Halloween costumes: Bring back easy ideas, preferably involving bin-bags - Gaby Soutar

On social media, I recently saw a picture of a kid who was dressed as the scout master, Pat Butcher, from the BBC comedy series Ghosts.

They had the beige uniform, moustache, toggle and the arrow through their head. Every detail was spot on.

It was utter genius, but really, who has the money, inclination or time?

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There is too much pressure. I’m already struggling to dress myself daily. It’s tricky finding triple-layers to wear to the Wim Hof experience that is the home office.

Pic: Konstantin Yuganov
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Also, this dress-as-any-character thing is a US invention. They were also the ones who took our trad neepy lanterns and replaced them with pumpkins.

Admittedly, those fruits might be slightly better, since they don’t reek when you light a candle inside them, and it’s not like carving dolomite.

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OK, we’ll keep the pumpkins, but this year we want our low-fi costumes back. Imagine the weight of expectation is Michael Myers, and we’re Jamie Lee Curtis, except we can’t be bothered running any more. If any kids come knocking on my door tomorrow night, the quantity of sugar provided will be inversely proportional to the effort made.

Witches, ghosts, vampires or bin-bags used to be the deal. There was no deviation or originality allowed.

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Now you need a special effects team to create the pagan pageantry. It’s too much. If you’ve been invited to a party or are taking children guising, let’s temporarily regress to basic costumes. It’s allowed, since we’re all a bit distracted by, well, chaos and doom.

Look, kids, I’ll show you how to do it. Get that roll of bin bags, and tear one off. I know it’s difficult when you have freezing fingers, but persevere, we’re not turning the heating on. Once you’ve managed, cut a head hole – an ESSENTIAL step – and wear it like a tabard. The modern yellow ties can double as stirrups. Ta-da.

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Instantly, you’re a punk, patent street bollard, a raven or a Liquorice Allsort. Use your imagination. Please stop crying. OK, let’s do a mummy instead. Grab the toilet roll. I hope it doesn’t rain.

Of course, these are just gentle suggestions. I wouldn’t actually say them out loud to my nieces. They would not be having any of it, and I’m a bit scared of them to be honest.

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They’re going trick or treating as the Sanderson sisters from Hocus Pocus 2 – the new Disney movie with Sarah Jessica Parker and Bette Midler. “It’s the best film I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” said the youngest. Well, Rotten Tomatoes would disagree and it only has three stars on ImDb, but fair enough.

These outfits will need more than just a pointy hat and a broomstick. Instead, they require wigs, funny rabbit teeth for Bette’s character, special make-up and dresses. The works. My sister is on it. I’m not getting involved. I’m busy writing this column.

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Those clever girls will probably have memorised a whole scene from the film. I just hope that we can still do our usual Halloween joke. It has become tradition. If they won’t, I’m happy to be the weird grown-up at the back of the group, lurking in the dark, wearing a bin-bag, carrying coats and adding my expertise.

“Knock knock”.

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“Who’s there?”

“Bumble-bee”

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“Bumble-bee who?”

“Bumble-bee cold if you don’t wear your pants.”

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I know, it’s a classic. It guarantees a Freddo in the bucket. Grown-ups like those too, and sharing is caring, as the three-year-old nephew says.

Anyway, they’re sure to wow the neighbours with their whole routine. It’s the sort of thing that people will actually leave their lights on for. The kids also wouldn’t settle for wearing a sheet, like their auntie once did. Or that refuse sack. Aged about nine, I wore one to go guising and decided to carry a candle too.

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It was the days before parental supervision had been invented and I set my hair on fire. I went door to door, with my sob story, feeble costume and frazzled fringe. At least the sympathy vote got me more monkey nuts.

For the younger generation, it’s probably too late when it comes to downgrading their costume choices. Their expectations are high. The horseman of the Apocalypse has already bolted. However, I suppose adults can still make it easy on themselves.

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Please, take the pressure off. Here are my suggestions.

If you get invited to a party, you could wrap parcel tape around your body at an angle, then masquerade as Edinburgh’s new W Hotel – aka the Golden Turd. Also, I have very much enjoyed the spooky Netflix series The Watcher. Go as Naomi Watts’s character Nora. She wears white, and shades of buff and cream. Easy.

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Fish out some of your old Eighties clothes and be one of the parents in Stranger Things. Other creepy and topical things include gas bills. Stick the name of any energy company on your forehead, then write “your new tariff is £850 a month” on your shin and go as one of those letters.

If you’ve got a blonde bob, you’re half way to Liz Truss. Look bewildered. Go with a be-suited older man and get him to say “so, you’ve come back again? Oh dear, oh dear”, every few minutes. Vladimir Putin is always an option. Just sit alone at the end of a very long table.

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Even that is too much work. Now, where’s that spare toilet roll?

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