Upcycled Halloween & Thrifty Cosplay
When it comes to creating outstanding cosplay and costumes, Ham Lake Thrift Store Manager Kristen Nixon shows off her next-level talents.
Thrifting has long been a passion for Kristen. Not only can Kristen spot a deal, but she can also visualize how to transform her finds into amazing, fanciful costumes.
Some of her pieces come together quite quickly, while she’s dedicated months to others. Here’s a look at some of her favorites, starting with Kristen’s most recent, and perhaps most impressive costume, a Star Wars character known as a Tauntaun, which she created for the Minneapolis Fall-Con.
A ton of Tauntaun craftsmanship
I started with a $1 stocking cap and fuzzy sweaters for $8 purchased at Ham Lake Family Pathways. The coat was a total score. It had ripped pockets so I got it for just $10 from Ham Lake Thrift Store. I pulled together low-cost faux fur coats from the thrift store to give the Tauntuan its realistic look. The claws were reclaimed rubber dinosaur claws from the Halloween aisle at the Ham Lake Thrift Store. I have taken personally-crafted clay accessories and combined them on the hat with strips cut from the sweaters to create a creature from out of this galaxy! The mask took the longest – about a month. The rest came together pretty quickly. Altogether, it took less than two months and a little less than $40 for the Tauntaun.
The Wampa only took a few days, but it cost a bit more. I started with a panda mask, which was a bit more expensive. I removed the ears and added some more fur from fuzzy leg warmers found at the Ham Lake Thrift Store. I also repurposed some gorilla feet from the thrift store. This one took a few days, and it cost around $40 to make.
These are the droid costumes you’re looking for: R2D2 and C3PO
For R2D2 I used a $1 fleece pet blanket, a 50%-off skirt with black lace lining, a full-price long sleeve black lace shirt and $10 black cape, all purchased from Cambridge Family Pathways. I purchased my tights and boots at Isanti Family Pathways for $12 and a scrap ribbon bag from Wyoming Family Pathways for $1.
I then bleached and laundered the pet blanket turning it into a tube dress with a quick seam in the middle, securing the back of the skirt and back of dress with ribbon and lace from my WYTS purchase. I attached the skirt lining to the bottom of the dress and cut off the top portion of the long sleeve shirt attaching it to the top of the dress. I then added hand-drawn accessories made from scrap material. I used parts of the pet blanket to make the necklace and other accessories.
C3P0 was made from a purchased dress from Cambridge Family Pathways for $15 dyed gold with Rit Dye purchased at a major retailer. The headband is a personal item of no cost, and the round disks were $1 at Wyoming Family Pathways, the buttons used to form the eyes on top were cut off of a sweater also purchased at Family Pathways years ago and was headed for the recycle bin. The wires added to the center of the costume were also from my home recycling pile.
Both costumes cost $40 dollars and took about a week to assemble.
Well, Wookie Here
My Wookie costume is a brown long-sleeve shirt for $3, a furry blanket purchased for $6, a rainbow ammo belt (a very special find!) for $5 and brown tights, new in the package for $4, all purchased at Ham Lake Family Pathways.
I again started with a tube dress and had enough extra fabric for a half sleeve. I then cut and attached the ammo belt and added a furry pair of winter boots found on clearance at Wyoming Family Pathways for $4. I added a Wookie from my own personal collection. This was a fun Halloween costume and cost me at total of $22 and took 2 days to assemble.
Oceans of creativity: Under the Sea
The Under the Sea costume won a second-place award at MSP SpringCon 2019 and is a personal favorite. Ariel is a mix of paper mâché for her tail, up-cycled thrift store finds, a $3 swimsuit top, a new body sleeve for $10, $10 dollars in blue tulle and a $2 net found at Ham Lake Family Pathways. Paired with stuffed animals I had at home, we carried $3 handbags found in the new Nostalgia Nook at Ham Lake.
Ursula is an up-cycled tank for $4 and skirt for $5, paired with found materials from Ham Lake Thrift Store for $15 and garage sale finds to create the tubes for her tentacles. Her mates Flotsam and Jetsam have hand-crafted faces and velvet bodies and act as the straps for her tank. Fishing line was used to stagger her tentacles and these costumes took months of hard work to complete. Total cost: $60
This is my daughter’s Renaissance Festival costume made from a Cinderella costume purchased for $8, a scarf purchased for $1, gloves for $1 and wings handmade from wire hangers and nylons and up-cycled supplies purchased for $5 all from Ham Lake Family Pathways. This is another way to use Halloween costumes all year long.
Kristen is currently working on Nuka Cola Power Armor from Fallout4 and an Alice in Wonderland remake for Spring Con. We’ll keep you posted on her progress.