Tag Archives: costumes

Secrets of a Great Do-It-Yourself Halloween Costume

Jealous of your friend down the street who always seems to come up with the most creative and unique Halloween costumes? Looking for the “wow” factor in your Halloween costume this year rather than going as the color green (again)?

If you’re ready to dive into the costume venture of your life and catapult yourself into fame and fortune with the best do-it-yourself Halloween costume in the world (or at least get a few compliments at the Halloween party), there are a few things to consider before you begin.

  1. Consider your audience. Will you be going to a costume party with some close friends, or just trick-or-treating door to door? Do you need to keep it kid-friendly? What are the interests of those around you? Going as the main character in your favorite show to a party where no one has seen it won’t earn you the recognition your efforts deserve. You can save yourself a little trouble by thinking about what your audience will appreciate.
  2. Seek inspiration from the world around you. Be observant as you walk around during the day and ask yourself, “How could I turn this into a costume?” as you look at everyday objects. Inspiration can strike at any time!
  3. Be prepared to put in some time and effort (and maybe a little money too). Even if your DIY costume ends up being relatively inexpensive and easy to put together, you’ll probably end up putting in some hours on this — if not on the actual costume assembly itself, at least in the thought and creative process.

Elements of an Awesome DIY Costume

So, now that you know a little better what you’re getting yourself into, let’s look at some of the characteristics of the most successful DIY costumes. The best DIY costumes are:

  • Creative: In order for your DIY costume to be a hit, you have to be unique in some way. I’m sorry, but the whole witch or black cat routine isn’t going to work here. Think outside the box. Or maybe think differently about the box—cardboard boxes make for some great costume possibilities. (Love Rubiks Cubes? Dress up as one!) Your costume has to be something people don’t see on every other street corner while they’re trick-or-treating in order for you to stand out from the ghoulish crowd.
  • Easily Identifiable: If you’re going for something a little off-the-wall, you have to make sure it’s still in the ballpark as far as recognition value goes. How will people recognize your genius if they don’t know what you’re supposed to be? The most effective DIY costumes are those that others can identify immediately or within a minute or two (for costumes that are more subtle in their meaning). “DIY” doesn’t have to mean “elaborate,” but the costume has to be faithful to what you’re trying to represent in order for people to recognize and appreciate your costume masterpiece.
  • Resourceful:It’s great if you have the money to rent a costume or buy all the expensive supplies for a detailed costume, but generally people appreciate the clever use of readily available resources. Paint and cardboard and a little ingenuity go a long way. How about a clear plastic garbage bag with some colored balloons? Voila! A bag of jellybeans! Use what you have on hand and get creative.

    DIY Halloween Costume King Kong
    Photo: Ericka McConnell/Halloween Celebrations
  • Timely: Capitalizing on current pop culture crazes or current events can score big laughs and lots of “That’s so cool!” comments and pictures with smartphones. For example, dressing up as the lady on the Progressive Insurance commercial has been popular these past few years.

Think of a Theme

Now that we’ve named some characteristics of great DIY costumes, let’s look at some of the categories that they seem to fall under to really get the creative juices going.

  • Technology: Some of the most brilliant/clever DIY costumes I’ve seen fall into this category. For example, what about being a Facebook wall or YouTube channel? You’ll get some comments for sure—especially if you have a marker handy for that purpose. If you have a little tyke in tow, why not outfit their car seat with this iPhone getup? iLove it.

    ipone baby costume
    Image credit: IngaMun on Flickr
  • Food:This category provides some great fodder for DIY costume ideas. I love this DIY deviled egg costume—a food and a pun all in one!

    food costumes deviled egg
    Image credit: txkimmers on Flickr
  • Everyday objects: Salt and pepper shakers are a little bit cliché, but it’s going down the right track. How about Pepsi and Coke cans? Or a washing machine with clothes inside?
  • Puns: Love wordplay? Transform it into a brilliant costume that will dazzle and amaze your friends. Or at least it will make them snicker. Hi-ho the dairy-o; what about the Farmer in the Dell?:

    farmer in the dell costume
    Image credit: Coolest-homemade-costumes.com

One of the greatest things about Halloween is that it provides so many opportunities to be creative, even for the normally non-creative types. So don’t delay—get out there and make yourself a Halloween costume to remember.

About the Author

Emma Rae Curtis researches and writes about everything Halloween, from costumes, to party ideas, to makeup and more.

Steampunk Costume Ideas

While it’s inching its way into the mainstream in super-cool techno/throwback style, steampunk is still uncharted territory for many. If you haven’t experienced the joys of this phab and very sexy trend, grab some goggles, a long duster (coat) and something mechanical and let’s get punk-y this Halloween!

The Steampunk Recipe:

  • 1/3 whimsical Victorian past
  • 1/3 clunky, adventurous future machinery (if oil fuel was never invented)
  • 1/3 punk mayhem, anarchy, and unrest
  • 1 generous helping of corsets, bustles, petticoats, and vests
  • 1 scoop of flying machines, clockworks, optical apparatus
  • 1 sprinkle of Final Fantasy, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Van Helsing, Wild Wild West, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, anything 60s James Bond, Mad Max, and Sherlock Holmes (the Downey version, of course)

steampunk costumeKeep in mind that this recipe is only the starting place. Like any good formula, variations on a theme can produce magnificent results! T

You in? Let’s get started with these tips and ideas for becoming your Steampunk fantasy:

Steampunkize” a familiar character…perhaps one for which you already have the “ingredients.”

For example, dress like a historical figure gone futuristic such as Steampunk Honest Abe. You need a top hat, beard, black coat, and a few Steampunkish trappings like a pocket watch, goggles, and old typewriter keys for buttons. Spray paint an old vacuum cleaner hose gold or silver and affix it to a similarly colored small backpack to mimic a futuristic jet pack.

Makeover a favorite past persona. Do you love old Westerns? Burlesque? Explorers a la Lewis and Clarke? Take a basic costume such as this burlesque outfit and add Steampunk flair with suitable gadgets like vintage gauges, brooches, and clocks. Add a hat adorned with clockworks or googles for the perfect Steampunk touch.

steampunk watchWork from a favorite item. Have a beloved corset? Own a killer bowler hat? How about an old watch you can glue gears and kewl stuff to? Know where to get a debonair handlebar mustache? If so, you’re halfway to your Steampunk dream. Browse the web for inspiration and consider what items you already have that can be dressed up with a little help.

Peruse your local thrift and antique stores for more inspiration. Afterall, this is a movement made of creativity, and customization is key!

Steampunk cowboy costumeStill having trouble with your Steampunk costume design? Check out these ideas for inspiration:

First, raid your local thrift store or shop online for Steampunk accessories. Depending on which look you want, gather a variety of metal gears, buckles, clock faces, and brooches. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for old lace or leather gloves, garters, and handlebar mustaches (always a plus for the fellas).

Steampunkers love to include images of octopuses, owls, and peacocks. Jewelry or other gear that reference those fantastical creatures is a major plus!

Aeronaut:

  1. Get a basic flight costume.
  2. Wear an aviator helmet and glasses.
  3. Put a Steampunk touch on this great costume with vintage metal pilot’s wings, affixing several old brooches to your belt, and distressed leather gloves.
  4. Add a futuristic jet pack:

 

  • Spray paint a small cardboard box or backpack and various hoses gold
  • Attach these hoses to the box along with two straps, which you can create with old belts or rope

Mad Victorian Scientist:

  1. Wear a vintage suit or dress under a white lab coat.
  2. Add futuristic over-the-coat shoulder plates by affixing small portions of scrap metal or spray-painted cardboard pieces. Or buy an industry rubber apron.
  3. Attach a stopwatch to your lab coat pocket and wear a monocle.
  4. Carry an old cane and an outdated medical book in your lab coat pocket.

Future cowgirl/cowboy

  1. Invest in a cowgirl/cowboy costume or put together your own outfit with a short leather or denim skirt/distressed jeans, a brown or black leather vest, and some rugged boots.
  2. Accessorize with a cowboy hat, lasso, and toy gun (plus holster!) Note: as a Steampunker, your weaponry is now known as a “raygun.” No pistols here!
  3. Add that Steampunk touch by affixing machinist goggles to your hat and various vintage accessories to your belt of sleeves.
  4. Customize your toy gun with metal gears and spray paint it gold or silver for a futuristic look.

Go forth and steampunk!

A Frankenstein Halloween Theme Party

Halloween theme parties can be a huge success, especially if you take a little extra time to plan. But there are so many different types of spooky decorations, if you’re not careful, the party can end up looking like a jumbled mess!

That’s why we recommend picking one classic Halloween character as your central theme. In this article, we give you some tips on how to throw a fabulous, freaky Frankenstein bash. Read at your own risk!

Decorations

  • Jack-o’-lanterns. Instead of the traditional toothless grin, carve your pumpkins using a Frankenstein pattern. (Here’s a great stencil book featuring Frankie and all his freaky friends.) Place your carved jacks on the walkway up to the door or put them in front of windows to welcome guests to the party.
  • Creepy Frankenstein Heads. These are so fun…and SO easy. Use them
    Credit: http://bitesizedbiggie.com

    as table centerpieces or place them on top of your gate like freaky finials. Or stuff clothing, add clunky boots and plop one of these horrifying heads on top! Simply cover foam mannequin heads with water-based or acrylic green paint and paint accents on.

  • Cobwebs, cobwebs, cobwebs. String faux webs everywhere for a dusty mad scientist’s lab look.
  • Beakers and concoctions. Purchase inexpensive plastic or glass beakers and half-fill with water. Add a few drops of blue and yellow food coloring to make an eerie green.

Treats

While we’re not entirely sure if Frankenstein’s monster actually ate “people food” (rather than simply, well…kids), your party guests mostly likely do! Here are a few monster-themed snacks for the party.

  • Frankenpops. Follow the recipe here to make these delicious
    Credit: justapinch.com

    marshmallow treats. They’re so cute…so gooey…so edible. What’s not to love?

  • Frankenstein Brownies. Buy a box of brownie mix, and bake as directed. After they’ve cooled, cut them into even rectangles. Then, frost each brownie with the frosting you like best, adding green food coloring. Use piped icing to create a mouth
    Credit: bettycrocker.com

    and hair; eyes are reversed M&Ms. Lastly, add a piece of candy corn on each side of the brownie for Frankenstein’s bolts.

  • Science Experiment Punch. Be dramatic and add some dry ice to your punch bowl, so your beverage station looks like a bubbly, messy concoction. Here are some tips and directions on how to (safely!) use dry ice at your party.

Costumes

If you’re the one throwing the party, the honor of dressing as the classic monster should be yours. Tall, green skin, flat top – you know what he looks like. This Frankenstein costume pretty much have you covered.

Not everyone can be the big guy, though, so here are a few other ideas for party goers:

  • Frankenstein’s Bride. Even monsters can fall in love. Just drape something long and white over your sensuous form and tie up at the waist. Use green Halloween makeup and a black makeup crayon for the scars. Bonus points if you don’t need a wig to get your hair to look like that.
  • Mad Scientist. There would be no monster without Dr. Frankenstein himself. These costumes are easy to find online or at your local party store. But really, it’s as simple as a white lab coat from your local consignment shop, some glasses and a really freaky, mad laugh.
  • Frankie Stein. A great way to get a tween girl excited about a “really dorky” party? Monster High. Just sayin’…

Monstrously Good Fun: Party Activities

  • Zombie Walk-Off. Set up a runway and see who has the best zombie stagger. Spectators can judge the monsters on their limp walks, expressionless faces, and chilling groans.
  • Franken-Tag. Now is the time to use what you learned during the zombie walk-off! The rules of Franken-Tag are the same as the playground game, but in this case, if you’re tagged as “it,” you can only walk like Frankenstein.
  • Mix it Yourself. Have your guests mix drinks (non-alcoholic version: use grape, apple and prune juice and various sodas). Have the other guests try to figure out what the “mad scientist” has concocted. The winner receives a small gift certificate, a creepy Halloween decoration, or any award of your choice..

HOT 1970s & 80s Costume Ideas

There are certain eras that are so distinct that you can’t help but identify them at one glance.

When you think of the 70s and 80s, there’s no disputing just how iconic they were. Much of this is due to the fact that these decades included outrageous and envelope-pushing (go outrageous and envelope-pushing!) costumes and attire.

If you’re looking for unique and fun Halloween costume ideas, this era is simply the best – and you may even still have a piece or two in your closet! Here are out favorite tips on rockin’ it oldschool this Halloween (plus links in case you’re short on time).

Big Hair, Bright Colors

heavy metal rocker blonde wig

70s fancy dress outfits such as polyester pants, ruffled shirts and wide collars are distinctive of the disco era. However, the one that most people tend to remember the most is the hair. In the 70s and 80s, you are talking some seriously big hair.

Tease up your bangs and make them big and stiff with plenty of hair spray. They should look like an extension of your body when you’re done teasing them up! Then make your entire hairstyle big—the bigger the better! For some reason in these eras, the big hair was in and it reigned supreme.

(Tip: Short on time and/or hair? Grab a wig and go!)

Another element that will bring your costume to life is lots and lots of bright colors. 70s and 80s fancy dress costumes are all about crazy, bright fashion, and so embrace wherever that appears in your wardrobe. Neon works well.

If you have any gummy bracelets or the ability to pin your pants, then you are in for a real treat embracing this fun fashion era!

Embrace Your Inner Madonna

80s Diva Madonna costume

If there is one thing that many people tend to remember about this era it was the introduction of a pop icon.

Madonna made her entrance into the pop scene around this time and the world of music was never the same. So this lends way to the perfect costume idea to celebrate this wonderful and super fun period in time.

Get out your black lace gloves as your iconic starter piece. You need some ratted-out big blonde hair and if you can’t accomplish that on your own, go for a wig.

Then get out your lace dress, tight miniskirt with a bright vibrant top, or some other flashy but vibrant outfit and wear it with great confidence. American online retailers such as Amazon carry outfits like this. If you live in England, you can purchase these pop dresses at Fancydressball.co.uk.

Be sure to top of the look with lots and lots of accessories—try out your big bright pink bow for the hair, then get out lots of cheap but tasteful chain necklaces, and of course loads of neon gummy bracelets help to complete this look.

Nothing Like Old School Rappin’

Who didn’t love a little old school rap back in the day? This costume is simple enough to pull off and it’s actually comfortable so it works quite well.

Here you can simply pull together some big oversized pants and a sports logo sweatshirt, preferably Adidas, as it was so big in this era. Then get a “gold” chain or two to wear around your neck because that was such an identifiable, though silly looking, part of these decades. You want to be sure that you have a hat that you can turn backwards and of course load on the gold chains for good measure.

This and the other costume ideas will take you back in time and help you to remember eras known for lots of fun!

Cheap and Easy Halloween Costumes

Time’s ticking! Need to scare up cheap and easy Halloween costumes fast!?

Never fear! Fast, inexpensive Halloween costumes are hiding in your closet right now. Here are a few favorite easy Halloween costume ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Mummy: Wrap up your costume in a flash. Use gauze, a white sheet fabric torn into strips, or toilet tissue (if you’re really in a pinch). This costume may require an assistant. Cover every part of the body from head to foot. But do make sure your mummy can see through their bandages.

Ghost: This age-old costume is a classic. All you need is an old white sheet with holes cut out for the eyes. To further dress it up, plastic chains (purchased at Lowe’s or another hardware store) give an authentic lost-soul look.

Witch: Good witch or bad witch, the choice is yours. Witch costumes are incredibly easy Halloween costumes. Almost every girl has a black dress. And any black dress will do. You can create a cone shaped hat with fabric or construction paper. They’re also readily available for purchase and usually very inexpensive. The witch’s hat is the most convincing part of the costume!

Bad witches might want to break out the green eye shadow to create the typical evil green face of a witch. Good witches might prefer sparkles. You’ll need a broom, and possibly a cat, as accessories.

TV Personality or Reality Star: These are easy costumes for adults with a sense of humor. You need not dress as an actual reality star. You can make up your own name and back-story. But with so many crazy personalities out there, an actual star is fun too. Be sure to wear a name tag.

Reality stars generally love flashy things, so break out and scour through every name-brand in your closet. If your items still have the price tags on them even better (don’t take them off).

Accessories for this costume would include: A bottle of champagne, a Rolex watch, the zirconium or glass equivalent of 5-carat plus diamonds, 4-inch stilettos, false eyelashes, fake tattoos, and a huge ego.

Roman God/Goddess: Perhaps one of the easiest costumes ever is the Roman God or Goddess. You’ll need a white bed sheet that you can tie into a toga. An extra piece of purple, red or gold fabric draped over one shoulder is a nice addition (but optional).

A crown made of grape or laurel leaves is a must. You can create this from fake or real leaves and spray it gold or leave it natural. Braided hair and hair worn in an up-do is perfect for girls. Guys can comb their hair (provided they have hair) forward for the Cesar effect.

easy pirate costumeZombie: Raid your closet for old work clothes with holes already in them because you’ll want to make more rips and tears before it’s over. Zombies are the living dead, so play up the makeup. Dark makeup around the eyes and very pale skin are hallmark. Evidence of the fatal injury is also a good way to use makeup. Red lipstick can mimic the look of blood.

Priest: This Halloween costume is simpler than you might think. A black pair of pants and black shirt are the foundation. Next, use a white piece of fabric to create a collar that can be fastened over the shirt collar. A rosary or cross is the perfect accessory. If you don’t have one, make one. Borrow a necklace (beaded is best) and add a cross made from found sticks.

Pirate: Pirate costumes are great for both guys and girls. The primary part of every pirate costume is a frilly white shirt (guys may have to borrow this from a female in the house). Next, a pair of pants that are either black, brown, or if you’ve got them, black and white stripped are great for men or boys. Women and girls will look authentic in a long black or solid colored shirt.

Accessories make a big difference when it comes to pirates. Bandanas on the head work for both guys and girls. Scarves or sashes tied around the waist also work for both genders. Both boys and girls pull off the look with black eyeliner. Other additions include: a parrot, a gold hoop earring, a sword, a gold tooth, and rustic necklaces or jewelry.

A pirate booty bag attached to a waist sash or carried in the hand is the perfect accessory for the little one to carry their candy loot!

Baby: This is so easy, even a baby could do it! Just wear your pajamas. If you can conjure up some guts, make a towel or sheet into an oversized diaper.

A baby bottle, pacifier around the neck, bonnet, or hair in pigtails complete this funny Halloween costume.

Hillbilly or Hobo: Even if you don’t have a banjo, you can still dress as a hillbilly (no offensive to banjo players – I love the banjo!)

Most hobos and hillbillies that I’ve encountered have a limited number of teeth (so black out a few), dress in oversized overalls complete with patches and flannel shirts.

Wear boots if you have them and tuck your jeans or overalls into them. A straw hat is another good choice.

Hobos and hillbillies often have a long piece of straw or wheat hanging from their mouth as an accessory. If you want to be a scary hillbilly carry a fake axe or shotgun, but if you don’t have one of those in your closet, carry a sack of goods bunched up in a bandana and attached to a large stick (of the backyard variety).

You’ll find more ideas for inexpensive Halloween party themes and cheap Halloween costumes here.

By Jennifer Scheffel (themed-party-ideas.com)

Easy Felt Costumes

Many thanks to guest contributor Jillian Grimm (don’t you just love that name?) for this easy, awesome tutorial.

Felt makes an excellent, virtually no-sew choice for simple Halloween costumes.

Because it doesn’t fray, felt does not require hemming. It is also easily glued and hand sewn, making it perfect for the non-sewing crowd. And with a variety of colors available at your local fabric store or a fabric store online, the possibilities are endless.

Here are just a few simple and easily customizable Halloween costumes that can be made from felt in almost no time at all.

Mustache-on-a-Stick and Masquerade Masks

These quick mini costumes are perfect for a last minute party and are also great to hand out to non-costumed guests at your own Halloween bash.

Cut two mustache or mask shapes from a small piece of felt (sheets of felt are available at most craft stores or online). Thread an embroidery needle with a two-foot piece of coordinating or contrasting (depending on the look you want) embroidery thread and sew a simple running stitch around all the edges.

When you have an inch or so to go, pause and stuff your mask or moustache with small pieces of felt scraps to give it a little poof and stability and finish stitching closed. Insert a dowel between the stitches on one side and secure with a few drops of craft glue.

easy felt moustache easy felt moustache for Halloween

Holy Batcape!

felt batman capeHave a little Batman in your house? They’ll love to swoop and swirl in this easy batcape. The weight of the fabric give the perfect drape for a cape and the wide width of felt sold in most fabric stores means you can avoid cutting and sewing panels of fabric to create the cape shape.

Fold one yard of 45-inch width black felt in half with the folded edge to one side. On the side opposite the fold, cut a triangle that starts a third of the way up from the bottom and finishes along the top edge, about 5 inches from the fold.

Make a second cut from the starting point of the triangle along the bottom, rounding it toward the fold. This creates a basic cape shape. Round the neck slightly and cut scallops along the bottom edge and stitch or glue ribbon (if you suspect this will become a long term addition to the costume box, stitching is best) to each side of the collar.

felt batman cape - beginning

felt batman cape - cutting

enjoying his felt batman cape

Wizard’s Hat

Measure the circumference of your head and add an inch. Cut a triangle from black felt with all sides at that measure.

Roll the triangle into a cone and glue the seam with craft glue. Once dry, trim the bottom to be straight before setting out for some Harry Potter trick-or-treating!

Red Riding Hood

Following the same proportions as the bat cape but leaving off the scallops and using red felt, you can create a simple cloak for your Little Red Riding Hood. In addition to the cape and ribbon ties, you will need to create a hood.

  1. Cut a 16-inch by 12-inch rectangle from the felt.
  2. Fold the rectangle along the long side to get a smaller 8 by 12-inch piece.
  3. Stitch or glue (again, stitching will hold longer) the top edge of this new rectangle.
  4. Open the bottom edge back up and center along the neck of the cloak. You’ll need to fold or gather the bottom edge to fit within the neckline.
  5. Pin into place and stitch the hood to the cape with general-purpose thread.

Have a great Halloween!

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!

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.

Boo!, Not Boo-Hoo’s – A Parent’s Safety Guide to Trick or Treating

Next to their own birthday and Christmas morning, there’s little that kids anticipate as anxiously as Halloween.

And why shouldn’t they? With fall carnival rides, pumpkins to carve, huge quantities of delicious, sticky goodies, and a few thrill-giving scares, Halloween has all the makings of a childhood favorite.

Kids have their own priorities (“What should I go as? How much candy can I score in one night?). But as adults, it’s so important to also consider Halloween safety.

A few reminders about protecting our kids can help guarantee that this is a Halloween everyone in your family will want to remember for years to come.

The Real Spooks on Halloween Night?

According to reports by US Consumer Product Safety Commission, “Halloween Safety: Safety Alert” and another by the University of Michigan Health System, “Expert Offers Tips for Picking Safe Halloween Costumes” on Halloween safety, the three primary dangers relate directly to costume choice. Children are most likely to be injured on Halloween by tripping and falling, receiving a serious burn, or being involved in a pedestrian accident. Due to the large numbers of children who will be out trick-or-treating after dark and wearing dark clothes, our kids are four and a half times more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other night out of the year. Keeping these very real dangers in mind can help us make simple and smart choices to keep them safe. Here are some tips to avoid them.

Safety First When Choosing or Making a Costume

When it comes to avoiding a traffic accident, we cannot be careful enough and we have to give our kids every opportunity to look out for themselves. Avoid buying hard, plastic masks. Most of these masks cover the whole head and leave only small openings for the eyes and mouth. Besides making it harder for the wearer to breathe, these masks often cover the ears and block out peripheral vision. This seriously impairs the wearer’s ability to notice approaching traffic and limits how they can respond in a truly dangerous situation.

Instead of masks, try face paint! From pirates to princesses, from Christmas Angels to Santa’s Elves, from Indiana Jones to Dora the Explorer, there are endless costume ideas out there that involve no masks at all.

Make sure that motorists have every opportunity to see you and yours. Choose bright colored costumes, costumes with sparkles, lights, or glitter. If the preferred costume is dark, make sure to add reflective tape to increase visibility. Wear white sneakers with reflective highlights or add reflective tape to shoes. Also, pass out flashlights to your party and make sure the batteries are good.

Even Halloween Ghouls Need To Look Both Ways

Finally, as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Talk to your kids about traffic safety. The magical feeling of Halloween night can create a sense of invincibility, but that won’t protect them from an oncoming car. Remind them to look both ways and only cross at corners (young trick-or-treaters have the bad habit of dashing right across the road). Discourage older children from riding their bikes as they might crash into walkers or put themselves at greater risk by riding in the road. Dangling costumes might also get caught in bike gears and cause an accident.

It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses an Eye

Before the big night, make sure your child has a wide range of motion in their costume. Let them try on their costume before Halloween and let them play in it. Kids will love the opportunity to dress up ahead of time and you’ll get a chance to make sure that they can run and play safely in their disguise. It’s also a good idea to have your kids trick-or-treat in their tennis shoes rather than having them wear costume shoes that might be uncomfortable or dangerous. Especially our little girls who want to be fairy princesses for the night are best off in comfy play shoes, not high heels.

We say don’t run with scissors for a reason! Falling down with or on something sharp can lead to a serious injury. While no Captain Jack Sparrow is complete without a sword and no Hermione Granger is complete without a wand, these should not be stiff or sharp objects in your child’s hand. Make sure that all your child’s accessories are made of a soft and bendy plastic and have rounded edges.

Finally, it might be a good idea to have a talk with your posse about trick-or-treating etiquette. Remind them that there’s plenty of candy for everyone, so there should be no need to run or shove.

Fiery Jack-O-Lanterns – Not a Laughing Matter

Avoiding Burn Injuries:

When you check out your child’s mobility in their costume, also take a look for any loose fabric that might be dragging the ground. Be certain to hem edges or fringe that might catch a low flame like a jack-o-lantern candle.

Also, when picking a Halloween costume, don’t forget to read the label! Even if your child is convinced that they’ve found the one, don’t take it home without first checking to make sure that it will keep them safe from burn injuries. The costume should say that it is either “flame resistant” or “flame retardant.” According to the experts, 100% polyester is the safest choice. Avoid 100% cotton which burns quickly and doesn’t allow adults enough time to respond to a child in distress.

Again, make sure you talk to your kids about keeping an eye out for jack-o-lanterns or other flaming decorations. Reminding everyone, including yourself, to be vigilant is the best protection. Even better than a flame resistant costume is not having to rely on that label at all.

Enjoy the Boo! Avoid the Boo-Hoo!

Keeping the dangers in mind can only lead to a safer Halloween experience. Make sure you set a curfew for older kids and plan a route for trick-or-treating with your youngest. Don’t let a careless and avoidable mistake spoil the life-long memory of a fun Halloween! Happy and safe trick-or-treating!

About the Author: Angela Lytle is a self-employed mother of four and publisher of Christmas-Decorations-Online.com, a website featuring holiday decorations from artificial Christmas trees to outdoor Christmas lights.

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!