Halloween costumes from a theatre costume cupboard

  • The List
  • 29 October 2010
Hallowe'en costumes from a theatr costume cupboard

We raid the The Royal Lyceum Theatre costume store for inspiration

We take a trip to the costume store of the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh to get some outfit inspiration

Where better to find your dream costume than a theatre? Behind the scenes of the Lyceum’s successful performances are teams of hard-working designers aiming to get actors and actresses looking their part, from sourcing buttons to rummaging in vintage shops across the country. We visited their cavernous warehouse/workshop near Haymarket in Edinburgh to see what we could find, where a core group of four workers keep tabs on what’s available for future productions, and let our readers Josh and Sarah loose in what was essentially the biggest dressing-up box they had ever seen (when asked for a specific number of costumes, the department manager, simply said, ‘thousands’). Walking through the vast room of clothing rails, The List could imagine transforming into anything from a 1950s teenager to a Tudor monarch.

Thanks to Melissa Clarke and the Lyceum staff.

Sarah wears: a 16th century style grey gown last used in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2008.

Josh wears: an early 19th century style military redcoat, made for Vanity Fair, 2008.

Sarah Earl, 19, is a social work student at Edinburgh University. She’s originally from Perth.

Which is your favourite costume?
It was incredibly hard to decide, but I prefer the grey dress [this photo] because I like how it’s a bit ripped and dirty. I’m trying to look quite vampy this Halloween.

What will you be doing on the 31st?
I’m going back to the old school with some trick or treating, hopefully. Back at home we’re going to have a kind of kiddies tea party – I keep thinking I must buy some pumpkins!

Josh Ward, 20, is one of the founders of Et Al theatre group based in Edinburgh.

Which is your favourite costume?

I like the Redcoat [pictured, opposite] – I like the idea of being a ghost soldier, though I’m slightly worried about its lack of a sword. It was really exciting to go behind the scenes of an established company, to see the possibilities of where our young group could go.

What will you be doing on the 31st?
On Halloween I’m going to head to the Oxjam vintage Halloween party, so I’ll be rummaging around in Armstrongs for my outfit. It will seem a bit of an anticlimax after this!

Sarah wears: a suitably spooky wedding dress from deep inside the Lyceum vaults.


Not got access to your own theatre warehouse? Never mind hen, try out one of these recommended fancy dress shops

Tam Shepherd’s Trick Shop
33 Queen Street, Glasgow, 221 2310, www.tamshepherdstrickshop.co.uk
The independent, family-owned granddaddy of the Glasgow fancy-dress scene (pictured) also sells quality magic supplies, under the supervision of resident magician (and manager) Roy Walton.

Party Times
212 London Road, Glasgow, 552 8300, www.partytimesglasgow.com
This innocuously named boutique caters for the sexier side of Halloween – as well as fancy dress, they also deal in lingerie, lube and toys.

Fairy Funny
52 St Enoch Square, Glasgow, 248 4846, www.fairyfunny.co.uk
Costumes in all shapes and sizes, plus discounts for emergency service personnel – so no need to go stealing the scrubs again.

Fun World
350 Pollockshaws Road, Glasgow, 423 1117, www.funworldfancydress.co.uk
Over 5000 costumes to hire or buy, with

Costume Ha Ha
88 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, 225 3388, www.novelty.org
Buy your costume here, then nip up to the affiliated Aha Ha Ha Joke Shop round the corner for fake blood and springy spiders.

Party Mania
30 West Nicholson Street, Edinburgh, 667 6020, www.partypartyparty.co.uk
A wide range of Halloween classics, plus general supplies for the party you’re throwing.

McMillen Stage Costume Hire
176 Dalry Road, Edinburgh, 337 3238, www.mcmillencostumehire.co.uk
For the more discerning dress-up artist, these are the real deal: stage-quality costumes, by appointment only (with some standard-issue options too)..

EBS Party Zone
5–9 St Patrick Square, Edinburgh, 662 4339
Edinburgh Bargain Stores is well known as the place to go for obscure home wares, such as serrated spatulas or diamante gardening gloves. Good news: now there’s a party outlet, right next door.

Costume ideas

Halloween party tonight? Still no costume?! Try these ‘no effort’ costumes on for size

Go as… Iceland
Spend the evening blowing smoke in other people’s faces, playing down the scale of your massive debts and singing in a made-up elfin language.

Go as… Lady Gaga
Go as the planet’s most notorious fashionista by simply pinning a few chops to your person and resting your lit B&H off the top of your sunnies. Bluffin’ with your muffin optional.

Go as… Facebook
Spend the evening obsessively sharing your criticisms of the party snacks, then screw up your chances of kissing that girl by telling everyone that your relationship with her is ‘complicated’. Poke people.

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