Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bookie Brunch: Trick or Treat Halloween Blog Hop

Welcome to Bookie Brunch: Trick or Treat!

On each blog stop from now through Halloween, a blogger or vlogger will have a handpicked Halloween treat to share with you - it might be a video clip, or a feature about great spooky films, a playlist of great, creepy songs, a recipe for treats, or a gallery of witches.

It might be anything! But it's sure to be something fun, so feel free to drop by each day from October 23-31, to pick up some cute treats to put you in the Halloween mood. All the treats will be added into the linky at the end of this post, so feel free to browse.

My treat for you is: Fantasy Costume Advice from your friendly neighborhood elf-girl.

I'm a HUGE fan of Halloween- so much so that my now-husband proposed on Halloween a few years ago- so I'd love to share my favorite costume (a "Dungeons and Dragons" style wood elf) and how I went about putting it together. I have no idea if anyone would want to dress as a D&D elf or if they'd imagine them at all the way I do, but it's worth a try to share, right? ;)

This is my wood elf costume- or at least the first incarnation to it since this is one I'll constantly be adding/removing bits to and from:

Wood elf costume! Wood elf costume!

I always imagine that wood elves wear only what blends them into their forest (depending on the time of year, of course!) and generally it's something patched together rather than tailored. Skirts may not be the way to go but when I put together the costume I wasn't really going for practicality (yeah, yeah, I'd be the only wood elf tangled in a tree). In this case I took a jagged tan skirt that I already had (sometimes you can find cool costume pieces from regular stores- I once made an entire hobbit cosplay from things found at a thrift store, and the shirt I wear with the elf costume later in this post was from a department store that I teastained). The shirt under the bodice was also a regular spaghetti strapped tank top; I'll likely replace this later, but it's always good to make a costume from what you have! The overskirt is crocheted; crochet is good for open or uneven-looking lace stitches. (The pattern that I used is here on Ravelry, although I crocheted less rows to keep it shorter.)

Originally I was going to try to crochet a bodice or wear a cincher from a different costume, but realized that something specifically for this would look a lot better. Here's where Etsy is awesome- I found A Break In The Clouds and she was able to make me exactly what I had in mind. (Her shop is empty at the moment, so here's the link to her facebook page.)

The boots are also handmade- and incredibly comfortable; they've made their way into my daily wardrobe. If you're looking for great leather boots for a renaissance or fantasy costume, Earthgarden on Etsy is your place to go. Mine are these, but in brown (someday I'll have green, too!)
If you're just getting into the costume scene, though, and saving up for the awesome, perfect boots, you can try to find something that looks close. I've had some luck with almost-fantasy boots from Goodwill; the pair of boots I wore with my pirate costume originally were a pair of brown faux leather hiking boots. (I wore those things until they lost their sole. Literally. That was a good excuse for my husband to buy me the good shoes, lol!)

Play up the feathers, leather, and furs (I always prefer faux whenever possible). You can get feathers and bits of fur and leather at craft stores, but it may be cheaper to find an old coat or bag at thrift stores and cut it apart for material to use. I made this arm/ankle band out of thrifted leather, and feathers and a leaf pendant from the craft store. Your sewing skills don't have to be great since it's supposed to look messy (and you can probably use fabric glue, too), but be careful since leather is thick to sew through.

Leather and feather armband

Wood elves are warriors, so bracers are probably a requirement. You can always go all out for leather, or you could get fabric ones (the ones I wore are ones that a friend made and embroidered for me but I've also crocheted a simple pair that I wear sometimes). Once I made a pair of fabric bracers for my husband's Boromir costume just by using thick cotton fabric cut into a bracer shape, with holes cut into it to string the lacing through and shoelaces for the lacing. No sewing at all there!

(A wood elf costume should have a weapon, but generally I only carry a walking stick/staff with my elf costumes- this was under $20 at the renaissance faire. Someday I'll make a bow and quiver, but I haven't gotten there yet. A staff is always the cheap way out- I mean, you can always just go outside and grab a decently sized branch if you wanted to!)

I had a fox tail I'd gotten years ago from the renaissance faire that made its way onto my belt. With this costume it's just fun adding stray bits! Let's see, what else... I have a pouch strung on my belt (this was made by the friend who made my bracers so they match), but I've also crocheted a simple bag shape and sewed little drawstring pouches- not a lot of sewing skill involved, since it would be basically a square, as well as just using hippy/earthy purses and backpacks that I already had. The belt is just a regular, every day faux leather belt, although since it's long, I was able to knot it around so it looked like a medieval/renaissance belt (you can see it better on this costume). Like I said, it's fun being able to add things you already own into costumes. ;)

The defining characteristic I always give the wood elves in my D&D world are tattoos and lots of them! Of course you probably don't want your body permanently painted, so your best bet here is body paint or henna. Henna's semi-permanent and lasts up to two or three weeks but body paint is something that'll easily wash off. This you can get at Halloween stores, but the batch I'm currently using is powdered makeup from PinkQuartz Minerals. With this I've found that a little goes a long way since I add water to the powder to turn it into paint.

I always imagine wood elves to have lots of piercings (they are a rather tribal society!), so you can't go wrong having lots of earrings, real or fake, cuffs and posts and anything tribal, really! It's difficult to see, but there's a cartilage earring attached to the one ear in the picture near the top of this post. That's one of MayoWare's cartilage barbell earrings, similar to these:

If you have your cartilage/helix pierced, check out her shop- I may wear that earring with an elf costume, but these earrings are just fun in general and she has a huge variety of styles.

And speaking of ears, the last thing- and pretty much the big thing if you need an elf costume- pointy ears! The ones I wore above are foam ears on a headband that I bought years ago from CreaturesbyChelsea on Etsy. (She doesn't have any in her shop currently, so I'm hoping she's still making them; these are such great quality!)

Here's a different approach to headband elf ears; these are ones that I've crocheted:

And if you're looking for latex ears, the best place to go is Aradani Costumes. I'm wearing a pair of their large elf ears with this elf costume (this costume is also the one I mentioned above, where I got the renaissance-looking shirt from a department store, then teastained from white to tan).

Half-elf cosplay/costume
But that site also has smaller elf ears, larger ones, hobbit ears, faun ears- and lots of other cool stuff, too!

I think that's everything. Not sure how entirely useful this has been, but I figured I'd share how I put together the costume. :)


My question for all you fun Halloween fans out there is this: What's your favorite costume (be it for Halloween, cosplay, or whatever!) that you've ever worn? What's your dream costume?


If you stopped by for Halloween, here's what I'd offer you:

I wasn't sure what kind of candy I'd pick (I have a sweet tooth, but because of dietary restrictions I don't eat a lot of junk food) but my husband chimed in "Go with those peanut butter Snickers that I always get you!" I guess he's right; I do ask for those an awful lot!

(And yes, for those paying close attention, I did say "husband" in there! Look for a post soon about that!)


About Bookie Brunch: Trick or Treat!: The first blog hop was a Bookie Brunch special event for Halloween, and it was a lot of fun, so we're just continuing the tradition. Bookie Brunch was a weekly book discussion founded by Sasha Soren, the author of Random Magic. Browse archive

Also this month - drop by for Video Week: Random Magic, from Oct. 21-30, featuring an entertaining week of cool reviews and creative features from vloggers around the world. They're featuring the book Random Magic by Sasha Soren. Visit the YouTube page for the schedule in infobox.


DogsMom said...

Thank you for a wonderful post and great advice. I have done many costume parties and Renaissance Faires and a few acting gigs so I love dressing up.

Pepca said...

I am not really a dressing up in costumes person. But your wood-elf costume looks amazing, just what I'd imagine a wood-elf to wear, practicality set aside :). Great post!

Oh, and congrats on the wedding and all the best!

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