Costume and propmaking has been a serious endeavor for me over the years, especially at Halloween. I begin planning and designing my costume weeks in advance, and always make my costume by hand. I probably enjoy the meticulous steps of making the costumes and props more than wearing them.
Stonekeeper from Amulet
This costume is based on a character from the Amulet series of books by Kazu Kibuishi.
It was probably one of the most challenging, but fun, things I’ve made.
I began by quilting a gambeson (padded armor) with a diamond pattern using a sewing machine. I sewed on buttons to hold it closed and also wore a belt around the waist. Creating the cloak was pretty easy, through it took a lot of fabric. I think next time I will buy patterns, even though this worked out fine without them. The boots were thrifted for four dollars.
I created the amulet from a Lego spaceship hatch cover, some string, cardboard, an LED and a battery, and wax paper. I stuffed the wax paper inside the Lego piece to diffuse the light. I put on cardboard backing, then used my hot glue gun to secure a gold spray painted piece of string around the outside for the rim. The LED could be taken in and out easily, and the Lego piece had a bar to which I could attach the string that went around my neck.
Two years ago I created a costume for this character from the Miyazaki film Princess Mononoke.
I sewed the robe/kimono from a XXL t-shirt, cutting down the center and adding darker trim.
I made the hood from red felt and painted with the hoof emblem.
The long sleeves were a repurposed pair of tights and I sewed tubes of fabric for the legs.
I made a sword and bow by hand to go along with the costume.
The sword I made for the Ashitaka costume is a solid block of wood, cut and painted silver, with a red fabric handle wrap. The sheath is made out of fabric and cardboard.
This costume was a Fremen from Dune by Frank Herbert. I had just read the book, and was very inspired. I wore my caving coveralls with my skateboarding knee and elbow pads. The sand cloak was a basic piece of muslin. I wrapped irrigation tubing around myself for the stillsuit, and had a respirator mask (not shown) for the dust mask.
This Ghostbuster costume consisted of a pair of caving coveralls, rain boots, and some steampunk goggles I repainted.
I made the proton pack out of a storage bin and a bicycle pump with EVA foam for the shoulder straps.
Since my navy coveralls were a different color than the standard Ghostbuster uniform, I asked my dad to Photoshop a slightly different logo for me that would match.
This is a nerf gun that I painted to look like a beaten and battered laser blaster. For the exposed metal edges, I put down a base layer of silver paint, then masked off the sections I wanted to stay silver with toothpaste and masking tape. After the black coat was applied, I did the same thing, masking off most of the blaster, then laying down the green. I took it apart during the process to make it easier.
One of my favorite costumes was this mushrooom. The top consisted of a cardboard disk for the frame, settled around an upside-down plastic bowl filled by a ring of socks so it would rest securely on my head. Newsprint stuffing formed the round top of the mushroom cap, and the fabric was sewn around everything. The stem of the mushroom was a tube of fabric draped around me. My only regret is that I chose not to include arm holes. My brother had to collect candy for me.
Another year I decided to go as a cheese puff for Halloween. To achieve the look took help and advice from both my parents—a true family project.
We took a large amount of orange fabric, sewed it into a cylinder and filled it with paper and bubblewrap. The rounded ends were made by cutting the ends of the cylinder in triangular “teeth” and sewing them together like the meridians arcs of a globe. We used a rubber ball at the top and a stiff plastic rod to keep it from slumping too much.
Everyone thought I was a hot dog.
This was the first of many wooden swords I’ve made. It is in three parts, held together at the handguard with screws. Now I prefer to make swords out of one piece of wood to improve their durability.