Halloween 2017: The Crow, The Totem, The Jedi-in-Training, and the Blue Screen of Death

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

 Halloween photos are ready to share this year! Hooray! A tradition I began when it was just Noah, I love making the time to capture my kiddos' costumes in formal backdrop portraits for memorykeeping.... And this year, they happened to have Friday, October 27 off, so we have a whole empty morning to get this done... and 3 out of four of the kids are really at cooperative ages, unlike their baby sister (looking at YOU, Larkin Clementine). 

Anyway, first up is Noah, who, inspired by the comic strip Foxtrot, decided to go as the Blue Screen of Death. 

For his costume, we already had a death cloak from my mom's dress-up stash, so all we needed was black clothing, a scythe, some fun gloves, and we created the Blue Screen using Adobe Illustrator and a computer font, then laminated it, mounted it on foamcore, and cut out eyes. Voila! 

Next is Larkin. She is at this crazy age where she won't keep hats, headbands, bows or hoods on her head, so most costumes were basically out. But then I had a brilliant idea, and remembered Rey's row of ponytails in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Larkin has enough hair for little tiny ponytails, and she forgets they are there... so BAM-- Rey was the solution:

For Larkin's costume, we started with the hair, of course. Then I just needed a white onesie, khaki pants, and brown shoes for the foundation. When I went to the resale shop, I found perfect khaki capris to mimic Rey's knee-length bloomer-style pants, and I found utterly perfect boy dress shoes that look sort of peasant-y and homemade. I cut some khaki-colored fleece to make her robes, and a dark-brown fleece strip for a belt. Some cut-off tights made up her arm bands, and I whipped up a fleece "light saber" in Luke Skywalker's original style since my brother reports that that will be the light saber Rey receives to train with.

When wiggle-baby started trying to ditch the photo session, I bribed her with sixlets to keep her around. It worked like a charm!! (Ideally, I like Smarties for kids for this kind of food bribe, since chocolate just gets super drooly and messy... but somehow I don't have any Smarties in the house!! Fail.)

My last two kids, Lucy and Quinn, both chose obscure but marvelous characters from the iPad game Monument Valley, a game our whole family has played and loved. The main character of the game is a little girl dressed in white named Ida, who befriends a totem of blocks named Totem (but who we accidentally started calling "Gollem" and so he's Gollem in our house. Oops!) At the end of the first game, Ida becomes a crow queen, and that is the incarnation of Ida that Lucy really wanted to be.

Both characters are gorgeously recreated by the artist @ddpatron from Deviant Art, as seen in these reference photos here, and it was his art that I used as inspiration to make the two costumes. (Thank you, good sir!)

For Lucy's costume, I dressed her in a white long sleeve shirt, white bicycle shorts, and tights. I then stitched a quick un-hemmed fleece jumper dress to mimic Ida's triangle dress. I made a pattern for some wings that Lucy can just slip her arms into, based on some bat wings my mom made me what I was the same age as Lucy. Again, with fleece, it was super fast and easy-- no hemming or finishing needed!   

And for her headpiece-- well, that was a labor of love using foam core, white duct tape, cardstock, and pipecleaner. I had the vision in my head for weeks, and finally made a prototype with posterboard to see if my ideas would work in real life. We had to make some adjustments to how it stays on her head (the fleece ties under her chin were not my original plan), but it worked mostly like I'd hoped, and I really enjoyed making the final piece with careful cuts and assembly. Lucy LOVES it, and I am so proud of it.  (Plus, how cute is my girl with her newly-lost top front tooth? Six year olds are so cute.)

And Quinn wanted to be Gollem, aka Totem, also shown here in 3-d form by the artist @ddpatron.

I enlisted Joe's help for Quinn's Totem. We used the biggest sheets of foam core we could find and Joe made a column for Quinn that was proportionate to three blocks of the totem's four total blocks. Any taller and it would've been awkward for Quinn's height, so we compromised with the three. Once Joe had built the initial structure, I got to work spray painting the whole thing, then taping off the individual blocks and using posterboard, a ruler, and an  x-acto knife to cute the blue markings for Totem's body. This costume took the most time and precision, but I have to say-- in the middle of a crazy month, it was weirdly satisfying to have such a left-brained, precise, focused task to tackle. And seeing the Totem come to life in such a grand scale was immensely gratifying. 

Also, Joe rigged an ingenious harness/shoulder strap for Quinn for the inside of the box, out of duct tape. It works SO WELL. And how cute is my little Gollem, peeking out from his costume? 

And there you have it: Halloween 2017. Crazy as always, but I adore doing Halloween costumes for my kids. ADORE IT. It's a pet project of mine, year after year, and even when life threatens to totally make me lose my mind, it's something I love to get down to work on. Maybe one day, when the kids are over it, but we don't have grandkids yet, I'll channel that passion towards some amazing costumes or cosplay for my husband and myself. Watch out: ten years from now, you might be seeing posts of US all decked out! Ha!
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