Woodland Nature Spotting Costume
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The Woodland Nature Spotting crew
|Costume type:||Costumes for Families|
This homemade costume for families entered our 2018 Halloween Costume Contest.
A word from Tamilyn, the 'Woodland Nature Spotting' costume creator:
So this years Halloween costume theme idea came from my daughters love of fairies. I knew I wanted our whole family to coordinate, but what could I create that wasn’t the average fairy costume?
I googled creative ideas around fairies and came across a lot of gnomes sitting on a mushroom costumes. I loved the idea of an illusion costume, but needed to think of something I had never seen before.
So after much going back and forth with many different woodland creatures, I knew that a fairy riding a tortoise would be super adorable. And my daughter would just love petting the tortoise while in the costume. My son Cullen is only 15 months so I needed a costume he could comfortably walk in, but be hilariously cute… and what’s cuter than a giant tailed squirrel. My husband is just incredibly laid back when it comes to my crazy hobby of making halloween costumes. So I knew he’d go with the flow of any woodland creature, I was going to make him a bird but decided to go in another direction and make him a Nature Watcher sitting on a tree stump, and he could be on the lookout for fairies, butterflies, tortoises and squirrels. I asked my daughter what she wanted me to be, and of cause she said “a fairy too” , so I had to push it to the next level and make me into a butterfly fairy sitting on a flower.
Mission one complete: Getting a Halloween costume idea is the hardest part for me.
Mission two: I went off to the thrift stores looking for tablecloths, blankets, curtains and rugs that I can use for fabric in my costumes. I love how I can get so much fabric for so cheap compared to going to a fabric store. I went to 2 thrift stores and got all my supplies.
I didn’t have any solid plan of attack on where to begin the costumes. I just knew that I had to start Oct 1st to complete 4 costumes in time, and with 2 little kids and life it was definitely a little crazy at times, but so worth it.
Mr Squirrel - I started with my sons squirrel costume, I had some extra brown fluffy fabric in my stockpile, and I used a grey bath rug I bought at the thrift store for the stomach, ears and feet accents. I made his hat out of a coat hanger covered in stiff fabric and then the fluffy brown fabric was glue on. My son hated the hat at first. So I made sure that I put it on him each day till he got use to the hat. And guess what … on Halloween he kept the hat on the entire time, woohooo. My patience paid off. I made his tail so large that my poor son actually fell over the first time he tired the costume on, but he is a trooper and got back on his feet and never fell over again :)
I loved the costume, but something was missing. He loves pushing things around, so I covered my little girls stroller with paper mache and a chicken wire frame around it to make a giant acorn. I picked real vines from my yard and glued them to the bottom. I made sure the acorn was hollow so that his candy would go inside the acorn. When walking around everyone loved my little squirrel so much and kept taking photos of him, and loved the idea of making something to push as a halloween bag. He did get tired of walking at times, so my husband had to pick him up and carry him. Which I think actually made the group costume even better, because Mr Squirrel fitted so perfectly sitting with the Nature Watcher.
Nature Watcher- I left my husband Christopher's costume till last to make. I used 3 hula hoops from the dollar stores for the tree stump shell, with some PVC as support. I then wrapped white paper around it to create the shape. I had some brown large paper I got from my mom, which I crunched up and then hot glued it to the white paper. It still looked pretty dull, so I painted over the paper and it created a fabulous bark look. I glued real vines around the tree stump and added some extra butterflies I had from decorating my daughters room. I used chicken wire to fill the fake leg pants and used my slippers for his shoes. I added some suspender like shoulder straps with foam to the hula hoop frame. And used my husbands shirt and borrowed my dad’s hat and waistcoat. I think the butterflies all over his costume, really helped tie the whole theme together. And he got the most compliments from people on Halloween by far. And I would agree, he looked so real sitting on the tree stump. Lots of kids couldn’t figure out how he was sitting , it was cute to watch their reactions. All our illusion costumes made us walk a little slow as our legs were trapped, but my husband was definitely the slowest poor thing. Oh and when people would give him candy he loved that he could just pop them into his fake leg pockets.
Fairy riding the Tortoise- my daughter Truly's costume was definitely the most problematic. After finally getting some newspapers for the paper mache tortoise, I created the shell out of chicken wire then spray painted it different colors, and then hand painted the shell look on it. I used tablecloth fabric that was textured for the tortoise legs and head then attached it all together . I used my daughters own pink ballet stockings to fill with pillow stuffing and then put ribbon around the feet for little fairy shoes as the fake legs. I was super happy till I tried to lift the tortoise up, as I realized I had made it way to heavy for a 3 year old. There was no turning back though, as time was running out. So I had to make a full body suit that I attached to the shell. I was trying to distribute the weight all over my daughter’s upper body. The main goal for the fairy dress was so make sure it was extra pretty and girly. I had to cut a slit in the back of the dress so the fairy wings I made could pop out of the dress. I then attached velcro to the wings arm straps so the wings could actually come on and off . The wings were made from wire coat hangers, and my old pink tights. I decorated them with lots of jewels and fabric glue and glitter. I used wire for her headpiece with flowers from the dollar store to decorate it. My daughter loved her fairy costume. So now was the time to see if my 3 year could actually walk in the costume. Well hooray it actually worked. The whole bodysuit under the fairy dress really helped hold up the very heavy tortoise. She was so excited to walk in it and everyone couldn’t believe she was riding a tortoise. I think it was very unusual to see someone so small pull off an illusion halloween costume.
Fairy still on a flower- Lastly was my fairy costume. My cousin had just got rid of some fabric and in it was scraps of the beautiful flower /tree fabric I used for my dress. It was the perfect fabric to sew on a corset I had from a previous halloween costume. I needed the stability of the corset to attach the wings I made and ultimately attach the fake legs and flower to it. I had an extra tutu skirt I had made from a previous halloween costume under the dress too. I used another 3 hula hoops for the stem of the flower . The green strem is a tablecloth I sewed to fit the round shape. I added some felt grass at the bottom. Then I dunked the yellow cut out petals in a mixture of modge podge and water and let them dry on a tarp. This helped to stiffen the petals. Next I zig zagged stitched thin wire around each petal. I broke 4 sewing machine needles doing this part. I think I should have sewn slower but I was determined to finish sewing while my kids napped . The petals turned out so beautifully, I was very happy with the shape they could hold. I wired the petals onto the hula hoop at the top and then added a black covering to the whole flower. I stuffed my crazy tattoo looking stockings with pillow filling and then shaped them with a wire coat hanger. I had to secure the legs pretty well to the flower and balance the front heavy leg weight with some of my husbands tool little weights that I sewed into the back of the flower to balance it. All the butterflies on my costume matched the butterflies on my husbands costume, so it helped tie the theme together again. When I was walking around I had a lot people come up and say they loved my costume and thought it was such a unique idea.
My family had great fun walking around as our woodland nature creatures, and all the hard work paid off with the tons of compliments and photos that were take of our woodland nature theme. It was fun to see everyones reactions when they linked all of our costumes together. I think it was a fun theme to do, as we never ran into any other matching illusion costumes. I have never seen a group of illusion costumes so I’m pretty proud that I was able to pull the whole thing off as a mother of 2 kids. My extended family always look forward to seeing what fun idea I can come up with next, and I think I have the best hobby once a year. I hope my kids can look back at Halloween photos and laugh at life and all the fun times we had as a family, especially who doesn’t love a fluffy squirrel and an adorable fairy.