When I asked Emilia what she wanted to be for Halloween late this summer she replied immediately: “Belle, from Beauty and the Beast!” She quickly followed with: And Dada will be “the nice Beast,” Mama, you can be Mrs. Potts, and Caroline will be Chip! I was prepared to forgo a family costume if whatever she named didn’t lend itself to an easy DIY situation, but I guess our Moana family costume last year left a good impression. I know she won’t want this forever, (and I’m not so sure Caroline will be so willing to play along next year), so I set to work almost immediately brainstorming ideas.
If you’re new to the blog, hi — welcome! You should know that if it’s possible to DIY something, and especially if it’s difficult, my interest will be piqued. I love the challenge of figuring it out how to make something impossible actually come to life. I wasn’t too concerned about how to do Belle, but my “Mrs. Potts” and Brian’s “Nice Beast” costumes were the most challenging. Here’s how we made it all happen.
Belle “from the ballroom scene”- Emilia
For Emilia, if I had wanted to go the DIY route, I could have fashioned together a yellow leotard and a tulle tutu and called it a day, or attempted a ball gown on my sewing machine, but for how much wear she gets playing dress-up with her princess gowns, I have no problem spending a bit to get exactly the princess dress she wants and we involve her in those conversations, to help her understand value and how to prioritize her wants so she makes good choices when we let her buy something special.
In fact, we were prepared to REALLY splurge on a really nice Belle dress when we were at Disney (for reasons I’ll explain in another post) but we couldn’t find her size anywhere. I’d come across a beautiful, really well made Belle gown at T.J. Maxx just before our trip, but it was a size 8 so I had to pass it up as much as it killed me to not snap it up.
I ended up picking the one she wore for Halloween at Target and it was one of the nicer ones I came across while I shopped, and the price was perfect — just $20. Once I mastered the Belle updo, which I completely winged and improvised with a little flip-through and pinned half up ponytail, all she needed was a faux rose I actually had lying around (from last year’s Moana DIY floral lei project) to carry for photos.
The real fire drill came when I found a gigantic piece of super plush felt that I’d picked up to make a blanket for one of my godsons. The end of September ended up being insane so that project never happened, so I half-seriously said to E, hey! This would make a great cape, like the one Belle wears when she’s outside throwing snowballs with the Beast. The next thing I know, she’s holding the swatch of fabric, fingers pinched at her nape so it’s flowing like a cape behind her. Cut to Halloween. It’s moments from nightfall and I’m at the machine furiously improvising a cape pattern so we can get outside to take a family photo before the light was gone.
That said, I have an utterly brilliant business idea now — capes for kids to wear with all these princess costumes. Think about it, all these princesses don a cape on at one point or another. Why cover up your child’s costume with their bulky winter coat (this is for the more northern-dwelling trick-or-treaters obviously). I’m telling you, this could be my thing guys. You heard it here first. Capes for Halloween costumes. Until next Halloween it’s going to be all Costume Design 101 over here. Only semi-kidding.
My Easy DIY “Nice Beast” Costume
This one came together nicely, if rather last minute. After the Halloween parade we usually do was cancelled due to rain, I almost didn’t bother with our family costumes. I went out to scout for supplies at a thrift shop and told myself if I didn’t see anything that inspired me, I’d scrap it. Luckily, after perusing some other DIY versions, I knew exactly how I wanted to re-create the look with just a few items:
– Dark blue/royal blue men’s long sleeve button up
– Yellow (women’s) cropped mock turtle neck
– Lg piece of yellow felt
– An old white sheet
– Some gold roping trim
– Three navy pea coat buttons
I made Brian wear the button up while I figured out how much of a lapel I wanted him to have and then pinned it to the shirt while he wore it. Then I went in with fabric adhesive and later, a needle and thread, to make it all look a bit more “done.” I worked off a few different “Beast” costume photos that I’ll throw onto my Halloween Pinterest Board. The trickiest part was probably making the lapel look beefy enough to make a men’s shirt look like a fancy dress coat. I think my splurge on the gold roping helped — and the navy pea coat buttons. My favorite part though, has to be the white “ruff” or whatever you’d call the fancy ruffled part on the front of the beast’s white dress shirt. I used a sheet! It was a “wing it” moment to the max and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. If I’d really wanted to go for the finished look, I could have maybe hunted down some small, nubby goat horns or something to give a hint of the former, “mean beast” but I only just thought of it now, so… lesson learned. Plan these costumes out earlier!
Easy, DIY “Chip” Costume for a toddler
Poor Caroline. Until she is old enough to protest, I’m afraid she’s going to be at her sister’s whim as far as costume assignment. I found a REALLY cute, but very sewing-heavy costume idea for a “baby Mrs. Potts” costume, but when I floated the idea to the boss (Emilia), the answer was a hard no. I also thought it might be sweet to dress her up in a little baby-sized hot pink tutu and rose-laden headband and have her go as “the rose” from the movie, but — a hard no from the boss. Haha! My easy, DIY, Beauty and the Beast “Chip” costume came together with just a few items:
I repurposed Emilia’s first birthday “Elsa” skirt and just ordered a “Chip” onesie on Etsy that was on our doorstep within a week. Brian picked up the “Chip” cup to have just as an accessory in case people didn’t quite get it. We could have had her carry a plush Lumiere or Cogsworth, but we wanted to stick with the girls’ favorite characters and not accumulate (or spend) needlessly. And the cute headband I actually made myself just after C was born. I picked up the white rosette at JoAnns and the nude headband is a repurposed (ripped!) pair of pantyhose I hoarded solely to one day make those exact headbands. The shape of the rosette kind of reminds me of a tea pot top.
My easy DIY Mrs. Potts Costume
It all started with the skirt, really. I saw it on clearance at Target and that was really the turning point when I committed to this year’s family costume. I love to interpret a costume via the inspiration that comes from my poking around in stores to find or repurpose whatever I find — it always kicks my creative brain into overdrive. The trouble is usually selecting just one idea and moving forward with it. I snapped the skirt up, then found an old white t-shirt and broke out all my acrylic paint. I didn’t bother with fabric paint because I don’t plan to wear a shirt with Mrs. Potts’ face on it on the regular (haha) and weirdly, I happened to have exactly all the colors I could possibly need to match the skirt and the character from the movie. I just free-handed it and could have definitely done a more centered job, but — ah well. The final touch was definitely the gray, colonial-era woman’s wig from Amazon. I don’t know where the hell that idea sprang from, but I’d been searching for a pink wig for a different costume I’d been planning, and somehow, the algorithm in Amazon diverted to Mrs. Potts and the next thing I know, I was paying the $3.99 for next day shipping so I could have the thing in time for Halloween. And I have to say, I think it really made the costume. I almost threw on a purple shower cap since Mrs. Potts had a kerchief-type headpiece, but after all the effort, I felt like it would have been a sloppy finishing touch so I skipped it. Ideally, I’d thought about doing a small fascinator type of headpiece using some different felts, but just ran out of time, so I chose to just go with what I had and feel happy about it.
And really, Emilia and Caroline’s faces when we were all dressed up more than spurred me on for next year. One of my favorite things about being a mom is being able to bring magic to my childrens’ childhood.