Welcome to the first of the MissKay DIY Halloween Costume Countdown! For the rest of the month we will be going through my favorite self-made Halloween costumes of the last decade. I’ll walk you through my methods, resources from other blogs, and my hacks to creating the costume for under $30. Who doesn’t want a unique, personalized costume that will earn many compliments, all on the cheap? So let’s get started!
The first of our series was my Halloween costume exactly 10 years ago. I was just a wee little high-schooler, but even then I had a love of creating costumes from scratch and never would have even considered buying a pre-made costume. Honestly, I still shudder at the thought. Not that I have anything against buying some of the pieces to your costume, but to completely get every piece from the store all packaged up and spend upwards of $50? Not my style. I prefer to come up with my own concept and find all of the pieces individually, for as cheap as possible, and put them all together to create my own personal “masterpiece.”
Sadly, because it was 10 years ago and back then I wasn’t the best at taking lots of pictures and saving them to one safe place, I don’t have additional pictures besides one my parents took of me on their camera. No step-by-step pictures of myself or any details or close-up shots. But I will be sure to use other resources from Pinterest to help fill in the gaps in this tutorial. One of the most particularly helpful articles, although a different look from mine, is from Traci Joy on eHow, so be sure to check it out for step-by-step instructions. Here I will explain all that I did, and it is a pretty simple project that I think I can walk you through, despite having few pictures from back then.
I started with a green pair of tights. I have no idea how I acquired these tights, but for some reason, they were sitting in my tights and pantyhose drawer, waiting to be used for a cool and crazy costume. I began brainstorming around this piece. What could I be that involves some kind of green legs? Naturally, I thought of fruits that could work. Something with a stem, vine, leaves… I had also somehow heard of costumes involving balloons all over your body. I connected the two dots and realized I could be a bunch of purple grapes!
Here are the important pieces, and the way that I acquired them:
- My green tights, of course – (I already had them, can be bought for $4)
- A home-made green felt skirt – (About $3 for that amount of felt)
- My purple long-sleeve shirt – (About $5 at Walmart or Goodwill)
- Purple balloons – ($2 at Walmart)
- Bright green high-heels – ($10 for heels from Amazon, $2 for spray paint)
- A leaf headband to stick up out of my hair – ($1 headband, $1 ivy strand)
Starting from the bottom up, here is how I created my ensemble. I was of course lucky enough to already have green tights. If you don’t have any, which is pretty likely since that is not a typical staple for a girl’s wardrobe, fear not. You can find them on Amazon or Ebay for pretty cheap, such as here for under $4.
Next, I created my leaf skirt, I found two large pieces of bright green felt. I measured the minimum length I was comfortable with (I didn’t want to show much thigh, I’m shy like that, but you can make it as short or long as you like) and marked that on the felt. The good thing about it is the balloons will hang down and cover some of the skirt, so it doesn’t have to be perfect and it won’t be all that revealing either way. I measured how wide I would need the skirt to be for above my hips, and then I sowed two large squares together on each side so that they would create a circular skirt for me. Then I cut the bottom of the skirt so that it would be longer on one side than the other, and instead of a straight line, I made the line rounded so that it looks like large leaves wrapping around my waist.
Two other options for the skirt would be 1) Find a green skirt at Goodwill or a thrift store, then cut the bottom if you want the same type of shape; or 2) Find a cheap skirt at Goodwill that fits, no matter what color it is, or take a skirt that you already have at home and cover it with green felt. If you don’t care about the skirt, cut the bottom of the skirt and felt into the rounded and uneven shape to look like leaves. If you do want to keep the skirt for later, then just leave it at straight lines, or ensure that the felt is longer than the skirt and cut only the felt.
Next, I tried very hard to find some bright green high heels. Maybe needless to say, they were extremely hard to find without spending a lot of money or waiting for way too many weeks for them to arrive when ordering them online. (For your benefit however, here in 2017, I did find a pair of heels on Amazon for under $10, here. I am also confident that you could find a pair under $10 at your local Goodwill or thrift store as well.) Because my search for new heels wasn’t going to work, I found a different solution. I took a pair of high heel sandals that I didn’t really like anymore, found some bright green spray paint, and completely covered them in paint. Surprisingly, the paint lasted quite a long time, more than just that night. Perhaps it was the type of material that straps were made of, but it moved very well with the paint and it didn’t chip as much as I thought it would! I wouldn’t recommend covering pumps with spray paint, or any shoes that have a lot of surface area, but these types of strappy sandals or shoes do a very good job with paint. (This idea can definitely translate into other colors and other types of costumes as well, so feel free to use it on anything that make sense!) The shoes will end up looking like these below.
Then I moved on to my headband. On Halloween, I curled my hair so that it would fit the vine and twisting look of a grapevine, but I definitely needed some leaves and vines sticking out of my hair as well. At the Dollar Store, I found the perfect fake plant ivy strands. You could also buy quite a bit of ivy vines here on Amazon if you don’t want to have to jump in the car. Then I took a normal headband (the stiff kind that already has a round shape, not just a flimsy cloth one), cut the ivy into short pieces, focusing on the pieces with big beautiful leaves, and hot-glued the leaves and vines sticking up off of it like a crown. This made the green details stick perfectly out of my hair, creating the illusion that my head was the top of the bunch, straight off the vine. Feel free to make this idea your own and make the strands as long as you want, or even use a green hat covered in vines instead of a headband if you don’t want to/can’t cover a headband with your own long curly hair.
Of course, if you are short on time or want to make sure it looks a certain way, there are some pieces that you can buy. Here is an adorable ivy headband. After searching for an ivy hat, I couldn’t find anything that would work well, so I believe that will be necessary to make by hand. Also, may I say that there are some gorgeous Poison Ivy costume ideas on Pinterest that you could easily incorporate into your grape costume on your head, legs and feet.
Last but not least, on Halloween day, I created the purple grapes. This is of course is extremely simple and easy, and can be customized however you like. You can switch the color of the grapes to darker red kind of color such as burgundy, which will look more like realistic red grapes, or you can find lime green balloons to emulate a bunch of green grapes. Go for whichever you think is tastiest OR cutest! The choice is yours!
You can also customize the shape of your bunch. I preferred to put grapes only on my torso and have my arms free but in their long-sleeve purple shirt, so they look like they blend in and make sense with the layout of the costume. If you wanted to make your bunch of grapes a little fuller, you could definitely put some grapes on the outside of your arms and hold your arms down for pictures. I personally liked having my arms free and less balloons right underneath my arms so that I could move more freely. (You would be amazed how awkward it is to not be able to put your arms at your side all night. You feel like a little kid on the first snow storm of the year when your mom makes you wear ALL of your snow clothes and you have to hold your arms out straight and waddle like a penguin.)
I also intentionally made sure that the number of grapes were greatest around my shoulders (but not squishing up to my chin) and decreased as the got lower down on my body so that is created a bit of a triangle effect, like a bunch of grapes would taper down as they went as well. I didn’t want my costume to be wide and circular, but as slender and feminine as possible (sounds like an oxy-moron, but I think I pulled it off more than others have. This costume tends to be a very cutesy or funny costume for little kids and is not meant to show any kind of attractiveness, but I wanted to come at it with a different approach. You can customize it and move the balloons around until you are happy with the shape that you have created around your torso. Seen below is a different yet cute way of shaping it to make it more of a round bunch.
To attach your “grapes,” start by blowing up 20 or so balloons to a medium-large size. You will need a pack of safety pins. Open your first safety pin, stab through the little flap of the balloon (obviously be careful or else you will pop your grape!) and then pin it to your purple shirt. Although it didn’t ruin my purple cotton shirt, (I still have it today, believe it or not! It still fits!) I would recommend using one that you either bought from Goodwill for this purpose, or one that you don’t mind having a few holes. Don’t take this chance on your favorite purple sweater or a purple silk blouse, because the holes may show later or possibly even rip. Don’t put the balloons too close together. You may need to play with the distance as you go, but I recommend about the distance between the tip of your pointer finger and the tip of your thumb, as the balloons need to point outward. If they are too close to each other, they will push each other outward and won’t look at attractive. I also think it looks more playful and cute when the balloons have a little room to move around and bounce, but not so much so that they blow in the wind. Of course, it is a matter of preference.
In the end, I was very happy with the final product. I was still able to look like myself in this costume, but it still stood out in the perfect way. I could make it as “sexy” yet conservative as I wanted, and I didn’t have any scary or gruesome elements to my costume, which I always personally love. It didn’t really take very long to create or put on, especially compared with some other costumes I have tried in the years since. And to top it all off, I went to my church’s Halloween costume contest that night, and I won the grand prize – an iPod Mini! Back then it was state-of-the-art and super exciting, and much more useful than nowadays with Spotify and iPhones that can do anything. I was over the moon with joy! It was one of the coolest prizes I have ever won, and I was so proud that I had won it for successfully creating a DIY project, my passion.
If you are looking for a costume you can create and customize yourself that is cute but just a little sexy, and a fairly easy difficulty level, the Bunch of Grapes costume is perfect for you. Make it as silly, goofy, sexy, realistic or adorable as you like. Then let me know how it went and attach a picture in the comments!
Have you ever been a bunch of grapes for Halloween? What about a different food item? Did you ever create a bunch of grapes costume for a kid, baby or animal? What are your best tips for making it look amazing? Let me know!