A Twist on the Classics

New ideas for old-standby witch, ghost, and pumpkin costumes.

Witch & Pumpkin

Thoroughly Modern Witch

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Supplies: Child-size black cape (we used McCall's pattern #2860), 4 yards patterned fabric for cape lining, 6 large flower appliqués, 2 small flower appliqués, fabric glue, 6 yards pink rickrack, 2 yards black-and-white checked ribbon, black bell-bottom pants (we used McCall's pattern #3014), 2 yards lime green rickrack, witch hat, rubber bugs, hot glue gun, long-sleeved leotard, striped tights, tinted sunglasses.

How-To: Make or buy a black cape, and line it with patterned fabric. Iron on large appliqués about 10" from bottom of cape, spacing evenly; iron on small appliqués to collar. Using fabric glue, attach thick pink rickrack around the circumference of the cape edge, 2" from bottom. Cut black-and-white ribbon in half, and sew one piece to each end of the cape's neck. Make or buy black bell-bottoms; glue a layer of pink rickrack 1" from the bottom of each leg and a layer of green rickrack 1" above that. Glue layers of green and pink rickrack around witch hat. Decorate hat with rubber bugs, securing them with hot glue gun. Complete the outfit with a brightly colored long-sleeved leotard, tights, and tinted sunglasses.

Precious Pumpkin

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Supplies: 2 yards 54"-wide orange organdy fabric, 2 yards 54"-wide heavy orange linen fabric, measuring tape, 3/4 yard 45"-wide lime green velveteen, green thread, 2 yards lime green fringe and ball trim, tapestry needle, 3/4 yard 1/2" elastic, 2 yards orange ribbon, 1 yard chenille lime green rickrack, 1 large snap, lime green knit shorts

How-To: Cut a pair of rectangles 21" long and 54" wide from each type of orange fabric. Sew fabrics together with organdy over linen to form two double-layer pieces of fabric. (Note: We used two fabrics to give costume extra texture and shape; if you can't find orange linen, use one layer of any orange fabric and add padding under finished costume after your child puts it on.) Place right sides of fabrics together. Create arm seams by stitching 4" down from top edges on 21" sides of rectangles. Leave 5" openings for armholes. Resume sewing side seams to bottom edge. Turn both the top and bottom open edges under 1" toward inside of fabric, and press. Pin and sew around the top and bottom edges 1" from the edge and again 1/8" from the edge to form casings. (Be sure to leave small openings to feed ribbon and elastic into.) Thread ribbon through the top edge, leaving ends of ribbon exposed. Thread elastic through the bottom edge, pulling ends to create gathers. Turn pumpkin body right side out. Cut 5 leaves from green velveteen, and sew neckpiece. Sew fringe and ball trim around edges of leaves, then sew a piece of wide chenille rickrack around neck edge. Sew snap-on edges of neckpiece. Slip costume onto your child, and pull orange ribbon to create gathered look at neck; cover with neckpiece. Pair with lime green shorts.

How-To: Cut a pair of rectangles 21" long and 54" wide from each type of orange fabric. Sew fabrics together with organdy over linen to form two double-layer pieces of fabric. (Note: We used two fabrics to give costume extra texture and shape; if you can't find orange linen, use one layer of any orange fabric and add padding under finished costume after your child puts it on.) Place right sides of fabrics together. Create arm seams by stitching 4" down from top edges on 21" sides of rectangles. Leave 5" openings for armholes. Resume sewing side seams to bottom edge. Turn both the top and bottom open edges under 1" toward inside of fabric, and press. Pin and sew around the top and bottom edges 1" from the edge and again 1/8" from the edge to form casings. (Be sure to leave small openings to feed ribbon and elastic into.) Thread ribbon through the top edge, leaving ends of ribbon exposed. Thread elastic through the bottom edge, pulling ends to create gathers. Turn pumpkin body right side out. Cut 5 leaves from green velveteen, and sew neckpiece. Sew fringe and ball trim around edges of leaves, then sew a piece of wide chenille rickrack around neck edge. Sew snap-on edges of neckpiece. Slip costume onto your child, and pull orange ribbon to create gathered look at neck; cover with neckpiece. Pair with lime green shorts.

Knitted Pumpkin Hat

Supplies: 1 skein Patons Canadiana worsted weight acrylic yarn in color #72 (pumpkin orange), tapestry needle, knitting needles in size 7, to achieve gage of 5 stitches per inch

How-To: Cast on 65 stitches. Knit 1 row, purl 1 row for 6 rows. Knit for 2 rows. Continue to knit 1 row, purl 1 row for 22 rows. The total number of rows at this point will be 30. Decrease by knitting 6 stitches, knit 2 together, and repeat this pattern of stitches to the end of the row. Purl 2 together, purl 5, and repeat this pattern of stitches to the end of the row. Knit 1 row, purl 1 row for 6 rows. Decrease by knitting 2 together across the next row. On the next row, purl 2 together across. Break remaining yarn off 15 inches long. Draw through remaining stitches. Sew center back seam using this yarn. Sew stem and leaf out of green velveteen fabric, and attach to top of hat (fits size 12 to 24 months).

Devil & Ghost & Bat

Darling Devil

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Supplies: 11" by 17" sheet red craft foam, pinking shears, red puffy paint, red glitter, child-size plastic headband, 1 yard 1/2"-wide red ribbon, hot glue gun, red long-sleeve leotard, red tights, red feather boa (optional).

How-To: On red foam sheet, draw a tail with an arrow on one end. Then draw two horns, as shown at left. Cut out foam pieces with pinking shears, and decorate edges with puffy paint and glitter, if you wish. Wrap headband in ribbon, gluing as you go; glue horns to top of headband. Glue or pin tail to back of the leotard. Wrap a length of red feather boa around your little devil's neck, if desired.

Snowy Ghost

Supplies: Pullover poncho (we used McCall's pattern #3307), 4 to 6 yards each of white organdy, bridal tulle, and shiny white polyester fabric, small pieces of black and white felt for eyes, double-fold seam binding, elastic, white leotard and tights to wear under costume

How-To: Follow the pattern directions for making the poncho, cutting three layers of white fabric. The top layer is organdy, the middle layer is tulle, and the inside layer is polyester. (Measure your child from neck to ankle to make sure that the finished costume is not too long.) Use a jagged motion when cutting the lower edges of the fabric to give the costume detail and dimension. Follow directions for making and attaching a hood, but add elastic to the casing so that the hood will fit snugly around your little ghost's head. Add eyes to the top of the hood. Attach elastic around the neck edge using double-fold seam binding. To form a sleeve that will make your child feel more comfortable in the costume, sew the front and back of the polyester layers together 8" below shoulder seam and 10" down toward center of the poncho.

Super Cool Techno-Bat

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Supplies: 3/4 yard faux leather fabric, 3/4 yard shiny silver fabric, 3" or 4" Velcro, 1 1/2 yards 1/8" black elastic, black cargo pants or sports pants, 2 1/2 yards silver trim, black baseball cap, white foam sheet, black thread, large google eyes, black puffy paint, black glitter (optional)

How-To: To make bat wings, cut half circles of black faux leather and silver fabric long enough for the straight edges to reach from one of your child's wrists to the other when arms are stretched apart (see photo). Cut 4" by 15" rectangles of each fabric for a collar. Place right sides of wings and collar pieces together, and sew around edges, leaving neck area open. Trim and clip all seams and curves, and turn right side out. Hand-stitch collar to wings, and add Velcro closure to each edge of the collar. Attach the wings to your child's wrists by sewing circles of black elastic to each end. (No-sew option: Cut bat wings out of black felt, and spray-paint one side silver. Attach a ribbon collar to the neck area with glue.) Sew or glue silver trim to outside seams of black pants. To make a bat cap, cut a row of pointed teeth from white foam, and two triangular ears from black faux leather. Glue teeth to center front of baseball cap brim, ears to back edge of brim, and google eyes to top of brim. Trim seams with black puffy paint, and sprinkle with black glitter, if desired.

Spider & Mummy

Glamorous Spider

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Supplies: Black long-sleeved bodysuit, 2 yards 48"-wide black velour knit fabric, 1 bag fiberfill, 4 to 6 marabou boas, felt squares (1 white, 1 blue, 1 teal, 1 black, 2 hot pink), 1 yard black elastic, fishing line, hot pink squeeze paint, large doll-making needle, hot glue gun, craft glue, 12 white pipe cleaners, 3 bug-shaped buttons

How-To: The base of this costume is a black bodysuit. To make spider body, cut 4 circles of fabric 16" in diameter. Make 2 pillows by sewing circles with right sides together, leaving a 3" opening. Turn right side out, and lightly stuff with fiberfill. Stitch opening shut. (No-sew option: Buy 2 round black throw pillows big enough to cover your child's torso.) Glue boas to one side of each pillow in a circular pattern until surface is covered. To make the spider's face, cut eyes, eye shadow, and lashes from felt, and glue onto one pillow. Apply glitter to eye-shadow area. Cut 2 lips from pink felt sheets, and sew together, leaving one edge open. Lightly stuff lips with fiberfill. Sew a lip line through the middle of both layers. Sprinkle glitter on lips, and glue to spider front. Cut four 4" pieces of elastic; use 2 to create shoulder straps that attach the front and back pillows together at the top and the other 2 to attach pillows at the side, below where your child's arms will go. Cut 8 spider legs from velour fabric, each 6" long and the width of the fabric. Fold right sides together, and sew long seam, leaving one end open. Turn right side out. Lightly stuff with fiberfill, and close the open edge by stitching to spider body at equal intervals along each side.

How-To: The base of this costume is a black bodysuit. To make spider body, cut 4 circles of fabric 16" in diameter. Make 2 pillows by sewing circles with right sides together, leaving a 3" opening. Turn right side out, and lightly stuff with fiberfill. Stitch opening shut. (No-sew option: Buy 2 round black throw pillows big enough to cover your child's torso.) Glue boas to one side of each pillow in a circular pattern until surface is covered. To make the spider's face, cut eyes, eye shadow, and lashes from felt, and glue onto one pillow. Apply glitter to eye-shadow area. Cut 2 lips from pink felt sheets, and sew together, leaving one edge open. Lightly stuff lips with fiberfill. Sew a lip line through the middle of both layers. Sprinkle glitter on lips, and glue to spider front. Cut four 4" pieces of elastic; use 2 to create shoulder straps that attach the front and back pillows together at the top and the other 2 to attach pillows at the side, below where your child's arms will go. Cut 8 spider legs from velour fabric, each 6" long and the width of the fabric. Fold right sides together, and sew long seam, leaving one end open. Turn right side out. Lightly stuff with fiberfill, and close the open edge by stitching to spider body at equal intervals along each side.

Mesmerizing Mummy

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Supplies: White sweatshirt and sweatpants, 4 yards of 45"-wide loose-weave white fabric, hot glue gun, rubber boots

How-To: Stuff sweatshirt and sweatpants with batting or towels to form a stiff surface on which to glue loose-weave fabric. Cut 15-20 pieces of fabric at various lengths, between 4" and 5" wide. Hot glue selvedge edges of fabric together to form 3 or 4 long strings of "bandages." Attach fabric to sweatpants and sweatshirt by wrapping loosely around the arms, legs, and body in a random pattern. Glue pieces down loosely every 3" to 5". Add texture by draping fabric loosely in some parts and tightly in others. To make head wrap, glue 6 pieces of bandage together. Loosely wrap around child's head, being careful to let eyes and mouth show. Finally, to complete the costume, use hot glue gun to wrap and attach several pieces of bandage around a pair of rubber boots.

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Copyright © 2001. Reprinted with permission from the October 2001 issue of Child magazine.

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