Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Handmade Halloween - the squid edition

**Updated! My son's costume won a dubious (yet loving) award at SFGate's The Poop. Check it out!

Halloween is my holiday. I can do without the hard boiled eggs at Easter, the roasted turkey at Thanksgiving and the figgy pudding at Christmas... but give me orange and black and pumpkin decorations and I am a happy girl. From October 1 -31 I am in a mad dash to get it all in - the pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin patches, fall festivals, apple picking... the whole thing. It is like I am a manic fall freak for 31 days a year and then I calm down and go back to normal.

This year my son wanted to be a red squid. He decided on this after taking this picture of one at the California Academy of Sciences.

I loved the idea of making this costume and my head was spinning with ideas. I could have gone the whole "cut up a sweatshirt" route, but I knew I could do better than that. So I started searching around on flickr and came across this amazing costume.
                                                    (Photo courtesy of Lucy Lou via flickr)

My son took one look at this and said, "That's it!" Great! (Pause) Now how do I make it?

I searched around and found the original creator's blog and posted a comment about what an amazing costume it was and did she have any advice on how to recreate it? She never replied and maybe that was for the best because I was left to figure it out on my own. Sometimes the best results come from just winging it. By studying the photos on flickr, I could see the construction of the costume and went to work. I drew my pattern pieces on brown paper grocery bags and tinkered with the size of the squid head. I made a mock up with some leftover red felt that was passed on to me from a friend. After sewing it together, I kept thinking it looked sort of off, maybe a little strange. I took a few steps back from the table and it hit me, my squid head looked  phallic. Oh dear. So I ripped it all out and tried it again two more times and on the third try I hit pay dirt and stuffed that squid head with batting.

Knowing my son wouldn't wear it if it were made out of scratchy felt I ordered soft pink and red fleece online. I attached the head to the the rest of the body of the squid which was made by tracing one of his hoody sweatshirts onto the fleece fabric for the arms and body. I then then lined the inside of the tentacles and arms with pink fleece and sewed it together like a traditional shirt. And a Halloween costume would not be complete without the use of a glue gun so I attached the suction cups onto the tentacles and viola...a squid was born.

In honor of Lucy and Nora (the squid creator extraordinaire), my son happily posed just like Lucy did in her squid costume. Thank you to the both of you for such great inspiration. We will likely never meet in person, but you inspired us and we thank you for it.


  1. Did you make your own template for that?

    1. Hi there, Yes, I did. I just took one of my son's hooded sweatshirts and drew an outline of it on some paper bags for the body and the hood, then I added on the top part just by drawing it out several times. It took a few attempts before I got it right. :)

  2. Oh cool! About how many yards of fabric did you use?

    1. For my 6 year old, I think I bought 2 yards of red and 1 yard of the pink. I always err on the side of buying more though! Good luck. Let me know how it goes for you.

  3. Hi. I have also been drooling over the original costume on flickr. And I have been trying to figure out how she made it so I can replicate it for my 6 year old since he is obsessed with the colossal squid. I can't figure out the head though. Did you make the top layer the squid shape and the inner layer a hood shape? And then did you jus put stuffing in between. What's bothering me is whether the stuffing moved around too much. Did it fall down from the top of the cone to the sides of the head? How did you get it to stay there?