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2015 Costume Contest Winners – Group Category

2015 GROUP CATEGORY

Our 2015 group category costume contest winners are here! What better way to spend Halloween than creating a themed group with family and friends? The creativity just seems to increase exponentially when you add loved ones into the equation. We’re so excited to present our 2015 winners!

FIRST PLACE: Cathy Hartman – DeKalb, IL

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

We are always looking for fun, but inexpensive ways to create a Halloween costume. Our main purpose is to show students that with basic materials, and a little creativity, you can produce some really stellar costumes. I had purchased Ninja Turtle PEZ candy containers for my niece. In the 27 years of teaching at my current school, I had never seen a PEZ costume. So, I thought this could be this year’s choice.

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

I used moving boxes to form the bodies, raw cardboard to make the feet attachments and colored paper to cover the bodies and feet in Ninja Turtle colors. Tape was used to secure the box sections together and attach the paper coverings and feet attachments. I found 30″ nylon lanterns (on sale online) to create the heads and foam board with tape to make the mouths and eyes. I used colored fabric to make the Ninja Turtle mask. The Pez candy container was made by taping three tissue boxes together and wrapping with colored paper. We printed PEZ logos to put on the side of the candy and costume boxes.

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

Our teachers are very competitive in creating their costumes. Much to the chagrin of the other teachers, our group took the students’ choice award. This is decided by how loudly the students cheer for the costumes.

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

All materials that could be reused from these costumes were donated back to the school. Any money won from this contest will also be donated back to school to the Physical Education Department.

 


SECOND PLACE: Amy Bernd – Lawrence, KS

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

My kids come up with the ideas each year. This is for them. In the past years we’ve done Charlie Brown gang, Neverland, and Popeye. This summer they decided they wanted to be Star Wars characters. They each choose who they wanted to be, with the exception of our 2 year old who wasn’t old enough to have an opinion about costumes yet. She got to be R2-D2. I keep waiting for the year my kids all want to choose something just for themselves with no theme, it’s been really exciting to see how much they enjoy dressing as a group and are continuing the tradition with their ideas on their own.

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

Oh my, where to begin? First of all, the only things from these costumes to come from marketed Halloween material was the mask of Darth Vader and the front of the Stormtrooper and C-3PO mask. Everything else was re-purposed or created! R2-D2 was a real challenge to our imaginations. We used 12″ Quick-tube (concrete forming tube for pillars) from Home Depot and covered it with white wrapping paper. The top was a silver painted trash can lid. If you look closely at the lid you’ll notice the squirt top of a water bottle glued on. Lots of reflectors, mirrors and silver materials were used and glued on. We fastened straps on the inside so it was one piece that slipped on and sat on her shoulders. She wore it and walked all up and down our street on Halloween in it. Her shoes were a thrift store find, black and spray painted silver. The metallic tights I got lucky and found at Walmart. The really fun touch on her costume were the battery operated push lights on both sides under her arms. It was so much fun to see her walk around as a robot all lit up.

Her brother and sidekick C-3PO was put together with a shirt and leggings marketed for women I found on Amazon. We sewed on the black stretchy middle portion and wired it with wires found from electronics at the thrift store. The belt was a wide gold belt we found in a thrift store again and the center portion was a combination of a cardboard circle covered with gold fabric and and inset Quick Trip lid to give more circular structure to the center with a lot of Mardi Gras gold beads wound around and glued down. These costumes really worked our imaginations! I wish one of my pictures could show his back but I picked the ones I felt showed costumes best. On his back we used a photo memory box, cut the lid off, painted it gold, attached wires in a way that looked like a circuit board and attached straps so he could put it on like a back pack. The black and gold cord running over his shoulder to his belt attaches to it so it looks like everything has a power source. I got lucky and found those gold shoes on Amazon too, only one size available and it was almost perfect. Finally, it bothered us that his mask was only a partial mask so we sewed a head cover to help keep him gold from head to toe!

Our Stormtrooper costume began with a set of black sweats. We took out the pads from football pants and glued it on the front and back. You’ll also notice we spray painted an athletic sports cup white to use on the front of his pants. We used a ton of glue this Halloween! We painted a set of soccer shin guards white and found some plastic guards that fit his arms. The white shirt was made by us. Under the shirt he has football shoulder pads on that we covered with white felt to keep consistent colors. Finally, the Halloween mask we bought only covered his face, as many do. So we found a plastic helmet at the thrift store, painted it white and attached his face mask to it to look more like a real Stormtroopers helmet.

Darth Vader comes next. Underneath it all he is wearing a set of black sweats too. He also is wearing a set of soccer shin guards. We got the shoes at the thrift store and liked that they were showy because it seemed fitting with Darth Vader, even though his didn’t look just like that. Again, he too is wearing football pads to bulk him up underneath. The front is made like the Stormtroopers white slip over shirt, but his ties for a more snug fit and while the belt and circuit board in the front came from a marketed Halloween costume we ripped it apart and glued the rubber belt to our shirt and the circuit board has cut fiber optic looking wires hanging out and we bulked up the buttons by gluing on beads to make it 3-dimensional. He specifically wanted a long cape and if you look closely a chain around his neck. Totally his idea as a 4 year old. The hood on the cape helped to cover over his head since his mask was meant to only cover the front of the face too.

Finally, Princess Leia and Han Solo. The white dress and under blouse and belt were thrift store finds. The buns were pre-made buns I found at Beauty Brands that I clipped on. I was wearing shiny black rain booties so I covered them in girls white tights as a slipcover. Han Solo was my husband. We were so excited because this was the first year he chose to dress up with us! We used electrical tape to make the red stripes on his pants. The shirt had the right feel and look, as did the vest that we once again found at a thrift store. We did have to cut a furry collar off the vest but in the end you couldn’t even tell. I found two different looking belts for him to wear around his waist and used a toy gun set and spray painted the gun a bronze color and covered the holster with a material that gave it a leather look. We spent weeks putting these together, but the fun we had with it and the finished product made it all worth it. I’m glad my kids are learning the lessons of how to be resourceful and imaginative!

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

People gawked and got really excited when they saw us. Overall people marveled that we put it all together and R2-D2 was a favorite! We had people we didn’t know stopping us to take pictures. Many people said we should enter a contest, so here we are.

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

These were made with a TON of help by my best friends mom whom my kids call Grandma Marsha. She LOVES Halloween and homemade creative costumes. She helps me scavenge the thrift stores and helps cast the vision for how to bring it all together. She spends days and days with us doing fittings, making adjustments, and problem solving. I couldn’t do it without her! Thank you for considering our entry!

 


THIRD PLACE: Dan Landes – Seattle, WA

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

We have two daughters aged 13 and 10. We have long played games as a family, but it has become increasingly difficult to find games that we all enjoy playing. This year we taught the girls how to play poker, and they took to it instantly. It is now one of the games that we can all agree to. In fact, it didn’t take long for our daughters to learn how to beat us at poker. I’m not sure I love the fact that my daughters are so good at bluffing, but it does make them formidable opponents. Every few years we decide to dress up as a family for Halloween, and this was one of those years. When we talked about family costume ideas, I thought it would be fun to play off of this new family activity, which led to the idea of us being face cards. This fall we had an exchange student from Germany join our family, which allowed us to complete a poker hand. I originally thought it would be fun to go as a full house, but none of the girls wanted to join me as a king. However, the longer I have lived with four females, the more I have realized that “Four of a Kind” does a better job of describing our household. From that point, I took my inspiration from cards in an actual poker deck, trying to make costumes that looked like playing cards coming alive. Our youngest daughter is the Queen of Clubs, our 13 year old is the Queen of Diamonds, our exchange student is the Queen of Spades, my wife is the Queen of Hearts and I am the King of Hearts. In the end, I think we constituted a winning hand.

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

The costumes were made out of a variety of fabrics, ribbons, wood, duct tape and a few store-bought items. The back of the cards are a black-patterned vinyl fabric, sewn to white vinyl edges. The edges on the front are also white vinyl, while the letters and suit symbols are made out of colored duct tape. The main body section was pieced together from red, blue, black and gold broadcloth fabric. The accents on the main body are made out of sewn on ribbon, appliqued pieces of fabric and a bit of duct tape. The Queen of Spades scepter has a hollow plastic tube in it to give it vertical rigidity. After the main body sections were completed, I sewed them on to the top and bottom sections. The top section is white vinyl and the bottom is white stretch fabric. The stretch fabric was used to make it easier to get into and out of the costume. There is also a bit of black stretch fabric on the sides to help the main section contour to the body of the wearer. The collars are also made out of stretch fabric to allow the heads to get out. After the front of the card was sewn together the white vinyl edges were attached. The top and bottom masks were store-bought, decorated with blue Sharpie. The eyes on the bottom masks were drawn with Sharpie on duct tape. The crowns were sewn from fabric with ribbon and applique decorations and then glued onto the white masks. The hair and beards were cut from a blue and white striped flannel. Small holes were drilled into the bottom masks to allow them to be sewn to the white stretch fabric. Where necessary, dangling pieces of the upside down crowns were tacked town with thread. Sheaths made of stretch fabric were sewn to the wrong side of the bottom white section to hold the bottom sword, and a sheath made of duct tape was attached to the back of the top white vinyl section. After the front of the cards were completely finished the front and back sides were sewn together with right sides facing each other. 2 inch pieces of elastic were sewn on each side of all four corners to provide an anchor for the wood frame. Then the whole costume was turned right side out, and the wood slat frame was inserted into all four sides of the costumes to stretch out the fabric and give the costumes stability. Two store-bought swords were inserted into their sheaths to finish the King’s costume and everyone wore store-bought white gloves. Underneath the costumes everyone wore white shirts and black tights.

We started designing the costumes in August and spent most evenings and weekend free time making them throughout September and October. Well over 100 hours were spent in crafting these costumes.

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

As we walked through the streets, the reception we got was fantastic. People loved the idea as well as the execution. Quite a few remarked at how realistic the cards looked and commented on the attention to detail. A number of people stopped us to take our pictures. We got a lot of comments: “Amazing!” “Those are so cool!” “What a great family costume!” “Wow, that’s incredible!” “That is the most creative costume I’ve seen.” “Did you make that yourself?” “How long did that take you?” “How did you make that?” “Are you a professional costume maker?” (I assure you, we are not). “Will you make my costume next year?”

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

Our family costume was a complete family effort. Although I was the primary craftsman, everyone had to pitch in to ensure the costumes were completed by Halloween. With all of the interests our girls have, we don’t have too many opportunities anymore to do things as a family. The making and wearing of these costumes allowed us to share an awesome family experience. I am especially pleased that the costumes satisfied the harshest critics of my previous endeavors: my daughters. They both wore their costumes proudly and declared Halloween a rousing success.

 


THIRD PLACE (a): Amanda Clement – Evergreen, CO

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

These costumes were a lot of fun! We wanted to think of a parents versus kids theme. Last year we were train robbers and our boys dressed as a train conductor and a cowboy sheriff. These days, one of the boys is constantly trying to climb us and the other always trying to chop us down at our knees. Winter is also around the corner and it is wood cutting season at our mountain home. Lumberjacks and trees seemed most appropriate!

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

Materials: 5-6 yards of dark brown felt, 5-6 yards of lighter brown felt (for the bark), 4-5 yards of fabric of your choic for inside liner (we used a jersey knit), 3-4 yards of foam padding, scrap or small piece of sheer black fabric, 1/3 yard of tan felt, brown fabric marker, thread (& sewing machine), scissors, sewing pins, faux leaves, lots of fabric glue (I think we went through 7-8 large bottles), measuring tape, package of heavy duty snaps, paper shopping bag (for drawing sleeve pattern on)

To make our tree costumes we used three layers. The outer layer was a dark brown felt, the middle layer was a 1/2″ foam to give the costume structure, and we used a soft jersey knit for the inside. We cut the “body” shape out of each layer, but cut the foam piece about an inch smaller than the other two layers. For the sleeves, we only used the darker felt and lining later. We sewed the sleeves to the appropriate layers, sewed the outer and liner layers together around all of the edges besides the bottom with right sides in, glued the foam layer to the felt side and inverted it. Then we sewed the bottom edges together and hemmed. We stuffed the inside of the head with pillow stuffing and then stitched the inside liner to the foam layer in a few places to hold it up. We sewed/glued a sheer black fabric in the face. We cut triangle of varying shapes and sizes and sewed two edges together to make cone-like sharp and stuff them. We sewed them all over the top of the costume to make the branches. On the outside, we glued a lighter shade of brown felt over the darker felt in strips and pieces that were cut to emulate bark. My husband added an axe cut to his using a tan felt and brown fabric marker to draw rings and carved heart with our initials in his. We went through SO much glue for this project! To finish, we found faux maple and oak leaves at the craft store to sew on the ends of the branches..

For the boys costumes, we mostly pieced together articles of clothing that they already had. We made their axe and hatchet with a foam carving block, a wooden dowel, colored craft foam and craft glue. We sewed and stuffed a fake log for my oldest to carry over his shoulder. My husband sewed a tiny climbing harness and gaffs out of some scrap leather we had from previous projects for our youngest because we knew we’d be carrying him most of the time and a climbing lumberjack needs the proper gear. Our oldest wore a beard from the costume store, while our youngest sported one drawn on with brown eyeliner.

We also decorated a wagon to look like a wood wagon. Our kids are still very little, so we had to figure out a way to incorporate a mode of transportation for them. We used the darker fly to mak panels for th sides and ends of the wagon and sewed this onto the corners to attach them. We used scrap piece of the 1/2 foam to make circles. We covered them with tan felt (using craft glue) and drew rings on them with a brown fabric marker. These were seen onto the end pieces to look like cut ends of logs. On the side panels, we sewed 3 1/2 cylinders out of the dark get and stuffed them. We covered them with the lighter brown felt cut with a bark patten to make them look like logs.

For one trick or treat street we even dressed our dog up like a horse to pull the wagon. He forgave us after winning a pet costume contest and a basket full of treats.

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET WHEN WEARING THIS COSTUME?

We definitely expected that people would think it was cute, but the reactions we got were even grater than expected. 99% of everyone we passed made a comment or chuckled. We had countless people take pictures of us and with us. We even won two contests trick or treating.

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

The best part was making so many people smile! 🙂