I have been busy these last few weeks, friends.
Apparently, my way of coping with the loss of my grandfather has been to keep my hands busy…Without even realizing it, I’ve been up to my ears in Halloween crafts. Making pumpkin puree and carving a pumpkin, roasting pumpkin seeds, making my Halloween costume…Not to mention all the candy I’ve been eating (and making)!
I was pretty proud of three of these projects (my Alice in Wonderland costume, some SUPER easy Halloween Candy Bark, and a Jack Skellington pumpkin) so I thought they would be perfect to share today…on Halloween!
First up: Alice in Wonderland costume!
I knew T-Man had a whacky purple coat that he had to buy from Goodwill (like, 6 months ago) that would be perfect for the Mad Hatter. I wanted to be Alice, but I didn’t want to wear any of the typical $50 pre-made costumes. I hate that moment when you realize there’s another girl wearing the same costume as you. So I decided it couldn’t be too hard to find a blue dress and white apron, and I set out on a costume hunt.
I found this dress at Marshall’s for a whopping $10. Score! I decided I would cut off the tank top-ish straps and keep it off the shoulder.
I soon realized that in order to keep the costume dainty and cute like I was hoping, I would have to make my own apron. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! I bought two white bandanas from Michael’s, some pins, needles, and thread, and got to work. I separated my attack into three parts: the top of the apron, the bottom, and the straps.
This being my first foray into sewing, I wasn’t really sure what to do. I cut out the shape I wanted with an extra inch or so along the border. Then, I folded over the edges and sewed them down. No fancy stitching! I ended up removing the stitching from the bust area eventually because you could see the folded parts and it looked really boxy and unnatural.
Next was the bottom. I again cut out the shape I wanted…but this time, I used a different strategy: I sewed 3 of the 4 edges down, then turned the skirt inside out. This way, you can’t see the stitching. Note: I never sewed the bottom edge. Totes forgot. 😛
I pinned them together at the length I wanted, then sewed just a single rectangle over the middle (ensuring it kept both pieces attached to one another), making sure to keep the ends open, and got to work on the straps.
I figured out that halter straps that tied around the neck wouldn’t work. So I had to find a way to make the straps reach all the way down my back to the tie around my waist. I had no idea how to do that, so I worked instead on making the tie that would go around my waist. 😛
I used the same strategy of sewing down 3 out of 4 sides, then turning them inside out. This was a little more difficult than with the skirt… But I sewed them together, and voila!
Next, I made more strap-sized pieces to attach to my already existing straps. But in order to attach them to the waist tie, I needed to create some sort of loop at the end.
And that’s how I got everything to fit together.
In search of the final accessories I needed for my costume, I went to THE costume shop in Sacramento: Evangeline’s Costume Mansion. Located in Old Sacramento, Evangelines the gift shop is open year round. The costume mansion upstairs, however, is only open to the public during the month of October. I love making yearly trips to the costume mansion. I rarely buy anything because it’s pretty expensive, but it’s always great for ideas and knick knacks! This year, I ended up getting a few accessories there.
Here are a few crazy panoramas I took on my iPhone 5 when I was there. (click to enlarge!)
Each room in Evangeline’s has a different theme. This is the area with all the storybook characters.
The wall of wigs! (There’s also a wall of masks)
And some circus themed costumes.
There is a super hero room, a hippy area, a room with doctors/nurses next to black leather, whips and chains…Pretty much everything you can imagine! I got a necklace with a brass key on it, some sparkly fake eyelashes, and white gloves for T-Man.
Not too shabby eh?
Here’s another photo of the two of us together:
I found the lacy handkerchief and hat at Goodwill, and made the 10/6 piece on the back of a piece of the cardboard that came with my fishnets 😉
Halloween Candy Bark
This one is actually pretty easy, and it’s sure to impress any guests or party goers. On Friday afternoon, I found out I’d be attending my old internship office’s staff party that evening…So I scrambled to figure out what to bring, and literally made this in my office’s microwave. It’s that easy.
Semisweet chocolate chips and/or orange candy melts
Leftover Halloween candy of your choice, chopped
(Seriously. That’s all.)
How to do it:
Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler, or in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each one. Spread onto parchment paper (or, ahem, a plastic bag, or aluminum foil) and add chopped candy on top. Press in larger pieces to make sure they’ll stay put. Put in fridge to harden for about 10-15 minutes. Using the same method, melt the candy melts, then drizzle over the bark with a fork or spoon. Put it back in the fridge for at least another 10 minutes, or until completely solid. Then, break into pieces and enjoy!
My chocolate bark had Reese’s and Snickers on it!
To make orange bark (which tastes more like white chocolate), just use the candy melts! (FYI…M&Ms: not easy to chop into smaller pieces…lesson learned.)
Jack Skellington Jack-o-Lantern
Last year, I plopped myself down on T-Man’s floor, turned on Nightmare Before Christmas (a family fave), and intended to make both Oogey Boogey Man AND Jack Skellington pumpkins. As it turned out, that was actually a pretty tall order…I only finished Oogey Boogey. But didn’t he look good?
This year, I set out to finally carve the Bonedaddy. (Fun fact: Bonedaddy is also my dad’s nickname! He’s really skinny.)
When I carve pumpkins, I usually start by drawing a stencil. I pin the stencil to the pumpkin and use another pin to poke holes along my guide lines…then, I follow those holes when I actually carve into the pumpkin.
Like how I used a pile of political mailers instead of newspapers? Oh, Election season…
I knew the hardest part would be the mouth, so I began with that. I started by just carving a line for the mouth and all its stitches, and used a small knife to slowly make the line thicker. I didn’t want it to be too thick, but I wanted to make sure that if I put a candle inside, you could actually see the outline. This was a pretty time-consuming process.
The easiest part was the eyes, though it’s pretty difficult to make smooth curves with a carving knife. I wasn’t actually using a carving knife, but a paring knife I found at T-Man’s, haha.
The little nostrils were also pretty hard just because of their size. But I think it turned out pretty well:
I brought it over to my parents’ house during the Giants game (!!!) and left it there for
Bonedaddy my dad to display proudly.
Tell me all about your costumes, goodies, and pumpkin carving!
And HAPPY HALLOWEEN!