It’s that time of the year again. I’m not even sure if I’m going to a party this year, but I do have costume ideas.
Now maybe you’re like me and you don’t have time and nerves for a whole new costume. I made up five (rather last-minute) ideas that would be easy to make without more than an afternoon’s effort of DIY.
DIY: A witch’s hat (here’s an example tutorial). The easiest way would be to cut out a brim and cone from cardboard, glue them together and paint them black (or any colour you desire) if you didn’t use black paper in the first place. Make little holes in the brim next to the cone, add a little elastic or a pretty ribbon and you’re good to go. A bit more durable would be a craft foam hat of the same fashion. I imagine these two working best as mini hats. For full hats I’d recommend sewing. I’ve already proclaimed my love for BtSsb’s witch hats, so that would be the design I’d go for. Adorn your witch hat of what ever size and base material with painted-on stars (bonus points for black light or glow-in-the-dark), fancy hat pins, ribbons, feathers or a plastic toad or spider. Oh, or go aquatic witch and use a puffer fish! (I honestly have no idea where this came from right now…)
- A dress of any colour is fine as long as your hat matches. A petticoat would make it even cuter, so this is pretty Lolita compatible. High collars are great for this costume, actually, everything a bit Victorian is.
- Tights in a matching colour shouldn’t be hard to find, and if you go for black, look for Halloween novelty stockings. They sell them practically everywhere this season. Ripped, layered tights are also an option.
- Take a wand or broom with you. You can get glittery fluid-filled juggling wands at toy stores in many colours, or you could make your own in the fashion of the much-quoted-and-linked-back-to Harry Potter wands.
- Use a cauldron-shaped trick or treat bag with a longer strap to transport your things. If you have a bag or backpack shaped like a cat, frog or other animal usually associated with witches, take it with you as your familiar.
- Granny boots would be the best shoes for this costume, but big fake clasps (cardboard, foam or belt buckles) mounted on your footgear can make every shoe witch-worthy.
Examples: Scary Godmother (also, Hanna of Scary Godmother); the girls of DoReMi for the toothache-inducing type
DIY: Patch make-up. Use eyeliner to divide your face into several “patches”. Colour them all differently with stage make-up or eyeshadow. The edges are the most important part, you can just colour these and then blend towards the middle of the patch. Draw stitches along the lines or glue on little bits of yarn or thread with mastix. Make your mouth look wider by drawing the lip liner into the very corner of your mouth and fill with a too-bright or too-dark colour. Cover up your eyebrows and draw them higher and thicker on again. You might also consider wearing fake lashes. Don’t forget large, round pink patches on your cheeks.
- The weirder the dress, the better. I’ve got a purple abomination of a dress that I love but never wear that I’d definitely wear for this costume. Bold colours, peter pan collars, threadbare fabric, strange patterns are great. Think Kinderwhore dresses. Or the stuff you had to wear to special occasions back in the 80s or 90s.
- Mismatched stockings would be the best option for this costume. Stripes with polka dots, stars with solids? Go for it. You could even wear knee-high socks over them for even more of a pattern mash-up. If you don’t wear stockings, find cheap novelty tights and cut off one leg a few inches over your hemline. Now you can wear two pairs over each other. The double layer will keep you warm, too.
- Big bows for the head are perfect, just like a child would tie for its favourite doll. Search for fabric gift wrap ribbons or just strips of fabric. Dreads (faux or real) are also great for this, they already look like woolen doll hair. Giant “fixing pin” hairpins made of knitting needles and a big bead could be cute, too. Which brings me to the next point.
- Sewing accessoires. If you happen to have scissors necklaces, sewing machine earrings or measuring tape brooches, this is the time to bring them out. If you don’t, take a handfull of bobbins (the older the better), thread them on a ribbon, tie it behind your neck and you’re done. This is also a great opportunity to wear that pincushion wristband of yours. Not a sewing accessory but nice would be a sash with a big bow in the back around the waist.
- With shoes I’d go for something chunky. Platforms are just fine, so are creepers, heavy boots or round-toed mary-janes.
- I’d go with a simple pompadour satchel for a bag, nothing too special. An old-fashioned lunch pouch would be cute, too.
Example: Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas
DIY: A Cat mask. The easiest way here is crafting foam again, definitely black this time. Design your pattern on paper first (this would be an option if you don’t want to come up with one yourself). This way you can try out different shapes before you trace the outlines onto the foam. Cut it out and tie a ribbon or elastic into small holes at the temples. You can incorporate the cat ears with the mask (which is charming) or wear a cat ear headband, which can also be made at home with some foam or fabric and an old headband wrapped in black ribbon (and a lot of patience or hot glue). For the glamourous version, wear pearl cat ears.
- Well, duh. Black leggings, black longsleeve (bonus points for turtlenecks), black socks, black everything.
- Wear black sneakers. High black boots with a bit of heel can be nice too, but just like ballerina flats they are not so very qualified to sneak around in them. Gymnastic slippers would be a nice choice, too. The silhouette would be a bit like that of a 1960s mod or beatnik girl.
- Speaking of the 60s, a bun or rolled-out, teased-up hairdo would be the fashion of choice.
- Wear heaps of cheap fake jewelery, especially when you’re doing the glam version. Hang faux pearl strings around your neck, show off your plastic rhinestones, wear a ring on every finger. Over your black satin gloves, of course.
- Take a simple brown or white drawstring bag with you, paint a green dollar/euro/pound sign on it. Simple totes also count.
Example: Old-School Catwoman
DIY: A stake. You could actually buy one suited for LARP made of foam and latex, but you could also sew one. Felt would be the easiest fabric to go with as it doesn’t fray. Trace your pattern (basically four very slim, tall houses and a square) onto the fabric, sew the pieces together and leave the top open. Turn, stuff with plush toy filling, cotton wool or fabric scraps and sew the top shut. You can sew on the lighter part of the wood as an applique (best before sewing) or simply paint it on with a few strokes of acrylic paint.
- Clothing of your choice. Shoes to run in would be good, boots are even better. This is more of a pants than a skirt costume, but suit yourself (literally). Historically inspired is probably best. I’d go for a white button-down, braces, pants stuffed into my boots and maybe a waistcoat.
- A Badass Longcoat is pretty much a must. Trench, justaucorps, leather duster, you name it. If everything else fails, use a blanket.
- Wear several belts. It’s not even important they hold something up. When worn around the waist or hips, belt pouches would be a nice detail (and very handy, too), but you can also wear belts across your chest. Useless (unless you store your stakes there), but rather badass.
- Also, you should definitely wear a hat. The broader the brim, the better. Witch hunter hats or top hats would be nice, but a bowler is also always a go. Fix a small crucifix and a note or two behind the hatband. This would also be a great storage for tiny vials of holy water.
- Bottle necklaces would also suffice. Cross jewelery isn’t hard to get, and you can always take a bulb of garlic, wrap it up in a leather band or a bit of wire and wear it around your neck.
- Here a book-shaped bag would be perfect. It doesn’t have to be the bible, it could just as well be Van Helsing’s magnum opus.
- If you’re willing to have some fun, take a water pistol with you, or a bubble pistol depending on the temperature wherever you’re going. Claim it’s filled with holy water. Shoot people in bad vampire costumes, pick epic fights with those in great costumes. Consider loosing from time to time.
Example: Van Helsing in that really horrible film named after him
(admittedly not completely uninspired by what might be the greatest hit of the dark half of the year)
DIY: A Fox mask (e.g. from this tutorial). Actually it’s the same as with the cat burglar, only in red and with a bit of white around the nose. Another craft would be a fox’s tail. Cut out two leaf-shaped pieces of fabric matching your mask, sew them together, turn and stuff rather lightly. Dip the tip in white colour or sew on a white tip in the first place. Attach the tail to a belt (best to sew a loop at the upper end of your tail and slip the belt through) and fix it with a bit of tape.
- If you’re going to wear a skirt or shorts, red tights or leggings, and a red longsleeve.
- Wear vintage clothing. Dresses with flowers! If you’re going to wear pants, consider a button down with short sleeves and a tie.
- Be charming and plot against super-malls or THE MAN in general.
- If other animal themed costumes are around, search for a Badger and assign him to “demolitions”.
Example: The Fantastic Mr. Fox!
I think I’ll go for the ragdoll if it comes to a party after all. I like all ideas above, but I’ve been dying to wear that horrible dress for ages. What are you dressing up as for Halloween this year?