The perfect costume with Circus' Scott Lewis

We've revisited Circus resident Scott Lewis' advice on how to get that Halloween costume absolutely nailed down.

Becca Frankland

Last updated: 4th Oct 2016

Image: Circus

If you live in the UK and you are serious about raving, then at some point you've done it in fancy dress. The hedonistic abyss that is listening to repetitive beats in darkened rooms is enough fun in itself, but throw in costumes and you're assured an absolute riot.

One of the places that does it best is Liverpool, where the tradition is dressing in all manner of ridiculous garbs at Circus every year - without fail one of if not the highlight for the Continentally renowned scouse electronic music emporium.

Everyone, and we mean everyone, from the ravers to the bar staff and the headline DJs, gets involved and year upon year there's next level outfits coordinated. This year will see Seth Troxler bring his Big Tittie Surprise party to Camp and Furnace with Luciano, Eats Everything, Kolsch and more.

Ahead of the show we caught up with Circus resident Scott Lewis, who as well as being a fine house and techno selector (check his previous Skiddle Mix above) is what you'd call a fancy dress aficionado, having brought his costume game to raves and festivals across the land to devastating effect - his previous involves dressing as the entire Anchorman and Baywatch casts, the latter complete with dinghy.

Here's his top tips to make sure you get the perfect costume locked down:

Make it funny 

The whole concept of wearing a costume or fancy dress is that it's stupid - don't just try to be cool or sexy. Ridiculous and over-the-top costumes are always the best; it's what makes the legendary Circus Halloween fancy dress party the funniest of the year, guaranteed.

Make an effort

Buying or hiring a ready made costume is quick and easy and can sometimes look good, and any costume is always better than no costume. That said, once you see your creation come together from a load of second-hand clothes and various parts that you’ve assembled, you will feel great. It also adds a load of excitement in the build up to the event. 

Try to make it last to the afterparty (and the after afterparty)

That elaborately constructed framework and all over body paint looks great at 8pm in your kitchen. How will it look at 8am after being battered by 500 sweaty ravers?

Plan for top-ups of face paint, make-up, hairspray etc. And remember, there's pretty much nothing that Gaffa Tape can't fix. It’s also dead funny seeing a load of weary ravers doing the walk of shame through town at 10am on a Sunday still in full fancy dress.

Make it a thinker

Going to a party with a theme opens up a whole world of possibilities. Some of the greatest outfits I’ve ever seen have been at Bestival over the years with each of their themes.

Don't be obvious though. Halloween doesn’t just mean zombies and witches and space doesn't always mean aliens - there was a whole group dressed as the Solar System, doing laps of a guy dressed as the Sun as they were moving round the site at Bestival one year. It was chaos. And hilarious. 

Groups and synergy work

In my opinion, the best outfits on the whole are group efforts or double acts. Individually, they sometimes don’t look much, but seeing the group together is incredible.

Special mentions to the shepherd and his flock of about 20 sheep (complete with a pen to keep them in) at Bestival, and Captain Birdseye and his 12 fish fingers, as well as the solar system I've already mentioned. George and Ridge from Wham and Axl and Slash from Guns N Roses were also really funny because they were right into it.

Over the years, some of my favourite costumes have been a Baywatch rescue squad, 60-second makeover team, Pat Sharpe and the twins from Funhouse, the 3 Blind mice (below), and the Channel 4 News team from Anchorman. It's always more of a spectacle and always funnier because you bounce off each other.

Make it original

Zombies, cats, witches and monkeys can look funny, but there'll always be loads in a big event. Think of something no one's done before and something you've never seen. Think of a popular film, or a big news event, or celebrity story that's happened fairly recently. Something where people will recognise who or what you're supposed to be.

At Circus a few years ago, someone went as the iPod advert and it looked brilliant. Shout out to Purple Aki, Trevor McDonald and a 6"9 male Ugly Betty too...

Chaos is funny

Chaos is funny (within reason). Remember your surroundings though - obviously bouncers aren't going to let you get away with everything and there's a fine line between being funny and being a pain in the arse.

When we went as a four man baywatch rescue squad to Circus a few years ago we 'sailed' our 8 foot rescue dinghy around the club and across the packed Circus main room, with our whistles and searchlights as it was going off to Yousef's set. It was one of the most bizarre and ridiculous things that could have been going on to peak time house but it was hilarious for us and everyone else.

We also once redecorated an entire corner of the Theatre with wallpaper and carpet, complete with a lamp, chair and coffee table during 60-second makeover. We stopped for a tea-break after 30 seconds too... obviously. 

Make it practical

Remember, going to a sweaty rave or a festival for a night/day/weekend takes planning at the best of times. House parties might be a bit easier but where are you going to put your keys, lipstick, muzzy glue, eyeliner, glitter and facepaint?

Pockets are your friend, but ultimately, your mates can look after your stuff if it means compromising on the comedy. You’ll need to go to the toilet at some point too, worth remembering before you purchase that Morph suit...

Make it a bit weird or wrong

There's a lot to be said for bad taste with fancy dress, a lot! Remember though, there's funny, then there's not funny and just too sick - it's a fine line. Remember those young girls at a village fete that were dressed as the Peru Two? Funny. Those students dressed as the burning twin towers? Not funny. 

Detail matters

The difference between a good outfit and great outfit can be the detail - the shoes that are the exact match, that particular accessory, or that extra little thing makes the difference. Look for the detail in the outfit and think how you can use it.

Use props

Your outfit doesn't just have to be worn - adding something to go with it can make it so much funnier. Getting other people involved somehow can also add to the spectacle and is more fun for everyone – give out stickers, or sweets, or anything else that fits with your costume. 

Get fully into it 

Become your character. Do interviews, take photos, and generally act like whoever or whatever your character is supposed to be. Use their catchphrases, facial expressions, accent, jokes, characteristics... whatever - especially if someone acknowledges you.

They’ve made the effort to come over to you to tell you they think you've got a great costume - put on a show for them. Let loose and go with it. Trust me, you and everyone else will enjoy it more if you get into it.

HAVE FUN

That's what it's all about at the end of the day... unless misery is part of your costume.

For more Halloween related info and events go to our Halloween page.

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