Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Gearing" Up For Halloween

Halloween is my second favorite holiday, right after Christmas. Why? Because I love seeing all the clever and creative ideas that people have this time of year! I really enjoy seeing the costumes that people make for parties and trick-or-treating because they can be absolutely ingenious.

Since the baby's due date is so close to Halloween, I won't be dressing up this year. But! That doesn't mean I can let my creative juices flow and help other people make their own original costumes, so every Tuesday in October be sure to check here for an innovative costume idea to get you ready for Halloween. While none of the costumes will take a whole month to make, the ones I demonstrate at the beginning of the month will take more time to put together than the ones at the end of the month, so keep that in mind if you are pressed for time.

I'm going to be adventurous and start off this series with a costume idea that's been around for a while but is steadily increasing in popularity: Steampunk!

Before you get intimidated at the idea of buying (or making) a corset, I want to tell you that I'm going to try to stick with things you should already have in your closet. The base costume consists of a white button-down blouse, some khaki pants, and boots. This will be more of a Steampunk adventurer or explorer and less of an aristocrat.

Steampunk Base Set

For this set I'm going to be sticking with a very neutral color palette, but keep in mind that Steampunk doesn't have to be just sepia tones. It can incorporate many colors, particularly fabulous gem tones that are always prominent during the fall.

First, you need a white or ivory button-down top (or any other color, really.) In my opinion, white looks pretty bright here, so I would probably tea dye the top just to tone the color down. You can leave the top as is if you want, or you can "victorianize" it by adding lace trim to the cuffs with fabric glue or by stitching it. Note: If you use glue, be sure to give it plenty of time to dry! You'll also need to glue it in segments so that the trim will stay in place. If you have the ability and the time, you could even replace your plain buttons with brassy ones - just be sure they are about the same size so that they'll fit through the buttonhole!

Want a button-down with some real interest that you won't have to modify? Look at the Ruffle-back Poplin Shirt at Victoria's Secret, currently $49.50.

When it comes to khaki pants, I like the kind that fit snugly. This way, they'll be easier to tuck in your boots. For boots, I like the brown ones I used in my set because of the buckle accents, but you could use plain ones instead if you already own a pair. Add some interest to them by epoxying on gears (available at Hobby Lobby in the clock-making section) or if you're really pressed for time, I once got dog collars in a similar shade to my boots and strapped those on at the ankles.

Now, the belt. You have two options here: You can either go with something that cinches at the waist and leave the shirt untucked (like I did in my set above) or you can tuck in your shirt and wear the belt on your pants. You can make a plain belt interesting by dangling a pocket watch from it, or adding pouches. Of course, your outfit will look more Steampunk if you are wearing some type of corset, but they can get expensive and might be difficult to find as it gets closer to Halloween. If you already own one, by all means, wear it.

As you know, what really makes a Steampunk costume is the accessories....


There are tons of shops on Etsy and ArtFire that sell beautiful Steampunk jewelry, but you can make your own too. Wandering around Michael's and Hobby Lobby's beading and jewelry department always gives me lots of ideas, especially since Steampunk is becoming more mainstream so there are more charms and pendants that would make a great addition to your outfit. Also check out the clock making section, because there are some great pieces made from clock hands and faces!


What's the most popular gun that Steampunkers carry? The N-Strike Maverick REV-6, of course. Some paint can really transform this neon shooter into a neo-Victorian beauty, and this tutorial on Weekly Geek can show you how to take one apart to make painting easier. You can add some etchings to it to make it look prettier, or a even fake wood grain. You can make it look aged by adding a black layer of paint over a metallic color, then wiping off the black paint before it dries.

Cover Your Head!

During the Victorian Era, one was not seen bare-headed in public. That's just the way it was! Top hats are popular in Steampunk culture, and can be found in a variety of colors on buycostumes.com. In the dolls sections of craft stores, you can also find miniature top hats, which some people like to wear instead. Add some details like feathers, flowers, and a veil to dress it up. You can change the color of your hat by covering it with felt - just be sure to clean up your hot glue strings! And of course, you should try to find some welder's goggles to go with it as well.

Hopefully I've given you enough inspiration to start working on your Steampunk costume. I've also created a new Pinterest board dedicated to Steampunk lovelies to further motivate and inspire you, so go check it out! And if you go trick-or-treating, consider adding one of these amazing Steampunk pumpkin buckets to your outfit!

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