Costume Time!!

It’s Halloween. Or almost…

Growing up, this was always a holiday that got me into trouble. No, not because I caused trouble but because when it comes to costuming I am highly detail oriented as well as a perfectionist. I would drive my mother – a woman who worked non-stop but still took the time every Halloween for most of my sisters’ and my childhood to make our costumes including whipping up patterns on the fly – absolutely crazy as year after year she’d have to argue out compromises with me over all my crazy details.

Still, I would spend hours sketching out costumes from tv shows, movies, books, or whatever else I was obsessed with at the time and plan out every layer and prop that would have to be made or purchased only to discover (with my mother’s tireless explaining) that what I was drawing was way too much to get done – and yet, I still have this issue as seen in all the prepped details and yet completely unfinished steampunk Alice (of Wonderland and Disney/California Adventure’s now concluded Tea Time Show) costume still sitting in boxes in my closet.

So this year (not for the first time!), I’ve decided to go a little more simple with pieces that I can afford to buy on my budget that will also be able to slide seamlessly into my wardrobe, or (better yet) with pieces I already own.

Currently, I am choosing between two costumes that toe the line between subtly and different enough to stay in the costume department and I would love some input.

The Choices:

Coraline From Liaka’s 2009 stop-motion film Coraline (If you haven’t seen it, do! It’s creepy enough for a Halloween movie – throw in ParaNorman after and make a night of it – but family friendly so you shouldn’t have to hide under the covers… too much.)


Laika’s Coraline from 2009’s Coraline

The basics: Blue hair, dragonfly clip, orange lipstick, star sweater (like this!), blue booties, and black skinny jeans. You can also go with a yellow raincoat and wellies or a striped orange sweater. If you are feeling artistic, draw buttons on your closed eyelids but make sure you set the prep the eyelid, set the make up and let everything dry – it’s a fun surprise but can get messy. Carry around a black cat (preferably the stuffed kind) and there you have it.

Pros: Overall, the costume is simple and every piece can be worn again. You can have fun challenging yourself in this but if it’s too much work, skip the button eyes and cat and you can still make your point.

Cons: The hair. If you can get away with dying your hair this color blue both in your work/school life and your complexion, go for it. It is possible to find this shade in both permanent and washable dyes. If, like me, this just isn’t an option, there are ways of coloring your hair like this that can be put in one day and then washed out. With this color, chalk won’t do – that’s a pastel thing and it will be all over everything so be wary – but colored hair spray would. the big warning is that you will get helmet hair, a very colorful bathroom (if that’s where you are spraying), and will need a fair amount if you want to cover your whole head. My hair is fairly light so to get the right shade, I would be mixing black spray in with blue. You can get both at Party City as well as most Halloween or beauty supplies but the best Coraline blue I’ve see in probably here. Of course, there is always the wig option, but I’ve never found one worth the money that doesn’t make me scratch my head all night!

There is also the “Wait… who are you?” factor. While you might be recognizable to a Laika fan, these films are surprisingly unknown and since it came out 7 years ago, your costume is sure to go over many people’s heads. Then again, finding those who know and appreciate your costume is pretty cool.

Next up: Selina Kyle from Fox’s  Gotham. Selina Kyle is the young/future Catwoman (played by the very talented Carmen Bicondova) who is portrayed as a young pick pocket/street urchin who is constantly in the thick of things, many times getting in the middle to help save young Bruce Wayne.


Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle on Fox’s Gotham

The basics: big curls, steampunk goggles, black ripped skinny jeans and fishnets or (for season 3) leather sided leggings, boots (knee highs or booties with leather shin guards), leather jacket, dark grey hoodie, black crew neck top, collar necklace and leather/fishnet fingerless gloves. You can throw a few other details if you want to hone in on a specific episode; ie. if you don’e want curls, go super straight with a slouchy beanie like in the later half of season 2.

Pros: Finding all of these items in dark colors is super easy and I am pretty sure I have something that works. You also have a lot of choices seeing as her look changes – in the specific pieces as well as how she styles her hair – from episode to episode and season to season. The things I don’t have – ie. knee high boots (I have oddly wide calves so finding a good pair that fits is really difficult!) – are things I want to get anyway. Plus, seeing my hair all up and curled will be so much fun.

Cons: I live in Los Angeles so even in October, this is a lot of layers so sweating through the layers is an issue and then the costume is also really dark so you have to pay a lot of attention walking around outside! Because there are a lot more pieces, this costumes details can also get slightly more expensive even when you are compromising on some of the detail (you don’t need the leather jacket that cost over one or two hundred dollars, but even cheap jackets can add to your price tag). Again, while this show is well-publicized, recognition can also be an issue (or a plus for those that do).

So, if you can’t tell, at this point I am leaning toward Selina Kyle – it’s more work finding all the pieces but much less work  (mostly hair) anytime you have to put the costume together – Halloween parties as well as the actual night if you are going out.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

  • Taylor Gallagher



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