Sunday, November 4, 2012

Holy Halloween, Batman!

For years, I've been trying to convince Pete that he should go as Batman for Halloween. Before Amelia was born, I wanted to go as Robin, but my dear husband thought  it was a little weird that I wanted to dress up as a 14-year-old boy again (I've been Peter Pan for Halloween twice). By the time I convinced him that there have been female Robins (at least three, by my count), we had Amelia and I thought she should go as Robin, with me as Catwoman. By that point, Pete was convinced, but Amelia wasn't too sure.

This year, all the stars aligned, and everybody thought Batman was a wonderful family theme for Halloween.
I made Pete's costume using an out-of-print Simplicity pattern that I had used when we went as the Wonder Twins a few years back.
There have been "official" Batman patterns over the years, but this one worked nicely, since he wanted to go as a Michael Keaton-era Batman in all black with the classic black-and-yellow logo on the chest. The only modifications I made were to the belt, which I turned into a utility belt with upholstery vinyl, and to the cape, which I lengthened and scalloped at the bottom.
I added the bat logo to the cape and chest with my embroidery machine.
Pete has an unusual hat size, so I had to make a Batman mask from scratch. I considered making one out of felt, but I wanted it to look shiny and hold its shape. Fortunately, I found a  great Batman mask tutorial on instructables. The entire mask is made out of duct tape and newspaper. It was very hot for Pete to wear, but it fit perfectly and looked authentic. I based it on the Batman art of Alex Ross. If you look closely, the eyebrows aren't in exact alignment, but it works, and it got the seal of approval from all of Amelia's friends.
I wanted to go as a 1966 Julie Newmar-era Catwoman. I used the women's top from the same pattern for my costume, but made stretch pants instead of a skirt by copying a pair of Vera Wang leggings from Kohl's. I made the belt thinner and made my own mask pattern "in the hoop" on my embroidery machine. The ears are simply a headband with triangles of felt glued on. The necklace started out as a Big Lots find that I kept attaching more findings to until it "looked right." My "claws" are press-on nails super-glued to a pair of evening gloves.
I wanted to make a Stephanie Brown Robin costume for Amelia:
Stephanie Brown was Robin in 2004, and I always liked the costume. As a Halloween costume, I thought it would be appropriate, since the leggings and tunic would allow a lot of freedom of motion, and I could modify it to be a little less revealing. Unfortunately, Amelia hated the idea. She nixed the costume as "not girly enough," and requested something "prettier." After flipping through every pattern book at JoAnn's, I came up with this:
I made very few modifications to the pattern. All I did was add the Robin logo and the laces.
At first, the tutu was a full, knee-length skirt, but after she wore it to a few parties, it became obvious that the longer skirt made it hard for her to move around, and I trimmed it to make it a fuller, ballet-like tutu. When she wore the costume to Halloween carnivals, she took off the tutu and put on a pair of bike shorts before she hit the bounce houses.
 Her cape was the same cape pattern I use every year:
This cape has been a Wonder Woman cape, a Princess Peach cape, and a Queen of Hearts cape. All I had to do was shorten it a bit to make it a Robin cape. I'll probably find a use for it next year, too.

Amelia's gloves are simply tubes of Lycra. I was glad I didn't work too hard on them, since she promptly took them off and lost them. Pete's gloves were store-bought, as were my shoes. I actually wanted to make shoes for Amelia, but she's in love with her sparkly shoes, and I agreed that they'd be more comfortable for trick-or-treating.

It was a lot of fun to go trick-or-treating in these costumes. We got a lot of instant recognition from kids who loved seeing an adult Batman on the streets, and a Amelia got a lot of comments on how cute she looked in her Robin costume.

I'm glad we waited until this year to break out the Batman theme. The fact that "The Dark Knight Rises" is in theaters meant that there were a lot of Batmen, Robins, and Catwomen on the streets this Halloween, and it was exciting to be wearing such popular costumes. And, Amelia wasn't the only female Robin out there. In fact, Robin seems to be a popular costume for girls.

I'm already thinking about next year's costumes. I'm wondering if Supergirl would ever wear a tutu?


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