Monday, October 24, 2011

The Frugal Fatshionista's guide to Halloween costumes.

I love the month of October and here's why.

  1. Pumpkins.
    I <3 them. I <3 to eat them. I <3 to smell them. I <3 decorating and carving them. Did I mention that I <3 to eat them? Cause I do.  A lot.
  2. The weather.
    For about 6 months out of every year, Austin is hot. I'm talking Hot-As-Balls. When October rolls around, the weather starts to become a bit more tolerable, which means  I can occasionally wear pants again and not worry about dying of heat exhaustion as I run to my next class which always ends up being on the absolute furthest corner of campus. It also means that I get to wear the occasional cardigan or colorful scarf. It's exciting, y'all!
    I LOVE costumes. But, this deep seeded love only exists for homemade costumes. I value creativity and despise the inexplicable trend of sexy costumes. If I see you around town with little clothes on this Halloween, I will probably make fun of you behind your back (and to your face if I've had enough to drink) for looking ridiculous in your store-bought Sexy Nemo.
As I was saying, I love making costumes. I am a believer in the power of duck tape, hot glue and staplers.  They are MAGIC. (Notice that I do not mention a sewing machine since that contraption takes up too much space, too much time to set up /take down, and requires a skill that I have not yet acquired.)

Until recently, it was nearly impossible to find plus sized, store-bought costumes. If you were a fat woman searching for a costume, you had to settle for a stretchy poodle skirt, or the one-size-fits-most clown suit. Neither of those were creative or fun to me, so I got into the habit of just creating my own costumes. I find it very rewarding and it saves me a ton of money. (Spending $80 for a sexy Bee costume is insanity.)

Anyway, here are a couple of my favorite costumes that I've created over the years using mostly materials that I already had at home (or found at the $1 store) and lots, and lots of duck tape. If you're in need of some Halloween costume inspiration, I hope these can help!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

Michelangelo was my favorite TMNT. He was funny, fierce, and he had an awesome weapon!

I made this costume using green pajama pants, a long sleeved old shirt, orange fabric from an old skirt I tore up. The shell was made with parts of a cardboard box, duck tape, sharpie marker, an old pillow and green fabric. I also made the nunchucks out of empty mousse bottles by covering them with silver duck tape.

A Shower

Growing up in the 80s meant that I was obsessed with the Karate Kid. As an adult, I had to pay homage to this obsession somehow and chose to copy the shower costume from the first movie. I made it using a $1 shower curtain, $1 curtain loops and copper piping that I painstakingly bent into an torus. I also drew the red polka dots on the curtain with red sharpie marker 'cause I could not find a polka dotted curtain in the store.

One thing that I underestimated about this costume was its size.. I couldn't fit through doors, so getting in and out of the house was a bit of a process. It was fun fitting as many people as we could inside, though. I think we squeezed 6 people in at once. SUCCESS!

Lady Gaga Costumes from the Telephone video

It's no secret that I love Lady Gaga. It's also no secret that I'm crazy. Combine those two and you get this 2 for 1 costume! (Long story short, I was in a karaoke league (SO FUN!) and we sang Telephone, so I tried to come up with two costumes inspired by the video.)

A) What I was going for was a combination of this look with these glasses.  Here's the first part of the costume.
It is made up entirely of white duck tape and a giant trash bag. The shoulders are stuffed with recycled news paper and the center of the dress is perforated to make tearing it off easier. Yes, you read that right. I said tear because my teammates jumped on stage, tore my dress in half and to reveal the next part of my costume.

Here's a photo of my teammates about to tear it apart:

B) As confident as I may be, there was no way in hell I was going to bust out with this look, so I improvised a bit and created a blend of Beyonce's look and Gaga's to create the following:

The costume is made of 2 plastic door covers and lots of duck tape. I am so thankful Mona and Lisa did not bust out and make an appearance. (The blue phone is made of a tissue box wrapped in construction paper, clear tape and a blue ribbon)

Frida And Diego painting come to life
We wanted to look like that painting, so we searched our closets for clothes to match. I created the head piece, paintbrushes and pallet using an old head band, cardboard, sharpie markers and hot glue:

When people took photos of us, we'd pose as the painting and resulted in this:

Buzz Light Year and Woody

First, let's talk about Woody. Isn't he cute? That's my husband! Anyway, his costume was made of old jeans, a yellow shirt that we found at Goodwill (which he loves a lot now) and a torn up white undershirt. We used the torn up undershirt to make his cow-print vest, foil covered cardboard for his ridiculous belt buckle and an old Indiana Jones hat that he already owned. (Don't ask me why. I still do not know.)

The Buzz costume was so much fun to make but it was very challenging. The wings were attached to fishing wire so that I could raise or lower them whenever I wanted. I used a long sleeve white shirt and white sweat pants for the base of the costume. I also tore up an old purple shirt to use on the wings. I used the sleeve of that purple shirt and slid it over my head to use as the tight, purple covering, leaving only my face uncovered as Buzz Light year does. The rest of the costume is made of bright green duck tape, sharpy marker and a ridiculous amount of camel toe. (Those pants should have never been worn in public.)

Shrek and Fiona

The Husband and I are going as Shrek and Fiona this year. I think the hardest part of our costume is going to revolve around making ourselves green with out accidentally making our surroundings green and/or breaking out into giant balls of acne. I'll be sure to post a picture of the final product.

Here we are as Shrek and Fiona!

The face paint that we used was amazing and we were lucky enough to find it at the Goodwill store for $1. My dress was found at Goodwill, too. It's a fat-lady night gown made of velvet. How fancy! I glued gold furniture trim on it to make it more princess-like. My husband's outfit is comprised of a felt vest that I made (thanks to hotglue!) an old shirt and pajama pants that he found at Goodwill. I made my ears and crown out of construction paper and hotglued it to a headband. Paul's green hair is all thanks to a $3 bottle of green hair spray and his ears were borrowed from our friend.


With only 5 more days left until Halloween and very few selections left at the costume shops, consider creating your own costume this year. Five days is plenty of time to make something fun and cheap, especially if you remember the powers that can be found in duck tape, hot glue, and a stapler. They are magical!

Happy Halloween!

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