| 03.19.2018

My costume, my style


It is finally time to break out the alter egos and celebrate the first of the festive events. Aside from candy and pumpkins, Halloween is a time for everyone, young and old, to dress up as crazy or as different as they can possibly imagine. 

abi stomberg | rawr A hand-made tutu can be created with three easy steps, scissors, ribbon and tulle. Sam Kennedy models the hand-made tutu.

abi stomberg | rawr
A hand-made tutu can be created with three easy steps, scissors, ribbon and tulle.

At times, some can get obsessed with  finding the most extravagant costume out there. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing or able to pay  to get the best costume of the night. Especially with college students, it is difficult to purchase a Halloween costume since they can be  expensive.

A great solution to this problem is making your own costume. The possibilities are endless and you will still have enough money to buy yourself  dinner at the end of the day.

Chelsey Lewallen is a University of Idaho graduate student that received her undergraduate degree in costume technology.

“My favorite part of costume technology is getting a design and then using the resources that I already have to make the costume,” she said. “I’m really interested in recycling and going to the Storm Cellar and finding a skirt that I can make into a vest, for example.”

Last year, Lewallen said she made her 1-year-old daughter a nun costume out of a christening outfit and some of her husband’s black undershirts.

Lewallen said so many people ask her to make Halloween costumes for them that she sometimes gets overwhelmed with all the requests. Lewallen said not all homemade costumes are inexpensive.

“There’s a lot of time and money that goes into it,” she said.

Some clever costume ideas  Lewallen said she has done in the past are a shark attack victim and  a coal miner’s daughter.

“I think my favorite costume that I’ve done for myself was a shark attack victim,” she said. “That was the year that I was taking stage makeup in undergrad.”

Lewallen said she used her stage makeup skills to create the effect of a shark bite that was taken from her side, and had on a pair of tights that  she drew over  with makeup to appear as blood. The tights were  easily put on  when it was time to celebrate Halloween, she said. This is a great tip for anyone planning on getting detailed with costume makeup.

When Lewallen dressed up as a coal miner’s daughter, she said she wore overalls, a flannel shirt, a headlamp and finished off the look with dirt all over her face.

“Use really simple stuff that you already have and then you just make a little spin off of it,” she said.

Lisa Avila, a UI student who has made  her Halloween costumes since she was little, said making her own costumes is an affordable way for her to create something that she really likes, rather than buying a manufactured piece that has multiple copies.

“It gives me more freedom to be creative and original,”  Avila said. “One of my favorite parts is that I can always reuse the parts of certain costumes for another costume. Last year I made a tutu and I can always reuse it for this year.”

Avila shared  how to create a homemade tutu that gives flare to any costume.


Use a measuring tape to measure around your waist where you would like the tutu to sit. Add about 3 feet to this measurement.

Cut the ribbon.

Using the measurement from the first step, cut a piece of ribbon. This will be the waistband of the tutu that you will be tying around your waist.  Cut enough extra ribbon to tie a bow.

Cut the tulle.

You will need 4 yards of any color tulle you desire. Working with one yard at a time, fold the fabric in half, fold it in half again lengthwise and then one more time in the same direction. Once it is folded, cut the tulle every 4 inches. This measurement can be adjusted based on personal preference.

Attach the strips of tulle to the ribbon.

Unfold each individual strip of fabric and then fold it in half lengthwise. Leaving enough space for a loop where the fold is, form a slipknot with the tulle by tying it around the ribbon. Do this with all pieces of tulle until the whole ribbon is covered. Make sure to leave the extra ribbon from the initial measurement bare, so there is enough to tie the tutu around your waist.

This is just one of many DIY Halloween costume project ideas to try.  Everyone has the opportunity to let his or her imaginations run wild on this holiday.

“It’s nice to be able to see people exploring different styles,” Lewallen said. “I like that Halloween is the opportunity for everyone to be a little weird and comfortable with it at the same time.”

Ariana Tobe can be reached at arg-arts@uidaho.edu

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