Costume craziness

 Halloween is the perfect time to let your creativity run wild. When designing your

 "One of a kind" Halloween fantasy, here's a few tips from the Sewing Fashion Council to keep your costumes together and safe. We've also cruised the Web to find a recipe for Halloween makeup you might try for the adventurous readers:


  • Get started by selecting costume ideas from your favorite television show, movie or comic strip. Next turn to your local fabric store for ready made patterns and lots of costume ideas. When selecting your Halloween costume, look for easy-to-sew patterns and follow fabric guidelines.

  • To prevent confusion when cutting similarly shaped pattern pieces of pieces with similar names, leave the tissue pieces pinned to the fabric until you are ready to stitch.

  • For slippery fabrics, lame and satin, keep a glue stick handy. Swipe the stick along the seam allowances, instead of using pins. This slip-proof method holds the two layers of fabric together for smooth seams without pins.

  • A regular serged edge or narrow rolled serger hem will save time when hemming sheers. If you are using knits or net fabric, hem finishing may not be necessary.

  • There are lots of products available to make Halloween sewing easier. Look for notions like water soluble basting thread, adhesive web for bonding appliques and fabric glue to add beads, sequins and trims to costumes.

  • Always allow extra room for outerwear to fit under your costume.


  • Make sure your costume is comfortable as well as spooky; you may be wearing it for several hours.

  • Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags so that you or your child will be clearly visible to traffic.

  • Costumes that are oversized and pant legs that are too long pose a danger of tripping. Hems can be taped in place for the evening and some costume fullness can be pleated out under the arms to avoid too much fullness.

  • Most fabrics are not treated with flame retardants, so be wary of burning candles in jack-o-lanterns.

  • Read instructions carefully when using over-the-counter make-up kits or paints. Most over-the-counter make-ups and paints are zinc or acrylic based and are very difficult to remove from the face, hair and clothing.

  • If your child will be wearing Halloween make-up, test his or her sensitivity to the cosmetics beforehand by dabbing it on the inside of their arm and leaving it on for at least 1 hour. Children and adults who are sensitive will react during this test.

  • Always use a cold cream base under Halloween make-up for easier removal and less sensitivity.


  • Decorative elements are key to the success of your Halloween costume. Add feathers, lace, ribbons, buttons and glitter to your costume to create your own design signature.

  • Use scrap fabric and trim to add extra detail to fancy costumes like ballerinas, fairies and princesses.

  • Create feet and paws for animal costumes with old tube socks, mittens and gloves by glueing "nails" cut from felt or painting toes and pads on the bottom.

  • Print your own Halloween motifs on fabrics with printing blocks cut from sponges or potatoes.

  • Inexpensive and easy to make, masks add extra appeal to many Halloween costumes. Use leftover fabric and embellish with glitter, beads and feathers.



     Karo light corn syrup
     Liquid or paste food colors (paste makes more intense colors)
     Facial tissues
     Cotton balls or batting and Puffed Wheat cereal for special effects
     1 Sm. mixing bowl
     4 paper cups
     Cotton swabs or sm. brush.

      PREPARATION: In bowl, mix 3 tablespoons cornstarch and 1 tablespoon flour. Gradually stir in 3/4 cup Karo corn syrup and 1/4 cup water until smooth. This amount will make up 4 children's faces. Divide mixture between 4 paper cups. Color 3 batches with food colors of your choice (1/2 teaspoon liquid or 1/4 teaspoon paste for each batch). Leave 1 batch untinted.

      For additional colors, prepare more makeup. Separate tissues into single layers; tear lengthwise into 2-inch wide strips. Using swabs or brush, paint generous coat of untinted mixture on forehead; place strip of tissue over area; pat firmly with fingertips. Brush on more of same mixture to cover any dry spots on tissue. Continue painting rest of face, one area at a time, and covering it with tissue. Don't paint eyelids or around eyes. Let dry about 15 minutes; time depends on temperature and humidity.

      Stir colored batches before using. Paint on 1 color at a time as desired. Let dry slightly before using another color if you want them to blend, or let dry completely if you don't. To speed process, use hair dryer on air setting.

      For deeper, smoother, candy-color effect, use several coats of same color (allow to dry slightly between coats).

     TO BUILD UP EYEBROWS, nose or chin (or for beard) apple cotton to damp, untinted mixture. Paint with more of the same. Cover with tissue and paint desired color.

      FOR GHOULISH EFFECT, dust made-up face with flour.

      FOR WARTS, stick on Puffed Wheat cereal with untinted mixture, then coat with layers of mixture-soaked tissue. Paint desired color.

      TO REMOVE MAKEUP, wet face, then gently peel tissue away. Wash face with warm water.


     Making your own costume:

     Costume Closet

     Costuming 101