Coolest Homemade Ursula Halloween Costume

Here’s the story of my homemade Ursula Halloween costume. It is a tale unlike the fairy tales of your youth, this is a tale of fire, fortitude, and the fury of darkness.

As a young girl, sitting in my footie PJs, watching Disney movies on a 15-inch TV, I was always drawn to the villains. I wanted to know their story- how did life lead them to this point? One, in particular, always held my attention: Ursula, the sea witch. Is she a bad witch? A good witch? Or just a magic woman who’s been spurned and outcast?  These questions that have lingered in my head these past 20 odd years are what inspired my greatest costume-fantasy work to date; The re-birth of Ursula, Sea Queen!

As luck would have it, my Husband’s work hosts an annual costume ball in Baltimore, Maryland, and the 2019 theme was heroes and villains. It was finally my moment to re-write Ursula’s ending! My husband threw out a handful of overplayed Marvel characters as suggestions for our costumes, which I quickly dismissed, and I suggested we go as Ursula and King Triton. At first, he didn’t know who these characters were…… I know….. Insane. He claims he never watched the “girl” Disney movies. I quickly remedied this issue, including giving him the full history of the character of Ursula in mythology and her inspiration from Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, as well as my passion to become her. After no small effort, he agreed. Seeing as I’m the one who designs and crafts our costumes anyway, did he even stand a chance?

So now came the design time of my Ursula Halloween costume. I surrounded myself with images of Ursula, mythical and Disney alike, to draft out how I would create this sea goddess of the dark. I knew I wanted to create moving tentacles to really bring this character to life. All the examples of costumes I saw had stationary hanging tentacles at best or just used ribbons, at worst. Ursula needed my full devotion! No poufy cut-up skirt would do. So I researched various childhood toys and cosplay sites until I came across a brilliant idea that I could use for the tentacles.

In the dark corners of YouTube, there was a man who made a life-like moving cosplay snake out of plastic solo cups and plastic ornament bulbs! I knew I could adapt this technique to make my tentacles. After hours of careful soldering and filling my house with the smell of burning plastic- I had mountains of punctured plastic bulbs (thank you Amazon next day) and off-brand plastic cups. I painstakingly attached them in sequence with a sturdy elastic, which smacked me in the face more than once.

Once I had my lovlies assembled, I faced the next challenge- how do I hang these things from myself? Enter – Husband. My husband is an engineering manager and is incredibly handy. I showed him my 8 articulated plastic cup tentacles, each over 4 feet long, and explained my dilemma. After some trial and error, we landed on zip-typing the tentacles to plastic furniture slider discs, then bolting those to a waist cincher corset I had using really wide washers. The effect was amazing!! I had 8 articulated tentacles hanging from my waist that I could move using pully strings. 

All I had to do now to complete the Ursula Halloween costume was sew the dress, sew the fabric covers for the tentacles, paint the covers, make the necklace, and paint myself… simple, right?

Actually, it kind of was! The hardest part was by and large the tentacle creation. The dress was made out of sale costume jersey fabric from Joann’s cut into a mermaid/trumpet silhouette (Thanks Mom, for teaching me to sew), and the tentacles were covered with matching black and purple velvet fabric sleeves painted with purple glow paint. I designed my make-up and hair using the Disney Ursula as inspiration.

The day of the ball, I tinted my naturally blue hair white using standard spray hair color, then me and my hubby proceeded to paint my entire exposed upper body with Mehron stage paint. It was kind of fun, and felt like an art project. I’m still finding purple fingerprints throughout the house and car though. Like Cinderella’s cast off shoe, my memory of a magical ball.

After paitning and drying, I got into my dress and jewelry, packed the tentacle corset in the back of the car, and off we sped to our mystical, magical night of the costume ball!

We arrived at the ball, and after about 10 minutes of touch ups and adjusting in the parking garage, in we stroll, and heads turned!  I stole the show with my theatrics and very interactive costume, winning best overall costume!  My favorite part of the evening; however, was taking the crown from King Triton (aka hubby), and taking his then Gold lite-up trident, changing the color to purple (thank you color change LEDs), and crowning myself as Queen of the sea! I re-wrote Ursula’s ending, finally. She got to win the sea, I got to win a costume contest, and my Hubby’s CEO came over to talk to us because my costume was so good so he won the accolades.

It was truly a magical night. Those poor unfortunate souls who came dressed in off-the-rack Marvel costumes never knew what hit them.  Ursula, the Sea Queen ruled the night. 

Coolest Homemade Costume Contest 2023