CANCEL your appointment with the fancy dress shop this Halloween. The high street has all you need to channel Gothic glamour - minus the gimmicks.

The autumn/winter catwalks turned to the dark side this season with Givenchy, Gucci and Valentino all going devilishly dramatic with lashings of black.

Think 'Halloween hot' rather than 'Halloween not'. Witch, vampire, black cat or even pumpkin - picture your favourite costume and wear an elegant interpretation.

Unlike fancy dress, these outfits will bewitch well past October 31. So get ready to spellbind in style...


No pointy hats or broomsticks required to create a look that's dark, brooding and full of witchy charm.

Stick to a top-to-toe black palette for dramatic effects and avoid mixing in Wicked Witch of the West green at all costs.

Black can look harsh without a flash of flesh to soften things up, which is why 'peekaboo' or sheer fabrics are ideal. Cast a style spell by wearing black cobweb knits by day and Victoriana lace by night.

Mystical and astrological-inspired dark broody prints should also provide a spirited look.

Give your dark outfit an uplifting touch with spellbinding jewellery. Stick to bold, statement Gothic pieces rather than anything subtle, light or dainty.

TRY: Ted Baker Peera unicorn print dress, £349; Ross X Bute Bobby lace shirt dress, £335; Forever Unique Kassidy dress, £550; New Look black sheer beaded cross camisole, £26.99; Topshop deco chain necklace, £20.


Ditch those Dracula fangs but you can always 'count' on a cape for a statement look.

Just about any outfit will look fiendishly good with a dramatic black cape draped over your shoulders. Look to a style with contrast leather panels or trim for extra interest.

Get a vamp-ish look wearing plush velvet. Black looks softer on a textured fabric but you could also try an on-trend deep plum or berry shade. Blood red is a little too extreme.

Dracula wouldn't be seen dead in heels. Step into Transylvania territory with this season's smoking slippers - studded, embellished or metallic, these loafers are so bling they're made for wearing outdoors.

TRY: La Redoute black cape, £59.50; Marks & Spencer sheer top velour maxi dress, £49.50 (available end October); Holly Willoughby for Very chiffon and velvet dress, £49; Tribeca Wednesday skull detail suede slipper loafers, £27.


Go on the prowl for black cat-inspired style but skip the traditional cat ears and swinging tail.

The sex kitten way to work a feline look is with a sleek silhouette. Stick to shapes that cling to the body - fabrics like silk and satin will reflect the light like a black cat in the moonlight.

Replicate that glossy coat with the addition of black faux fur. A stole, tippet or mini cape around your shoulders will soften your look and give you extra strokeability.

You don't have to copy Michelle Pfeiffer's skin-tight Catwoman suit in Batman but try a Seventies-inspired jumpsuit that clings in all the right places.

TRY: Wallis Black Rose Collection black mesh front maxi dress, £60; Kaliko cowl neck jumpsuit, £99; Coleen for Littlewoods cape sleeve pussybow blouse, £42; Minuet Petite black fur scarf, £38.


Let's face it, nobody is going to look cute in a plump pumpkin outfit after the age of six.

A pumpkin accent, however, can look beyond juicy against black. Think shades of burnt orange, flame or amber for a bumblebee colourway.

If all black feels too harsh for you, a pop of pumpkin will revitalise your look.

Either carve your own outfit by combining the two colours or buy a pre-made pumpkin combo featuring a print or fabric overlay.

To avoid looking like a fright, only wear pumpkin-inspired shades near your face if you're sure it's a tone that really suits your colouring. Test by holding the garment under your chin and see if it flatters your eyes, skin tone and hair colour.

TRY: Hobbs rust orange Maisie skirt, £99; Love Label PU skater skirt, £21 at Very; ASOS Crochet Village body con dress, £25; Marisota Grazia block heel courts in Rust, £28.


  • ASOS:
  • Forever Unique: 0161 836 5205/
  • Hobbs: 0845 313 3130/
  • Kaliko: 01582 399 813/
  • La Redoute: 0844 842 2222/
  • Littlewoods: 0844 822 8000/
  • Marisota:
  • Marks & Spencer: 0845 302 1234/
  • Minuet Petite: 01582 399 813/
  • New Look: 0500 454 094/
  • Ross X Bute:
  • Ted Baker: 0845 130 4278/
  • Topshop:
  • Tribeca:
  • Very:
  • Wallis: 0844 984 0266/