MO KNOWS HALLOWEEN: THREADLESS INSPIRED COSTUMES AND HOW TO EXECUTE THEM.
Oh, Halloween. My favorite holiday. A time of year filled with popping candy corn to horror films, schoolchildren brimming with glee over paying tribute to their favorite monsters or Disney princesses, when it’s not unusual to walk up to a stranger’s house and shriek in delight when they come to the door with a knife.
As Mo, I know Halloween is not about the thrill and possibility of facing a false sense of sudden death, but really about haphazard crafting and scrambling till the very last minute to throw something clever together for a costume. Sure, you might think you’re ahead of the game, tossing around punny ideas for costumes like Were Waldo, or obscure personal references like your D and D character (Atropis Belladonna, the rogue elf), but you still find yourself two hours before your party raiding thrift stores and Jo-Ann Fabrics trying to throw something witty together last minute. Maybe you’re not like me. Maybe you’re one of those folks who meticulously plans your Halloween costume pre-October 1st. Maybe you are totally ready for action come party time. If you are that person, I radiate with jealousy of you.
If you’re not that person, this one’s for you.
The last couple Halloweens I hit Walgreens a little too late, after all the good makeup sold out. I ended up finding some creative alternatives. One year, when I still worked at Starbucks, I concocted fake blood from raspberry syrup and mocha powder. Fortunately, it’s rather simple to make homemade face paint, and since many commercial face paints contain [lead and other unsavory toxins], you might have good reason to. Making homemade makeup is not only a piece of cake, it also feels a lot like making a cake since it involves ingredients you can find in your pantry.
White Base Make-up
What it takes:
- 2 ½ tsp of white vegetable shortening
- 5 tsp of cornstarch
- 1 tsp flour
- Glycerin ½ tsp (or more- use it to enhance spreadability)
Colored Face Paint
What it takes:
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp water
- 1 tbsp of white vegetable shortening
- a few drops of food coloring in the desired color
- a few drops of Glycerin
*For black paint, you can follow the colored face paint recipe, except use activated charcoal instead of food coloring. You can find activated charcoal in a health food store, and it serves a wide array of other practical uses from whitening teeth to saving your life from the accidental ingestion of poison. In other words, it’s handy.
Make-up disclaimer: Truth be told, while making the actual make-up is quite easy, applying homemade makeup is not as effortless as the organic mom blogs would have you believe. In fact, you’ll look a little bit like the organic cupcakes the weird, hippy kid’s mom would make in the midst of all the pretty, store bought cupcakes provided by the rest of the class: lumpy, misshapen, and lacking color. I should know. I was that kid. If you can’t get to a Ben Nye supplier, or have intense fears of cosmetic toxins, homemade makeup is a good alternative. If that’s not you, spring for the store bought stuff. I attempted to use the homemade stuff and you’ll see what I mean.
Aside from being Threadless inspired, all six of these costumes can be whipped up in a couple hours and involve pieces you probably already own (or are at least very easy to acquire at a thrift store.)
"Yeah, I was walking dead like back when it was just in Egypt, like in the pyramids? Like in super underground tombs…You probably haven’t heard of them."
Cut the tees in half, as if you’re making a crop top. Cut and rip the bottom half into multiple strips. If you rip the strips (after making a small incision…unless you’re the hulk) you’ll create a slightly different texture to the strips than cutting, so you might want to vary ripping with cutting to increase variety. You should now have several strips you can wrap around your arms, chest, and legs. Once you’ve created the bandage strips, cut several slits from the arm opening to where the sleeve meets the hem, and continue ripping. You’ll create a fringe effect on the sleeves. Once you’ve fringified both sleeves, fold the tee in half and cut several small incisions down the fold. Tearing from the incision, you’ll be able to rip slits in the middle of the tee, still leaving the shoulder structure maintaining easy wear-ability. Cut the neck off when you’re done, and throw the tee over your shoulders. Repeat on the second tee and you’ll have plenty of strips and bandages to play with.
If you’re more of a visual learner, follow the step-by-step pictorial above.
To achieve that oh-so-chic flesh-rotting-off-the-bone look, use toilet paper and Elmer’s glue. Using a paint brush, gently coat your face with Elmer’s glue and apply a piece of toilet paper. Coat the sheet of toilet paper with another light coat of glue so you essentially papier-mâché your face. If you have doubts about removing Elmer’s glue post Halloween, rest assured my very grumpy but helpful boyfriend, non-plussed about his role in this blog post, found the glue and toilet paper concoction very easy to remove. Once you’ve let the glue dry, apply a coat of grey base paint over your facial-mâché. Don your mummy-couture, a blue scarf, and throw on your black rim glasses and you’re all set to party like it’s 1999 (ironically of course).
Zombie at Tiffany’s
A costume for a girl who’s got the reds, and the only thing that does any good is to eat some brains
We chose a purple velvet blazer and orange turtleneck for our costume basics in the above pictorial, but you could rock any brightly colored blazer and contrasting turtleneck or tee to Lisa Frankify your Frankenstein. The higher the neckline on your shirt, the less make-up you’ll have to apply, so you might want to keep that in mind.
Following the colored face paint recipe, use a drop or two of green food coloring and a drop or two of yellow food coloring. Green food coloring alone will produce a nice, spring green, whereas the addition of the yellow achieves that rotting reanimated corpse green you’re looking for. If you don’t have green food coloring you can make green out of blue and yellow, just make sure to add more yellow for that putrefying effect. Spread the rancid green paste over your face. Once covered, wipe a line off the forehead where you can sketch your scar.
Use a black makeup pencil to outline the scar. If you have rainbow sharpies add one or two lines of every color of the rainbow to the scar. Blot a drop of rubbing alcohol on a makeup sponge and watch the colors bleed into each other. The rubbing alcohol also ensures you won’t have to relive your college nightmares of scrubbing sharpie off your face, since the permanent ink is soluble in rubbing alcohol.
While it certainly would be awesome to beckon a posse of iridescent stars and rainbows to illuminate you overhead, you’re probably gonna have to improvise a little with your costume and makeup to achieve that same Lisa Frank effect. You can apply rainbow eyeshadow around the eyes, replace the stitches in Frankie’s forehead with Lisa Frank stickers, or go to town on your face with some good ol’ fashioned glitter.
Mr. Mittens and Celestial Cat
A space cat celebrity power couple
You’ll need to galaxy dye your sweatshirt and black pants for both Mr. Mittens and Celestial Cat. You can follow the galaxy dye how-to found on [this blog] to create that effect. Mr. Mittens and Celestial Cat share the same spacey aesthetic, so you can use the same dye technique for either costume and just switch out the colors. Use blue paint for Mr. Mittens, and purple and pink for Celestial Cat. You can also apply white paint on a toothbrush to spritz and splatter some additional stars.
In order to make the mint make-up needed for Mr. Mittens, add one drop of blue and one drop of green food coloring to the white base make-up recipe listed above. Pop the lenses out of some yellow sunglasses and make homemade red lenses.
How, do you ask?
Since it’s not Christmas, although retail stores will brim with mistletoe and ornaments as early as November 1rst, red cellophane can be tricky to find. Instead of hunting some down, I took a rather unique approach to creating Mr. Mitten’s laser lenses; I traced the lenses on a clear transparency, cut out the shapes, and colored them with a red sharpie. I was pretty shocked to discover that worked at all, but it did splendidly. Glue the homemade red lenses in your yellow frames and your galactic glasses are all set.
For the cloudy nebulas swirling around Celestial Cat’s feline features, take a sponge and dab blue, red, and white face paint in random spots around your face. Going in a circular motion with your sponge, blend the colors together and it should start to look like
If it looks like garbage, maybe because you made your own homemade makeup, throw some glitter on it and you’ll be ok.
In case you’re more the Psycho Killer type (uh…Qu’est ce que?)
If you played hockey and you have a white sweatsuit, you can pull this guy off pretty easily. All you’ll have to do is grab a chainsaw (or make one out of a shoebox) and make some fake blood. Unlike homemade makeup, fake blood actually looks pretty good when made from scratch. You can use the following recipe:
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch for thickening
- 2 tablespoons of red food coloring
- A few drops of green food coloring
- Optional: Tablespoon of chocolate syrup (for darker blood)
Splatter the fake blood over your sweatsuit and mask, and use a black permanent marker to embellish the hockey mask with those cute eyelashes and a frown, and get ready to be really sad about killing people.
If you attempt any of these ideas, or have other Threadless design inspired ideas for your own costumes, I’d love to see them posted in the comments.
LISA FRANKENSTEIN IS SO ’90s!
Hey guys! I’m Jen! I’m a photographer here at Threadless, collector of all things vintage and weird, and I was part of the team that won the 90s challenge with Lisa Frankenstein! I worked with the very talented artists Dan Elijah G. Fajardo & Jerry Maninang on this one. I interviewed Dan & Jerry about our collaboration and then we talk 90s favorites.
Tell us who you are, where you’re from and a little about yourself!
Dan: Hello! Mabuhay! I am Dan Elijah G. Fajardo, Graphic Artist / Illustrator based in Manila, Philippines.
Jerry: My name is Jerry Maninang a.k.a Dzeri29, a freelance graphic artist & a father of two cute children. I started designing T-shirts way back in 2002, My everyday life is simple, drinking coffee every morning, read all my emails and then start my work, that’s it!
Do you prefer collaborating or working alone? Why?
Dan: I really like to work with some amazing artists around the world and start a friendship with them :D
Jerry: I prefer collaborating with someone, because combining two ideas & style creates a unique & one of a kind design.
We mostly talked through JeffreyG and e-mail, what do you think is the best way to communicate with collab partners?
Dan: I usually email them or leave a message on Facebook :D I don’t usually used Skype or other voice chat because my English is terrible! Lol
Jerry: Maybe by talking to each other & sharing ideas.
How did this particular collab process work?
Dan: It started when Dzeri29 and I submitted our “Lisa Frank” inspired design for the 90s challenge and suddenly Jeff message me on Facebook that Ms. Jen has a clever idea, so she approached me about “Lisa Frankenstein” and I really like it! :D Then I told her that I want to add Dzeri29 on our collab! Dzeri29 did the awesome line works and I did the colors! :D
Jerry: I think it start with Dan & your idea, then Dan approach me regarding this collaboration to re-sketch your idea and ink it, then Dan colored & finished it.
What was it like to work with me? Was I nice? I thought you were nice.
Dan: I’m so glad that you choose me on this collab it was fun working with you Ma’am! :D
Jerry: To work with you is such so nice, I love your sketch when Dan show it to me. :D
Why do you submit to theme challenges as opposed to just submitting in the regular challenge?
Dan: I enter theme challenges because it pushes me to be more creative.
Jerry: I think the design totally suit for this challenge specially the concept- Lisa Frank inspired, so 90’s.
Best ’90s show:
DAN: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
JEN: Late Night with Conan O’brien or Kids in the Hall
Worst ’90s show:
DAN: Mortal Kombat?
JEN: Dawson’s Creek
Best ’90s cartoon:
DAN: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
JERRY: X-Men, & Ren & Stimpy
JEN: Ok I have a lot: X-men, Batman the Animated Series, and Daria
Best ’90s theme song:
DAN: I’ll be there for you by The Rembrandts
JERRY: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme
JEN: X-men theme
Your best story from the ’90s:
DAN: When I won my first ever drawing contest.
JEN: When I was in middle school, I was still in Girl Scouts. Not because I was interested in Girl Scout things, but because every Friday we used to dress up as the Spice Girls and sing and dance our hearts out. Needless to say…we were not the popular girls at school. One Friday night, we were at one the girls house and had a big dance number set up for some of the moms. We stood in the garage, backs to the door closed, and dramatically let the door open. The music started and we spun around. The first thing we heard were giggles from next door. Just so happened that some high school boys lived next door and in their pool with them was one of the most popular girls in our grade. We never danced to the Spice Girls again. That, or the time I was on the news and publicly declared that I don’t like boys. Wait, did you say best or most embarrassing?
Best ’90s music video:
DAN: I have three all time favorite 90s videos
Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden (weird video)
Buddy Holly by Weezer
Everlong by Foo Fighters
JERRY: Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
JEN: I was really into pop music in the 90s so probably Spice Girls “Say You’ll be There” or Blink 182 “What’s my Age Again”
Here’s us in the 90s!
Dan showing off his art:
Jerry in high school:
Jen as Posh Spice:
Post a pic of yourself from the ’90s then pick up a tee now!