For every Heavenly-perfect crafted costume there exists an equally intense sin in the costume making world. Most of the these examples are not complete disasters. I’m ashamed to admit that my pride prevents me from posting the true Halloween skeletons in my closet. Part of me feels that if they hold no purpose (if there is nothing to be learned from them) why bring them to light… just show the fun ones. Some of these are decent concepts – construction has always been where the challenge is. Note: the above picture is NOT a fail…it’s AWESOME okay…
I present to you my Seven Deadly Sins of Costume Making…
1. SLOTH: Haphazard costume making for the sake of doing it
Note: technically much more effort was put into this costume than even most on this page. But, as you will read, laziness comes in many hazardous levels. This was an adorable idea- especially because at the time we had just bought a fancy toy Grand Piano. But it just never took shape right (literally). Maybe from a distance of about 48 ft but any closer and you would really question the whole thing. Fortunately this was early in my costume years before I had a reputation and these are things I’ve long since learned to do differently. I’d like to try this particular one again sometime- maybe next year with my youngest…
How I did it & what I did wrong:
I decided to start with an older costume I had lying around rather than freshly cut fabric. This actually wasn’t a bad idea since starting from scratch requires killer skill and usually a pattern. Altering an existing garment always has its advantages. You have seams, hems, and elastic already installed. The costume I cut up was originally made for a much larger kid. I just totally guessed that it was exactly twice as big and began cutting. Obvious mistake #1: not measuring the subject. I remember literally thinking that was too much work. So first I cut the pants horizontally in half then vertically (the entire length) in half. I then sewed it together. The pants weren’t terrible but could have greatly improved with some actual measuring instead of guessing. For the shirt I took one of my son’s jackets and laid the fabric on top of it attempting to fit it to size. Once again this is a good idea (to start with an article of clothing and use it as a map) but I began cutting and sewing quite blindly even allowing my fabric to move all over the place as I snipped away. Obvious mistake #2 if you are fitting it to something pin it or hold it in place somehow. Spoiler alert: I am doing this exact same thing for my sons’ Halloween costumes for this year. Though I’ve learned a lot and am not technically making these mistakes- it’s still very difficult to actually build a jacket and I am struggling with it at the moment. In the end the suit was severly lopsided and ill-fitting but that wasn’t the worst part.
The worst part was the wig. I wanted to avoid cottonballs, or any other stringy material that may fall apart. I wanted something strong and reusable and also didn’t want to spend $40 on a wig when I could make one…so so smart… ha. I took a square from a sheer curtain we had and attempted to actually gather and spread the fabric on my knee (which had to be the same size and shape as a head- right?) into a rounded head shape then (as they actually did it back in the day) hold it together with a tied ribbon. I then cut shorter pieces and stitched them to the top of the forehead to make “bangs”. I don’t think my concepts here were the big flaw but more totally throwing out necessary steps like measuring and also accepting that you have limitations. If something is not working and looks bad… don’t do it! There’s not always a reason why they sell specific costume items. I’ve seen some embarrassing ones out there (i.e.: mummy wrap which is literally a fraying ripped sheet in strips)… but powdered wigs are a legitimate purchase. Luckily I realized the fail here and it didn’t end up being his costume Halloween night, though he did wear it to a party.
2. GLUTTONY: Too much of anything
There are way too many token icons and patterns here it’s ridiculous. I personally think this costume is so bad it’s awesome…ha ha… if you’re gonna make a mistake- make it super obvious…
But all seriousness aside – we have a lot to learn here.
What I did wrong:
I looks like we just gathered everything pirate in our home, put it in a giant pile and made sure he wore it all. Well, that’s basically true except our pile was 4 times this big and we had too much to choose from ie: which of the 5 eye patches, 14 striped items and pirate hats to use… and came up with this?! I feel as though he’s more of an “I Spy” page: “try to find all of the skull & crossbones on the boy” than an actual pillager.
So honestly, don’t overdo it. If you’re a pirate, use only one classic logo and one striped article. Lastly in my defense, this was one of several Halloween costumes last year as we learned of a Haunted House down the street and grabbed a costume in 4 minutes… I suppose that’s true sloth.
3. WRATH: or inflicting it on others
This is difficult for me to put on a fail list because it was one my favorites, but it does have one glaring problem… and that is offending people – especially the generation who experienced the historic event. Note: This is not Nord, this is from my days of being single…ha ha…
I was fortunate to be doing wardrobe on a film at the time that used this pink suit-dress. I simply got permission to borrow it for the night. My obsession with the JFK Assassination leaves me always bringing it into my art anyway… this was just too much of a coincidence to pass. The hat was a breeze to make. I simply bought 1/2 a yard of pink fabric and cut out an oval and a long rectangle strip. I then set the circle down and wrapped the strip around it, cutting it to size. Then I simply stitched the two together and bobby pinned it on. For JFK all you need is a suit and a bit of fake blood. Although I guess I shouldn’t be saying how to make this… One thing you I noticed is that there is an incredible amount of people on Halloween who bear no costume but simply put a blot of blood on them and call it good. This feels like a major fail in my book. It’s funny how the JFK looked this way through the night the times I wasn’t standing next to him.
4. VANITY: or lack of
This was a bit creepy for me. And not creepy in a cool Halloween “Pennywise” sense but in a just… I kinda wish I hadn’t seen you like that Nord… look. A 2nd question you should ask your costume is does it make me look good. Now this doesn’t mean sexy (like 99.9% of every costume for sale for females ages 8+) but it can look good in other ways:
-unrecognizable to the point that people won’t have something to “unsee”. Something that can really have no trace of yourself and that you get to really be for the night. A mask is a simple example of this.
-terrifying: in the traditional Halloween spirit
-funny: be sure people will be laughing with you not at you… as high school as that sounds – but give it a thought.
-most importantly: that it doesn’t accentuate your achilles heel (maybe even one not obvious before) to a point of no return. If you have bigger ears don’t wear a giant bow tie, if you are pear shaped don’t be a Christmas tree, etc
Sorry- Nord, I was the one who made this costume and my insult here isn’t as bad as it sounds- but this was the best example I could find for this particular fail. It’s an important point to make. And if there was a contest for the best rendition of Chigurh you may very well have won.
5. PRIDE: Not willing to actually change
As far as clothes I did everything right here. I was so happy I owned basically replica copies of her signature t-shirt and pleated denim skirt… could this even be the reason I got pregnant this year…for the perfect Halloween costume…don’t put it past me. But somehow I had a big pregnant fail. And although it’s a bit difficult to put my finger on why – it seems to boil down to the details; the things that looked like myself as the character rather than the character itself. I was too prideful to really change my hair for the costume. I even trimmed my bangs to look nice because I felt I looked better in bangs but her hair is part of her character’s signature. I could have used a wig and also could have at least attempted Juno’s makeup for the night. If you’re not willing to change something about your preferred everyday look to what you really need to to make the costume right then pick a different costume.
6. GREED: G.etting R.eally E.xhausted E.xplaining D.esign
You didn’t think this little baby could be greedy…he he
If I didn’t write who it was you would have no idea… am I right? And if that’s the case then it’s a fail, even if it’s accurate. I think this is a great first question to ask yourself with any Halloween costume. Do people get it without asking? If not… well for one thing you will get SO sick of explaining it all night… you might as well just be a pirate…
7. LUST: Not much explanation necessary
Finally, as I mentioned above, most women’s & preteen’s costumes now are sexy. Yes- try not to let this get in the way of having a good costume. One of the perfect example of this ridiculousness is the invention of flirty female versions of classic male costumes ie: Batgirl, Supergirl (making a TV show of it doesn’t exclude it from this)… to illustrate it perfectly- I’m linking you to this Image Gallery– it’s pretty hilarious…Enjoy!
Remember even though it’s Halloween your devilish costume shouldn’t be sinful… costume responsibly!