Time for the annual Halloween costume conundrum

The scariest part of Halloween is the weeks leading up to it, when you just know your costume will be a complete failure again.

If there were an award for needless - and endless - worrying, I would be the world's greatest champion. Point in question. My Halloween costume. It might be more than five weeks away, but it has already left me curled up in the foetal position, drenched in a cold sweat. And the reason for my additional worry lines? Only the second biggest event on my (frankly) limited social calendar - my dear friends Maria and Fin's famous fancy dress party, in Glasgow, which is attended by many of my nearest and dearest.

And while it's not the party itself that sets my nerves on high alert, the thought of turning up in a sub-standard costume - yet again - has turned me into a shadow of my former self. But despite all my trying, this year, like ever other, looks set to go down the same, old path. I've lost count of the number of lists of potential costumes I've conjured up months before Halloween, fuelled by my excitement that this year, this year will be the one where I blow everyone away with my wondrous and groundbreaking (while at the same time intelligent and humorous) choice. But, like the proverbial broken record, I always end up going back to my fail-safe option - the mime. Granted, having rehashed my outfit for the past four years (yes, you heard right) in a row, I'm happy to say that I make a very fine Marcel Marceau. But it's time to put down the white face paint. Time to throw my trusty black and white striped polo neck into the bottom of the wardrobe and definitely time to retire my trick squirt flower. But given my track record when it comes to creating Halloween costumes, well, let's just say that Vivienne Westwood has nothing to worry about just yet.

Past let-downs include the time I dressed up like Uncle Fester from the Addams family, only to end up looking more like a slightly overweight panda wearing a trench coat. Before that, my only other costumes of note include the time I dressed up like a fugitive from a lunatic asylum (complete with shaved head) and that ill-fated evening when I thought it would be a good idea to dress up as a bunch of grapes.

Still, the pain of having to walk into a party with a green face and only two solitary balloons attached to my person (the rest having not survived the car journey) was nothing compared to the trouble I landed myself in when my mum discovered what I'd done to my very expensive hair piece. Looking at this year's wish list - think Neytiri from Avatar and the dead secretary from Beetlejuice for starters - and those five weeks are starting to look like minutes. Time, I grudgingly think, to start practising those mime gestures again.

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