Re: Halloween Costumecast 2017

Ah, fall! That time when a costumer’s thoughts lightly turn to that best of all costume holidays, Halloween. Although to be accurate, Halloween is never far from our thoughts. What can we expect to crop up from this year’s crop of Halloween costume offerings? Read on, gentle readers.

  • Wonder Woman rides again! The popularity of the superhero characters in general and the well-received Wonder Woman movie this summer will see a spate of both the comic book and movie Wonder Woman characters this Halloween.
  • Superheroes of all kinds will continue in popularity as will zombies and pirates.
  • Minions continue their rise, spurred on by both their general loveability and the upcoming Despicable Me 3 movie.
  • President Trump. Although this isn’t an election year, I would be greatly surprised not to see various Trump costumes, possibly even the President and First Lady get-ups.
  • In the Disney film category, Beauty and the Beast costumes are being heavily marketed. Even so, I’m inclined to believe that Frozen will continue to beast beat them out.

Re: Take Back Halloween 2016 Costume Contest

Yes, Take Back Halloween’s 5th annual costume contest is here and they have two new categories: Best Madam President (dress up as one of the women who’s run for the presidency over the years) and Best Future Take Back Halloween Goddess/Mythological Figure (dress up as a goddess/mythological figure that the TBH folks haven’t done yet). Deadline is November 6th, 2016 and winning entries will be published a week after so get a-costuming, friends!

Re: Need a Plus Size Halloween Costume?

Here’s some place I bet you didn’t think to look: Torrid on-line. Click here to be taken to the site. Yes, the provider of all things Goth and trendy has aged up a bit and expanded (no pun intended) its line of plus size items. Tops go up to a 5 or 6 (4x and 5x) and pants go up to a 6 (5x).

  • Need Day of the Dead wear? Not a problem. Torrid has an entire line of skull print clothing (leggings, dresses, tops). Just put in “skull” as a search term.
  • Want to dress up like a Disney character? Torrid has a whole line of Disney-themed merchandise. Click on their Pop Culture tab.
  • Want a superhero dress? Check under Torrid’s Halloween and Cosplay sections. Halloween has its own tab and Cosplay is under the Pop Culture tab.
  • Need some retro items that you can wear to work? Torrid has a nice line of dresses with a 1940s/50s feel, but it also has other retro items from time to time. Put in “retro” as a search term.
  • Looking for a bustier or corselet? Torrid has them. For bustiers, look under Intimates. For corsets, use “corset top” as a search term.

As a side note, if, like me, you are in constant need of fun leggings for your workout and casual wear, check Torrid’s Clothing tab under Bottoms and then under Leggings.  The Activewear tab looks promising, but the sizes only go up to 5 while the leggings go up to 6.

Standard disclaimers: I’ve recently started ordering from Torrid, but receive no compensation from the company for recommending their site.

Re: Halloween Costume Prediction 2016

There are times when Halloween costume inspiration is low on the ground and hard to find. And then we have years like this when the Costume Gods are simply showering mana down upon us.

  • Political costumes are sometimes hard to predict, but this year I feel very safe in saying that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump costumes will be flying off the shelf. Look for some pop culture cross-over–Trump as the Joker, Hillary as Hillary Quinn.
  • Interest in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland series has remained strong, perhaps because of its Goth overtones. Expect an uptick in Alice costumes now that the sequel, Through the Looking Glass, has come out.
  • Superhero and anti-superhero movies have been big this year. I predict Avengers, Deadpool, and Suicide Squad costumes to be very popular.
  • In the kids’ aisle, Zootopia has provided Judy Hop and Nick Wilde costumes. The release of Finding Dory will see an increase in Dory and Nemo costumes.
  • The Ghostbusters reboot will see a resurge of interest in Ghostbusters costumes, both old and new.
  • Perennial favorites: Day of the Dead and zombie costumes.

Re: Hecate

Mom as Hecate II

Lori Russell as Hecate (October 2015)

Mom as Hecate III

Lori Russell as Hecate. Jasmine, the pensive Golden Retriever mix, as the messenger to the Underworld (Oct. 2015).

Alas, life and work, those two time-consuming things that get in the way of costume blogging, kept me from posting these photos last Halloween, but I figure better late than never. This is my 85-year-old mother, Lori Russell, costumed as Hecate, goddess of the crossroads and the dead. Dogs were animals sacred to Hecate hence my dog, Jasmine, making her costuming debut. No matter what photo I took, Jasmine always seemed to be mirroring Mom’s expression.

The Take Back Halloween site has a more modern take on Hecate, but I decided to take the goddess back to her ancient Turkish roots. The hat was a happy accident–a pillbox leftover from a hat-making project. Mom is also wearing an Egyptian baladi necklace, a short Indian veil over the hat, a beaded Egyptian dance shawl, and a silver-striped baladi dress (made from two large veils) over a long-sleeved black dress.

Re: Minimalist Halloween Costumes

Pineapple CostumeKelly Mindell modeling her pineapple costume. Photo by Jeff Mindell.

One of things I became fascinated with this past year was minimalist Halloween costumes. I was turned on to the idea by Kelly Mindell of Studio DIY in Los Angeles. Above is a great picture of her pineapple costume. Check out her other costume designs on her blog. Kelly helpfully adds links to basic dresses you can customize.

For the purposes of this post, I’m defining a minimalist costume as one that creates, as simply as possible, a striking and unmistakeable graphic image. Which set me to thinking: what kind of Halloween costumes lend themselves to these stripped down, but powerful designs?

Bedsheet Ghost

The classic bedsheet ghost costume is probably the most basic minimalist Halloween costume of all time. Unfortunately, the old bedsheet-over-the-head costume has lost ground in recent years to the more realistic specter costume.

Skeletons are very bare bones (pun intended) and have been gaining ground in recent years, thanks to the popularity of Day of the Dead celebrations.

Skeleton Family

Pumpkin costumes are readily recognizable as a Halloween staple

Child's Pumpkin Costume

Love the vintage vibe of this fantastic child’s costume.

Pumpkin Costume

A more standard take on the traditional pumpkin motif.

Moving away toward more modernist designs, I really like the streetlight costume. It’s bold, graphic, and colorful. If you’re able to find some battery-operated lights, that just adds to the fun. Do a search for “traffic light costume” to see some of the great variations out there.

Traffic Light and Cone Costume

Janelle from Canada submitted this traffic light and traffic cone couples costume to Coolest Homemade

Anything that creates a strong visual image is a potential costume generator including Surrealist paintings.

Son of Man Painting

Son of Man painting by Rene Magritte.

Son of Man Group Costume

Son of Man group costume.


Re: Crimson Eeeek!

Crimson Peak Poster

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a handsome, brooding, Bryonic hero possessed of decaying mansion full of dark secrets must necessarily be in want of an innocent bride to share it with.

Okay, that’s not how Crimson Peak opens, but it should.

It’s a shame that a perfect Halloween movie like Crimson Peak should come out too close to Halloween to make an impact on this year’s costume season. Not content to allow all these cool Victorian Gothic costume ideas to go to seed, I have come up with a couple of ideas for re-creating major costumes from the film.

I picked what I regarded as some of the most iconic images from the earlier trailers and stills–the Sharpes in their black visiting outfits and Edith in her long white nightgown. The idea here is not create exact reproductions, but to mimic the look of said costumes for the average Halloween party or costume masquerade.

The Sharpes Crimson Peak

Although Lucille and Thomas Sharpe have other outfits, I felt that their “vampire visitation” gear was the easiest to reproduce. For Lucille’s outfit, I would recommend finding a Wicked Witch of the West costume and adding black and white lace to it. If you already have a Victorian-style blouse and Gypsy style-skirt with ruffles that you can tuck into the back for a bustle effect, that would probably work, too. Complete the outfit with black fingerless gloves, black parasol, a red rose pin, and a black lacy hat. Extra points for adding the blackened floral trim. You might be able to get away with a black placemat with added lace for the hat.

Lucille Sharpe

Thomas Sharpe

Thomas Sharpe’s outfit is a lot easier. Black pants, black vest, white shirt, black cravat, and black frock coat. Extra points for adding the silver watch chain. If you can find a Victorian vampire or Abe Lincoln costume, you may be able to re-purpose the frock coat.

Both siblings sport tinted round spectacles. I would recommend raiding the “hippie Halloween costume section” for John Lennon-style shades.

Edith with Candelabra

The extra-poofy sleeves of Edith’s white nightgown are the hardest part of this costume to get right. If you have a poofy shrug, you can wear that over any sort of white nightgown or white dress with a  wide skirt. Failing that, I recommend checking out thrift stores for a wedding dress with puffed sleeves.

Since Edith is a damsel in distress, it seems only right to distress the hem of her dress with red paint or dye in a spray bottle. Important props: long blonde wig, candelabra, and bloody knife.

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