I was sitting in my room about 2 months ago, listening to my Discovery Weekly playlist on Spotify, when I heard a really catchy tune I’d never heard before. “Lil Red Riding Hood” by Sam Sham & the Pharaohs came on and I had a little light bulb moment.
Halloween is my favorite holiday. Quite possibly, the best holiday. Having grown up in Southern California and Arizona, there’s nothing more appealing to me than autumn, when the rest of the country is delighting in changing leaves and cool weather. There’s something inherently spooky about autumn, and I love spookiness. Rather surprisingly, I don’t usually get all costumed out for Halloween. Whaaat?! I know. Perhaps it’s that I’m a costume perfectionist, so if I know I can’t go all out, then I keep it simple. I usually go as a witch, because, well, I’m Pagan so it’s the simplest of all. But not this year!
As a complete costume geek, I put a lot of conceptualized thought into my Little Red/Bad Wolf hybrid. I’ve considered the psychology of Little Red being a werewolf, and perhaps murdering her own grandmother. The horror! Being a horror purist, I’ve taken the angle of lycanthropy being a painful process, both physically and psychologically, so I tried to communicate that to the best of my ability (and budget). As a DIYer, I’ve Frankenstein’d a good 50% of this costume together. #DIYtilidie
A little tour through the costume itself:
I first started out with the cape. I found a free cape pattern online from Fleece Fun, and decided that I wanted to make the cape double sided. One side with red for Little Red, and the other side with fur (ears and tail included!) for the Wolf. I’m heavy into this idea of duality, if that’s not clear.
Aside from that, I had only thought to just wear black underneath, to keep it neutral. However, after some feedback from friends (so important!), I decided to wear white to add that “touch of purity” so to speak (and white is a funeral color in some cultures so either way you look at it it works). Only problem, I don’t own anything all white. Savers to the rescue! Savers, for those who don’t have it, is basically Goodwill. So the day before Halloween, I went and scoured the racks at Savers and found a tunic and skirt that seemed to fit this sort of traditional peasant kind of look (the story of Little Red has ‘European’ origins, but no specific country so I just went with like a gauzy peasant idea).
The tunic fit fine, but problem. The skirt was an XL. Well, I guess that’s a problem for most people, but sewing and DIY skills to the rescue! You may think, how does one take a skirt with a 38 inch waist down to a 25 inch waist? Quite simple really. We lucked out in this case, since the waist band was just elastic.
Usually just seam ripping here and there would do the trick, but the folks at Old Navy stitched through the center of the elastic all the way around (I appreciate your commitment to construction Old Navy but uughhh). So I just cut open the waist band as close to the edge as possible, and pulled out the elastic. Trimmed it down, closed the waist band again with a zig-zag stitch, slipped the elastic in, and then presto change-o, it fits me!
I was going to sew the top and skirt together to make a dress, but once I tried it on, it didn’t seem necessary. I pulled together this little apron to tie it all together (also had to dye it red, true story). Even though there’s nothing period about this costume exactly (or at least not Victorian), I decided to wear my white corset underneath. The tunic is pretty sheer and I thought a white undergarment that would give it more of an old timey look would be appropriate.
Next up were the more ‘wolfy’ aspects – makeup. I’m already pretty hairy in general, so for once my sideburns and teen wolf hairline kind of came in handy. I bought the werewolf fangs by Scarecrow, and was rather nervous about the purchase. I recall trying to put in vampire fangs some years ago in middle school that used a similar method, and they didn’t work at all. And for $25, these things better damn work. So I took the plunge, and they were actually great. The bloody scratches (Little Red – self-inflicted) were made with some liquid latex and then, no joke, toilet paper on top. I just laid down strips of the toilet paper, tore it to create the general shape I was looking for, and then painted them red with my foundation and various shades of lipstick (no budget for face paint).
All that was left was to put on some black claws and I was ready to hit the town, biting civilians wherever I could find them!
I definitely spent too much time and money putting this together, but that was to be expected. I honestly just love doing it. That’s where the love in the title of this post comes in. I had an amazing art history professor in uni who once said, while speaking of John Constable paintings, that “you can’t imitate love.” Now at first thought, you might think that’s not true. But she was referring to how much precision, care and thought Constable put into his landscape paintings. He truly loved those landscapes, and it shows. And just like I love costumes and creating, I think it shows in how seriously I treat something as simple as a Halloween costume. You might be able to get away with pretending to like something, but true love…when it’s the real deal, it shows!