I’ve always loved Halloween costumes. When I was a kid, costumes were a chance to be someone else for a night. I took advantage of it, dressing as something – or someone – different every year.
The crazy part? Most of my favorite costumes were pulled straight out of my closet, including the one I’m going to share with you today! I loved coming up with an idea and putting together all the necessary elements using clothing and accessories I already owned.
What can I say? I’m a #Halloweenpurist – you won’t find me buying any pre-made costumes at discount stores come October!
And you shouldn’t either because putting together a costume in your own closet is easier than you think.
Here’s the secret: get the details right, get everything else close enough.
That was my approach to Rita Skeeter.
In 2012, Halloweenie Roast was a Harry Potter theme and, seeing that I was giving journalism one last try in my career, I decided to dress up as my favorite evil reporter from the series.
If you haven’t read the books or seen the movies, Rita Skeeter is a tabloid-style reporter for the wizarding world’s newspaper, The Daily Prophet, who delights in overexaggerating the smallest of details and bringing Harry Potter a lot of grief during his teen years.
In the books, she described as having red talon-like nails, wearing red lipstick aplenty and is never without her acid green quill. In the movies, she donned an acid green suit when we first meet her:
No offense to any costume designers from the film, but I wasn’t about to put together a hideous suit like this myself. I knew it’d only hang in my closet for years to come, unused.
Instead, I pulled together a few pieces of clothing I already had that made me look like a witchy newspaper reporter:
That’s a dressy top with a flippy black pencil skirt and some of my favorite Mary Jane’s. Oh, and a little book I made with the magic of the Internet. Not pictured: my favorite black blazer I regularly wear to work.
I also made sure to get Rita’s key details – her red glasses and acid green quill – correct so everyone knew who I was:
Bonus item: a beetle necklace, which is a call out to Rita’s Animangus – or the animal she is able to turn into, for you Muggles – utilized in the series to get her scoops!
Plus…I added a few additional details, like Rita’s scandalous posthumous biography on Albus Dumbledore, to round out my props. In the original version of my costume, I also included a Daily Prophet name badge and a copy of The Daily Prophet.
So how does this all come together for a Rita Skeeter costume?
Okay, the costume is awesome…but can we talk about this wall for a second?
Houston is FULL of amazing artists doing awesome work like this. This piece is by Pilot One of the FX Crew and is part of the Art Wall Houston, an 800-foot mural in the Washington Avenue Arts District with art from 14 artists. (Including one right next door to this owl with a jack-o-lantern and skull!)
When I saw this particular work featured on Wear + Where + Well’s Houston mural guide (thanks, Aryn, for sharing it with me!), I knew it would be the perfect backdrop for a few photos dressed up as one of my favorite Harry Potter characters.
I should note: crazy bangs are not a part of the Rita Skeeter look…they’re just a result of the unrelenting wind.
I worked really hard to perfect my best Rita Skeeter scowl…but I’m pretty sure I still look too nice.
Rita is best known for her scathing pieces that over-dramatize much of what’s actually happening in the novels…so I had to bust out one of my old reporter’s notebooks to take a few notes.
Sometimes when you’re the baddest witch reporter in town, you’ve got to make sure your work holds up.
Don’t worry – it does!
Okay, I couldn’t be totally serious the entire time I was Rita!
To this day, it is one of my favorite costumes I’ve ever worn.
So now I have a challenge for you…
What Halloween costume could you make using items in your closet?
Special thank you to Amanda from AJG Photography Etc for taking these photos for me!
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