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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Halloween is Scary (for me that is)

Read on to find out how to make these and other costumes for the big night!
Halloween scares me. No, no, not in an "aack, zombies coming to eat me!" kind of scared, but more like a "I can never live up to the crafty expectations of this holiday" scared. I mean, seriously, Martha practically puts out a book on the holiday each year. A book! But, I am also in love with its inventiveness. From the ingenuity of first-time crafters (or so they'd like you to think) who turn into a Transformer from a box and some duct tape, to the well-seasoned sewer who stitches together an Eighteenth Century corseted gown to wear once "because it's fun," I revel in their brilliance and know I am simply out of my league. 

So this year, I am putting my fears aside and thinking to the future by devoting two full columns to DIY costume inspiration (much of which I have seen out and about right here in Juneau). See you out there!

Get started now on these costumes that take a bit longer (with Alaskan themes!): 

Group: The Tongass
Get a group together for a crafting session of tall trees. Clad yourselves in brown and throw on funky faux bois (fake wood grain) fabric toga wraps. Then create hats that peak into treetops. Either use real fallen tree limbs or cut your own from fabric, and a box as the base. Cut a large circle from cardboard and cut along a radius to the center. Pull the circle into a cone shape that will fit your head like a dunce cap and secure with glue. Poke holes in the cone and insert the branches, or simply glue on fabric branches you've created. Don your hats and watch an entire forest emerge. Finish the look off with attached birds, squirrels and moss.

Family: Matryoshka Dolls (see image above)
Dig into Alaskan history with a set of Russian dolls for the entire fam. Using layers of felt, first cut the base silhouette of a nesting doll out of two large pieces to fit each family member. Now do some research and find a pattern that you like. Applique the design by sewing or ironing it using iron-on interfacing. Cut holes for your heads to peek out and don your new family-friendly costumes.

Couple: Fisherman and Hoochie
Switch up stereotypes with a female fisherwoman clad in yellow slicker and pants, rainboots, and a fishing cap. At the end of her rod dangles her trusted tackle, the hoochie.
Here is what a hoochie looks like if you were picturing something else.
Create the clear hoochie costume by using a shower curtain, clear tape, and some permanent markers. Wrap the curtain around the wearer and mark it where it feels comfortable. Cut off the excess and tape the curtain up to create a tube. Fashion the top into a point by pleating it and tape it in place. Cut out a hole for your face. Next cut vertical strips halfway up the sides of the tube to create the dangling legs of the hoochie. Draw the eyes on for final touches.

Single: Spawning Salmon
You don't need a partner to pull off this fishy costume. Using a base of red or pink clothes, attach used and discarded CDs. To secure the shiny silver discs drill two holes along one side using a power drill. Then stitch through the holes to your base costume. In the end you'll look a bit like a flapper made from CDs, shiny and scaly. To top it off carry pink jelly beans and hand them out to other party-goers, because after all, you're a spawning salmon!

Tune in again in two weeks for a slew of quick costumes to make on the fly.

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