We ranked the best and worst Otley Run costumes

Shit shirts are NOT acceptable, guys

The Otley Run – an iconic rite of passage for all Leeds students. An excuse to dress up ridiculously and drink 16 pints, all in one afternoon, until you’re sick through your nose. If you can say you have reached the Dry Dock finish line, then you’ve basically completed your university experience.

I’ve formed some rightfully strong opinions in my three years in Leeds of what constitutes as a good Otley Run theme, so I thought I would share my thoughts and maybe provide some guidance to save you all the embarrassment.


No coherent theme

Whilst on my most recent Otley Run, I saw a concerning number of groups with no connected theme whatsoever – just a random collection of costumes. Whilst individually, lots of these people made some level of effort, it is the collective effort of the group that I believe counts. I don’t want to be seeing Elvis and pub golf in the same group – it makes no sense and leaves your group completely indistinctive. Do better.

Shit shirts

Yes, I do mean both football shirts and Hawaiian. These are usually the themes that all male groups go as when they either can’t think of anything better, or can’t be bothered to buy anything. If you’re planning on buying 16 pints, I’d hope you could also spend a tenner on an actual costume so you don’t look boring. Come on now – have some originality.

British Icons

Anything Ali G related

I’ve had enough of seeing that awful yellow costume. A good drinking game would be to take a shot every time you see an Ali G whilst doing the Otley Run, It was fun at first but it’s just too overused. This may seem controversial, but I vote it’s time to leave Ali G costumes in the past.


Gender swap / Pimps and Hoes

Now these are themes I am very much here for. There is nothing better than seeing boys in bras and skirts and girls with beards drawn on. My recent Otley Run was pimps and hoes themed, where many of the boys dressed up as hoes and it was absolutely iconic and gave us the giggles all day. Yes, it may be a bit of a chilly, but hey, that’s what the beer blanket is for.

Pimps and Hoes

Pimps and Hoes

Films / TV shows

I want to see Shrek, Peaky Blinders, Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction. As long as there are loads of different and distinct characters to choose from, you’re onto a winner. Extra points if Shrek and Fiona wear full body paint. I once saw a man with ginger hair stick a piece of bread to himself and call himself the ginger-breadman – low effort but maybe entertaining enough to make up for it?


Anything but clothes

This theme really allows for the creativity to flow. From forming a dress out of plastic bags, to fashioning boxers out of an empty crate of beer, this theme really makes you go the extra mile (and is budget friendly!). I think that this theme is heavily underrated and should be seen much more on the streets of Headingley on a Saturday afternoon.

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