I thoroughly enjoy any excuse to start a new project. Halloween is no exception. One of my finest moments was waaaay back in 2007, when I made this, a gila monster costume.
For the unitiated, the gila monster is not, in fact a monster, but an actual lizard – the only venomous lizard in the US, in fact! – and it resides in the Southwestern United States as well as the Sonora area of Mexico. I had so much fun making this. I used a tutorial to from some long-defunct early website that had step-by-step instructions for measurements to craft a custom leotard. I used a baseball hat to form the head over with upholstery styrofoam, and wooden beads for the eyes. I bought black gloves and glued gold Lee Press-On nails for the “claws,” giving this costume a vaguely “Cats” like appearance. Note: I did not sing musical theatre while wearing this, though I did dance enthusiastically. My favorite comment from the night was from a man on the street: “Is that a maaaan, or a woman in there? ” As the costume front hood covered up the chest area, and because I am narrow hipped, it was a slightly androgynous look.
Fast forward to 2011: when Elias and I were first dating, I showed him this costume, and we decided to make an axolotl costume that he could wear during the first Halloween we spent together as a couple. Mind you, these two animals would never encounter each other in the wild, but they both share all the hallmarks of Very Unusual Creatures. Elias actually has a pet axolotl, Irwin, who glows in the dark under a black light due to being spliced with jellyfish DNA (a common practice in axolotls kept in labs: as they can regenerate their own limbs, they are often kept for experiments.
Here we are as the axolotl and the gila monster, in 2011. I used a soft polyester plush material for the head, again forming it over a baseball cap, and sewed the gills separately, stuffing with foam.
Fast forward again to 2014:
I used Wintercroft Masks’ amazing Skull mask to create a Dia De Los Muertos skull mask for when our band played a friend’s house party. Not sewing per se, but still fun.
This year: we’re going as plague doctors. What is a plague doctor, you ask? Well, it’s a real life, historical fact that doctors wore these insanely creepy masks to tend to victims of the bubonic plague in the Middle Ages. Here’s an interesting article about this phenomenon from i09/gizmodo.com.
I’m making the masks out of vinyl and stitching with leather cording, but I still need to find a hat. As this article states, “no job in the 17th century really meant anything unless it had an official hat.” Disease HATES hats.