When I was younger, one of my class-mates used to have a birthday party every year; three out of the five parties she had were in fancy dress. When I was four, I asked my mum if I could be a princess; when I was six, I wanted to be a cat and when I was eight I asked to go as Hermione from Harry Potter.
In my 'era', it was the typical childhood party and then became ‘the thing to do’ along with such games as ‘Wink Murderer’ or Musical Chairs. But, even at the age of six, there were certain dress codes, certain characters you could never go as otherwise you were thought of as ‘uncool’ or ‘unpopular’, for example a Disney character or Tracy Beaker.
Yet I always thought the idea of fancy dress would leave me as I grew older and there would become a time after which I would never dress up again; however, it seems to have grown up with me. We now have Halloween fancy dress parties where everyone dresses up as anything, but Halloween-themed; we also have birthday fancy dress parties where we turn an innocent Minnie Mouse into 16-year-old teenager.
I am not being critical, I am simply observing with some surprise that, at the age of nine or ten, to dress up is seen as childish, but, at the age of fifteen to eighteen, it represents a good night out to come.