Category Archives: DIY Costumes

Get it on! The coolest DIY Halloween costume ideas, plus freaky makeup tutorials and more.

Home-made Costume Idea: Harley Quinn

A few years back for Halloween, I wanted to make my own costume that was both original and cost effective. By cost effective, I mean cheap. I was a little low on cash, yet bent on creating the most unique Harley Quinn costume imaginable (a super villainess from Batman).

Mind you, I am not a seamstress. In fact, if I have to sew anything at all, I either pay a tailor or beg my boyfriend to sew the item for me as he is much better at it than me. He also has much more patience. With that in mind, how did I end up creating my Harley Quinn costume?

Look for Old Clothes that can Resemble your Halloween character

Looking through my closet, I found a pair of old black spandex pants and a spaghetti top that could fit the style of Harley Quinn in the comic, as well as the hybrid Harley Quinn ideas I had swirling around in my head. Since these clothing items were already available to me, I decided to merely paint over them to get the color scheme I wanted for my costume and then only pay for or make my accessories.

Keep in mind that painting a costume over clothes you already own can be time consuming, so I would start early. This means you need to start painting 2-3 weeks ahead of time, depending on the paint needed to create the costume effects on the clothing items.

Designing Your Costume with Fabric Paint

The fabric paint I used was Jacquard fabric paint in the colors of Red, Black, Silver and White. If you are planning on creating a horror type costume, I recommend you mix water into the paint to get that bloody, messy look. I used it on my costume to get a look that didn’t seem deliberate for character purposes and it came out quite well.

If you plan on mixing water to the paint, you definitely need to use a sealant as the paint will bleed even more after water is added to it. The consistency becomes very watery. Remember NOT to add water if you want a solid color look.

Although I used pretty basic solid colors, Jacquard also offers shimmer, glossy and glittery fabric colors for those who want a more ethereal or otherworldly look.

Jacquard Fabric Paint

Also, make sure they are clothes you won’t miss once you have changed them because although fabric dye can sometimes bleed, it is quite permanent for the most part.

Crafty Chica Glossy Gloss VarnishTo prevent fabric paint bleed, you may want to invest in a fabric paint sealant. I used Crafty Crafty Chica Glossy Gloss Varnish, which I found online at Amazon. You can easily find this sealant online at Amazon, Ebay, and online craft stores. It may be difficult to find in store so I recommend online.

Another Option: Second Hand Clothing Stores or Modify an Old Costume

If you prefer not to alter any clothing you own already, a good option is to get secondhand clothing or re-use and alter an old costume you may have from previous years. This is simple enough if you decide to take a costume from previous years and simply create an evil or twisted version of that costume, which can be fun.

If not, secondhand clothing is the way to go. The clothing prices vary, but you should be able to find your entire costume for under $20.

For accessories, you can find wands, weapons, etc. at your local costume store and if you are going for a comic book character, you may be able to get away with purchasing a cheap kid version of the item.

Also, if something is for decoration and it is possible to make it, it is almost always cheaper to do so.

Here is a picture of me on Halloween with friends in my Harley Quinn costume:

Harley Quinn home made costume
Harley Quinn costume (middle)

Harley Quinn Face MakeupAs you can see, the pants and shirt were both painted ½ red, ½ black and the colors were alternated to create a checkered look when the costume is worn.

I created my own accessories by cutting white felt into the shape of a jester’s choker, but exaggerated the size and length of it. I also made my own bracelets and anklets out of elastic band and attached small little sleigh bells. I wore ankle boots with the outfit, which I also would have painted, but I did not have time. It turns out even painting your clothing takes time!

On the left is another photo of just my make-up for the costume the day after, which I had altered for a different Halloween party to get a more twisted look, whereas the look above is more classic and true to the comic.

Good luck, and remember, have fun and be creative; it will definitely pay off when that yearly Halloween party comes around!

Planning a Memorable Star Wars Party

The fancy world of the Star Wars series is a perfect party theme for all types of celebrations. Birthdays and Halloween are two main occasions to infuse life to the most popular visualized characters of the entertainment world. Organizing a Star Wars theme party is not at all expensive as considered by many people. Here are some ideas that can help you become an appreciated host of a Star Wars party.

Decide the Venue

You can decide to organize Star War Costumes for a birthday party in the garden area if it is a late evening party. This will help you have the natural effects of night and space for your party theme. However, you don’t get much scope of decoration in a garden area party. So, you can prefer to have the party indoor.

Design Invitations

Invitations for a Star Wars party can be easily designed at home using black cardboard paper and gel pens. A good idea is to obtain the print-outs of Star Wars clip arts from the internet and paste them on the invitations. The invitation should say something like ‘Welcome to the Galaxy’ and ‘Come and Wish the Young Jedi Who Was Born to Be the Chosen One’. Also, attach the party details to the invitation.

party venueDecorating the Venue

You can obtain Star Wars party decoration kits from a reputable online store like Celebrate Express. Or, you can use some simple ideas to bring in the effect. For example, cut the stars from the aluminum or tin foil and hang them from ceiling using wires.

You may also collect stones from the garden area and paint them lime green. Scatter these stones here and there to create an alien planet look.

Plastic glows available at online stores can help you create the right environment for the party. You can also use hoses and PVC pipes to decorate the doors and the walls as they create the right look of the space. Play the Star Wars theme music to enhance the party. If your child possesses Star Wars toys and figurines, you can use them too for the decoration purpose.

Party Costumes

Star Wars Party PackMake it compulsory or simply request the party guests to dress up in Star Wars costumes (or create them yourself). You must also obtain Star Wars costumes for yourself. If it is a birthday party of your child, the Jedi Costume are perfect ideas for him or her.

Foods and Drinks

The craze of Star Wars series has inspired the food and drink suppliers to come up with preparations inspired by this fantasy world. Yoda soda, Galactic pizza, Sebulba sun chips, Skywalker salsa, Wookie cookies and many more ideas can be used to arrange the food for the Star Wars party.

If it is a birthday party, the attraction should be the Star Wars theme cake. You can choose and order a Star Wars cake at an online store or learn how to prepare one at home.

Star Wars Cupcakes

Party Games

No party can complete without playing games and a Star Wars theme party has unlimited game ideas. Pass the Droid, Starship Relay, Light Saber Training; Restore the Galaxy, Keep up the Meteor, Destroy the Death Star and many such Star Wars game ideas are popular for the parties. You can learn about them from the online resources.

Party Favors

The Star Wars party favor bags may contain things like glow sticks, Star Wars stickers, Star Wars figures and toys and candies. You need to depend upon the online party stores to obtain impressive party favor bags for the Star Wars party.

Just like other theme parties, you must start preparing for the Star Wars party few days in advance. You can take suggestions from people online who share their experience of Star Wars parties on the web. A well-organized Star Wars party will be remembered by you and the party guest for many years.

How To Plan and Execute a Memorable Star Wars Party is a Guest post by Lea Jones who is an online freelance writer and also the owner of a Star Wars Costume online store. In this post she’ll give some tips about Executing Star Wars Party for the upcoming Halloween 2010.

Beading Jewelry for Halloween

Each year I try to find interesting Halloween jewelry but all I find is lots of cheap trinkets.  So last April I decided to take up beading.  Now I make my own amazing Halloween jewelry.

String of Skulls Bracelet

If you can thread a needle and tie a knot, you can bead! One of my favorites is this ‘String of Skulls Bracelet. Its simply a matter of stringing an interesting set of beads for the main line, then stringing smaller sections and sewing through one little bead at set intervals. Its quick, simple and great looking.

A slightly more interactive stringing job produces this unusual ‘Pumpkin Shroud Wine Jewelry’.

Pumpkin Shroud Wine Jewelry

Beware though as beading can become addictive.  Suddenly you’ll find the simple stringing isn’t enough and you’ll want to try your hand at more intriguing stitches.  Written and video instructions are available all over the Internet and can produce items fairly simple such as my beaded ‘Vampire Bite Choker’ or the somewhat more difficult ‘Bat Wing Bottle Jewelry’.

Bat Wing Bottle Jewelry

Vampire Bite Choker

I love the fact that I can design my own beadwork items or purchase other people’s inexpensive patterns online.  Along that line take a look at my creations and patterns at www.DebrisDeCollette.com and have a bloody good Halloween!

Fairy Costume Ideas

Image credit: Pinterest, Jennifer Howard

Fairy costumes have always been popular for Halloween parties. Go to any dress up party and you’re sure to find young girls and women (and men, particularly on the heels of Lord of the Rings elvish popularity) dressed as fairies.

The reason is easy to understand: fairies and elves have a classical and exotic look.

Moreover, the ample varieties in fairy costumes make it easy for women to dress uniquely, truly expressing their own fairy “flavor,” whether that’s sweet and winged, sexy, traditional, or kick-A, a la The Hobbit’s Tauriel.

And let’s not forget the accessories! (Can I get a “yes please”?) Awesome ears (see image at right), butterflies, flowers and more – you can do all of this and add your own special creativity to your gorgeous fairy costume.

If you are planning to attend a Halloween party this year, or host your own, choose one of the stylish designed fairy costumes and be truly magical. Here’s how.

Choose Your Fairy Style

There are many varieties of fairy costumes available in the market. But don’t stop there – you can craft one of your own.

Credit: costumedirect.co.uk

Buy a basic skirt and tank top (try Etsy for cool selections) and add on whatever you’d like that’s truly magical.

You can opt for a classical gothic costume or a sensuous sexy fairy costume, or choose a famous fairy, such as Tinkerbell (aww!).

You can even be one of Sleeping Beauty’s protectors – remember the three fairies in the cottage? Or be a bippety-boppety-boo fairy godmother.

Glamming Things Up

Credit: Etsy, CuffandCrown

Depending on what you choose, your costume should be elegantly designed and feature skirts, silk flowers, traditional pointed ears, wings and other matching decorations and accessories. You can also shop separately for accessories and add them to the costume to give you a unique fairy look.

Hint: You’ll find some COOL stuff at consignment and thrift shops, including filmy pieces of material and nifty shoes. And you’ll save beaucoup bucks!

Be Original

Whatever you choose for your fairy costume, remember: today, anything goes for Halloween. And we do mean anything!

Grab some cool ears, something filmy, and you’re good to go. After that, it’s all up to you and your imagination.

Now hurry and grab me a pumpkin – I’m late to the ball!

 

 

Halloween Decoupage – Create a Papier Mache Photo Purse

Papier Mache and decoupage has come a long way, and luckily for you and me, there are hobby stores that carry a full line of Papier Mache boxes, purses, and chests that are a breeze to decorate for our favorite holiday (Halloween, of course!) Here is just one example of how to blend Papier Mache and decoupage a Halloween purse photo frame.

Supplies:

  • Papier mache photo purse
  • Decoupage Solution (ie Mod Podge)
  • Small Sponge Brush
  • Halloween paper or prints
  • Scissors
  • Craft knife
  • Photo or antique reproduction of post card for front
  • Ink jet printed pictures and hairspray
  • Scrap booking papers (optional)
  • Paints (optional)
  • Tissues
  • Damp rag (to wipe sticky fingers on)
purse01
Print pictures on your computer with your ink jet printer. Spray the pictures with hair spray and let them dry.

Step One – Gather Your Supplies

Gather up your supplies and cover the table you’re going to be working at with newspapers or a vinyl tablecloth because the decoupage solution is messy and can be hard to get off some surfaces.

You can cut up old holiday and craft magazines that have Halloween pictures. You can print out pictures with an ink jet printer, but you have to spray it with hair spray and let it dry completely before you can use it. Some stickers may work but only if they’re not printed on really thick, heavy paper.

Once you’ve selected the items you’re going to use, make sure they’re clean and dry. You might want to paint on the paper items you’ve chosen, which is fine – just make sure it’s dry before you add the decoupage solution. Any moisture will mess up the decoupage and might cause problems like air bubbles down the road.

Step Two – Design Layout

Pick up your purse with dry hands and look at it carefully. Consider how you want to put your paper designs on before you cut or tear your first picture to use. This is a good time to plan out if you want to add a background paper or if you’d prefer to paint your background along with other items.

Then cut out or tear out your items and place all the elements you are going to use on the dry purse and see how it looks. Play with all components until it looks the way you want it to.

purse02
Select the picture you want to use, insert it in the window of the purse and paint on the Mod Podge solution so you can add your background paper.

Step Three – Applying the Decoupage Solution

Pick a corner and start working in small areas with lots of the decoupage solution anywhere the paper will touch. You can also cover the picture with the solution if you prefer, and then stick it on the purse.

Either way, place the picture on the purse and use your fingers to gently press the picture down to make contact and then carefully work all the wrinkles out of the pictures. Dab off any excess solution with your finger and wipe on a tissue so you won’t have lumps that will show when dry.

Keep overlapping pictures until you have the surface covered and let dry. It can take hours or even overnight in some climates to completely dry, so use your own judgment about how long the drying time will be for you. Don’t try to rush the drying process with a hair dryer or by blowing on it, or you may get air bubbles in the surface that will ruin all your work.

<tbody”>

purse03 purse-complete
Cover the surface of the purse with Mod Podge and let dry. Now the purse is covered in paper and has at least two to three coats of Mod Podge.

Step Four – Coating and Coating

After all the pictures have dried completely, apply a thin coat over the whole surface and keep adding coats until it is how you want it to look. Watch out for bubbles as your project dries, and if you find one, just pop it gently with a straight pin and smooth over. How many coats to do? It’s up to you, but it’s always a good idea to put enough coats on to cover up the edges of the paper for a smooth, seamless look to your piece. Let it dry completely after you’re done adding coats, and you’re done.

Decoupage pieces are stunning when dry, and you can express yourself in as many ways as there are holidays!

The Most Popular Retro Halloween Costumes (2004-2008)

Some people choose Halloween costumes that are classics and have been around forever and will continue to stand the test of time.

Other people choose a trendy Halloween costume related to current events, politics, or popular characters of that year. (And this is a matter of taste. We’ve done it ALL and loved every one!)

But nothing dictates Halloween costumes more than which blockbuster movies were released that year! Here is a list of the most popular Halloween costumes of the past five years.

2004 – The year 2004 was all about Spiderman, with 2.15 million children dressing as their favorite superhero that year. Not just for the boys, Spiderman was also the top men’s costume of 2004. The Spiderman trend was due to the release of the movie Spiderman 2 that year. Little girls went with the classics that year with princesses and witches being the top costume picks. The most popular women’s costume for 2004 was Paris Hilton.

2005 – 2005 was the year of Star Wars thanks to the movie Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith being released that year. The most popular costume for men and boys was Darth Vader or Chewbacca, for women and girls it was Princess Leia or Princess Amidala. Little girls that year also took to the classics with fairies and Barbie being close behind the Star Wars costumes. For little boys in 2005 Superman was the second most popular.

2006 – In 2006, because of the release of Pirates of the Caribbean 2, the  most popular costumes were pirates. For men and boys the top costume was Captain Jack Sparrow which was just ahead of Superman and Darth Vader. For women it was also a pirate costume that was the most popular, followed by Marie Antoinette-style 18th century “Elizabeth Swan” gowns. Little girls once again stuck with the classic fairies and princesses that year.

2007 – This was the year that Spiderman 3 was released, making the black Spiderman costume the most popular for boys and men. Captain Jack Sparrow was also still a popular choice for both as well as Shrek. For women that year many chose a sexy police officer or villain themed costume. Little girls in 2007 chose Princess Fiona as the most popular costume choice followed by fairies and princesses once again.

2008 – This was Iron Man’s year as it was the most popular Halloween costume for men and boys, followed by the Dark Knight. For boys, Harry Potter was also a popular costume in 2008. For men, due to it being an election year, political costumes were hot. Woman this year were dressing as classic witches and cats. For girls in 2008, Hannah Montana was the costume to have followed by the ever popular princess and fairy.

This post was contributed by Kelly Rockey, who writes about Halloween costumes over at StarCostumes.com.

Scary Scars and Wrinkles Made with Collodion

 

Guest contributor David Lay always makes us laugh…and sometimes, scream. Here’s an EASY and fun tutorial on creating your own faux scars.

 

Okay, moms and dads, push the children from the room and close the door. We’ve gotta talk. Done? Good. It’s about scarring the kids. Not scaring the kids, though that would be fun, but scarring the kids. Not for life, mind you, but just for Halloween.

I think I have a pretty good idea how you’ve been doing it up ‘til now: You’ve been going to the corner store and buying that cheap Halloween makeup to try to make your kids scary.

But this year it’s time to graduate, inexpensively, to the big time, like the professionals use: In one word, collodion.

Collodion has been around a long time for theater and movies. It comes from the Greek word meaning “glue.” It is a material called pyroxylin that is dissolved in ether and alcohol, and was originally used in the early 1800’s as a primitive band-aid.

When exposed to air, the ether and alcohol evaporates off, leaving the material that was dissolved to harden and shrink – which is why we want to use it to make scars. It temporarily shrinks and wrinkles the skin, making it look eerily like scar tissue.

A Word of Caution – VERY FLAMMABLE

CAUTION: Remember, this stuff is for professionals, and there is a reason: Collodion is extremely flammable. And PLEASE, PLEASE don’t let children use this stuff themselves. Make sure you use adequate ventilation. Don’t use it near the eyes, and don’t get it in the eyes.

Where to Buy Collodion

You’re going to have to buy some somewhere – try Amazon. DO NOT buy the “flexable collodion”, as it does not shrink when it dries. You want “rigid collodion,” which is the theatrical stuff.

How to Create Your Custom Scar

  1. What Type of Scar?

    First, decide what kind of scar you’re going to have. A few choices are:

    • short scars
    • long scars
    • pockmarks
    • wrinkles
  2. Prepare the Area

    Prepare the skin area by washing it with soap that has no oils or lanolins. This stuff works even when the skin is oily, but better if it is not. Make sure the skin is dry before application.

    collodion-before-scarTo make the scar even more gory, “draw” the scar with red, or purple ink first, and then lay the collodion down over it. The ink will show through.

  3. Apply the Collodion

    I use a small paint brush, but you can use cotton swabs or, if you are making a large area wrinkled or scarred, you can just pour it on. Use a larger brush, and you get a larger area (this is how they make people look old in the movies or on stage), or keep re-applying it to the same swath with a small brush to make a nasty scar.

    You can make “pock” marks by dabbing in one spot. The more layers you lay down, the deeper the scar.

collodion and brush collodion-first-application
ANOTHER CAUTION: This stuff, as it dries, pulls the skin in tight, and that is why it looks so much like a scar. However, that also means it can be uncomfortable after a while. Little kids may not like having this on their skin, so be aware of this.

collodion-scar collodion-scar-2

Removing the Scar

The instructions on the bottle say to peal it off, but from my experience that can be a bit painful. Better to use fingernail polish remover. Again, needless to say but I’m going to say it anyway, make sure there is adequate ventilation and don’t get this stuff in your eye!

Okay. Order it. Use it. Scare people. Or just make people feel sorry for you and put money in your tin can. Simple.

Happy Haunting!

Easy Kids’ Halloween Costumes

Quick and Easy Ideas For Last-Minute Children’s Costumes

Some kids and their parents have their Halloween Costume ideas well planned and mapped in advance. Others don’t decide to go trick-or-treating until the last minute. If you are scrambling around the night before or the day of to find a Halloween costume that is easy and fun, give these options a try:

Each of these costumes can be put together fairly quickly and easily with items you will already have around the house, and some things that you can pick up at the local hardware store.

Statue of Liberty

While this costume idea might sound quaint, it is actually a visually interesting costume that can be put together with a minimum amount of work.

Materials

  • 1 piece of poster board
  • Yellow and Red construction paper or tissue paper
  • 1 old bed sheet
  • 1 can silver spray paint
  • Tape
  • A large book
  • A piece of butcher paper
  • A flashlight

Instructions

  1. Wrap the large book in the white butcher paper. This is Lady Liberty’s tablet.
  2. Cut the tissue paper or construction paper into a strip with jagged edges. Tape the two colors around the top of the flashlight. This is the torch.
  3. Measure your child’s head just above the ears, and cut the poster board into the crown—at least three inches of overlap works well. Leave the bottom edge smooth, cut the top edge into triangles.
  4. Spray paint the crown silver. Let it dry and then staple or tape it together so that it fits your child’s head.
  5. Spray paint the sheet silver and let it dry.
  6. When it is time to get dressed, Drape the sheet over one shoulder, place the crown on the child’s head and hand her the flashlight and tablet. It works well to wear a gray t-shirt and gray sweatpants under the sheet.

Stoplight

This is potentially the easiest Halloween Costume to throw together quickly. For the foundation, you need either black or yellow pants and a top. Then, cut three circles of about palm size of Red, Green and Yellow construction paper. (If you have more time, you can make fabric circles, but you will need to hem the edges because otherwise they will unravel.) Tape or sew the circles to the shirt. The red circle goes on top, the yellow in the middle and the green on the bottom. (How many of you could remember that before I told you?!?)

At this point, you are finished. If you have an enterprising youngster like myself, you might want to take a dowel and attach it to a hat and hang signs from it like “Wait, Delayed Signal” or “No Turn on Red.”

Scarecrow

You can be elaborate or simple when creating a scarecrow. For last-minute costumes, simple is probably better. All you need to make a simple scarecrow costume are a pair of blue jeans, an oversized, old plaid flannel shirt, a straw hat and a stick. It is a nice touch if you have some long grass or straw, too, but it is not necessary. This is one costume that requires no assembly ahead.

Have your child get dressed. Then, if you have some, tuck some straw around the cuffs of the shirt. You can also sew this on so that it does not fall out. Then show the child how to drape their arms over the stick, like a scarecrow. Put the hat on and Voila! A scarecrow. For makeup, you can use lipstick, eye shadow, and eye liner to draw on their faces.

There is no need to panic if your Halloween plans were not made well in advance. These three easy costume ideas will save the Halloween Holiday at the last minute.

Halloween Costume Classics: Wizards Throughout the Ages

Whip up an enchanting costume this HalloweenGandalf costume

Halloween is a time of magic, making a sorcerer’s costume the perfect pick. But there’s more than one way to wave a wand. Famous wizards have their own distinctive looks, giving you plenty of options. Try a classic or contemporary enchanter outfit and express your personality behind your beard this Halloween.

The Basics of the Wizard’s Costume

The standard “wizard” look is well known and easy to identify. Wizards in classic fiction – including books, movies and oral tradition – nearly always sport a long, white beard, a robe (often with stars or other decorations) and some sort of cap, typically of the pointy persuasion. We’ll get into modifications in a moment, but for now, let’s concentrate on the basics of the typical wizard costume. From there, you can go in the direction you want to create the perfect wizard costume for you.

The best wizard costumes start with a beard. Technically, a beard isn’t absolutely necessary, but if you don’t mind the feel of it around your face, this addition is one of the gold standards for the sorcerer look. Costume beards come in either glue-on, tie or elastic versions. Glued artificial hair is the most realistic, but it’s time-consuming, so be sure you have the patience before committing to this costume embellishment.

You will want to test the glue on an inconspicuous part of your body (for example, the inner arm) 48 hours before applying the adhesive to your facial skin; if you have any reaction at all, including redness, itchiness or pain, buy an elastic banded beard instead. Important: Never use any type of glue except one that states specifically that it is for use on skin and is hypoallergenic.

Hats are another standard feature of the wizard legend. Pointed sorcerer hats can be found at any costume shop around Halloween time, and are often inexpensive to buy. However, if you prefer, you can make your own. Measure your head for the hat’s size, then staple two pieces of flexible cardboard or oak tag together and roll into a cone shape the same number of inches as your head measurement; staple closed. Cut a hole the size of the cone’s opening into another piece of cardboard and cut circularly around it. Tape the cone and cap brim together firmly. Now coat the entire outside of the hat with a strong glue and cover the hat with a satiny material. Cut off excess material and glue flat, making the seam as invisible as possible.

The cloak or tunic will probably be the most expensive part of your costume, but it needn’t break your bank. Consider buying a plain tunic in a light color (for example, the basis of an angel or monk costume) and dyeing it a deep and mysterious color. Purple and midnight blue are two favorites for wizard costumes. If your tunic has a base color (such as beige, light blue, red or yellow), be sure that it will combine with your dye to create the end result you want. Try dying a brilliant gold over pale yellow or covering tan completely with deepest royal purple. Black dye works over any base color. Consult an online color chart if you’re not sure what dye color to purchase.

Which Wizard are You?

Now it’s time to pick your wizard (or to use some combination of these to create your very own look). A few of Hollywood and literature’s favorite wizards include:

  • The Classic Wizard. He (or she!) stands with a crystal ball in one hand and a short wand in the other, ready to make merry or mischief at a moment’s notice. Try a sky-blue, rope-belted cloak decorated with glue-on stars, a gold colored hat and a silver wand. For your scrying ball, look for something plastic; it’s easier to carry, and safer, than glass.
  • Merlin. Arthur’s confidante and the sage of ancient Britain, Merlin lives in our hearts as the wisest magician of them all. As Merlin, you’ll be regal in a long white cloak and a garland of oak leaves or mistletoe; also carry a staff (decorate a cheap dowel from the hardware store and attach a “crystal” or stone to the top with glue or a thin strip of leather).
  • Gandalf. The children’s – and adults’ – classic Lord of the Rings trilogy is full of characters we all love, and Gandalf tops many a devotee’s list. Gandalf wears a gray tunic and sometimes a cloak; both are tied with strips of fabric. His hat is often depicted comically tilted downward at the tip, showing that this book and movie magician is ever the rebel. Like Merlin, Gandalf carries a staff, usually at least his own height. For safety’s sake, you can go a bit shorter if you prefer. For Gandalf, the hanging gray beard is an absolute essential–yes, even if you‘re a woman.
  • Harry Potter. Harry Potter burst onto the book scene in 1997 and stole our hearts immediately. Luckily for Rowling fans, his character is easy to recreate. Harry wears a long black robe, a white collared shirt, a striped tie and round “owl” glasses. This fabled character is so well known that not only children but grown men – and women as well – can be seen on Halloween dressed as the student sorcerer!

Other less traditional but definitively magical enchanters include Star Wars’ Obi Wan Kenobi, who mentored both Anakin Skywalker and his son Luke; the corrupt Saruman of Lord of the Rings; and Count Duku, also of Star Wars fame. All can be fun choices depending upon your personality type. One thing’s for sure: with a few simple costume pieces and a modification or two, this year you’ll have a costume that’s sure to enchant others on Halloween.

Halloween Costumes: Go Retro!

pinterest.com
pinterest.com

Want a Halloween costume that really rocks? Then go retro. One of this year’s hottest trends, the retro costume is welcome at any party. Try our handy tips to create your very own blast from the past.

Why Retro?

Certain periods in history seem to bring about feelings of nostalgia and happiness—even if we didn’t actually live through them. Thirty-year-olds in full Lucille Ball regalia and teenagers in 80s neon are far from uncommon at today’s Halloween parties and parades. If you’re looking to capture that feeling of days gone by, a few simple tricks will transport you from the New Millennium to Old School. Pick your time period and come along with us on a trip down memory lane for one of the most fun costumes you’ll ever wear.

The 1950s: Grease is The Word

Grease Poodle Skirt & Sweater Adult Costume  Grease Danny's T-Bird Adult Plus Costume

Greased Lightning!

For women, try very bright, deep or dark red or coral lipstick and face powder one-half shade lighter than your skin tone. The eyes should be lined on top, but leave the bottom lids and lashes bare for an authentic look. Any length hair can “go 50s” – if you have bangs, curl them slightly under and wear them as a heavy curtain rather than in today’s wispy style. Pile the rest of the hair on top or in back of the head, or wear down and pin-curled. For men, try darkening your hair (a temporary spray-on dye covers well and washes out easily) for super-shine. Add some wet look gel to slick the hair back on the sides and “poof” it high at the crown. Once you’ve lifted the hair up and gelled it, push it just slightly forward; a lock over one eye is particularly 1950s.

Women can wear a wide skirt; cut a poodle out of black felt (inexpensive and easy to find at any crafts store) and glue it onto the front. Glue rhinestones onto the poodle’s neck for an ultra-glam faux “collar”. A tight, short-sleeved top or one with capped sleeves is the perfect complement to your skirt. A brightly colored scarf and a pair of sunglasses (the more colorful and outlandish the better!) complete your look. (Hint: If you’re going as the “bad girl,” wear a pencil skirt instead, and make sure your top is low-cut.)

For men, wear relatively close-fitting jeans if you’re dressing as the bad boy/”greaser”; pressed slacks if you’re going as the jock or class pet. A white T-shirt or button-down shirt complete with pocket protector and a pair of dangling glasses finishes off these two looks. Accessories like super-cool shades or a thrift store letter sweater add pizzazz.

The 1960s: Fashion and Flower Power

Far Out Man Adult Costume  Woodstock Girl Adult Costume

Peace, Dude!

If you love the 60s, you’re in luck: the freedom and “anything goes” mentality of this time period makes putting together a Halloween costume a snap. The flower child is perhaps the easiest 60s style costume to create. Jeans—the more worn the better—and a loose tank top work for both men and women. Look for bright colors and large floral or geometric patterns for your shirt choice, and sew an oversized flower patch on one back pocket. Pick up a peace sign pendant at a thrift shop, teen store or online; these can often be had for $3-5 or less. Wear it on a slightly bulky chain around your neck. For hair, looser is better; wear it sleek and straight or curly and free.

The mod look is another popular 1960s Halloween pick. Shirts with a stand-up or “clerical”-style collar and wild patterns are perfect for your mod costume. If you have leather pants, great! If not, see whether you can find a pair at a thrift shop or borrow from a friend or neighbor. Pull on a pair of high heeled boots (for both women and men) and you’re set for the party!

The 80s: Shout, Shout, Let it All Out

Super Mullet Blonde  Funky Pop Star Adult Costume

You turn me right round, baby!

The 1980s gave us neon, leg warmers and big, big hair. Shop teen stores for neon touches; paint your nails hot pink or lime green and curl just the top or sides of your hair, then tease the curls as high as possible. For men, puff the top of the hair up and hold in place with a light application of hair gel or a little hair spray.

Jeans tended to be very tight in the 1980s. Men can also seek out slacks in white or black. Online auctions or thrift stores may have balloon or parachute pants (or, gasp!, maybe your closet!); both men and women can wear these for an 80s costume. Head bands that tie across the front of the forehead can also be worn by either sex. Make your own with inexpensive ribbon from any department or crafts store. Go wild—the 80s were all about bright colors and outrageous personal style.

You may have your very own favorite time period; if so, look in thrift stores, clearance bins and even the back of your own closet for clothing and accessories. Use your imagination—with retro costuming, the sky’s the limit.

Happy Halloween!

It’s A Hip Hop Halloween Night

Editor’s Note: Recently, we were startled by the visitation of a black-caped D.J., ghoulish in nature, and we thought for sure we were finally done for. However, he stood upright, his mouth turning to a wry grin, and he snapped his long fingers. A funky-sounding Halloween song suddenly began to play through a slight, autumn wind that blew from behind his cape. We began bobbing to it, and thought it a great addition for any kid’s Halloween party. Here we share his story with you.

Danceable Halloween Music

Greetings, my fellow party monsters!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Scaryngton. Count Barry Scaryngton. But you can call me Count Barry Scaryngton.

One dark and stormy night, as I lay awake in my cozy coffin, with visions of ghosts and pumpkins dancing around my head, it occurred to me that I did not have very many funky Halloween dance tunes for my upcoming party.

Oh sure, I have the immortal classic “Monster Mash”. What party would be complete without it? All the ghouls and boos love it. There is also Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and the “Theme from Ghostbusters”. Yas, varry funky indeed, but I realized these songs are not really about Halloween itself!

Hip Hop Halloween NightSo, I went deep underground to a secret lair of my haunted castle, where I have my own recording studio. Yas, Count Barry is pretty hip. There, together with my weird-but-talented friend Ripley von Rapperstein, I conjured up a deliciously fun, funky and G-rated Halloween song for Party Monsters of all ages.

This vonderful tune is a magic brew of rap, singing, and funky dance beats. Whether you are young, old, ancient or even undead, “It’s A Hip Hop Halloween Night” will make you clap your claws together, beat your leathery wings, and dance the night away! And, most importantly, there is a guest rap by none other than—yes, yours truly—me, Count Barry Scaryngton! Yas, it is hard to believe, I know!

I invite you now, if you dare, to listen to a demo of the song “It’s A Hip Hop Halloween Night” – you can download it at iTunesicon or Amazon. You can search by song title, or by the band name, “Halloween Freaks”.

Ripley von Rapperstein, the other Halloween Freaks, and yours truly, are busily brewing up more funky and fun songs for your Halloween pleasure.

In the meantime, ve hope you enjoy “It’s A Hip Hop Halloween Night”.

Here’s the lyrics:

(Listen to the song while singing along – link will open in a new window)

It’s A Hip Hop Halloween Night

By The Halloween Freaks

Verses 1:
The time is close, yeah the time is near
You can feel it in your bones, Halloween is here
Gonna get dressed up in a cool disguise
You won’t see my face, you’ll just see my eyes

I’ll be wearing a mask with a hideous grin
When I come to your door, don’t be lettin’ me in
Just give me a treat, maybe two or three
Cause my little brother keeps stealing candy from me

I keep telling him not to, I…wait what is that?
Flying over the moon wearing a big pointy hat!
My eyes must be playin’ little tricks on me
But I swear Jack o’ lanterns are winkin’ at me!

Chorus:
It’s a hip-hop Halloween night
Witches fill the air and spirits take flight
To scare the neighbourhood
But it’s all good
Cause it’s a hip-hop Halloween

It’s a hip-hop Halloween night
Everybody get ready for a Halloween fright
Got a Halloween moon
And a Halloween tune
For this hip-hop Halloween night

Verses 2:
I’m the ghost with the most, I’m a monsta man
Shaking up your bones like no other ghoul can
Got a bag o’ tricks and a bag o’ treats
I’m a beast unleashed with my Halloween beats

Check your broom at the door, get on the dance floor
Come and rattle your chains ‘til you can’t take it no more
You can drink witches brew, you can eat my candy
Keep your fangs off my neck and we’ll be just dandy

If ya turn to dust at the break of dawn
I think I better warn ya that ya better be gone
‘Fore the sun comes up, but that ain’t too soon
There’s a party going on, come and howl at the moon

Repeat Chorus

Vampire rap: (Count Barry Scaryngton):

Raise your claws in the air
And wave ‘em like you just got scared
And if you feel insane
I’ll give you a new brain
Now howl like you just don’t care
Everybody say “owwwooooo!”
Everybody say “aowuuhhhh!”
Everybody say “muhahaha!”

That was very good!
Now please excuse me, I must find someone….something!… to drink!

Chorus – out

(Count Barry Scaryngton talking in background during chorus):

Come and dance with me you old bat!
What do you mean, no?
I’m going home to my mummy!
I will take wings and fly if you don’t dance with me!
Well, fine!
How about you? Would you like to dance with me?
Hey get away from that!
That’s my candy!

© Worldstage Music. All Rights Reserved.

I bid you a good e-ven-ing, and a Happy Halloween!

You’ve Got the Right Stuff – An 80s Theme Party

 

LOOK THE PART: It’s easy to find iconic pieces without breaking your Halloween budget. Click to get this costume.

Over thirty years later, you may no longer have to fight for our right to par-taaay, but that doesn’t mean you should stop! Throwing an 80s theme party is a fun way to be nostalgic, whether it was for your teen years or your childhood.

While you may still be reserving judgment on the collective wisdom of mullets and shoulder pads, these iconic fashion statements make for easy to find the perfect 80s costume.

Read on for totally tubular ways to hang with your dudes and dudettes at your very own 80s theme party.

GO NEON: Your party says “80s” the minute you hang something that’s, like, totally blinding. Click for info.

80’s Party Decorations

When it comes to the 80s, you have a few popular directions for your decorations.

  •  80s style is a combination of neon colors and those classic geometrical shapes. Get some neon bulletin board paper and cut it into bold geometrical shapes (triangles, circles, lines) and hang these from the ceiling and around the room.
  • Drape some lace. Do up your living room like a Madonna video with lace and red roses. Totally rad!
  • A third is one we like to call ‘Solid Gold.’ Premiering in the early eighties, Solid Gold was a popular television program that featured dancers breaking out to hit songs. Like a hangover from the 70s, the original set was all about beige carpets and gold and black accents. You can channel that Solid Gold look into your party room with black and gold decorations.
  • Add a touch of authenticity by decorating the walls with posters from bands like Duran Duran and Wham! You can easily make these by printing poster images large-scale at a local print shop.

Like, Totally Don’t Forget the Atmosphere, Dude!

To add to that 80’s flavor, play DVDs of 80s music videos and movies quietly in the background.

Simply throw on a Devo video, start up the dry ice, rent a few inexpensive laser lights and you’ll turn your living room into a certified time machine!

Party Activities

  • 80s Karaoke: Rent a karaoke machine and encourage guests to sing their favorite song from the era of new-wave and glam metal. In minutes, you’ll have guests belting out Depeche Mode, The Clash, and Def Leppard.
  • Guess The Hair: Print off a few pictures of classic 80’s hairdos (Mike
    HAIR’S TO YOU: We totally feel a metal ballad coming on.

    Score from A Flock of Seagulls, David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider, Robert Smith of The Cure, Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington, Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, or Sid Vicious’s mohawk) and blank out the faces. Award a prize to the party-goer who can guess the most mystery hairstyles.

Wall of Shame: If your guests are older, ask them to bring a picture of themselves in the 80s or send one in advance by email. Pin each picture to the wall and offer a prize to whoever can match the most party-goers to their 80s counterparts.

Rubicks Face-Off: Set up a few easy-to-solve Rubick’s Cubes (take a new cube and only shift it a few times). Stage a Rubick’s Cube competition with prizes for the fastest solver.

Drinks and Refreshments

While it’s hard to make a theme menu based on the 80’s, you could set out a few classic drinks that were hugely popular at the time, including wine coolers, Jolt Cola, Fresca and Tab.

While you’re at it, throw some Nerds, Pop Rocks, Big Chew bubble gum and other novelty candies that hit it big in the 80s in bowls around the room.

1980s Costumes

Stop! It’s partytime. Click for this costume.

You can dress up in full 80s garb with items from your own closet! An oversized sweatshirt with the neck cut out, stretch pants, white pumps and leggings will turn you into

Flashdance while a pastel blazer, t-shirt, and pleated khakis will transform you into Miami Vice. A leather jacket, tight jeans, and chains will make you a punk rocker.

Another costume option is to dress as a specific 80’s icon like Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, Pat Benetar, Madonna (circa Like a Virgin), Tammy Faye Baker, or even Magnum P.I.

Whether you base your costume on a famous person or a general 80s style, you can get creative in your own closet or buy costumes from online retailers, including wigs of classic 80s hairstyles and mullets.

Party on, dude. And remember – stay gnarly!

Throwing a Widow’s Ball

Get it on – and dance ’til you’re dead. Victorian bowknot ballgown, 7 colors, $89.

A Widow’s Ball is the ultimate, gothic-themed night. Don your black and lace attire and get ready for a Halloween dinner party to remember.

The elements that go into planning a successful Widow’s Ball are the same as a regular dinner party –  just darker, spookier, and much creepier (yeah, we love it too!).

Learn how to throw a memorable Widow’s Ball event this Halloween, including invitations, decorations, and menu and gothic costume ideas.

 

 

 

A Gothic Theme Party – The Invitations

Bring your gothic theme into your party at every opportunity, starting with the invitations. To achieve a dark and eerie look, try distressing and aging the invitation paper. To do this, follow these simple steps:

  1. Print off your invitations on a heavy paper stock.
  2. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F.
  3. Crumple up each invitation into a ball and then smooth them out.
  4. Lay the invitations out on a standard baking sheet.
  5. Pour about 1/4 cup of steeped tea over the paper, spreading it around with a sponge.

6. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of instant coffee over the invitations, allowing the crystals to splatter out.

7. After a few minutes, dab up the remaining tea and coffee with a paper towel.

8. Put your invitations in the oven, “baking” them for about five minutes.

Your antiqued paper invitations will have a truly gothic feel and look to them. Put a few strings of fake spider webbing inside the envelope with your invitation to get your guests in a morbid mood.

With your invitation remember to include directions to your house, costume guidelines , the date and time, and your contact information for RSVPs.

Your Own Costume

Don’t forget your own costume. A Widow’s Ball is about gothic glamor.

For women, pick a costume that combines the regal look of a Victorian ball gown with the dark morbidness of blacks, grays, and a splash of zombie make-up. For men, the classic vampire, undertaker’s uniform or simply a ghoulified suit should do the trick.

Add LOADS of Victorian/goth touches. Gloves, chokers and sexy fishnet stockings peeking from the bottom of your gown will add plenty of dark deliciousness to your Widow’s Ball.

For hair and makeup, create an undead appearance with a pale face, dark circles under your eyes, streaks of gray in your hair, maybe a fang or two, and black fingernails. Have fun . . . but not too much fun. This is a morbid affair, after all.

BONUS: Need makeup help? Here’s a GORGEOUS goth makeup tutorial.

Decorating the “Ballroom”

Give your house a spooky and eerie feel by dimming the lights, draping the staircase in black gauze, running fake cobwebs from the ceiling, and covering the tables with tattered lace.

Black roses are always perfect. So are coffin and crypt imagery.

Feel free to add dramatic touches like a fake graveyard on the lawn, creepy music, dry ice cauldrons on the snack table, and Halloween props that are dark and scary, but not cheesy or overdone. Think gothic lace, not fluorescent jack-o-lanterns.

If you’re a DIY carpenter, try making props like a coffin shaped dining table (easily done with inexpensive plywood), or gravestone covers for the stereo. You can also purchase great tombstone props and fake skeletons.

A Morbid Menu

Whether it’s for a full and formal dinner party or a simple snack table, planning a theme menu will help bring your Widow’s Ball theme into the food, but also give you focus.

For simple party snacks, try these fun hors d’oeuvre;

  • Puss and Dried Scabs (melted Brie with dried cranberries)
  • Creepy Cheese and Crackers (use a small Halloween-shaped cookie cutter to cut your sliced cheese into ghostly shapes)
  • Crispy Bat Wings (spicy chicken wings)
  • Gravestone Cookies (use food coloring pens to write your guest’s names on gravestone-shaped cookies)

For a full dining experience, try creating a themed menu. Here’s an example of a morbidly macabre meal:

Appetizer – Witches’ Cauldron Soup

For a broth based soup, put a dime-store miniature broom or witch (wash them first) in each bowl, and sprinkle fake cobwebs or plastic spiders around the plates below the bowls. For a creamy pumpkin soup, you can serve the soup from a hollowed-out pumpkin “cauldron.”

Main Course – Brain on a Plate with Flesh of Man

For the Brain on a Plate, make mashed potatoes that are either set in a mold or will be molded by you. To set your mashed potatoes in a brain mold, chill them overnight and then reheat them in the microwave before serving. For the flesh, serve your roast inside a skeleton (oh, come on, it’s a fake one!). Get a fake skull (or full bucky skeleton) to place at the head of your roast. Surround the roast with rib bones either picked up from your butcher or culled from the rest of your fake skeleton.

Dessert – Coffin Cake

Cut a pound cake into a classic coffin shape. Slice a 1/2 inch top layer off to make your lid and set it aside. Now, scoop out the inside of the cake to make your coffin. Fill the coffin with brownie crumbs, jelly worms, and candied insects and set the lid on top and slightly askew. Serve it on a wooden cutting board surrounded by dirt (chocolate cookie crumbs) and a shovel (a teaspoon).

Be a darkly merry widow and host your own Widow’s Ball. Invite all your undead friends – and it will be a grim and gorgeous affair to remember.

 

How To Throw a Black & White Ball

Invoke the glamor of early Hollywood films or simply the stunning graphic effect of a room filled with only black and white, and host a Black & White Ball! Great as a fundraiser or a memorable social event, the premise of a Black & White Ball is that guests are requested to only wear black and white.

One of the most infamous Black & White Balls was hosted by author Truman Capote in 1966. Held at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, it was considered by many to be the social event of the decade, perhaps even the century. Guests like Frank Sinatra, Andy Warhol, and Babe Paley joined 500 others in an event that was seemingly so significant it has its own book and full issues of magazines devoted to it. Though not the first Black & White Ball to ever be held, Capote’s is perhaps the most known.

To recreate that glamor as your Halloween theme party, keep reading to learn how to host a successful Black & White Ball – including tips on decorations, menu, and costumes.

Begin The Mood – Invitations

A Black & White Ball is about glamor and glitz. If you can afford it, emboss your invitations on a heavy card stock. For a less expensive alternative, print them at home using an elegant font and heavy paper. If you’re hosting your Black & White Ball as a fundraiser event, consider having the tickets printed by a professional printer. These will serve as a beautiful keepsake for your generous donors.

For a more casual party, such as a Halloween get together, let your guests know that formal dress isn’t expected, just black and white. You may also want to call your event a Black & White Party, as the term “ball” tends to suggest a formal event.

Invoke The Mood – Decor

Nothing less than black and white will do. Elegant white tablecloths, crisp black napkins, white candles and black carpet. Don’t go too far with it though, or you’ll make the room like a black-and-white checkered diner. Keep it simple and subdued, yet absolutely striking.

If you are looking to recreate a splash of Hollywood glamor, consider having black and white photographs of Hollywood icons like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Clark Gable and even Charlie Chaplin blown up and printed on poster paper. You can then hang them around the room. Another cute take on the icons idea is to convert photographs of your guest into black and white images (usually easy with most digital photo programs) and have those blown up instead.

The Menu – Food and Drinks

Not absolutely everything has to be in black and white, but a few choice food items should give a nod or two to the theme. Here’s a great Black & White Ball appetizer idea:

Black & White Pizza Hors d’Oeuvre

  • 1 ball of pre-made pizza dough
  • 3 cups of black beans
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 8 ounces of shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups of sliced Kalamata olives
  • 3 cloves of chopped garlic
  • Black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Oil a pizza pan or standard rectangular baking pan.
  3. Flatten dough to the edges of pan.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  5. Combine oil, cumin, garlic, and half the beans. Mix WELL until smooth.
  6. Spread bean paste over dough.
  7. Sprinkle cheese, allowing bean paste below to show.
  8. Arrange olives and remaining black beans over the top.
  9. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes.
  10. Remove and allow to cool. Sprinkle pepper over the top.
  11. Cut into bite-size pieces, ready to serve.

Many other foods, like chicken, olives, pasta, bean paste, black caviar, white crackers, and Brie can all be used to incorporate the Black & White theme into your event.

For desserts try white truffles, black and white chocolate cake, and white fruits with dark chocolate. To create a signature black and white drink for the night, mix Kahlua or any dark coffee liqueur with vanilla schnapps. Done slowly, the two liquids should remain layered and separate – making a fantastic (and delicious) graphic effect.

Costumes To Wear

Black and white, of course. For a more formal event, men should consider a tuxedo or black suit. Women should wear a black or white (or black and white) cocktail dress or gown. For a more casual night, any piece of clothing that’s black or white should do the trick.

As fancy as it can all sound, a Black & White Ball can be as ritzy or as casual as you want it to be. For a great Halloween twist, have your guests come as a celebrity who actually attended a black & white ball! Whatever you decide, let your guests know the expectations, plan well ahead, and last but not least, remember to enjoy yourself on the big night!

How to Host a Phantom of the Opera Masquerade Ball

It’s an enduring tale steeped in uber-dramatic design, longing and love, tragedy and terror – and it’s the PERFECT party theme for Halloween or any time you’re feeling a little bit Goth.

It’s Phantom of the Opera, and once you discover how cool this idea can be for your Halloween party, you’ll wonder why you didn’t get your hands on it sooner.

Here we offer your spookiest (and most darkly romantic) tips on how to plan memorable Phantom of the Opera masquerade ball, from the dark invitations to that gorgeous ballgown. Enjoy!

Invoking The Phantom: Your Party Invitations

Credit: freepik.com

Set the mood for your guests by sending out invitations that reflect the theme of the party and the mood you want – for instance, very formal; casual dress but high drama; or whatever your choice is for the evening.

Most masqued balls involve the women being masqued too; if so, add this to your invitations.

One memorable invitation idea is to print your invites on heavy card stock and then cut each invitation into the shape of the infamous Phantom mask. Clip two holes in each mask and run a thin elastic through to act as a band, making your invitation a wearable memory.

 

Credit: Pinterest, Audra Harmon

Another phantom-themed invitation idea is to print your invite on sheet music paper. Available at most music stores, you can purchase sheet music paper and age it to look old by staining it with tea, crumpling it and burning the edges – after you print your invitation details, of course! Roll each invitation up and seal it with a few drops of crimson red wax.

On your invitations, remember to include the date, time, location, whether or not food and refreshments will be served, and your expectations of how guests should dress. If you want to host a formal masquerade balll, indicate so on the invitation – ladies wear masks too! If you want to create a more casual event, let your guests know so they don’t show up in ball gowns and tuxedos. It’s all up to you!

Creating The Opera – Your Decorations

Credit: Paste Magazine

Create a Gothic and operatic feel with simple but stunning decorations. Start with dim lighting and an emphasis on candle light. From there, try this list of decorating suggestions to set the mood at your Phantom of The Opera Ball:

  • Rent or make dark red velvet curtains. Use these to line the walls of your party area and drape your staircase. When draping fabric, always be careful of candle placement.
  • Purchase fake or real red roses. Separate the roses and use them to decorate the room. For sit-down dinners, don each guest’s plate with a single red rose.
  • Play the soudtrack from the musical in the background as well as any favorite opera pieces. For dark and scary classical music, try Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Bach’s Toccata and Fugue, Mozart’s Requiem, or Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain/Pictures at an Exhibition. Any of these are sure to get your guests’ hearts pumping.
  • Hang fake cobwebs from the ceiling and around the edges of the table, giving the entire room a haunted and gothic look.
  • Use a sporadic fog machine to create a spooky and haunting ambiance throughout the evening. These are easily rented from most party and event supply vendors.
  • Hang a framed print of the poster for the popular musical, either over the mantel or in a prominent place that’s visible when guests first arrive.

Activities for a Phantom of the Opera Evening

If it fits within your budget, hire an opera singer to perform at the party – including selections from the Phantom of the Opera score and pieces of their choosing. For a less expensive performer alternative, try advertising at the local music school for advanced students who would be interested in performing at an event.

Your guests will most likely be dressed up, so provide a space for dancing and a line-up of music for later in the night. You can begin the evening with operatic and classical selections, but as the night wears on you and your guests may want some selections that are a little more contemporary and danceable.

What To Wear to a Phantom of the Opera Masquerade Ball

The primary criteria is a mask. A number of online retailers sell masks that range from elaborate and feathered to simple and basic, including ones based on the classic Phantom of the Opera mask. The general rule for most masquerade events is that guests must wear their masks until midnight.

Credit: Enigma Wigs

For dress, the host should indicate how formal or casual the event will be. Typically men will wear dark suits or tuxedos and women will wear opera-style ball gowns.

In true opera form, women can also opt for an elaborate updo hair style. Grab a realistic hair piece or extensions for ultra-glam and dance the night away in romance…for a night you’ll never forget.

How to Throw a Pirate Party

 

 

Yar going to love these hot costumes from Amazon – or get our fast hacks below.

Avast, matey – so ye be wantin’ to throw a pirate party, eh?

Well then look-ee no furtharrr! Whether you’re celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19), hosting a pirate-themed Halloween party, or throwing a pirate’s birthday bash, we’ll cover it all!

Keep reading for cool tips on pirate invitations, decorations, costumes, and mighty-fine high seas menus – including one kick-A watermelon boat you’re just going to HAVE to have.

 

Pirate Invitations

 

Start incorporating your pirate theme right from the very beginning – with your invitations. You can make great invitations at home, like a hidden treasure map or a pirate’s hat.

 

 Treasure Map Invitations

To make invitations that look like treasure maps, print the directions to your party in rhyme and include a small, hand-drawn map that you can photocopy onto the invitations.

Once that’s done, make the paper look yellowy and old by crumpling it and staining it with tea. Roll up the invitation and either tie it with string or, if you’re hand-delivering the invitations, stuff it in a bottle.

Pirate Hat Invitations

If you’re using a thicker card stock, you can also get away with cutting your invitations out in classic pirate shapes, like a pirate’s hat that attendees can wear. (Tip: Pressed for time? Sketch a quick pirate’s hat, write party information in the white spaces, and copy for guests.)

To make a pirate’s hat invitation, start with black card stock or construction paper. Fold a rectangular piece of paper (8.5 x 11 is fine) in half, bringing together the shorter sides.

Turn the corners down along the crease, lining them up (like you’re making a paper airplane). Then fold up either side’s bottom edge to create your brim.

You can make a chin string by punching holes in each side and running elastic or thread through the holes. Print your invitation details, including date and time, and glue it to the pirate hat.

Pirate Theme Decorations

Raise the skull-and-crossbones flag, because you’re throwing a pirate party!

Decorating for a pirate party can be as simple as throwing down some black and white striped cloth over the tables, or as elaborate as turning your entire living room into the inside of a galleon. Some affordable decorative suggestions:

  • Purchase inexpensive fishing nets from your local hunting or gaming store. Drape these from the staircases and ceilings. For an added touch, wrap a few fake skulls up in the netting before you hang it.
  • Scour your basement or local garage sales for old trunks that could double as treasure chests. Fill these with party favors, or even an ice cooler filled with beers (now that’s a treasure!)
  • You KNOW you need a black flag. Fly it above the party table, in the dance area if you have one, or outside to tell guests, “Yar, the party be in here!”
  • Buy metal buckets from your local hardware store and fill these with snacks or, again, more iced beer.
  • Use an old sheet (you can “age” it by lightly dying it with yellow food dye and carefully burning the edges) and stakes from the hardware store to make a sail and mast for the front lawn or even the front room.

Hearty Eating and Drinking

No party is complete without a full refreshments table. Keep your menu pirate-themed by serving pirate drinks and themed treats that are also tasty. Here are some great snack suggestions:

  • Hollow out half of a watermelon to make a boat shape. Fill it with fruit or dip and plant a little sail and pirate flag in the middle. Alternative HOT idea: try out your artistic skills and carve a watermelon shark instead.
  • Pick up inexpensive pirate topper toothpicks and insert into frothy cupcakes.
  • Serve up roasted chicken and turkey legs or jerk chicken for a real island swashbuckler’s dining experience.
  • watermelon.org

    Fill a metal bucket with chocolate coins and mark it “Treasure,” or gummy worms and mark it “Fish Bait.”

  • Make coconut balls and dip them in black food coloring to make them “cannon balls.”
  • Serve a lot of rum (Captain Morgan anyone?) drinks, beer and, of course, some non-alcoholic Pirate’s Punch for those who don’t imbibe. A classic pirate’s drink is Grog – dark rum, a teaspoon of sugar, cloves, lemon juice, a dash of cinnamon and a splash of hot water. Serving it in a hearty mug completes a true tradition.

Pirate Costume Ideas

Amid the death-defyin’ frenzy of putting together your pirate party, don’t forget your own costume!

If you’re not a tailor or creative in your closet, a number of online retailers sell pre-made pirate’s costumes that include wigs, hooks, boots and all the accessories you need to put together a pirate’s outfit. But if you’re feeling creative, check out Pinterest or Google for quick ideas. Here are ours:

  • Hunt for treasure in your own closet! Or check out Goodwill or your local consignment shop.
  • Cut yoga pants jaggedly across the bottom. Instant pirate pants.
  • If you have a white shirt, cut an old shirt of any alternating color into wide stripes. Glue onto shirt with fabric glue.
  • Take an old leather or vinyl belt you won’t be wearing anymore. Cut off the buckle and tie closed.
  • A bandanna gives you an instant pirate look. Red and black are both traditional.
  • For a pirate wench, any wide “hippie” style skirt will work. hitch it up and pin it on one side to the knee, or go super-saucy and hitch it all the way up to the waist. Wear boyshorts underneath if you’re a bit shy!

Grab a phony parrot, pin it to your shoulder and you’re done! Now, walk the plank!

Quick Halloween Costume Ideas

“What am I going to be this year?” is a common refrain heard spoken by the young and old alike every Halloween. But especially by those of us who are no longer kids with favorite cartoon heroes. You know you need a costume and you are really enthusiastic about wearing one but you just can’t get a good idea of what you want to be. I always tell myself that I’ll decide what I am going to be tomorrow and that there’s still plenty of time. Yep, I am one of those of people who always deludes themselves into thinking that lightning will strike and a fantastic costume idea will fall into my lap and that all the components for my costume will be neatly stacked in my closet. Now ask me how many times that has happened? Nadda, zip and zero! You too? I have taken the costumed bull by the horns this year and I made a list of what I hope are quick pull-together costumes&emdash;quick-witted and clever costumes, too! You should be able to find all the components for these costume ideas around your house and in your closets. Well, you will if your house and closets look like mine! Read on. Help is here! See if there is a costume ‘lightning bolt’ idea for you.

Halloween Puns & Word Plays

I love any kind of word play and puns have always been my favorite inspiration for costumes. I said that every year I would hope that lightning would strike me and hope for a fabulous costume idea to fall into my lap. Lightning did strike one year! That phrase gave me the idea to go as a golfer that had been struck by lightning. I found some old gaudy, yellow double-knit plaid pants, a lilac plaid button-down shirt and some really tacky old white shoes at a yard sale. A friend gave me a broken golf club that I bent into an ‘S’ shape around a gatepost. I burned holes in my clothes, put gray and black make up under all the burn places and blacked my face. I gelled my hair so that it was standing on end . . . there was my costume!

Another time I was talking to a friend while I was trying to come up with a costume idea. When she asked me what I was doing, I replied, “oh, just killing time.” Hum. I decided that was a perfect costume. I made a cardboard clock face and painted it to look like an old grandfather clock with eyes, nose, cheeks and a mouth. I dug around in the back of my closet until I found an old plastic costume knife. I stuck the knife through the clock face and acted really deranged when people asked me what I was. Killing time was a huge hit at that year’s party.

One Cool Halloween Costume Idea

A great Halloween costume I saw on a guy one time was a chick magnet. This guy was dressed in something metallic-looking and had fashion dolls pinned all over him. A very clever Hallloween costume idea… take that, James Bond!

Are you a basket case? Great! Grab a cardboard box and cut a hole so you can stand in it. Then fill the box with all different sizes of baskets. Write ‘case’ on the box; add suspenders and you are a real basket case!

Do your friends think you’re self-absorbed? Put on your favorite outfit and pin sponges all over. You are now formally self-absorbed!

Do you still see your old family witch doctor? Throw on a pointy witch hat, white lab coat; carry around a few bottles with strange labels and a child’s stethoscope. Ta dah!

How about going as the devil with the blue dress on? Oh wait. That was Monica, right? Go buy a set of red horns and a pitchfork, wear your favorite blue dress and you’re in business!

I think you get my point that puns and word plays are great costume ideas. Listen to your friends and family talk for several days and I bet one phrase will stick out loud and clear.

Halloween Inspiration in the everyday things

If you are not into word play there is plenty of inspiration from everyday things.

What about road kill? Grab any old animal costume, an old tire, black ink and some fake blood. Take the animal costume and lay it out on the driveway. Roll black ink on the tire and roll it on the top part of the costume. Re-ink the tire and do the same to the lower part of the costume. Oh, please remember &emdash;you shouldn’t BE IN the costume at the time! Now splash on fake blood or add tons of rotting make up and be a zombie road kill, ah . . . thing for a twist.

If you like a more basic and disgusting costume go for the hairball. Go to a craft store and buy several bags of Mohair or go to a yard sale and buy several old and really bad wigs. Cut off clumps of either kind of hair and glue it all over some old clothes that you wouldn’t mind throwing away. Then put some Vaseline on the hair to make it look slimy and wet! When people come up to you and ask what you are, start coughing and gagging and then tell ’em. I bet they won’t come near you the rest of the night. I don’t think you will be invited back next year either!

Maybe it’s just me, but wearing the traditional Halloween couples’ costumes is about as much fun as going to the dentist. Intestinal lock up! I hate to see people with those sweet little ‘couple’ costumes like Raggedy Ann and Andy, baby boy and girl or worse, a puppy and a kitten. I like the more unconventional couple costumes, like the year we dressed in my specially made XXL sweatshirt. I cut two sweatshirts in half and sewed them back together, leaving two neckholes. I put sequin trim where I had joined the shirts and he and I decorated each side radically different. We went as a split personality!

If both of you like golf, this Halloween costume could be your salvation! Find two old pairs of those really wild colored pants that all of our Uncle Harry’s use to wear, some knee socks you could use to flag traffic, and two old junky sweaters. Cut the pants off about mid-shin and tuck them into the top of the knee socks. Cut a huge hole in just one of the sweaters and run glue just off the edges so the sweater won’t fall apart when you put it on. Find some old golf clubs and you can go as a hole in one!

I hope my zany brain has helped you understand that getting a great costume idea is as easy as listening for a funny phrase or just a word play. You also don’t have to spend big bucks or have to be something typical. I think the most important thing about making your costume is having fun with it like we all did in our childhood. Just look around and inspiration will strike, if you’re open to it. Oh yea, that means digging through your closets!