Halloween is my favorite holiday, and always one of my favorite opportunities to get crafty! I have won my neighborhood's costume competition for the last 3 years, along with a contest at a local brewery last year.
My favorite style of costume is illusion costumes. I love for people to be trying to figure out how I made something or how I am pulling off an effect.
I love historical characters and old movies and rarely want to make a costume involving current events or something modern. Last year my costume was Marie Antoinette (after her head had been cut off). You can check out my Headless Marie Antoinette Costume Tutorial HERE, it was my favorite costume I ever made!
One of my daughters was singing a song from the Beetlejuice musical last summer. I asked if she had ever seen Beetlejuice, and discovered she hadn't! So I realized we needed to plan a Beetlejuice movie night, Stat!
While watching the movie again, I recognized the perfect illusion costume idea! The Magician's Assistant from the waiting room scene! Last year I "cut my head off", this year, I could cut my whole body in half!
I debated briefly if the character was too obscure. Obviously, everyone would recognize Beetlejuice, no matter how long it has been since they watched the movie. Would they remember and recognize a minor character like the Magician's Assistant?
I decided it didn't matter, some people would recognize her, but the costume would still be cool even to those who weren't familiar with the character. After all, I would still look cut in half, they just might question why I am blue!
Components for Costume
First I needed to make a list of all the parts I would need to make or buy for the costume. I came up with:
1. Fake legs
2. Fake couch on wheels
3. Red Dress and Collar
4. A Black Beehive Wig
5. Blue Body Paint or another way to make myself and the fake legs blue
6. Handbook for the Recently Deceased (the book she is reading in the waiting room)
I scoured the internet for fake legs that were already in a crossed position or were moveable, but unfortunately couldn't find anything for less than a couple of hundred dollars. I knew spending a couple hundred on just the legs alone, would really blow the budget for my costume. Since I couldn't find them for a reasonable price, I decided I would have to make them instead!
Supplies Used for Fake Legs:
3 rolls of White Duct Tape
Pair of High Heels in my own foot size
Constructing Fake Legs
To make the fake legs, I used my own legs as the form. I started by wrapping my own bare legs in Saran Wrap. After my legs were wrapped in Saran wrap up to my mid-thigh, I started wrapping duct tape over the Saran wrap on my legs.
Start by adding duct tape to both feet and work up both legs at the same time! If you do one leg all the way to mid-thigh first, it will be hard to bend over and do the second foot! The duct tape makes it hard to move once you go over the knee.
You want to work quickly because it also gets hot inside the duct tape fast! Also, go to the bathroom before starting and have your scissors close to where you are taping yourself up!
After you have applied duct tape all the way to your mid to upper thigh, take a pair of scissors and cut a straight line starting from the back center of each thigh all the way to your ankle. Carefully remove your foot from inside the tape. It works best if you can avoid cutting the foot (it will create a perfect fit for your own shoes later).
After the Duct tape has been cut from your legs, using some extra duct tape, tape the back of the legs closed again. It is easier to stuff and fill the legs then tape the leg closed as you go.
Start by adding some Poly Fil to the feet portion of the duct tape mold, then tape up the ankle and calf portion. Stuff the ankles and calfs with some poly fill and then tape the knees. Stuff the knees with some poly fil and then tape the thighs. Finally add poly fil to the thigh portion and then cover the end of the hole with some additional duct tape to keep any poly fil from spilling out.
Once both fake legs are full of poly-fil, you can go ahead and insert them into a pair of Blue Women's Tights. Make sure you are paying attention to which leg is the right leg and which is the left. You can tell which leg is which by the curve in the feet. I accidentally reversed my legs the first time and only discovered it when I went to put the shoes on. It wasn't fun trying to switch them back after adding the tights, fishnets, and skirt!
After adding the Blue Women's Tights you want to add a pair of Women's Fishnet Tights on top. Not only does this match what the character is wearing in the movie, but it helps disguise the less-than-smooth texture of the duct tape.
Constructing Fake Severed Waist
I had originally planned to make the entire bottom half of the body in a single piece. When I started applying the duct tape to myself, I realized there was no way I could do it from my waist to my toes in a single piece. If I did it while standing up it would be too stiff to put in a sitting position later, and I couldn't do it while sitting because I couldn't wrap tape under my rear end while sitting on it. Technically I could have squatted the whole time and asked someone else to wrap the tape around me, but that seemed uncomfortable and unnecessarily complicated!
Since the skirt would cover the space between the waist and the legs, I constructed them in two separate pieces. The tights would help hold them together and the skirt would hide any gaps.
I repeated the same process I used to make the fake legs to make the waist. I wrapped myself in Saran wrap from the waist to my hips, and then covered the Saran wrap in duct tape. I cut a line down the center of the back and removed the duct tape. I then lined the cut back up and used additional duct tape to close the cut and to tape the bottom of the mold closed.
I filled the hollow waist form with poly fil, leaving a half inch gap at the top. I took toilet paper, wadded it up into small balls, and dipped them in liquid latex (Here is the KANGAROO Professional Grade Liquid Latex Makeup, 16 Oz Pint I used) and stuffed them on top of the poly fil. This created a texture that looked more realistic for the exposed cut edge. The Liquid Latex firms up very solid. If anyone tried touching the "guts" it wouldn't ruin how it looked.
After the liquid latex had fully dried (about 1 hour), I poured red nail polish (from Dollar Tree) all over the top. Red nail polish also dries hard but still has a shiny wet look. It took about 2.5 bottles of red nail polish to get full coverage.
Once the nail polish had dried, I inserted the waist into the top of the tights. I would later glue the skirt to the top edges of the severed waist to make sure it stayed in place.
Building the Couch
The lower half of the Magician's Assistant's body was now complete (minus the skirt that would be wrapped on as a finishing touch.) I did have to consult my husband, the engineer, for advice on building the couch. We took some measurements of our front door as well as the front door of our neighborhood clubhouse (to make sure I could fit through the door the night of the party).
Supplies Used for Fake Couch:
Approx. 10 yards cheap fabric (I just bought the cheapest brown fabric available at Hobby Lobby).
Optional: Memory Foam Pillow (to make the arms of the couch)
Constructing the Couch
When deciding how large to make the couch, we measured the doors to make sure it would fit without exceeding the maximum depth (and accounting for the legs that would be sticking out of the front). I knew it needed to be wide enough to accommodate my actual body on one side and the fake lower torso and legs on the other. I wanted it to look as close as possible to an actual loveseat.
I planned to sit on a Work Stool with Wheels inside the fake couch to keep the couch height more accurate than it would be if I was standing. I lowered the work stool to its lowest height setting and sat down. We measured from the floor to my waist while I was sitting on the stool. This gave us the height we needed for the couch cushions.
After we calculated the dimensions for the couch, we were ready to assemble the PVC frame. Here is how the frame looked. We waited to add the wheels since it would be easier to cover the PVC frame without the wheels attached.
I began taping scrap cardboard to the frame with duct tape. I needed to fully cover all sides in cardboard. I just cut cardboard boxes to fit and fill all gaps. The only location where I needed 1 large solid piece of cardboard was where the bottom couch cushion would go. I would eventually be adding a hole for my body here and needed to it support the weight of the fake legs, so 1 large piece of cardboard was ideal.
The entire frame would later be upholstered, so it was just important to secure all the pieces of cardboard to the frame and to each other.
Before adding my solid piece of cardboard that would be the base of the couch cushions, and after covering the front, sides, and back of the PVC frame with cardboard, I went ahead and started upholstering the back, front and sides. It was easier to attach upholstery fabric without the cushion support in the way.
I wanted the couch to look more natural, and not just like cardboard covered with fabric. To give the couch a "puffy" look, I attached some Upholstery Batting to the back support area with spray adhesive. I would also add additional batting to the "couch seat cushions" later.
I began wrapping fabric over the back of the cardboard and batting and stapling it in place.
I had an old memory foam pillow that neither my husband or myself liked laying around. It had the perfect shape and depth to be the arms for the couch. I simply cut it in half and added one half to each side of my "couch". If I didn't already have this pillow laying around, I would have used more cardboard wrapped in extra batting to achieve the rounded edges.
I sat the memory foam pillow halves on the PVC pipe frame and duct taped them in place.
I sat the fake lower body piece on the couch to get an idea of where the hole for my body should go. I traced an oval on the cardboard where I wanted the hole to be and used a box cutter to cut out a hole slightly larger than my waist.
I covered the rest of the couch cushion seat area with more upholstery batting and then covered it entirely with fabric using the staple gun. I cut a large slit in the fabric where the hole was and pushed the excess fabric into the hole.
After the couch was fully upholstered, I added the wheels to the PVC frame and added an additional 4-inch flap of fabric to the bottom of the couch to hide the wheels.
I needed to secure the fake legs to the couch, so they wouldn't fall off if someone bumped them. To help secure the legs I ran a wooden dowel from under the couch up through the base of the lower torso. I also wrapped the torso in fishing line and tied it to the PVC pipe support behind the cushions on the back of the couch.
Once the lower torso was firmly attached to the couch, I wrapped some red fabric (I would use this same fabric for the dress for the upper half of my body) around the waist and legs to make a shirt. I just used hot glue to hold the skirt in place.
Hair and Skin
The couch and bottom half of the Magician's Assistant's body were now complete, and I just had to prepare my own upper body, face, and hair. I ordered a Black Beehive Wig so I had the hair covered. I needed to figure out how to turn the upper half of my body blue!
At first, I considered painting my arms, chest, neck, and face blue with Blue Body Paint. I became concerned about the body paint staying put if I had any sweat (it is still hot in Alabama during October), or held a drink in my hands.
My teenage daughter had an old red sparkly dress that she once used for Show Choir. She never planned to use the dress again and didn't mind me hacking it up to use as part of my costume. I started with her dress as a base. This saved fabric costs and a lot of sewing time.
The dress was a sleeveless fit and flare dress. I simply cut the straps off, making it a halter. I then added some Elastic to the inside hem where I cut and added a row of ruffles from the same red metallic fabric I used for the skirt.
I made the matching red collar by gathering a 4-inch piece of fabric and sandwiching it between a 1 inch strip of fabric. I added some Sew in Velcro to make the closure behind my neck.
The night of the party I painted my face, neck, and ears blue. I got dressed in the Blue Morphsuit and added the red dress and collar on top. I loaded up the fake couch (with legs already attached), my Handbook for the Recently Deceased and the Work Stool with Wheels into the back of my husband's truck.
When we arrived in the parking lot, I lifted up the backside of the couch and slid the rolling stool underneath. I then crawled under the couch myself. I positioned myself under the hole in the couch and raised my arms up through the hole, followed by the rest of my body up to my waist.
Using my feet, I slid the stool under my butt and sat down. My husband helped me with final adjustments like adjusting the skirt on the legs, pushing extra couch fabric back into the hole, and handing me the book. Since the couch and stool were on wheels, I was able to scoot myself into the party.
I was able to move around the party thanks to the wheels, but I was pretty bulky in a crowd. I was glad that my full body was dressed below the couch and eventually I could come out of the couch and dance a little. I found someone wearing a doctor's costume and had them tell everyone they had performed surgery to sew me back together!
Lots of people recognized me as being from Beetlejuice, but even those who asked who I was thought the costume was pretty cool! I did win the costume competition for the 3rd year in a row!
I'm already figuring out what to make as my Halloween Costume next year! Tell me below what your favorite costume I have made is, or tell me the favorite costume you have ever made!
*I personally purchased every product that was used to make this costume and nothing was provided to me.
**I have included affiliate links to the products I used and can receive a small commission if a purchase is made after you click on a link in this tutorial.
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