In the countdown to this year’s Halloween I thought I’d post a Greatest Hits collection of my past homemade Halloween costumes.
2005: Little Dead Riding Hood
A couple of us had the idea to go as Twisted Fairy Tale characters so I made myself a Little Dead Riding Hood costume and sewed a Drugged Out Alice costume for my friend.
I had a friend make the scars for me out of latex and he did a fantastic job! In my “goodie basket” I had some eye balls and intestines that I made out of paper mache and painted up. The outfit was pretty basic and simple to put together. I used McCall’s Misses Costume pattern 2890 and if I recall correctly, the only difficult part was the corset.
I recycled the cape from the Little Dead Riding Hood costume but hid the hood and wrapped the ribbon closure under my arms (since She-Ra’s cape just kinda sticks out of her back magically). I just sorta made up the skirt pattern and used a dress with a sweetheart neckline to pattern the top. For the boots, I sewed the boot uppers and then just hot glued them to an old pair of high heels (they were not a good choice for freezing cold rain and did not hold up well). The head piece was just straight up papier mache but the breast plate was made using Plaster of Paris strips, something like this. I was pretty proud of that breast plate. I wrapped my body in Saran Wrap and layered on the Plaster of Paris strips, then realized I couldn’t sit down or I’d muck up the bottom of the breast plate. So I just stood there in my apartment waiting for it to dry, covered in Saran Wrap and plaster. Luckily it only took about 30 min. Once I had the base layer done I was able to work with it off my body and I used thick card stock to make the raised details.
This was based off Bjork’s infamous swan dress that she wore to the Oscars in 2001. My Halloween costume this year was pretty fantastic, but I dunno. This Bjork costume will always hold a special place in my heart and might be my favorite. I bought a nude colored generic undershirt and used that as my base for the dress. I sewed a basic white circle skirt to the bottom of it. The swan head and neck was just a tube sewn out of felt that I hand glued feathers all over. I layered 8 meters (!) of tulle, gathering and pleating it as I went, for the skirt. As the tulle came up the bodice, I incorporated some feathers into it too. The skirt didn’t come out as full as I would have liked but I ran out of time and fabric. I can’t even imagine how many meters were used for Bjork’s dress! This costume has held up really well, I’ve worn it for costume parties since and it traveled with me across the continent from Halifax to SF!
2008: Mel from Flight of the Conchords
2008 wasn’t my best year as far as Halloween was concerned. I was trying to write up a paper and finish lab work so I could start writing my thesis and I just didn’t have the time to devote to a proper costume. I still think this one turned out pretty cute though. Mel is the creepy stalker fan on Flight of the Conchords played by Kristen Schaal and it’s hard to look like her! I made a t-shirt and some buttons, made creepy faces when I posed with the boys and put a little extra curl in my hair. Here’s a picture of Mel to show the look I was shooting for.
The most embarrassing part was that no one knew I was in costume when we got to the bar. LOL!
2009: Rock Lobster
I’d been thinking about the Rock Lobster costume for a couple years but I always ended up picking another costume. But for Halloween 2009, I had just defended my PhD and suddenly felt like all the time in the world. Enough time, in fact, that I also made my friend an Astro Boy costume!
The Rock Lobster was surprisingly easy. I made the AC/DC t-shirt with one of those printable t-shirt transfers. The claws and legs were just made with cheap felt and stuffed with poly fill. I was happy I thought about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to hold a beer with those claws on so I sewed little mitten covers to the bottom so I could hold onto things. The antennae was just made out of red foam and styrofoam balls glued to a headband.
The Astro Boy costume was pretty easy too. The boots were borrowed from a friend and the shorts he already owned. I went out and bought a (women’s) nude colored undershirt and transferred an image from the movie poster onto it. I embellished it a bit with some wires, etc too. I put a piece of skin-colored felt over it and sewed it on like a door with a little piece of velcro to stick it down. Since this was in Halifax and Halloween can be damn cold there, I used that nude colored figure skating costume spandex to sew some leggings for him too.
2011: Bay Area Breakers Roller Derby Girls
I don’t remember how or why we decided to be roller derby girls. I think we just wanted to have fun names like “Carnage San Diego” and “Clank the Tank”. Whatever the reason, the costume came together surprisingly well. We bought the hot pink spandex you can see on our shirt and made bootie shorts (I just traced a pair of underwear to make a pattern). To make the shirts we painstakingly cut out the words with an exacto knife and then fabric glued them to the t-shirts and outlined with silver fabric paint. The kilt was the world’s easiest pattern. I’m going to put up a post soon that describes how to make a couple easy skirt patterns. I was particularly proud of the “roller skates”. I sewed little wheels out of the same pink spandex then just stapled them to a pair of boots!
2012: Max and a Wild Thing!!
You’ll have to tune in on Halloween for the big reveal/tutorial on this costume!!