One of my favoritest (yes, it’s a word, really it is) things about Halloween is the costumes!
I’ll be talking more about costumes over on Eclectic Alli towards the end of the week (after all, I’m hosting a Halloween Costume Party next week!)
For me costume planning tends to start early (like, a year ahead of time) but actual costume creation is a last-minute thing – my dad claims that was one of the “rules” for Halloween costumes in our house: they had to be created at the last minute (within the week leading up to Halloween) and we had to use materials that we had around the house (although I’m pretty sure that some fabric was purchased on occasion).
This has led to some interesting costumes through the years, and some lessons in costume making:
- Metal coat hangers, with enough persistence, can be bent to form hoops. When connected using duct tape and ribbon strips, they can be placed under loose-skirts to create the most ridiculously gigantic hoop-skirts in existence.
- Tin foil is your friend. First of all, it’s reflective (so a great safety-addition to a costume) and it can be used for many thing. Wrap enough of it up and you can create a great shepherds crook. Cover cardboard boxes with it and you have an excellent robot costume.
- Cardboard… cardboard is also your friend. Previously mentioned robot costume can be made by stacking a smaller box on a big box, cutting strategic holes, using lots of glue and tape, tin-foil and paint. Other great uses of cardboard could include turtle-shells, princess hats, coffins, and much, much more.
- Remember those coat hangers? Well, they can do more than just hoop-skirts! Bend them the right way and they can make bunny ears, or wing frames.
- Raid the closet. I realize that not everyone has renaissance-style dresses, “princess” dresses, and queen-of-heart outfits “just on hand,” but there may be other things. Out of style clothing could contribute to an era-based outfit. I have raided my mom’s closet for beads to wear with prairie skirts to go as a 1960’s-girl. Shoulder-padded blazer went towards a 1980’s costume, a blue dress and sparkly-docs helped create a Dorothy costume. The dresses of my childhood doubled as little-bo-peep dresses, prairie-girl dresses….. (okay, maybe this is more a reflection of my personal sense of style that a reality of everyone’s closets but…still). Bed sheets can be crafted into many things, not just ghosts or togas.
- Don’t underestimate the power of super-glue and safety-pins. Can’t sew? Well, no problem! Safety pins and super-glue can work wonders.
- And don’t forget the duct tape. Yes, it DOES hold the world together – especially when that world involves costumes that just need to last a night or so.
- Leotards and tights. Many of our costumes involved leotards and tights – they can be a great base for lots of costumes. There’s a picture of me and three of my siblings: a ballerina, a bunny, a bat and the green lantern. Guess what the base of the ballerina, bat, and green lantern is? Yup, leotard and tights. (the bunny base was the correct color footed-pj’s)
- DON’T THROW AWAY ANYTHING. Okay, so that might not be the best advice but…seriously give thought to what you want to keep. I’m one of five, so growing up a lot of our costumes were kept, reused, and repurposed. That bunny costume in the previously mentioned post? My dad made it, I wore it, my twin brother wore it, my little sister is the one wearing it in that particular picture, and I’m pretty sure my youngest brother wore it too. My dad went as Gandalf one year (his favorite costume he says) and for many years that costume got re-used for wizards of all variety.
- This is the most important costume making lesson: Get creative in your costumes, have fun with it!
What are your costume lessons?