A decade of elaborate, handmade Halloween costumes that will make you go "how did she do that!?"

October 31 | Guest post by kristacarolyng

You might remember Krista from her rainbow polka dot nursery. She's not just great at decorating, she's also been making elaborate Halloween costumes for the past 10 years. In honor of Halloween, I thought I'd share them with you…

This is Krista making amazing Fraggle costumes by hand!
This is Krista making amazing Fraggle costumes by hand!

While getting my civil engineering degree, I quickly fell into a tight-knit group of friends who, to this day, are still some of my best friends. I found them encouraging me to do things that I thought were totally outside of my comfort zone. Like Jenny, who convinced me to sign up for a belly dancing class, even though the idea terrified me. Surprisingly, by the end of the session I had grown the confidence that I needed and quickly turned into a dancing machine at all of our Engineering mixers.

Then we were invited to a birthday/Halloween party of one of our classmates, Ryan, who demanded that costumes were mandatory. I thought "Ugh, seriously?" But Ryan was one of my favourites from class, and I didn't want to disappoint. So Jenny convinced me that I could quickly throw together a simple cat costume. I was surprised by how well the ears and tail had come together. And I did have a lot of fun making it.

cat-costume

That was 2005, and it quickly set the stage for a decade to come of developing more and more complex costumes…

belly-dancer-and-wonderwoman-costume

The next Halloween I decided to go as a belly dancer and the only thing I needed to do was make an embellished belly shirt. I took an old shrug and hand sewed on a bunch of beads and embellishments. I was pleased with the outcome. Susanne, also had made her own costume again — Wonderwoman — and it turned out great.

2007: Mickey & Minnie Mouse

2007-mickey-and-minnie-mouse-i-stumbled-upon-the-dress-at-a-thrift-store-in-dartmouth-and-managed-to-find-minnie-accessories-on-ebay

The next year I flew to Dartmouth to visit Jenny while she was away again on a workterm. While there I found a red and white polka dot dress that fit me like a glove. Jenny laughed and said "You should totally dress as Minnie Mouse for Halloween!" So I bought the dress and carried it back home with me. I had shown it to my friend Susanne and she said "I could be your Micky Mouse!!" and it was the dawning of the most magical costume partnership…

2008: Blue Man Group

2008-blue-man-group-the-first-year-we-stepped-it-up-a-notch-first-time-with-body-paint-the-bald-cap-was-a-bit-challenging-too
The first year we stepped it up a notch! My friend Susanne approached me with a costume proposal: "How do you feel about being Blue Man Group for Halloween? I found these costume kits online and we could order them." Bald caps AND professional body paint. The bald cap was a bit challenging too.

2009: Jay and Silent Bob

2009-jay-and-silent-bob-my-favourite-of-rob-and-steves-costumes-they-were-spot-on-rob-also-went-the-entire-evening-without-speaking
My favourite of my husband Rob and our friend Steve's costumes. They were spot on. Rob also went the entire evening without speaking.

2009: Papa Smurf and Smurfette

2009-papa-smurf-and-smurfette-we-made-our-hats-i-had-to-pray-paint-a-blond-wig-susanne-had-to-glue-on-her-beard-and-peeled-it-back-to-eat-mustang-sallys-at-the-end-of-the-night
We made our hats. I had to spray paint a blond wig. Susanne had to glue on her beard (and peeled it back to eat Mustang Sally's at the end of the night).

2010: Red Green

2010-red-green
Here's who they are, for my non-Canadian friends. The best part of this costume was Steve's prop broke while walking downtown and they broke out the duct tape, ripped it with their teeth, fixed it and proceeded to walk on!

2010: Cats

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This was a costume I borrowed from the producer, when Cats was done here back in 2007?

2010: Susanne as Marvin the Martian

marvin-the-martian-costume
Yes, that's an actual broom-head on her helmet. And PVC tubing so she could slip it into her neck hole and access her drink throughout the night.

2011: Wario and WaLuigi

wario-and-waluigi-costumes
Complete with chocolate coins and homemade bombs

2011: Darkwing Duck Characters: Morgana McCawber, Darkwing Duck, Launchpad McQuack

darkwing-duck-costumes-morgana-mccawber-darkwing-duck-launchpad-mcquack
Our beaks were made from Model Magic clay. My dress was made from cutting up a burgundy velvet dress that I wore in 1999, and a Vampire Goddess costume that I bought. The hardest part was getting her collar right. Susanne made her and Jon's costume, including her gun. Jon told her next year she had to go as a girl character for a change. Ha!

2012: Red and Mokey Fraggle with Marjory the Trash Heap

fraggle-costumes
Susanne gives in to Jon's wish to be a female character for a change.
Susanne and I make our heads from flat sheets of foam cut and joined and then covered in felt, with styrofoam ball eyes and feather boas and wool for our hair. My (Mokey's) body was made from material that I picked up on a trip to Toronto to visit Jenny. (You can click here to find out how I made these.)
i-built-in-an-easy-access-hatch-worked-out-well-for-eating-a-giant-cookie
Jon collected up old trash and threw together a fantastic Madam Trash Heap costume! Oh, and I also built in an easy-access hatch, with worked out well for eating giant cookies.

2013: Space Balls characters: Barf, Lone Starr, Dot Matrix, and Princess Vespa

space-balls-costumes
Rob's coveralls were from a Ghostbuster costume — I made a pocket and Barf name tag to cover the symbol. I also made ears out of fur to attach to his wig, and applied fur to his gloves as well.

My "chest plates" are recycled rotisserie chicken container covers. Even had a Velcro screen that flipped over to say "VIRGIN ALARM" if Princess Vespa and Lone Starr got too close! The skirt was made from left-over foam from the Mokey costume from the previous year, and sewn together and covered in gold material. I also made the body and sleeves out of the same material and covered my rain boots in it as well. The wig was white and was spray painted gold and the mask, tights and gloves were ordered online.

Megan's outfit was rather straightforward. She had an existing white dress that she had modified with some lace and ribbons.

2014: Personalized Bobbleheads that actually bobbled!

personalized-bobbleheads-costumes
This was way more complicated than anticipated. A combination of wire mesh, tubing, newspaper, wire, popsicle sticks, paper mâché, paint, hard hats, and a $2 clock on a heavy-duty spring found at the dollar store for the bobble mechanism. I was still painting Rob's beard when we were already an hour late for our costume party.

2015: Matroyshka (Nesting) Dolls

matroyshka-nesting-dolls-costume
We picked up the dress for Rob and all the material the day before I went into labour (which came two weeks early). I guess it was my ode to nesting!

And to think, had it not been for Jenny's encouragement to go outside my comfort zone, I may have never discovered my love for costume making and dressing up.

Your turn! What are you guys going to be for Halloween???

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  1. These are AMAZING! I am digging the Cancon, especially Red Green

    I started making costumes a few years back. I was working a shitty job in a gas station, and Halloween provided the opportunity to have some fun, so I went as a bee. The next year I was a Candy Princess, then a heavily pregnant Virgin Mary, and family costumes took off once my daughter was born. We have been dragons, Rainbow Brite and Twink Sprite (with Jayne Cobb tagging along for good measure as my husband had amazing facial scruff that year), characters from Up (Carl, Russell, and Kevin), and last year we were a raccoon and a lady bug.

    This year we were emotions from Inside Out (Disgust, Sadness, and Fear) at our daughter's school Halloween party. Tonight she is trick or treating as Darth Vader. I get to be Leia, and my husband is Han Solo. Her costume is far more elaborate than ours, but we've spent months putting it together. I love a good homemade costume!!!

    1 agrees
    • I would LOVE to see photos of those costumes!! Pregnant Virgin Mary… the best!!

  2. Wow! Such creativity, this is amazing!

    I'm going as Morticia Addams as I have long, black hair and square features, I love spooky, dark costumes and I'm digging this character enormously, especially since the post on BDSM and role-models featuring her relationship with Gomez.

    1 agrees
  3. Great costumes! I grew up with homemade costumes and continued the tradition as an adult. My favorites are pop culture references with every last detail included (when I was Beatrix Kiddo from Kill Bill, I carried a bloody eyeball and a "Pussy Wagon" keychain… as Margot Tenenbaum I had a cigarette and a wooden (cardboard) finger).

    As kids get older they have their own ideas of what they want to be though, so we've had a hard time with full-0n family themes. This year and last year we ended up pairing off, so last year my daughter and I were Joy and Sadness and my husband was Gru with our little baby minion. This year my son (almost 2) is a dragon, so naturally I had to make a Daenerys Targaryen costume as the mother of dragon. 😉 And my daughter insisted on being Anna from Frozen, so I whipped up a Kristoff costume for my husband.

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  4. This is fantastic!! My husband and I are huge Halloween fans and really enjoy doing costumes but ours our nothing compared to these! So awesome!

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