I HATE fancy dress parties. I don’t like putting on costumes, wearing make-up or contributing to someone else’s contrived idea of wackiness.

Invites often make me feel angry, after agreeing to shell out time and money for a night of drinking, travel and a present, the guest of honour then sees fit to give me an additional energy intensive job.

Often I have cheated by turning up with no costume claiming I had forgotten, the drawback of this is people tend to tut as if they have the right to be disappointed by my lack of effort.

Even worse, on other occasions creative partygoers have pooled dress up resources to give me a makeshift outfit which I am then obliged to wear.

These events invariably have a quirky theme such as hats of the Victorian era, nursery rhyme villains or Cadbury’s chocolate bars.

Guests either spend their time embarrassed because their costume is poor or they have a fantastic outfit which amuses everyone for all of 30 seconds before they start sweating face paint and struggling to move inside a cumbersome body suit.

However, last week I went to one and decided to go all out.

Because the organisers work in a school I could not feel angry with them.

Teachers love a project so couldn’t help but throw a fancy dress party and I couldn’t begrudge them the chance to play with boxes and washing up liquid bottles.

I went to Just For Fun, in Southampton, to get kitted out as a Teenage Mutant Hero Turtle as the theme was 80s television.

I opted for Leonardo despite the attractive shop assistant pointing out he was always a little pious.

We discussed the pros and cons of each at some length and I was surprised how easy it was to flirt in the medium of turtle.

I met a couple I know before the party as I needed somebody to paint my head.

I was perturbed to find two grown ups with no children had a “dress up box” containing wigs, fake moustaches and a variety of hats.

I remain convinced it would be more aptly named “the spice has gone out of our marriage box.”

The night was a lot of fun and the ladies dressed as Jaws, Dungeon Master and Smurfette were lovely but sadly I had little success as my inflatable shell kept knocking their drinks over and I don’t think they relished the idea of being covered in green handprints.

• Costumes can be hired at Just For Fun, Queensway, Southampton – 023 8022 1494