoings in their past, but through lack of rational thought or terror of their situation, more usually end up mutilated or dead. He gains his nickname because he carves a jigsaw-shaped piece of flesh from his victims, although he would argue that he does not kill them, they choose to kill themselves. An additional factor is that the killer himself is terminally ill but he succeeds in gaining accomplices (willing or otherwise) who will help continue his warped form of retribution.

This successful franchise has spawned two Saw costumes, both of which have proved popular in past Halloweens. The first is Billy the Puppet, a ventriloquist doll-type character in a suit and bow tie which Jigsaw uses, through electronics, as a mouthpiece to communicate with or taunt his victims.

The costume comes with a mask which, although undoubtedly effective, may be restrictive when it comes to eating, speaking etc. In theory, with a little effort and some derma wax (artificial skin/putty material) to build up the cheeks, it is possible to do a Billy Puppet face with make-up, but it depends upon your level of dedication to the character. It is also possible to purchase the Saw Mask.

The other character is rather simpler, but again mask-based with no make-up alternative this time. This is Pig-Head, a character based on plain (or blood-splattered) black robe topped with a pigs-head, the mask styled as being decaying, reflecting the disease and rot both of Jigsaws cancer and his attitude to his fellow humans. The outfit is used by Jigsaws accomplices in disguising themselves to help terrify their prey (amongst other reasons). It is also possible to purchase the Saw Pig mask

As the last film was subtitled ‘The Final Chapter’ the Saw series may have come to an end, but we think there is still plenty of scare value in these costumes.

Evil Clown Costumes

Evil Halloween Clown Outfits

We feature a mens’ Halloween costume character which, in theory, is supposed to be linked to comedy, but in practice has scared both children and adults over the years. A version of this persona featured as Pennywise in master horror writer Stephen King’s book, IT. If you have not guessed it already, we are talking about the Scary Clown.

Some may argue that clowns are scary enough already without getting a special mention for Halloween. You do not necessarily need to be a full coulrophobic (clown-phobic) to find them a bit creepy and despite common belief, many children, and for that matter quite a few adults, find them unsettling. Although the whitened face and permanent painted smile is cited as a reason, many of those who dislike clowns put it down to a bad childhood experience and certainly horror stories such as Stephen Kings It, featuring Pennywise the evil clown, play on such fears. In the same theme park, so to speak are characters such as The Joker from Batman who, though going through several incarnations, still hides evil behind the painted smile – we feature the wig below, but the make-up has a manic look of its own.

We stock a variety of clown outfits, in fact, you could make any clown into a brilliant Halloween outfit. Props & Frocks stocks a wide range of clown accessories, as well as costumes, so if you want to put your own costumes together at home, it is very easy and cost effective.

The essence of the Scary/Evil clown is that, from a distance, they appear normal, so the costume can be much the same as you would wear for any clown, although some would say the brighter and more colourful the better, to counterpoint his or even her true character. It is the clown close-up that reveals their true colours.

There are a good number of clown masks on the market and some may even do tricks such as popping eyes and moving hair. Whilst they save time and effort, they are a problem when it comes to eating, talking, etc. Although you will find a useful guide to scary clown make-up elsewhere on this site, two quick tips for the basis of a scary make-up are upward-slanting eyebrows and pointy teeth! For the latter, you could use Halloween fangs, but if you’re painting a new mouth anyway, why not incorporate some teeth into your design?

Evil Clown Make Up Tips

Evil Clown Make Up Tips

Our Scary clown masks are truly brilliant but if you are one of those people who just do not like wearing an overhead mask Props & Frocks stocks everything you could need to create a fantastic clown face, take a look at our range of fancy dress make up

The Scary Clown Make-up
Here are a few notes to help you go the whole hog if you do not want to use a mask, when it comes to perfecting the scary clown. Always use clean sponges and brushes. Keep one colour per sponge (cut 1 in half to get more use from it). Keep away from eyes. Do not use on broken skin. Grease paint will be difficult to remove, we would  always recommend that you wear a water based face paint. you cannot go wrong with Snazaroo make up

For the hair:
You can, of course, backcomb and spray your own hair, but this does not always work if its been layered or salon coloured. At the other extreme, if you have not got too much hair to get rid of, you can get a bald cap, tuck everything underneath and, once the caps gummed round the edges, have a whole head canvas to play with and paint. The preferred option is probably the mid-point either use a bald cap but instead of trying to stuff you hair underneath, tie the hair in two bunches over each ear, create a hole each side in the cap around the ear area and pull the bunches through to do whatever you want with. Alternatively use a ready-made bald and tufted clown wig which will usually have a white base you can match when it comes to your facial make-up (Mad Scientist wigs can also work they have white/grey hair and a flesh colour base, which can be coloured with make-up).

For the face:
You need a proper clown white base a grease/creme make-up may suffice, but white water-base does not usually give the necessary depth of colour required, unless you’re going for the badly made-up look of The Joker (and even that takes some skill!). If you are aiming to draw on or colour over this base, you will need to powder to set it (but see the next note)

To maintain the bold colours of your design, draw out the outline of the various areas first so you don’t dilute the colours by having to put them onto a white base. We stock crayon sticks that will help this part of the design process.

It is unlikely your eyebrows will be covered by the wig base so, depending how heavy they are, either incorporate them into your design or eliminate them by soaping out, or by other means so they can be painted over. When redrawing, curved but slanting brows set a scary tone.

For scary clowns, a long, thin mouth works better than the traditional broad – one think the carved smile of the Joker. Alternatively (or additionally) pointy teeth are a good touch.

For an extra effect, a clown mouth sewn at the sides can look quite sinister. You can either draw in the criss-cross lacing or use eyelash glue (or spirit gum) plus thin cord for a 3D look.

Werewolf Costume Ideas

Werewolf Costume Ideas

 

Werewolves remain one of the most popular men’s Halloween costumes mainly due to the success of films such as An American Werewolf in London (which inspired Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video), and, more recently, the Twilight series and the Underworld films. It is also one of those Halloween costumes that is relatively easy to put together yourself (see further down) with just the need to purchase a few of our Werewolf accessories. Because of this Props & Frocks stocks a great range of werewolf accessories so your can put your own unique werewolf outfit together at home.

Our range of werewolf accessories includes:

  • Teeth
  • Masks various types
  • Theatrical hair to stick to parts of your body, or out of your clothing
  • Liquid Latex to give your skin a peeling look, or to use to fix the theatrical hair
  • Werewolf kit gives you hair around your hairline
  • Hairy gloves
  • Ripped shirt
  • Special optical effect lenses

Make Your Own Werewolf Costume
The easiest way to create a werewolf inspired outfit is to first of all decide on some old clothes that you are willing to sacrifice. Rip these clothes as if they have been torn, but maintaining your decency! You may also want to ‘distress’ the clothing using sandpaper to take the newness out of the rips. Using some of our theatrical hair attach the hair as if it is coming out of the rips in your clothes. You can sew, or glue, this in place.

Either use a werewolf facial hair costume kit to create hair on your face, or more theatrical hair, or just wear a werewolf wig, or mask. Some people really do not like wearing masks, so we do stock a mask that leaves your lower face uncovered, or of course, you could just wear some fancy dress make up

Liquid latex is ideal to help you to attach the facial hair and to create some peeling effects on the skin (but remember to only use latex on hairless skin if you want to avoid some discomfort come removal time), then add some werewolf teeth to complete the effect.

For various reasons, fewer females choose to be werewolves, but you can easily create a sexy ladies werewolf look by ripping up your clothes but using the theatrical hair carefully around the face etc.

Music To Play at a Werewolf Event

  • Werewolves in London
  • Hungry Like The Wolf
  • Wolf Like Me
  • Werewolf
  • Wolfmoon
  • You’re a Wolf
  • Full Moon Night
  • Bark At the Moon
  • Full Moon