Fancy dress overkill?


Twenty-one year old male, keen follower of football, regularly at the gym, frequently drinking beer, in his final year of a History BA. The picture of manhood? Oh, and he has his own dressing-up box. It’s a sad admission but people all across campus and town have some sort of collection of remnants of previous fancy dress costumes that they have procured over their months and years at Lancaster. The question is though, compared to other universities, do we here at Lancaster over-do fancy dressed themed nights out?

I’ll be the first to admit that Freshers’ and Extrav Weeks are some of my favourite nights out at university. The banter, the chants, the shared group mentality of everyone wanting to have an epic night all make these events memorable; and the themed fancy dress is the cherry on the cake! You get to display your own (and see others’) originality and creativity in harnessing the given theme and making it unique to you. Granted there’s extra costs, effort and trips to town to sort out and organise a costume but you cannot deny the child-inside-you the opportunity to be immaturely imaginative and escape the seriousness of everyday university life. Is this why Lancaster does themed nights out so well? Due to our campus-structure, with the close-knit community feeling through the colleges, we’re always eager to take no half measures when it comes to themed nights out!

Photo by Samuel Rich

Don’t think I’m preaching a message purely praising pirates, geeks, cops and robbers and army corps though. We also do regular nights out brilliantly here, where the girls spend five hours getting ready and the lads make an effort by attempting to wear matching socks and everyone goes out looking top-dollar. These are the nights that people at other universities can relate to more: mostly the city-based universities where it would take more guts to walk through the likes of Manchester’s Printworks or the streets of Liverpool or Leeds dressed as a bodybuilder, a zombie or a caveman. Themed nights out do occur in such universities, especially with Halloween but I’ve never seen anywhere that does them better or quite like Lancaster.

So, while we here at Lancaster are not completely fanatical about themed nights out, we still have more than our fair share. But honestly, we love them! The colleges, societies and sports teams are all channels through which themed nights out can be easily organised, not to mention flat parties, birthdays and of course Carnage and Friday Fury. This shows the extent and huge scale of participation that fancy dress nights out have here. Immature? Yes. Requiring effort? Yes. But once we leave this bastion of fun nights out, we’re condemned to a life lacking in geek glasses, body paint, animal-patterned onesies and fake blood. So let’s revel in it while we’re here and embrace the embarrassment, because in many years time we’ll look back on these memories with nothing but a huge grin.

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1 Comment

  1. ‘Where the girls spend five hours getting ready and the lads make an effort by attempting to wear matching socks’. That’s funny because it’s a stereotype! Ho ho!

    But anyway, as a resident of Manchester and a former student at Leeds, I can tell you that the long walks and open spaces only serve to encourage them, and they do it far more than Lancastrians do. It is why I prefer Lancaster to those two places.

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