It’s that time of year again. I don’t know about you, but preparing for a Halloween costume party is just an excuse for me to make some of my long-held cosplay dreams come true.
Unfortunately, dressing up often comes with a price. Purchasing a high-quality Halloween costume can get very expensive, especially for a costume you will only wear once or twice. It can also be quite frustrating to find the specific character costume you want.
That’s why DIY-ing a costume can be a fantastic alternative to buying one, and it’s pretty damn rewarding to see your handmade creation come to life. As an added bonus, your DIY-ed costume is likely to be a big hit at Halloween parties!
If you’re in the mood to make your own costume this year and need some inspiration, look no further. These comic-inspired cosplay outfits are beautifully crafted and any of them would make excellent Halloween costumes.
DC Bombshell Zatanna
Other than the gloves, shoes and tights, this cosplay master handmade her entire outfit.
Here’s her process for making the costume:
For the corset I started with the Simplicity 1345 pattern and sort of fused it with the back of the Simplicity 2172 pattern so that I could make the tails. I actually ended up just gluing the buttons along the sides of the closure because it was too difficult to sew them through the boning and have them still look like my reference pic. I also added little lacy bits around the buttons so that they look like flowers. The last part of the corset was the chain detail. I attached chains to earring hooks and then I just slip them over the buttons once the corset is on.
The hat was pretty straightforward. I took a piece of leather and made a cone with a wide base and a wider top. Then I cut out two circles, glued the cone to the brim, stuffed the inside of the hat with tissue paper to help it hold its shape, and then glued the top on. I glued the hat onto a hair comb so that I could have it attach to my hair pretty securely. The gold emblem was a necklace pendant that I sawed the chain loop off of and spray-painted gold. The Z is a little foam letter I had lying around. For the band I just sewed a long rectangular piece of burgundy satin and glued it along the base of the hat.
The shorts I made my looking up a pattern for retro swim bottoms. I used a stretchy white material so that it would be fairly form fitting and not need a zipper. Then I sewed black buttons on the hips, two on each side.
Shadowcat and Nightcrawler
As you can probably tell by the level of detail in these costumes, this cosplay designer takes her work seriously.
“When I make superhero-type cosplays, I intentionally avoid the spandex-bodysuit look, and try to re-design the costume to have a more realistic leather-pants-and-jacket aesthetic,” she told me on Reddit.
Her process for making the costumes:
I originally made these costumes in 2012, and re-did many parts in 2016 as my skills had improved. I purchased used pleather jackets for both characters, and leather pants for Nightcrawler, to use as a base for the costumes. I used a second red leather jacket (also thrifted) to create the red sections for Nightcrawler, and used additional red pleather in a few other shades to create decorative piping and detailing. I also constructed an entirely new collar for the jacket, which is reminiscent of a priest’s collar in homage to Kurt’s religious beliefs.
The jacket I bought for Kitty was a child’s size, so I needed to add some extra paneling in the sleeves in order for it to fit correctly. The yellow pleather on the front is stitched to the jacket (and around the zipper), while in the back it is left unattached, providing access to the snaps that are hidden underneath. Kitty’s pants are just wet-look leggings, and a pleather belt with handmade Worbla buckle covers where the jacket meets the pants. I simply added yellow cuffs to both her shoes and gloves, which I purchased off Amazon and painted to be the right shade of yellow.
I made Nightcrawler’s bracers and gauntlets out of yoga mats and Worbla. I purchased instructions from Chaos Costumes, which I used to make his digitigrade stilts. A cheap pair of white tights and a lot of quilt batting hide the wooden stilt structure. I made both swords from Balsa wood and Worbla, smoothed with gesso, and painted with spray paint and acrylic. I also did all of his make-up, primarily using Ben Nye cream cakes in a variety of blue shades and heavily shading with black to capture Nightcrawler’s “perpetually in shadow” look. Both of us were able to use our natural hair (plus a ponytail extension for me).
Scarlet Witch from Uncanny Avengers
To make this gorgeous Scarlet Witch costume, the designer said she was inspired by this image.
Her process for making the costume:
For the coat, I started with Simplicity 4940, because the seams were where I wanted them to be in the front. I shortened it, left one seam partially open, changed the sleeves, and altered the collar.
I picked out a pattern of tight jeans for the pants and added tight boot coverings. I used the front half of a sole from cheap emergency flats, and left the heel of the boot underneath exposed. The jeans/leggings were held tight under the arch of the boot with wide elastic and hook/eyes. The pants tended to slide down, so I learned that I have to wear them with suspenders.
The gloves were from a Burda pattern, but they were problematic to make because the fabric wasn’t stretchy enough to properly make that style of gloves. I ended up having to make them stop about half way up my forearm because the fabric did not stretch enough around to go over the lower arm muscle.
The mask was my design. It is held in place with two strands, one high and one low, hidden in my hair, in order to keep the mask from pivoting and shifting out of place.
Mystique Male Cosplay
Talk about a possible last-minute costume! JohnnyJuke said this entire look took about 3 hours to put together. The full image (which is NSFW) can be viewed here.
He also made a video to show off his incredible work.
His process for putting the look together:
I used “SNAZAROO METALLIC ELECTRIC BLUE” for the body. I applied it with a fake tan mitt. I used a darker mix and a brush for the scales and highlighted and contoured with blue, white and black eyeshadows. The wig was from Ebay, which I blended with my own hairline (sprayed red). I wore yellow contact lenses, very small blue underwear (which was blurred out in the video) and sandals on my feet so I would appear totally nude.
The video was just a cross fade between before and after footage.