Every year at some freshers fair, some or other university group ends up in the national media because of their controversial fancy dress. Topics that have aroused the ire of other students and drawn the attention of journalists include “Hipsters and Homeless” (cancelled by Bristol University authorities) and a chav themed night (same university, same response) Then there was the time the University of Gloucester was pilloried about an initiation event in which somebody dressed in a Nazi uniform was marching around students whose heads were covered with bin bags - probably not the kind of education their parents thought they were saving up to provide!


And even handing out sombreros was criticised as racist, after a Mexican restaurant in Norwich decided they’d make a great freebie for students at the freshers fair. Apparently that was viewed as

"discriminatory or stereotypical imagery".


So how do you get a good fancy dress theme going?


Pick something that works for all generations. So if you are smart enough to pick a decade as your theme, everybody will be able to get involved - for the ‘80s, for example you can just go for a Mohican wig and a torn black T-shirt or pick up some more subtle cultural memories such as our lifeguardoutfit for ladies … a real blast from the past!


Broad fancy dress party themes work best - so picking ‘Animals’ or ‘Around the World’ will help people find something they are comfortable to wear because not everybody is outgoing enough to want to slip into a full chicken costume or spend four hours getting into geisha attire. For more shy and retiring individuals these themes offer the chance to wear some fancy dress without feeling too self conscious - a bowler hat and umbrella are obviously ‘British’ and a pair of ears and a tail make a cat that is low key enough for even the shyest guest.