Belfast Telegraph

Belfast fancy dress fans reveal who they want to be at Halloween

By Christopher Leebody

It's a Halloween tradition — people queuing out the door of Elliotts fancy dress shop in Belfast to get their last-minute spooky costumes and accessories.

The family-owned shop on Ann Street, which has been decking party-goers out in their costumes for more than a century, was filled with young and old all looking for the best outfit for the big night on Thursday.

There was plenty of diversity among this year’s inspirations and a tangible sense of excitement as people worked their way through the bustling crowds in the shop.

Rory Morris, a student, thought the occasion was more popular than ever among his friends.

He said: “I’m going for the Sixties, Seventies vibe, sort of flared trousers, peace symbols and stuff. It’s just my sort of vibe at the minute.”

Rosie McKee was already in full costume.

She said: “I’m dressed up as a rainbow person. It was the only costume I had. I feel like Halloween is more of an adult thing now.

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Ellie Beattie wears her Joker outfit yesterday
Ellie Beattie wears her Joker outfit yesterday
Rory Morris
Ellen Watson and Beth McDaniel
Clark Elliott
The queue at shop
some costumes
Lea Steinheimer and Phil Jones outside Elliotts
Courtney Smyth with part of her costume

“It is more accepted to walk around in town like this.”

Friend Ellie Beattie added: “Right now I’m dressed up as The Joker, but I’ll see how I feel when the day comes.

“It’s my birthday on Halloween so we are having a birthday bash.”

Rory Morris

Student Ellen Watson was with her friends looking for some inspiration.

She said: “We are being Playboy bunnies. It was very last-minute and our other Barbie outfit didn’t work out.

“We are going out three times in one week, but we are not missing any class so it’s okay.”

Beth McDaniel said: “The older you get, there is pressure to do multiple Halloween looks. You can’t just do one Halloween look these days.”

Ellen Watson and Beth McDaniel

Queen’s University students Cathal Coulter and Ronan McSherry were both buying hats, with Cathal explaining that he was “going as one of the Blues Brothers” with a friend.

Courtney Smyth said: “I’m dressing up as a devil because it’s scary.”

Jarod Connor, a physics student at Queen’s, reflected the growing popularity of podcasts in his choice of outfit.

He said: “I’m dressing up as a character from a podcast I listen to, it’s sort of like a monster mystery story.

“He’s like a park ranger character. He’s got a sword and a hat, which is what I have here.”

For Jarod, dressing up at Halloween has always been a tradition.

Clark Elliott

“My mum would have always used to make me costumes and I always loved dressing up and now I’m doing that myself and having a bit of fun,” he said.

“Halloween eve, I’ve got a house party event.

“On the actual night there’s a gig I’m going to in the Oh Yeah Music Centre, so I’m going to go see a band play. I’m going to dress up for both of those.”

The queue at shop

Rachel Ramsay, a student from Belfast Met, said: “I’m going as an army girl and I am going to the Telegraph building on Halloween night.

“It was a last-minute decision because I’m very last-minute for everything.

“I’m not really a Halloween person, but when it comes to Halloween I can’t not dress up.”

Hannah Fulton explained she had some accessories to buy.

She said: “I’m going to wing it and be like a zombie or something. Anything with tissue paper and fake blood. It’s quite cheap.”

some costumes

Lea Steinheimer, a teacher, and teaching assistant Phil Jones hadn’t decided on an outfit, but were browsing Elliotts to find some inspiration.

Phil said: “It’s just an excuse to dress up. I work with kids and we dress up for events. I quite like horror films and things like that.”

Clark Elliott is managing director of the shop.

He said that while things are typically manic in the build-up to the festivities, the landscape has shifted due to the growth of online sales.

He said: “Online has been particularly busy.

Lea Steinheimer and Phil Jones outside Elliotts

“It used to be that people would come here last-minute, but people are being, I think, more organised and ordering online.

“It used to be that the queues were way round the corner from maybe the third week in Halloween, but the volume of people ordering online has increased dramatically.

“People like to party and students will be coming down I reckon in the next couple of days.”

According to Clark, the trends for this year are specific to recent Hollywood hits.

He said: “The main costumes that have been going this year have been the clowns. The IT clowns have been very popular, or versions of it.”

Courtney Smyth with part of her costume

With long working nights, Clark joked that after Halloween the team are planning to take “one or two days off” and will “be glad to see it over”.

Watch the full Elliotts video on

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