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Now Valentine’s Day is over, there’s a long cold period of not much fun to be had until summer brings its barbecues and sunbathing opportunities. But there’s no need to suffer. We’ve got a bundle of feel-good fun ideas to get you through the chilly months without having to spend a fortune on flights abroad.

 

First off, consider organising your own little fancy dress event - a party is the simplest way to boost your enjoyment quotient, and with the sequel to Trainspotting, plus the most recent Harry Potter spin-off ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ and ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ all making headlines, there’s a bound to be a party theme to suit your circumstances, whether you’re planning a family get together or a sophisticated party for grown-ups only.

 

Make sure your decor fits the party theme. Hang up some Harry Potter brooms and some attaché cases for Fantastic Beasts, dig out some cheap undies to strew over your lamps for Fifty Shades or, for Trainspotting 2, it could be as simple as pulling on your running kit for Renton has become ‘The Runner’ and is bringing his endorphin high back home! Then plan some cocktails to suit, making sure that if you’ve picked a child-friendly theme you’ve got plenty of non-alcoholic beverages to hand, and have fun!

 

For those to whom this really appeals, there’s always the option to organise a fund-raiser for a charity of your choice, perhaps a little fun-run, or a day at work where everybody dresses up in fancy dress and makes a donation to the charity. 

Cosplay is getting everywhere these days - from film showings like The Rocky Horror Show and Frozen performances where everybody turns up in costume through to highly specific events such as Pride and Prejudices themed weekends where all the participants are required to show up in Georgian costume and maintain appropriate demeanour and dialogue throughout.

 

Epic cosplay costumes include those made for steampunk events, where people spend a whole year preparing an outfit to wear for a single day, but it’s much easier to pull off a fantastic cosplay look than you might think. Costumes such as Harley Quinn or Dr Who or Gandalf are easy to purchase and if you put in a little time to practice your moves and voice, you’ll find that you can produce an amazing effect that will astonish your friends and family.

 

Whether you choose to attend an organised cosplay event, or put on your own bit of fun by inviting your friends to come round and watch a favourite film in costume along with some themed food and perhaps even some party games, you’ll find there’s just as much fun to be had in the planning and organising of your fancy dress fun as there is in attending it. The best thing about cosplay is that you can tailor it to your own interests, so whether you’re a secret fan of the Dirty Dozen or have a hankering to hold your own Scooby Doo party, you can create the perfect scenario to get your loved ones involved with celebrating your favourite film, book or even reality TV show!

Wes Morgan, former Nottingham Forest football team captain who now plays for Leicester has signed a sponsorship deal like no other. It all comes from his name - Morgan - because he is not the ambassador for Jamaican drinks brand, Captain Morgan rum.  There are two clauses in the deal that will definitely hit the front pages:

 

  1. If Wes Morgan walks into a bar, turns to face the customers, spread his arms wide and shouts "There's only one Captain Morgan!”, every eligible drinker in the place will be entitled to the free drink at the rum brand’s expense!
  2. He is also required turn up as the Captain, in the exact costume of the pirate on the front of the rum bottles, at all fancy-dress parties he attends.

 

At AbFab Fancy Dress we can’t wait to see the photos of that particular costume! For those who fancy themselves as pirates, we have a great Captain Cutthroat pirate costume - sadly, free rum is not included in the purchase price.

It was Harley Quinn! Every kind of harlequin fancy dress ended up being on show for Christmas and New Year’s parties this year. And Google Trends says this was the costume that most people entered online when searching fancy dress costumes. Celebrities got in on the act, with Louise Redknapp wearing the fancy dress for  the Strictly Come Dancing Halloween Special and Holly Willoughby wore the fancy dress outfit for Celebrity Juice. Other fancy dress trends of the year, from Amazon - sales of fancy dress for pets rose by 700%. And the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child caused hundreds of thousand of people to invest in a Wizard costume for the book’s launch in July 2016, many of which were on show again at New Year’s Eve events around the globe and we've seen some wands being waved in the queues for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Our favourite Halloween event is always the Howl’Oween in Liverpool where every kind and size of dog gets to dress up for the Puppy Parade that raises funds for a couple of local dog charities. There’s always a parade from Colquitt Street on the Sunday before Halloween and the dogs are just so cute.

 

Which is why a heartwarming story about stag nights and puppies has been our most watched video this week. What isn’t clear about this bachelor party, as they call them in the USA, is whether the guys were in fancy dress - we think the only thing that could improve the tale is if they were dressed up as Top Cat and Shaun the Sheep when they went to rescue the puppies!

 

We love to dress up at AbFab fancy dress and it seems that more and more people share our love of costuming. Some costumes though, are proving to be less popular than they used to be.

 

Over at The Guardian, there’s a story about how Freshers parties might be seen as racist. It’s a tricky line to tread, especially if you’re a semi-drunk teenager trying to find a fancy dress outfit for your next party - and as the article says, But sometimes attempts to curb cultural appropriation has led to accusations of heavy-handed censorship … yoga was banned at one university in Canada because it originated from cultures that have experienced oppression”. What?

 

So, here’s our quick guide to choosing a culturally appropriate costume for Freshers:

We can’t stop watching this video! Apparently Oktoberfest in Melbourne involves little sausage dogs racing their legs off and then parading around in fancy dress! The money raised goes to a dachshund rescue charity, which is all to the good.

 

However … we couldn’t help feeling sorry for some of those little hot dogs! It must be baking in those costumes, especially the spider and the tank, it’s pretty hot in Melbourne anyway, let alone with a heavy fancy dress outfit on top of your normal fur coat.

 

As this is the time of year when lots of people like to take their dogs out when they go trick or treating, we have a couple of simpler, and cooler suggestions.

 

As usual at AbFab.co.uk we’ve been doing the research to make your fancy dress costume decisions into winners:

 

a - Pinterest is a great way to find costume ideas and we’ve been looking at the most pinned Fancy Dress costume pins since last year’s Halloween parties, to see what’s trending so you can be ahead of the curve.

  1. Top pins for this year suggest that Food costumes are going to be big. We’ve got just the thing for you with an on-trend hotdog fancy dress outfit that’s cheap as chips and hot as mustard!
  2. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both trending as costumes - we can see that’s mainly a USA thing but the Trump hairstyle is showing up on zombie costumes quite a lot … something to think about, maybe?
  3. Brexit costumes are also proving to be a popular trend for couples, with men in Union Jack suits and women in European T-Shirts or women in Union Jack mini-dresses and men in European flag T-shirts. It could be controversial though, so unless you do want to debate the referendum all night, we think it’s probably quite a high risk costume.
  4. Pokemon and pokestops are really trending - that’s a home made effort which is quite considerable, so unless you’re a real geek, it might be better to stick to something you can buy so that you can relax and enjoy the costumes of others!

We couldn’t resist this story - a chance to look at the Queen’s wardrobe, especially the costumes made for her when she took part in amateur dramatics at Windsor Palace as a teenager. The exhibition is on at Buckingham Palace and shows just how differently the royals do things. The then Princess Elizabeth had an Aladdin based costume, for example, that probably cost as much to design and make as the average wedding dress!

Freaky Friday back to school party

 

Just as many parents (or at least many of the honest ones) are sighing with relief as school beings again and the kids are off their hands for most of the day at last, those same kids are about to have September meltdowns. The first week back is usually okay - new school books and stationery, the chance to catch up with friends not seen much over the summer, and school uniforms feel almost like fancy dress for those first few days.

 

Then homework arrives and children realise that this is it - this is reality. Misery all round.  So what can you do for your kiddie-winks to make this transition easier?

 

We enjoy the old Freaky Friday or Vice Versa party as a way of helping children over the back to school hump. Just pick a Friday after the school day is done and let your children dress as adults, while you put on school uniform and act like a brat!

 

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