Halloween Dressing Up Tips

You don’t need to dress up to come to The Real Halloween but if you do, you will be contributing magical feel of the event. Thanks in advance to all who do so!

You can also, of course, enter the No-New-Plastic Fancy Dress Show if you make your own costume from upcycled clothing and materials.

So, how does this work?

Here are some photos from previous Real Halloween events that may give you some inspiration for dressing up without using new, shop-bought plastic and assembling your own outfits at home.  It hardly goes without saying, but charity shops are great place to build up or supplement your togs.

In terms of ‘look’, most of these say ‘old and traditional’ or ‘autumn’ or ‘nature’, possibly witch-y or wizard-y or at least, not conventional Twenty-First Century. We’ve included photos of a few of our crew, but many of the best outfits are from members of the public visiting the Real Halloween. 

Some achieve their effect from the overall ‘ensemble’ put together with completely normal clothes, with the right colours and patterns and textures. Others make use of adornments like feathers, leaves, and jewellery, or even ‘stuffed animals’, or the odd bone. Many make good use of hats, from the plain to the slightly bizarre.

Some outfits are smart, some are more ‘ragamuffin’ (think Victorian or Oliver Twist), some are tinker-like, and quite a few outfits combine white shirts and waistcoats. Boots, gloves and hand-warmers, scarves, shawls and capes all make an appearance and add helpful layers for cooler days. By and large, being over-dressed is tricky. Button rather than zips is another tip. Leather and felt also feel ‘timeless’. Boots are both practical and fitting to the occasion (and sometimes the weather and conditions underfoot).

The fabulous Family Fox





Some of the above costume photos are probably 100% plastic-free whereas quite a few have some old re-used plastic (eg fake fur).  From an environmental point of view, the big gain is to simply not to buy new plastic. So avoid it altogether or re-use old plastic (even polyester costumes) rather than make the plastic problem worse by buying new, as once created there are huge problems in dealing with plastic (lots put into the ‘recycling’ ends up one way or the other as pollution). On ‘green’ grounds, aim not to buy any new plastic. Then the world is your wardrobe.


TOP TIPS for dressing up without plastic – from Sarah Wise

1. Raid you old wardrobes or the local charity shops.

2. Look for clothes with autumn colours ,  orange, green, browns plus black of course. Add some gold cloth / accessories to jazz things up.

3. Try teaming an old evening dress with some fur and a pair of wellingtons. Its a strong outdoor Halloween look and has been done for years at festivals.

4. A hat is always a good addition – especially fur ones.  Embellish with some pheasant feathers and real leaves  for instant effect.

5. Or you could go for  the popular steam punk look with an old  top hat and goggles, plus a heavy overcoat.

6. Cloaks are easy to make from old curtains – just sew a ribbon along the top edge and you are ready to go.  All good witches and wizards have cloaks.

7. Cut a jagged edge off old t-shirts/trousers for an elf/goblin tunic, or even a zombie outfit.

8. Zombie outfits by definition ought to be home made.

9. And don’t forget that old childhood favourite of sticking a white sheet over your head and painting on some black ghostly eyes.

10. Think Peaky Blinders crossed with Lord of the Rings and a bit of The Last Showman and you are on the right track


** Read about our investigation into plastic waste generated from Halloween costumes here: The Scariest Thing About Halloween is Plastic **

Watch Carolyn and Emma Go Shopping for The Real Halloween

Why we avoid new plastic


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