Vamps and vixens

Fancy dress is all the rage these days for Hallowe’en parties — and celebrity efforts have taught us the do’s and don’ts.

Vamps and vixens

HALLOWE’EN has become big business in Ireland with sales of sweets, costumes and devilish decorations overtaking those of arch rival, Valentine’s Day. Unlike the 2 x 2 formation of Feb 14, Hallowe’en has an all-inclusive policy, provided you come dressed for the occasion. No longer is it enough to rock a pair of devil’s ears and a cape fashioned from a refuse sack.

The burgeoning celebrity trend of costume one-upmanship has driven the style stakes right through the heart of mere mortals. If the thought of being the only pumpkin at the party fills you with dread, then it’s time to follow the new rules of fancy dress.

Rule #1: Be original. Supermodel Heidi Klum knows a thing or three about making an entrance, something that isn’t lost on her annual Hallowe’en bash. For the past twelve years, the Project Runway host has come dressed as everything from an eight-foot tall Transformer to Lady Godiva and more controversially, the Hindu Goddess Kali.

If tongue-in-cheek is more your taste, make like Jersey Shore’s Snooki who got pickled in a gherkin costume; or actor Kyle MacLachlan’s freshly squeezed approach as a human juicer.

Rule #2: Double up. Any celebrity couple worth their pre-nup understands the power of two, in particular when a photo op is in the offing. Whether it’s Bonnie and Clyde, JFK and Jackie O or Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, the possibilities for a duo instantly double. Warning! The key to a successful Hallowe’en pairing boils down to theme.

His and hers angel costumes work, if like Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, you avoid any too literal interpretations. Matching tights and cherubim tutus don’t translate on a grown-man unless accompanied by a healthy dose of irony. Paris Hilton — take note.

Rule #3: Play to your strengths. If you’ve got it, flaunt it; otherwise keep it under wraps. Just because Miranda Kerr’s fishnets upped the sex factor on her ringmaster look, doesn’t mean it will do the same for less toned pins. Instead pull a Kate Upon and play off the boniness of a skeleton costume with a pair of zaftig assets.

A word to the well-endowed: avoid the Kim Kardashian effect at all costs. The last thing anyone wants is the fear of a scary pair popping out of that Little Red Riding Hood rig-out before the stroke of midnight.

Rule #4: Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Just make sure you’re not one of ten Britney Spears impersonators hovering around the punch bowl. Stars like Rihanna, Nicky Minaj and Katy Perry offer a more prodigious back catalogue of looks that won’t leave you with fancy dress déjà vu. Embellished hot pants and bra tops, colourful wigs and press-on nails are high-street hot property.

Feeling ambitious? Do drag like Perez Hilton with a Let’s Dance Lady Gaga homage or push the parody further with a Toddlers and Tiaras send-up as per Black Eyed Peas front woman Fergie.

Cash-strapped? Tape a cardboard arrow to your head and go as One Direction.

Rule #5: Be an animal. Amp up the sex appeal in a cat body stocking a la Heidi Klum or opt for something scarily realistic like the coordinating Planet of the Ape costumes worn by the German bombshell with former husband, Seal.

Actress and reality star Tori Spelling prefers the family-friendly approach; strutting her stuff as a peacock and in matching bee costumes with her son and prized pooch. If like Tori, pets are part of the package, click onto for canine ensembles from €10.99 including pirates, pimps, prisoners and pink crayons. Just don’t let the four-legged furball upstage you.

There you have it — the sartorial rules of the spectral season. Whether you choose to trick or treat, it’s all about the element of surprise.

Unless scaring the hell out of party goers is part of the plan, don’t turn up as Enda Kenny or Michael Noonan. Politics is best separated from a room filled with vampires, demons, hatchets and whips. Then again...

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