When I attended the Thrive Creative back in February, I totally expected to be the oddball of the group. In a sea of fashion and beauty bloggers, I was the black sheep blogging about an unexpected topic: Halloween.
So imagine my surprise when I discovered one of the bloggers I was seated with just happened to be an amazing costumer as well! Since February, Sheila from Red Shoes. Red Wine. has been wowing me with her amazing costuming skills, and I knew as Halloween drew closer I wanted to have her drop by the blog and share some of the killer costumes she’s created.
She narrowed her list down to six of her favorites inspired by pop culture, and today she’ll share a bit about her creative process! I hope this post gives you some inspiration for your own Halloween costume this year.
Killer Halloween Costume Inspiration
By Sheila Echols-Smensy
Could you pick just one favorite movie? I can’t! So how about one favorite movie per genre? It’s difficult, isn’t it? When Miranda asked me to pick a few favorite costumes that I had worn and/or made, I just couldn’t play favorites. I felt like I was being asked to choose between pizza and wine and ice cream and sleeping in on Sunday mornings. Impossible!
With my costumes, I love them all! But I love some more than others, for different reasons, so here’s my painfully narrowed down favorite costumes. I couldn’t pick just one…so I picked six!
Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I used to look forward to making or gathering supplies for costumes once year before realizing I could wear costumes year-round…as a costumer/cosplayer. Yeah, this is a thing!
I’ve chosen six favorite costumes that are favorites because of the fandom, because I’ve learned some new sewing technique or costuming skill (so there’s a sentimental bond there) or because I colored outside the lines and redesigned a look with full creative and artistic license. Some of my favorite costumes are for conventions and some of the BEST have been worn to Halloween parties as well.
Game of Thrones Costume Inspiration
Throwing it way back to my first nerd convention (and Halloween parties because it was that awesome) is my first favorite costume: our couples costumes from Game of Thrones. My costume was inspired by Lady Catelyn Stark from season 1 and, because my husband is a good sport, his costume was inspired by that scheming sneaky villain (he’s a villain, right?) Peytr Baelish aka “Littlefinger” from season 2.
THIS was before I learned how to sew. So imagine me wanting a screen accurate costume and zero skills other than a hot glue gun and some safety pins. We found most of the costume pieces on Ebay and hellocosplay.com and hoped they’d be decent foundations. I couldn’t have duplicated Catelyn’s dresses or Littefinger’s jacket on my own. But I could make a simple cape with a curtain and Amazon-bought coyote hide with…you guessed it, hot glue and safety pins!
This was a great couples costume to wear to DragonCon in Atlanta and also Halloween parties in Houston back when Game of Thrones was just some new show on HBO. Oh…were you expecting Catelyn and Ned?
Doctor Who Costume Inspiration
My second favorite costume was inspired by a Doctor Who supervillain, Missy (aka The Master, or Mistress) from season 8. For those unfamiliar with the series or character, Missy’s look was inspired by Victorian/Edwardian Mary Poppins…but way, way more evil. Picture Mary Poppins, but psychotic and immortal, evil and with an army of cybermen on the ready to do her evil bidding. I mean, you can see what this would be appealing, yes?
The reason why Missy is a favorite is because this costume marked the year I learned how to sew. Cue the sentimental violin music! Watch out hot glue, there’s a new sheriff in town. I found patterns and screen accurate melton wool, braided trim, gilded buttons, and made this baby from scratch. It took months! I completed the look with some Etsy accessories, hot glued embellishments on a vintage hat, and modified Amazon pieces.
This was worn to DragonCon in Atlanta (too hot) and Dickens on the Strand in Galveston (blissfully cold). If you’re curious about how I learned how to sew and build this costume, you can read about it on Red Shoes. Red Wine. blog.
Outland Costume Inspiration
My third favorite costume was inspired by Claire from Outlander (books and series on Starz). The series is based on Claire, a nurse from the 1940s that fell through time to the 1700s and fell in love with a beautiful Scottish fellow (who wouldn’t?). I love Claire’s character and story so much that for the first time in my life, I took an interest in historical events (no small feat, I can assure you). I quickly learned that 18th century clothing is easily mix-and-matched, and found a ton of patterns out there to start building my own wee wardrobe.
This became one of my favorite costumes because of the challenge of creating historically and screen-accurate clothing and the potential to modify/update/change the costume with different mix-and-match options and accessories, much like Claire does in the show.
I wore Claire to Comicpalooza in Houston, DragonCon in Atlanta and Texas Renaissance Festival Highland Fling weekend north of Houston. I’m also currently working on new articles of clothing and accessories so I can wear the costume again in different settings and climates. If you’re interested, you can read about the costume build (and future plans) on Red Shoes. Red Wine. blog.
James Bond/Day of the Dead Costume Inspiration
My fourth favorite costume was inspired by the most recent James Bond film, Spectre, and his ridiculously charming swagger. Mr. Bond struts through Mexico City during a Day of the Dead parade rocking a skeleton tuxedo, skull mask and top hat, complete with a Bond Girl on his arm. Who else would be able to rock such a daring getup? Mr. Bond, of course…and maybe my husband.
Even though this costume wasn’t worn by me, it was made by me. And it became one of my favorite costumes because I learned a new costuming skill: painting fabric. To be honest, I was quite terrified that I’d ruin a perfectly good tuxedo in the name of Halloween, but it turned out quite well! I traced the skeleton from screenshots in PowerPoint, cut the outline as a foam stencil on my Cricut, held my breath and painted. I’ll be posting the complete step-by-step costume build on the blog soon.
The Little Mermaid Costume Inspiration
My fifth favorite costume was inspired by Disney villain Ursula from The Little Mermaid…but with a twist. I redesigned the costume with a red carpet look rather than “under the sea.” There’s something wickedly fun about being the bad guy, or bad girl in this case. And if you’ve ever found yourself secretly rooting for the antagonist in a story, then you know where I’m coming from with this one.
This is one of my favorite costumes because I allowed myself creative license to essentially do what I wanted with an iconic character. I still painted my skin light purple, but rather than a short wig, I went long and glamorous. And the biggest difference between classic Ursua and mine, was my color blocked ball gown skirt that mimicked tentacles without being actual tentacles. It was fun to wear and I felt fabulous! The full costume build can be found on Red Shoes. Red Wine. blog.
Labyrinth Costume Inspiration
And finally, my sixth favorite costume was inspired by the antagonist in one of my favorite childhood (yes, I’m that old) films, Labyrinth, featuring David Bowie being typical gender-fluid David Bowie in his portrayal of the Goblin King. On top of wanting to play the villain, I also wanted a more feminine (yet still oddly confusing) and more modern look.
Again I was able to use my creative license and redesign an iconic character in my image. I made a skirt instead of tight pants, bought a long glamorous wig instead of a short spikey (and hideously 80s) wig, and I added a few additional or updated elements. I am so in love with this costume that it probably ranks highest amongst favorite costumes. Just don’t tell the others, lest they get their feelings hurt! The full costume build can be found on Red Shoes. Red Wine. blog.
These creations and more can be found on the section of Red Shoes. Red Wine. dedicated to costumes if you fancy a look at some of my other projects; past, present and future.
So which costume is your favorite?
Sheila Echols-Smensy is a geo-cartographer in real life, but in her blog life she’s a costumer, DIYer, world traveler, cruiser, party host, nerd, runner, wine enthusiast, dog mom, wife, camper/hiker, OCD organizer and shopaholic. Red Shoes. Red Wine is her travel, lifestyle and hobby blog for the everyday go-getter. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
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