I wanted to make a wonderful themed group costume for me, my younger brother, Aidan (6) and my sister Justine (9). I knew it had to something special and memorable. We settled on Marie Antoinette, her executioner and Louis XVI. They were really excited to help me work on it.
My brother’s executioner costume was store bought, as he had his heart set out on a particular costume – complete with muscles. My sister’s costume was entirely homemade, and my Louis XVI costume was a pirate’s costume I modified.
People were really thrilled to see Justine in her costume. She wore it to school, her Scouts meeting and of course, Trick or Treating. She was really happy that even the boys in her class had to ‘admit’ that the costume was really creepy. Her costume scared some adults in the process too, who definitely weren’t expecting to see the back of a headless woman at their child’s Scouts meeting. Everyone was stopping her to tell her how awesome her costume was.
It was definitely worth the trouble making it – duct taping her body to create the bust until she found it ever so slightly difficult to breathe. The messy paper mache process. Creating a Marie Antoinette-esque dress from an 80s wedding gown. Settling on using a pool noodle to hold up the fake bust.
The best part about it was seeing how happy she was in her costume, and knowing that we created something fun and spooky that people enjoyed seeing.
All in all, a very fun and successful process that I’d love to share with you.
Our Finished Costumes
Creating The Bust
We decided to follow a YouTube tutorial for creating a dressform out of duct tape. Justine put on an old shirt and we proceeded to wrap her up in duct tape. Her brother found it very amusing that his sister was basically getting trapped in duct tape and at the mercy of me and my scissors! We cut her out of it and taped it back together again.
Papier Mache and Painting
We then cut out strips of newspaper and paper mached the bust. We used about 3 layers and let it dry overnight. We then painted the bust with white and grey acrylic paints.
Paper Mache Bust
Rigging the Bust to the Backpack and Filling the Gloves.
We used a pool noodle folded in half and duct taped it to the inside of a backpack. We tried many different options, like wood, old broom handles, etc, but this was the lightest, most effective and pliable option!
For stuffing her gloves, we used the same duct tape method, but this time on her arms and hands. We used paper towels for the first layer so the duct tape wouldn’t stick onto bare skin.
Making the Dress and Louis XVI costumes
We transformed an ’80s style wedding dress into a period appropriate piece by using various notions and extra lace and chiffon. I used a pirate’s costume and transformed into into something more royal by using lace and frills.
After fitting the dress to the bust, we sewed and glued the hands together to make it look like they were holding up Justine’s head.
When it was all finished, we went to town with the makeup. Lots of pale whites, greys and of course, blood!