Archive for the tag 'Halloween'


Friday’s Child: Nurse Hat

nurse One of the costumes I’ve put together for the haunted house this year is a nurse. Nurses are a standard in horror genre movies and games, and “sexy” nurse costumes aren’t hard to find year round. But we wanted something a little more authentic, with a bit more vintage feel. A lucky-find vintage nurse uniform blouse from the goodwill, a white skirt, stockings, red shoes and some hand-made accessories round out the costume.

The cap is based on research of vintage nurse caps and a bit of fiddling with some newsprint until I had a shape I liked. My model is made from some 100% cotton twill I picked up on clearance at Joann’s. It was 60″ wide fabric, and was half off the red sticker price, so I got one yard for $5, out of which I got the hat and the pleated pocket apron with only scraps left over. A pattern for the cap can be found here, and a pattern (or at least a recipe) for the apron will be posted in the next few weeks. The cap could easily be made out of white craft foam or felt for a much simpler but not as sturdy costume prop. My actor is actually pinning her hat in place, but has requested it be fixed to a headband for the future.


Wednesday’s Child: Happy October!

It is finally October! We here at are looking forward to the season opener of Eagle Hollow Haunts this Friday, October 4th. Costuming is nearly finished, and I get to act while the season runs, which is something I love to do. I’ve been so busy the last week with last-minute preparations I really have nothing else to talk about. So I’ll simply leave you with this pastel drawing of a demon dog I once saw (and photographed) at a thrift store. I do not know its history, and I don’t think I want to. I can’t tell if it’s wearing a cape or not. All I know is, it was crazy-creepy enough to take a picture, but WAY too crazy-creepy to bring home with me. Enjoy!



Wednesday’s Child: Straight Jacket

This year, I’m the official costumer for a haunted house. I’ve been given a number of interesting costuming problems to solve. Having found some fairly elegant solutions, I’d like to post them here.

If you buy a Halloween costume at a store, the chances are pretty good that you’re spending a pretty penny (or what I consider a pretty penny, anyway… upwards of $25…) for low-quality materials and low-quality construction, and a costume that is only superficially correct anyway. For many people this is probably sufficient. But I do a lot of costuming for a kid who’s going to want to wear that thing over and over for dress-up too, and I am a stickler for detail, and for those reasons I far prefer making my own costumes. Costuming for a haunted house is a whole other order of magnitude more hardcore. These are costumes that WILL be put through a rigorous beating. Construction is a main point; even more important than aesthetics, really, because the dim light and often quick glimpses don’t require quite as much attention to detail. Not that I stint on detail if I can help it.

So, for my first major project, I was asked to provide a straight jacket. Commercially available straight jackets, even specifically-costume ones, can range between fifty and hundreds of dollars. I was sure I could make a straight jacket from scratch if need be, but I far prefer modifying existing garments when possible, and I knew I could do that here if I could just find the right garments. Tutorials exist telling you how to make a costume straight jacket out of two matching button-down shirts and a number of belts… I knew that would never last, but it confirmed my ideas on how to approach a modification. Then, I found the thing. The perfect thing. A white canvas V-neck martial arts uniform, complete with top, pants and belt, for $6 used. These things are built to withstand significant stress; the canvas is high quality and the construction is excellent. This was my future straight jacket ensemble. My luck held out; it was sized for a 6 foot tall, 200 lb person, which meant that after modifying, it would fit the vast majority of our actors, so that the costume wouldn’t limit the casting. Bonus points!

So, this straight jacket ensemble includes the following materials:

One white canvas V-neck martial arts uniform
Approximately 1/3 yard of additional white canvas
Lots of twill tape
Various D-rings, buckles or clips to taste

I cut up the front of the garment to the middle of the V-neck, then cut the collar off. The front becomes the back and the back becomes the front. I cut two small wedges of canvas and sewed them into the V left by the neckline, to bring the opening in back straight and up to the neck. Then I cut the belt into three pieces. Two of those pieces were used to finish the back openings. I opened up the first row of stitching on each piece, and cut about 1/4″ of the webbing off because I didn’t think my sewing machine would like it much. Then I stitched it closed again around the raw edges of my back opening. That left just enough belt for the collar. This time, I removed all the lines of stitching (which was actually fairly easy once I realized that it could be unraveled by a quick pull on one end of the wrong-side stitching instead of picking each stitch individually…) and took out the webbing entirely. Then I sewed it on similar to a mandarin collar. (I DID trim down the neckline on the used-to-be-back to make it comfortable but still a crew-neck.) I also had to use some bias tape to finish the ends of the belt trim, too. I’ve measured and pinned down the straps and rings for the back closure in this picture:

Straight Jacket

There isn’t that much left to do, except actually turn it into a straight jacket by lengthening the sleeves and adding the strapping and tie-downs for them, and then aging/staining, etc. I’ll finish up next week!