Halloween 2021

Meg McElwee wearing her crow Halloween costume

We went BIG this Halloween

And looking back, this candy-hangover-day-after, I know all those hours spent planning and crafting costumes were worth it. It was a night to remember.

As my kids move beyond the baby and toddler phase, we find ourselves missing those countless days spent reading stacks of picture books. There is less snuggling, less feeding them every meal, and less stressing over bedtime, but there is notably more creative collaboration.  

This is the reason we get into Halloween – to connect with our kids creatively and to have a ton of fun as a family, both in the making of costumes and the time spent together wearing them on Halloween night. 

My daughter, Sadie, helped me quite a bit with the large papier mache heads. We used this papier mache clay recipe and built the heads over an armature of a large balloon, newspaper, aluminum foil and masking tape. We referenced actual photos of crows/anglerfish as we were building to make our masks as realistic as possible.

The whole process takes quite a bit of time, as you must factor in the drying. Once the first layer is dry, you can add any details (like the knit fabric scraps we used to create dimension around the anglerfish eyes as well as the “pocket” for the booklight.) 

Finally, you can paint or, in my case, go wild with feathers and hot glue. 

My wings are simply pieces of cut cardboard, painted black, with feathers (thanks again, hot glue!) I glued two black elastic “holds” to the back of each wing in order to keep them attached to my arms.

The idea for the crow costume was inspired by the fabric I had picked out for a Lichen Duster – a really lovely (and slightly spooky) subtle navy + black floral from Nani Iro. The curved hemline and dramatic flair just whispered “bird tail feathers,” and thus the crow idea came to perch in my mind … helped along by a black linen sleeveless Hinterland Dress and my black boots.

I hope this inspires you to push past your creative edge as an artist. You can get such joy from branching out into a medium you don’t often use, and the creative rush that results is sure to light a fire under your entire creative practice. It’s all the more fun when you can dive into this artistic challenge with family or friends by your side.

So – what are you going to be next year for Halloween? 😉

With love during Spooky Season,

Meg

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  1. So AWESOME! If I could find it, I’d send you a photo of my praying mantis costume, made the same way, years ago. Your creatures are very inspiring!

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