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2015 Costume Contest Winners – Adult Couples Category

2015 ADULT COUPLE CATEGORY

The 2015 Halloween Express DIY Costume Contest winners in the Adult Couple category definitely showed that being a gruesome twosome isn’t the only way to get a double dose of attention while dressed up in Halloween costumes. We’re pretty sure you will agree that these very imaginative duos are not only positively epic, but are simply paired to perfection! 

FIRST PLACE: Amanda Price – Mobile, AL

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HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THIS COSTUME?

Ever since I was little, I have enjoyed watching sci-fi movies. Especially those that included aliens. I always wanted to come up with my own alien species and this year for Halloween I finally got my chance. Being a sophomore in college studying biology makes it hard to find free time. But Halloween is important to me and my boyfriend, Jesse, so I try to make costumes for us every year. This is my third year making costumes but I had no experience when I started so everything I do is accomplished through a lot of trial and error. I wasn’t happy with store bought costumes by themselves and wanted to make something that we can enjoy that will also make our friends, family and strangers alike smile.

WHAT ITEMS DID YOU USE TO MAKE THIS COSTUME AND HOW?

The helmet is made out of pieces of crafters foam that were cut and pieced together around the Catcher’s helmet like a puzzle. I used hot glue for all of the connections. After the entire front of the mask was covered with crafters foam, I covered the back with red burlap. The quills that stick out through the burlap are made from pipe insulation that was shaved down with a steak knife and wrapped tightly with electrical tape until each one was completely covered and curved. Once the structure of the helmet was complete, I added sun glass lenses to cover the eyes, and pieces of plastic tubing to complete the look.

The armor was made out of foam matting from Lowes. I started building the armor by making stencils out of paper that fit together before I traced the design onto the foam mat and cut each piece out with a box cutter. The pieces were then shaped with a heat gun so that they fit together easily and formed to the body of the wearer. The same process was repeated for the back piece. After the chest and back pieces were completed, I used the two shoulder pieces to connect the back and chest. This created one “vest” that slips over the guards head and covers the entire torso. I also added straps on the sides of the armor that hold the “vest” tightly to the body.

The shin guards were made out of the same crafters foam as the helmet and the upper arm pieces were cut from the same foam matting as the chest and back. The battle ax weapon was a last minute addition. I made it out of pvc pipe, foam matting for the blade and spray paint to make it complete.

The gauntlets (hands) were very tricky because I wanted them to move realistically but still be easy to wear. This required me to cut each finger piece, heat form it, and glue it onto black garden gloves individually. I overlapped the pieces as I worked my way up the fingers so that they moved like real, metal gauntlets when the wearer opens and closes their hands. The bracers (forearms) were made out of crafters foam the same way as the rest of the armor, by first using a stencil that I made from paper, then tracing the design to foam and finally cutting and gluing the pieces together.

Once all of the construction for the guard was completed, I began to decorate! I used pipe insulation, crafters foam and plastic tubing that I painted red to add detail to all of the pieces of the armor. The plasma gun that extends over the shoulder was made from these materials as well. My boyfriend Jesse, who wears the guard costume, helped me to spray paint all of the pieces black. We then hand painted all of the red lava lines on the right side of the completed armor. The symbols on the shoulder and face of the guard are inspired by actual crop circles. The last detail was the addition of LED lights in the chest tubes, plasma gun and beside the eyes to really make the costume come to life.

The queen costume construction included my first attempt at Paper Mache and took a lot of trial and error to get right. I began with a head form that I bought from the craft store, then I used oil based clay to create the shape of the alien head on the head form. To keep the Paper Mache from sticking to the clay, I covered the clay with tin foil. I used a simple recipe of flour and water to make the glue for the news-paper. I applied three layers to one side of the clay head, let it dry and removed it from the head form. I then repeated the process for the other side of the head. When both sides were done I joined them with Paper Mache. Once the whole thing was dry, I added some crafters foam around the bottom of the mask to make it longer (one of the errors I had to fix) before adding details. I cut coin sized circles out of crafters foam and glued them to the mask to look like the character has lava rocks on her face. I was then able to get creative with paint to complete the mask.

The wings were made just like the quills on the guard character. I shaved down pipe insulation, then used two pipe insulation elbow joints to make them curve before covering the wings with electrical tape. The mesh that makes up the middle of the wings is cooking skewers that I poked through the pipe insulation, glued to each other to form a mesh and painted white. I ran into a problem when I tried to figure out how to hold the wings onto my body. I ended up making a harness out of foam matting with straps that hold it onto my back like a back pack. I glued two wooden dowels onto the foam harness which stick out the back of my dress through holes. I simply slip the hollow pipe insulation wings over the dowels and they stay on. It’s that easy!

I bought the dress from goodwill and altered it to make it into a gown fit for a queen. I liked the beaded sleeves but I had to alter the neckline into a V-neck and add all of the red silky material in order to achieve the look I was going for. I didn’t have to do any sewing on the dress. I used hot glue to alter it and add the red material.

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

The best part of Halloween for Jesse and I was getting to see the reactions that the costumes got from both children and adults. We remained in character the entire time that we were in the costumes. People loved that! We attended a Halloween event that was hosted by a local college and took a stroll through Walmart in costume on Halloween night. We felt like celebrities in our costumes because strangers kept asking us for pictures. Children were not very open to our characters at first. One little boy would not even look at the guard character at first but his mom eventually convinced him to give Jesse a high five. Priceless moment! Everyone enjoyed watching the guard as he walked with his weapon ready and the winged queen as she smiled and walked mysteriously. I was excited to tell people that the costumes were homemade. They were always amazed and many wanted to touch the armor, wings, and even my mask to see how they felt. The reactions from both kids and adults were perfect rewards for all of the hard work that went into making every piece. We both had the best time on Halloween. I can’t imagine our smiles being any bigger!

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO TELL US ABOUT THIS COSTUME OR YOUR EXPERIENCE?

Is there life on other planets? The answer to that question is yes. Humans have never met any extra-terrestrials, but that is all about to change. Ardere is a small volcanic planet in the cigar galaxy which is inhabited by intelligent, heat loving humanoids. Female Arderians have heads that look like they are covered with lava and lava rocks. They also have exposed bony wings. Males have long quills that extend from the backs of their heads. Tragically, the planet of Ardere is dying and soon these humanoids will be left without a home. The Koroleva (queen) of Ardere has traveled to the closest inhabited planet called Earth in the Milky Way galaxy. Her only companion in this strange, water covered planet is her most loyal Garda (guard). Together they hope to find resources on Earth that can help restore the planet they call home.

I loved every part of the costume making and story creating process this year. I hope that others continue to get as much joy viewing these characters and hearing their back story as I did making them!

 


SECOND PLACE: Nick Beery – Shelbyville, IL

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HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THIS COSTUME?

My girlfriend and I wanted to create custom costumes that combined both our inspirations from the fairy tale Lil Red Riding Hood and the classic horror story the Wolfman. Rather than create a wolf as a villain we wanted to do our own semi-romantic version as the two characters tied together as a couple rather. Thus, we added some claw marks to Lil Red’s face as a kind of ‘marking of the beast’ to say “she is mine” and dressed our parts by helping one another get each detail just right.

WHAT ITEMS DID YOU USE TO MAKE THIS COSTUME AND HOW?

For Wolfman we used old flannel, t-shirt, jeans, and boots. We were able to find faux wolf hair which was stitched into the garments. We painted press on nails and used spirit gum to apply hair to the face and hands that was cut away from the piece of wolf hair for the body. Once the costume was on it was a matter of applying the ears, nails, and doing some make up effects. Of course, howling mad with fun while dressing up.

For Lil Red we acquired a vintage corset for the undergarment. My girlfriend is a pretty awesome seamstress so she was able to whip together a red hood and tied the bottom together with the rest of the outfit by upcycling an black old skirt with some fishnet stockings. We wanted her to be on the more sexy side of things especially since we were adding the claw marks to her face. We used eyelash glue, tissue paper, foundation, and some makeup with fake blood for the facial scars. She walked around with a basket and handed out candy and spooky goodies while I barked and howled.

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

We went to a ‘monsters ball’ Halloween gathering and costume contest a couple weeks before Hallow’s Eve. The event was filled with other costumers and kids. The kids were both astounded at the realism of the costumes and scars and to be honest were startled and even frightened of my Wolfman. There was a couple in the contest dressed as He-Man and She-ra who kind of looked at us like “uh oh! we have competition!”. At the end of the night we were chasing kids and howling at the moon all in the fun of Halloween. We did take home some good prizes from the costume contest that evening.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO TELL US ABOUT THIS COSTUME OR YOUR EXPERIENCE?

We helped one another get all the details right. From beginning to end we would ask each other things like “is this torn and tattered enough?” – “is this too bloody?” – “are my nails yellow and gross enough?” – “can you fix this hair patch?” So it was really a true teamwork effort for us to make Wolfman and Lil Red come to life. All in all just in the day of getting ready (not actually making the costumes) it took us 2-4 hours total.

We pride ourselves on being eco-friendly and reusing materials for costumes. All the fabric is from recycled materials. The only real money spent was on the wolf hair and make up.

We both love children’s tales and classic horror movies. This Halloween 2015 we were able to combine our passions for creativity and the pop cultural influences of our childhood and adulthood. This was the most fun duo costume to make for us. Seeing the reactions of everyone we ran into, even those who peered at us while passing us in the car, will forever be most phenomenal of memories making this one of the best Halloween seasons we have spent together!

 


THIRD PLACE: Anna Tschetter – Lincoln, NE

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HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THIS COSTUME?

We like to take costume ideas that people have seen a million times and put a new twist on the concept. We had done zombies the year before and made them as disgusting as possible and people loved it. This year we took the idea of a mummy and decided to glam it up AND still scare the hell out of people!

WHAT ITEMS DID YOU USE TO MAKE THIS COSTUME AND HOW?

We took over 3 months to custom design the costume and print out our personalized pieces using a 3D printer. Every piece had to be sanded, painted and assembled. Every element of our costume was hand painted and distressed. We used old clothes and tore them up, used pictures of authentic historical Egyptian artifacts as inspiration and A LOT of gold paint. Even our masks are hand made, we learned about the process of face-casting using alginate, used plaster casts of our faces and silicone to custom create our own prosthetics.

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

A wonderful mixture of delight and terror!!! We had so much fun wearing them, and we won 1st place in a local costume contest!!!

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO TELL US ABOUT THIS COSTUME OR YOUR EXPERIENCE?

It was really difficult to make our costume, but my family actually became closer during the process. We all had so much fun testing eachothers creativity and seeing how far we could take it!

PS. We even 3D printed a mummified cat puppet using an old coat sleeve, wrapped it up in cloth, and stuck the head on. That was my favorite part!

 


THIRD PLACE (a): Peg Martin – Townsend, MA

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HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THIS COSTUME?

A few years ago I discovered Electroluminescent (EL) Wire and immediately began to think about what I could create with this very cool glowing wire. My husband and I are big fans of Halloween, and since we don’t have any children we like to feel like kids by dressing up in the most awesome costumes we can create. So I decided to make costumes using the wire.

These first costumes were stick figures with round heads, and the wire was hot-glued on. They were a lot of fun to wear around town on Halloween night, but the glowing of the wire made the hot glue light up too. I’m a stickler for details and didn’t like that, plus I wanted to top these first costumes with something even more creative for next Halloween. My husband said “let’s be Aliens.” And so the race was on!

WHAT ITEMS DID YOU USE TO MAKE THIS COSTUME AND HOW?

I found green robes with wide sleeve ends that looked like something an Alien would wear. I laid them out on the floor and took a ball of string, tracing out where I wanted to EL wire to go. After measuring the length of the string, I ordered pink EL wire for me and power green EL wire for my husband so we would look like an Alien couple. I used clear thread to sew the wire onto the robes, backtracking the wire on the inside of the robes where I didn’t want it to show. I had various wire colors left over from the first costumes and used them to make the blinking portion of the vests. This was difficult to do and required a lot of soldering, but I knew that some blinking animation would really grab attention as we walked around. For the heads, I got black foam board and cut it out to the alien head shape. I drew the alien face in Photoshop then printed it out, tracing the design onto the foam board. I didn’t want to use hot glue this time, so I sewed the wire onto the foam board using the clear thread. This held the wire down perfectly and you could not see the thread at all. Perfect! I also used black matte hockey tape to black out the portions of wire on the front of the mask that I didn’t want to show (for example, a small piece of tape over the middle of the nose created two nostrils). None of that would be seen in the dark.

I then got to thinking “what if I could make the alien face change?” How could I accomplish this? So I researched and bought an SPDT switch which would allow the first face to be turned off while turning on a second face. This was truly a challenge to accomplish and required I work out the second face to not interfere with the first. I used green wire for my second face which would make angry eyes with a tongue sticking out when I pressed a button. I ran the switch down the length of my arm and had the button in my hands to click it whenever I wanted the other face. The first time I tested it out in the mirror I couldn’t stop laughing. The wires from the head connected at the shoulder, then all of the body wire had to be connected to battery-operated power packs which we stored in our pants pockets. I bought black baseball caps, drilled holes in the brims, cut a slit in the top of the foam board heads, then pushed the brims through the slits, securing with zip ties through the holes. That way the hats would hold the faces up and leave our hands free. Eye holes were also cut in the foam board so we could see to walk around. I bought us voice disguisers which made us really sound like aliens. We brainstormed alien phrases, like “Take us to your leader,” “We require earth candy,” and “Would you like to take a ride on the mothership?” I finished only one day before Halloween, having the project come “right down to the wire” (pun intended!).

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

As we started walking around town, we were mobbed! Children and adults alike were fascinated and couldn’t get enough of looking at our glowing aliens. We glowed from far away and we could see groups stop and stare, pointing and asking “what the heck is that!” and then running over to us. Cars going by would come to a complete stop and the driver would stare as I pressed my button and made the face stick its tongue out at them. The adults couldn’t get enough of when we said our voice-altered alien phrases, especially the one about the mothership ride. We even had a police officer on motorcycle patrol stop, stare, and say “oh my gosh those look so real! That’s extremely freaky. Come over here to my bike and stand next to it so I can get a picture of this!” I like to make new costumes each year, but will make an exception in this case because they were such a hit that everyone asked us to wear them again next year. And we’re happy to oblige!

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO TELL US ABOUT THIS COSTUME OR YOUR EXPERIENCE?

EL wire is cool to the touch, bends and shaped easily, and there are so many ways you can use it to make costumes. And it lasts a very long time – all you have to do is use fresh batteries every year. It’s the kind of costume that takes a lot of designing and work to create the first time, but can be worn again and again without ever wearing out its welcome. My only inspiration for these fun costumes is to feel like a kid again and enjoy Halloween night 🙂