Fancy that! Brits dress up to forget the recession

Fancy dress shops are bucking the economic downturn as we plucky Brits battle the recession by dressing up as a pirate, a tarty nurse or a giant rabbit: take that George Osborne.

We may not be able to afford our mortgage repayments, feed the kids or pay the bills, but dammit things look less bleak when we're wearing Superman's pants.

Personally, I hate fancy dress. I hate it with a passion. I hate it more than the smell of tuna and I really, really hate the smell of tuna.

I once went to a Halloween party dressed as an 'evil scientist' which involved me wearing an old school shirt covered in red pen and a pair of swimming goggles on my head.

My friend, ever helpful, made a sign on a piece of paper torn from a maths exercise book that said: 'EVIL SCIENTIST' and then attached it to my back. When you have to explain to people what your costume is, I'm big enough to admit that you've probably fallen at the first hurdle.

In later years, thanks to my perpetual black-clad misery-wear, fancy dress became a doddle. With the addition of a pointed hat, I am instantly transformed into a witch.

In truth, people often think I've come in fancy dress to parties even if I'm not wearing the hat. Even if there isn't a party.

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You'd think that fancy dress would be a bit like school uniform: by forcing everyone to look absolutely ludicrous it becomes a bit like a social spirit level, like a microcosm of a communist society where everyone is equal (SEE NAN? IT WAS WORTH ME GOING TO UNIVERSITY).

In reality, it's anything but. Attractive people will use it as an excuse to look even more attractive hence you will be surrounded by 'sexy' vampires, Catwomen and 15 Charlie's Angels while you sweat to death in a giant tomato costume.

There are worse ways to greet the recession than while wearing a foam version of the Statue of Liberty, I suppose, for example, you could be Nick Clegg. I bet no one's asking for that costume at the shop.